We recently moved to the Affinity model for Mentii. The biggest focus for us now, is to settle on a stable distribution process. Direct sales is an important element of it, and it will give us a better idea of our cost of customer acquisition. Finding a good CRM tool to help us do that is critical.

After looking at a number of sales CRM tools, we settled down on a combination of Google Spreadsheet + Gmail enhanced withStreak and Rapportive.

1. Google spreadsheet is the lead directory. Any lead is scrubbed, and added to the spreadsheet. We collect name, email, phone number, company, company website link, designation, and how we got the lead for each entry. Additionally, there are 3 fields for sales pipeline status

  • What is the potential value of the deal?
  • Whether the lead has been moved to the pipeline.
  • Whether it is live, dead, or closed.

2. Moving the lead to the pipeline means that we have initiated contact. Which, at this stage, means sending an email (in some cases we set up a call, but then we either send an email to either schedule a call, or to thank them for talking to us).

Streak allows us to manage the entire pipeline within Gmail. We follow standard pipeline stage names, and update it as soon as there is a new interaction (email).

3. When a deal goes through, or dies, we go back and change the status in the spreadsheet.

Rapportive fills in the all important role of seamlessly providing rich social intelligence for each contact.

It’s early days for this workflow, but I’m getting a good feeling about it’s benefits.

  • We can easily add team members. Both Google spreadsheet and Streak allow collaboration.
  • It’s no more work to maintain than most other CRM tools.
  • The spreadsheet is quite flexible in giving us any data view or analysis that we might want.
  • It costs $0.

The biggest limitation is that Streak is not available on the mobile, and we have to remember to update the pipeline status when we get back to the laptop.

I’d love to hear about how this compares to your CRM workflow.