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DIY CRM Using Google Docs

Many small businesses need a way to manage prospects, especially during periods of growth. CRM software is a great tool for doing that. Software Advice offers some great customer relationship management software reviews, but the truth is many of the most popular systems on the market like Salesforce and Oracle On Demand are beyond the budgetary means of the average small business owner. So why not build your own CRM system? The benefits are clear:

  • It's cost-efficient (free)
  • Flexibility
  • Customization
  • Easy to use

A great tool for building out a CRM system is Google Docs. Already used as a management tool, it is fairly easy to extend the power of this group of applications to the customer management space. Google Docs also allows all users to collaborate across any document, thanks to a same-time editing feature. So, if one person changes a contact's information, that is automatically synced across the system, allowing all users to see the change immediately. You can also monitor privilege settings, ensuring that all users have access to the right information. Chris Keller of Profitworks Small Business Services outlines a step-by-step process for setting up a CRM system within Google Docs. He shows how with Google Docs, you can track and manage:

  • Demographics
  • Prospect source
  • Next actions
  • Contact log
  • Lead nurturing stage
  • Estimated opportunity size

For a full outline, you can check out his post here. Another great source I found was Laurence Buchanan's post on what Google CRM might look like: http://thecustomerevolution.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-would-google-crm-look-like.html. Who knows? With all this buzz around Google and CRM, it might not be long before they step up to the development plate and create their own CRM. (P.S. – I've already predicted that, by the way…)

Ashley writes about various topics related to CRM software, with particular interest in sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer service. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has been published in Inc., the Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. She also produces original research-based reports and video content with industry experts and thought leaders.

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