Google has distinguished itself as an innovator in software. If you are looking to accomplish a personal productivity task chances are Google has or is working on a solution–Google’ GMail is prime example. GMail takes a very mature technology, like email and made us look at how we process, manage, and retrieve our electronic communications.
However, potentially one of the most powerful things about GMail is its versatility in creating custom management strategies or processing ques. This flexibility is what makes GMail an ideal platform to use as a personal contact management system or simple CRM.
Why GMail for Contact Management?
Contact management is fundamentally a system that helps a sales person quickly identify new prospects, make contact, and manage follow-up.
Inherently you get the communications tool–email. Leveraging the power of Google’s search, labeling, and filters you get the management of those communications. Chances are if you are using a personal CRM, such as ACT! or Goldmine you are using a lot of email-like features, but are still required to leave that application to use email also.
Time is money so you don’t want to be wasting time bouncing between multiple applications. So, why not stay in your email application.
Importing and Managing Contacts
One of the fundamental roles of your CRM is to capture and manage your contacts. Your sales system needs to easily get your prospects and clients into the system, reference them quickly, and efficiently manage updates.
GMail does each of these tasks exceptionally well. Whether you are exporting contacts from Outlook, Apple Mail, or loading a spreadsheet of contacts GMail makes it easy. If you already have your contacts in a Web-based mail or social network system like Yahoo! Mail or LinkedIn it is even easier–login and click.
Creating a Sales Prospecting System
Now that you have all your contacts in GMail, Google’s search becomes a powerful prospecting tool. Are you looking for a person in a particular company? Do you need all the SVP or higher marketing executives? Do you need everyone that is in the health care sector? All of these types of prospecting questions are easily answered and your database segmented using GMail.
What is most important, using GMail as a contact management system puts all of these prospects at your fingertips and ready to contact.
Managing Real-time Internet Lead Generation
GMail also has great features for managing real-time Internet lead generation. Combining the power of filters, labels, and actions you can immediately prioritize and queue leads as you see fit.
Filters allow you to create complex rule sets for specific types of emails. This can allow you to:
- Highlight (i.e., star) emails coming from lead sources
- Label different lead sources
- Filter them into specific groups for follow-up
You can take this contact management and prioritization system one step further by using GMail’s latest multi-inboxes to create sales pipelines and queues.
Prioritizing with GMail’s New Task List
Of course, no sales management system would be complete without a task list. GMail has a simple, but elegant task list. You can not only build your schedule of TODOs and you can turn emails and correspondence into task and follow-up reminders.
Also, don’t forget to use the Google calendar to schedule and track appointments.
Integrating Other Social Media Tools
Finally, sales is about engagement with people. Few technology concepts have helped sales to so directly engage customers as social media.
Using Google’s robust GoogleTalk, embedded in GMail you can bring in all of your social media streams as well as your email conversations. Again, turning all of this communication into a searchable prospecting database.
GMail is a lot more than an email application–it can be your personal Google contact management or CRM software.