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Gmail as a CRM

Gmail as a CRM for Small Businesses: All Your Questions Answered

Gmail as a CRM... Sounds weird? Read on to learn more about it...

All the marketing professionals keep raving about CRM tools like HubSpot, Marketo, or Salesforce. However, if you are a small business owner, you might not have enough resources or finances to invest in these advanced platforms. Nonetheless, you cannot overlook the importance of having a CRM tool. 

Why Should You Invest in a CRM Tool?

Fundamentally speaking, the CRM tool facilitates the communication between the business and its prospective and existing customers through a single platform. 

Even if your business is small or based locally, you will always aspire to expand it to a larger audience. Besides, you will also want to ensure the satisfaction of the existing customers. 

These two aspects are most crucial for any business. In addition, your CRM tool helps you achieve a lot many other things too.

Let’s take a look:

  1. A robust CRM tool will help you to recognize the most qualified prospects and target them. 
  2. It can help you segment the customers according to parameters that are most relevant for your business. Moreover, you can also micro-segment your customers with advanced parameters. 
  3. You can target the diverse segments with different marketing campaigns that will be most relevant to them. 
  4. CRM tools let you understand your customers better and then reach out to them with the most valuable information or offers. 
  5. Having a powerful CRM tool in place will let you build a stronger rapport with the customers. 
  6. You can also create customer personas and define your potential customers based on your existing clients. 
  7. CRM gives you access to the performance reports of all the marketing campaigns that you are carrying out. 
  8. The CRM dashboard works as a scaffold to centralize all the communication channels, including emails, social media, text messaging, sales calls, and in-app notifications. 

In case you are short of funds or manpower and cannot purchase the expensive and more advanced CRM tools, you can bank on our favorite Gmail account for all the basic activities. 

It will help you in the following operations:

  1. Gmail as a CRM tool will help you in tracking the people you reached out to. 
  2. It will let you know when was the last time you got in touch with them.
  3. You can use it to understand the purpose of communication and their response.  
  4. Based on this, you can formulate the next touchpoints with the prospect or customer. 
  5. Just like any other CRM tool, Gmail helps to align the marketing and sales teams in a better way. 
  6. You can reduce the response time for the concerns raised by the customers and impart a more pleasant experience to the users.
  7. With the help of CRM extension in Gmail, you can automate certain workflows and send out triggered emails to your customers as well as employees. 

That being said, let’s understand how you can use the CRM functionalities of Gmail to its maximum potential. 

1. Gather important information about the contacts

The first step to communicate effectively with the customers is to get their correct contact information. As email is the most extensively used mode of marketing communications, Gmail becomes the most convenient to use. 

There is a Google Contacts account attached to every Gmail account. It is equipped with a contact database that allows you to save the contact details of people you have contacted through Gmail.  

create multiple contacts through email

Gmail lets you import external contacts by clicking on the “Create contact” button and selecting “Create multiple contacts”. 

Contact list in Gmail

Once you click on the “Import contacts” link, you will be able to select the file that has stored all the contacts. 

Besides the basic details, you can add professional details like the company name, designation, contact number, and any other remarks related to the previous interaction. 

My favorite functionality in the Contacts feature is this:

When you will click on the Show more link, you will be able to add many more data fields and custom fields that are relevant for you and your business. That’s the whole idea of having a CRM tool. It gives you access to more data and you can then reach out to the customers with more relevant and impactful messages. 

This brings us to the next important CRM feature: Segmentation. 

So, how can Gmail help with that? Read on…

2. Segment the customers and keep a tab on their activities

Gmail enables you to add labels to your contacts and segment them according to the stage of the buyer’s journey. For instance: You can label them as prospects, customers, partners, stakeholders, hot leads, and cold leads to name a few. 

It also gives you the provision to add new folders for different segments. You can record all the activities of the prospect or customer and the previous interactions you have had with them. Accordingly, you can define the next game plan.

