If you use Gmail for business, and particularly if you are in sales, you probably find that your inbox gets pretty overcrowded at times. You might even miss the CRM facilities of Microsoft Outlook at times (if you've ever used it you'll know that Outlook is still the market leading email client, and for good reasons). The folders and labels functionality in Gmail just cannot compare.

There is a tool that lets you extend Gmail and turn it into a CRM-like system, however. It's called Streak and it allows you to organise your leads into pipelines, so you can keep track of the current status of all your prospects, leads and clients, and get access to all the context you need at a glance - without ever having to leave your inbox to refer to another application.

Here are step by step instructions:

  • You will need Google Chrome installed before you can start using the Streak extension to manage your sales leads. Access the related download link for this article and download, then install, the excellent Google Chrome browser if you have not already done so. You will also need an active Gmail account, so browse to https://mail.google.com and register if you're not currently a Gmail user.

  • Using Google Chrome, access the Streak homepage and click Add to Chrome. Click Confirm when the installation dialog appears to add the extension to your browser. The Streak setup wizard appears after a few seconds.

  • In the project setup window, select Sales/CRM and click Done.

  • Click OK when prompted to create your first Box. A Box is a logical partition inside your Sales/CRM pipeline, which you should use to associate with a single client, sale or project. Access your Gmail inbox and open the first email thread you would like to place into a Box.

  • Click the Boxes button on the Gmail toolbar and choose Create New Box. Enter a meaningful name for the Box, such as the client or project name, and click Create. That email conversation is now associated with the new Box within your Sales/CRM pipeline.

  • To view your Sales/CRM pipeline, click the Pipelines option on the left hand side of the Gmail interface (where the folders are usually listed) and choose Sales/CRM. Your Sales/CRM pipeline is shown within the main Gmail panel, with the first Box you just created present.

  • Note the various columns available for each Box where you can add tracking information for that lead/prospect. In the Stage column, you can specify the Box as Lead, Contacted, Pitched, Demo, Negotiating or Closed using the dropdown menu.

  • Add manual values into the Assigned To, Deal Size and Notes fields as required.

  • Repeat steps 4 - 8 for every scenario you want to track using Streak. Your Sales/CRM pipeline will begin to grow, giving you an at-a-glance overview of everything in your workload - which can be invaluable during busy periods of extreme contention.


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