Using Google Docs for Small Business CRM

More and more small businesses are beginning to implement customer relationship management (CRM) software. It is an extremely useful tool for managing customer interactions and tracking sales prospects. In this article we will be discussion about how we can use Google Docs for Small Business CRM?

Companies interested in CRM have two options: 1) They can research and look at CRM software reviews to select one of the popular systems on the market; or 2) they can build their own.

What are the benefits of building CRM over buying CRM?

1. Reduced cost (it can be free!)
2. Increased flexibility
3. Optimal customization
4. Easy to use

Building your own CRM system may seem like a daunting task. The average small business owner is not a computer programmer. But the good news is, you don’t have to be. A great tool to start with is Google Docs.

Not only does Google Docs have the tools for basic contact management, email marketing and document management, it also allows for sharing and real-time editing. This means that if both Jack and Jill are using the system at the same time, and Jack updates client information in the system, Jill will see the update immediately.

Another neat feature is that Google Docs allows for privilege settings. Small business owners can manage which of their employees can access certain information with just a few clicks.

Google Docs CRM - Getting started with Set Up

One of the most important things for small businesses to keep track of is customer data. So, the first step in building a CRM system using Google Docs is to collect all relevant customer data in a master spreadsheet.

You should include the following in the Google Docs CRM:

  1. Demographics – Name, phone number, email, company name, address, etc.
  2. Source – Note where the prospect came from to help track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
  3. Next action code – A number system that coincides with the next actions to be taken with prospects.
  4. Next action date – Assigned date for next action
  5. Interaction log – A large cell where you can track every call, email and important interaction with the prospect. You should date significant items such as buyer hot buttons or requirements.
  6. Lead nurturing stage – A numbered system that coincides with where the prospect is in the buying cycle. Here is an example system: 1)Aware, no interest; 2)Interested; 3)Verbal commitment; 4)Purchased.
  7. Estimated size – Your estimate of how large the sales opportunity is with the prospect. This should be modified to whatever is applicable to your business model.

These are just a recommended set of fields to get started with. They will vary by business. For example, an eyeglass store might also want to have additional fields for prescription and lens preference. It is easy to add and delete fields in Google Docs, customizing the system as you go along to better fit the needs of your business.

Once you are able to gather all this information into the master spreadsheet, the sort option makes it easy to segment prospects. Let’s say you want to identify all prospects that have been tagged “interested” in order to send a targeted marketing email. Simply sort by lead nurturing stage. Similarly, if the eyeglass store wants to find out how many contact lens wearers they have, they can simply sort by that field. It’s fairly straightforward.

Finally, one of the best perks of using Google Docs to manage your customer relationships is its familiar user interface that is easy to use. Many people use Google for managing their personal life (Gmail, Calendar, etc.). Being able to use it in business makes for an easy and quick transition. Also, if your company grows to a point that you need to upgrade from your homegrown system, it is easy to export data from Google Docs. System data transfer can typically be a time-consuming, frustrating process, but Google Docs makes it easy with just a few clicks.

Google Docs provides all of the basic functionality of a CRM system, but at a better price point – Free. You just can’t beat that. For more on Google CRM, visit the Software Advice blog.

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