3. Build a stronger personal relationship with the customers (with emails)

This one’s going to sound very obvious but Gmail is an email client with the help of which you can send out emails to your customers. At the outset, when your business is still small and growing, you can use Gmail as a CRM. 

We have had so many clients at Email Uplers who have used GMass, a Chrome extension that lets the users send bulk emails. 

Oh, and if you are worried about ‘tracking’, Gmail can do that too. 

Just install Mailtrack extension and it will be sorted. If you have the budget, you can go for the Mailtrack Pro version too which comes with many other exciting features like full email metrics, compatibility with Android and iOS Gmail Apps, and tracking of emails with attachments. 

You can learn more here:

Mailtrack extension

Apart from these interesting functionalities, Gmail also allows you to use email templates

Just go to the settings tab from your Gmail inbox and click on the Advanced tab. Then, you must “enable” the templates option and ‘save changes’. 

Subsequently, you need to compose your email and then click on the three dots that you see at the bottom of the screen. Then, you can save the draft as a template from the options you see. 

templates in Gmail
Source: Nethunt

4. Achieve more by adding 3rd party add-ons

Two of the most useful plugins that you can add to your Chrome browser are Rapportive and Boomerang. Rapportive is a free browser plugin that helps to add social media data to contact records. It will add Facebook or LinkedIn information of all your contacts and anyone who reaches out to you with an email in the right sidebar of the Gmail screen. 

Boomerang is another popular tool that allows you to set a reminder to follow up from the user in case you do not hear back from him or her for some days. 

Will Gmail CRM Work for me?

Well, if you are still skeptical about using Gmail as a CRM, let me help you out. 

1. Small and Medium-sized Business

If you are just starting off with a small business or you own a medium-sized business, Gmail CRM will help you to optimize the sales processes by improving the workflows. 

You cannot manually communicate with all your customers. Gmail comes into the picture and allows you to create customer onboarding processes, follow-up automation, and much more. 

It will help you understand the trends that work and what kind of messages resonate the most with your customers. Based on these insights, you can push the customers closer to the bottom of the funnel and finally get them to convert. 

Once you are familiar with all these processes and you are ready to scale your business, you can switch to more advanced CRM tools that can offer you some useful capabilities Gmail does not have. 

2. Freelancer

Many popular agencies started off with a freelancer, taking care of all the client requirements single-handedly. So, when you are simply freelancing as a solopreneur, you can send out cold emails to your prospects with the help of Gmail CRM. Since you do not need many advanced features, Gmail can prove to be extremely beneficial for you without investing too much. At the outset, you can simply focus on growing your business by prospecting. Then, when you have enough funds, you can think of building an agency with multiple services and spending on the right tools that would take your business to the next level. I know so many freelance web developers who went on to build their own web development agency offering numerous other services like graphic designing, digital marketing, and content writing. You can do that too!

Other Factors That Clearly Prove That you Need a Gmail CRM

  1. You are using an in-house CRM that, unfortunately, does not work.  
  2. Your team lacks the expertise to make the most of an advanced and expensive CRM. 
  3. There is too much friction between your marketing and sales team as they are working in a siloed fashion. 
  4. You want to focus on your business growth and you do not have enough time to take care of different tools. 
  5. Despite having people working for you, you are neither able to acquire new customers nor retain the existing ones. 

Wrapping Up

To wrap it up, I would like to mention some Gmail CRMs that you can contemplate purchasing. 

  1. Zoho
  2. Nethunt CRM
  3. Agile CRM
  4. Streak CRM for Gmail
  5. HubSpot
  6. Copper

You can explore all these different CRMs that seamlessly get integrated into Gmail and facilitate faster business growth. 

In case you still feel stuck and need help, just reach out to us and we would love to help you out. 

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Disha Bhatt (Dave)

Disha Bhatt (Dave) works as a Content Strategist at Email Uplers. She is a dentist, who has found her calling in words & technical subjects. She loves to pen down travelogues and romantic short stories in her free time.



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