If you are a small business, offering services, you probably are working out of your Email inbox rather than copy and paste your stuff over cloud-based business tools such a Vtiger or sugarCRM or others.

And I think there is nothing wrong with it. Depending the size and if you need collaborators or not, this may be a good solution for you.

And there is nothing wrong with this.

If you are using Gmail (or Googlemail in some parts of Europe) you may avail of the power of being able to combine several mailboxes together by fetching emails from there and to be able to send as those emails addresses.

You feel that it’s easier to not leave and or copy and paste stuff around to get organised.
And you may be right.

Let me show you a few things to get your inbox under control and to make your Gmail a lightweight CRM.

Google Contacts (native)

The native Google contacts is actually quite some good tool.
Every contact you have in Gmail can / will be added to it.You then have the ability to add further details to each the contact.

Phone numbers, email addresses and much more.You can also add plain text “notes” to the contact which can contain things you have discussed or thoughts.Inside of the contact, you can see all your email conversation with that contact.

When creating or adding those contacts to contact groups, you can send emails to that group only by clicking a button.

Streak for Gmail (Chrome Browser extension)

Streak is one of the 2 optional ways I introduce to organise you emails and inbox.
You create certain pipelines for example for deals, hiring, travelling or events.
Each pipeline has it stages (new contact, contacted, quoted, etc)

Pipelines and stages are fully customisable.For each incoming email, you can create or add to a box (see it as a file) and add that one to a pipeline and stage.
The box will record and list all emails, files and addresses added to it, and allow you to change the stages, add further notes, tasks, Files, meeting notes and call logs.This is based on the emails you manually add to that box, so you can add multiple emails from the same sender to different boxes.

Furthermore to round up the features, Streak adds an email tracking feature to your emails to see when someone opens your email.

For full details visit https://www.streak.com/
The free version is functional to the above description but has limitations and pro versions  which can be reviewed here https://www.streak.com/pricing

FullContact for Gmail™(Chrome Browser extension)

FullContact is an extension for the Chrome browser.

Its a “Know everything about your Gmail contact” tool, right in your inbox.
Without having to leave Gmail and once opening an email you will see a sidebar with all the details available either in your local contacts (including the notes added as described above) or publicly available in LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, such as tweets, photos and profile.

You will see links to several public profiles of social networks.You are also able to use that sidebar to create an invite in your google calendar or invite to a hangout chat.

The Sidebar gives you access to your Google contacts by a search bar in which you can search for names and get your contact details listed.

For further details visit the webpage https://www.fullcontact.com
FullContact comes as a free limited version with additional pro feature. For more details about pricing and the limitations see https://www.fullcontact.com/developer/pricing/

Sortd Smart Skin for Gmail (Chrome Browser extension)

The Name is misleading. Sortd is not really a skin and it’s not just sorting.
You may have heard about a Kanban Board https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban_board which is popular not only within software development, but many more methodologies.
It’s one of the bases of “getting things done”.

With Sortd you sort your emails into a Kanban board and or create tasks for the emails.
Sortd works inside of your Gmail as an overlay to allow you to sort your email into customisable  columns (for example todo, FollowUp, Blocked, Done, etc)

Official description:
” Sortd is the first ever smart skin for Gmail. It enhances your Gmail experience, providing a seamless, intuitive way to plan and prioritize emails & tasks in a single Gmail workspace.
FEATURES
* Works inside Gmail (no need to switch to another app for your priorities)
* Neat multi-list Trello-style layout
* Drag and Drop to prioritize your emails
* Manage ToDo’s and emails in the same Workspace
* Rename your lists so Sortd works the way you work
* Don’t like the subject of an email? Rename it
* Group multiple conversations together
* With your Sortd follow-up list you’ll never drop a ball again Separate the signal from the noise and focus on the emails and priorities that count. With Sortd, productivity takes on a whole new meaning.

At the moment you can signup to Sortd http://www.sortd.com/ for free by applying to the Beta (I got approved within a few hours) and there is not information yet about limitations and or future pricing / pro versions.

In case you won’t get approved to the beta, feel free to leave a comment below, since I have a few invitation left.

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