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How to Create a DIY CRM System with Google Docs

image from bit.lyToday, I'm featuring great CRM advice from Derek Singleton, of Software Advice. Any small business owner can use Derek's idea to manage the CRM cycle effectively. 

Many small businesses need a better way to manage prospects, especially during periods of growth.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a great tool for doing that. At the Software Advice website, we review and compare most of the major CRM systems on the market.

But the truth is that many of the most popular systems on the market are beyond the budget of many small business owners.

 If you're running a small business, it may be more effective to take the do it yourself (DIY) approach and build your own CRM system. Building your own CRM systems offers several benefits:

  • 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 more detailed outline of how to set up a Google Docs CRM system, you can check out his post here. Who knows? It might not be long before they step up to the development plate and create their own CRM.

Derek Singleton is an analyst for the Austin, Texas based research firm Software Advice. He reports on technologies, topics and trends related to marketing and sales, with a focus on B2B strategy. His writing has been featured in various tech publications including Sandhill, ZDNet and Sys-Con. He's particularly interested in covering how technology can improve business operations.