There are many advantages to using a dedicated sales program (a customer relationship management program, or CRM) to keep track of prospects, customers and deals. But the best CRM in the world won’t help your business if your salespeople don’t bother to use it.
While some sales executives like to look at their customer emails in a CRM, which filters the conversations involved in making a sale, others are happier sticking with their email client.
Earlier in the series we looked at five apps that can help you manage your inbox. But software companies have come up with ways to bring CRM features to the inbox in your email application.
Note: cloud CRMs integrate best with cloud-based email clients as it is easier to display information within the email interface. Google’s Gmail has been around much longer than Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud suite and consequently has more options.
This mobile app for Salesforce.com users helps prioritise messages in Gmail from customers and prospects by displaying and updating information from the CRM. WorkinBox is only available for iOS devices (iPad and iPhone), and it can connect to other data sources besides Salesforce.com.
WorkinBox has a great range of filters which can order emails by the size of the opportunity, and it can turn emails into actionable tasks within Salesforce.com. It also has a range of ‘quick text’ responses such as “I’ll get back to you in an hour/tomorrow/next week”.
This cheap app ($12/month per user) has a free widget for Gmail which adds a box to the bottom of each email. Users can use the widget to add a contact to Capsule and tag the email by task, deal or project (or ‘case’ in Capsule speak).
The widget will show a list of existing cases or opportunities for that contact. When adding a new case or opportunity, the widget expands so you can add details such as a description, name, expected value of the sale, and assign it to a sales person.
Users can click through the widget to the contact’s company page to see recent social media updates, the contact’s conversations with co-workers,
Smaller CRMs sometimes rely on independent software developers to build connectors to email clients. HighRise (from $24/month for up to six users) uses plugins from Collabspot and PieSync to connect to Gmail. The better featured PieSync (US$9/month for two users) allows users to view and manage notes, follow up tasks and view related deals and cases in HighRise from within Gmail. A single click takes the user to the appropriate contact, task, case or deal in HighRise.