Create a free CRM with Google Apps

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1 Create a free CRM with Google Apps By Richard Ribuffo Contents Introduction, pg. 2 Part One: Getting Started, pg. 3 Creating Folders, pg. 3 Clients, pg. 4 Part Two: Google Forms, pg. 6 Creating The Form, pg. 6 Putting The Form To Work, pg. 8 Creating The Templates, pg. 8 Part Three: Get Organized, pg 10 The Other Folders, pg. 10 Prospects, pg. 10 Quotes Subfolders, pg. 11 Reports. pg, 12 Part Four: Data Processing pg. 13 Receiving pg. 13 Charts, pg. 15 Part Five: Helpful Links, pg. 17 Final Thoughts, pg. 18 1

2 Introduction For those of you who are unaware, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. There are many programs to help you manage your relationships with customers, but they all cost money and they all offer different features that I found unuseful. Essentially, a CRM program is nothing more than a comprehensive database where you can quickly access customer information. Google Drive allows you to create such a database online. You can access the information from any mobile device. It works well across all platforms. Since I went full time with my magic in January of 2015, I struggled to find the perfect CRM program. Sadly, it doesn't exist. After months of searching and paying for CRM programs, I decided to create one myself using applications and programs in Google Drive. Google Drive has everything you need! It is more than just a way to share spreadsheets with your friends and coworkers. The different applications in Google Drive can share information with each other. Using Google Drive, I was able to create folders, forms, spreadsheets, and documents. Managing relationships with my customers has never been easier. I can create charts, graphs, and reports to monitor my business s profits and losses. The real benefit is being able to track data in real time so I can make more informed decisions. Let's get started! 2

3 Part One: Getting Started The first step is to create a Gmail account by visiting https://mail.google.com/mail/mu/. Creating a Gmail account automatically gets you a Google Plus profile and a YouTube channel. After you signed up for Gmail, go to https://www.google.com/drive/ and login to Google Drive. Creating Folders Before we move on, I would suggest downloading the Google Drive app onto your mobile device. You can also separately download Google Docs and Google Sheets. If you use your desktop or laptop, Google Drive looks very much like Gmail. But, it looks very different on a mobile device. From my cell phone, this is what my google Drive looks like: 3

4 As you can see, I use Google Drive for a few different purposes. But we are going to focus on the second folder labeled Magic CRM. To create this folder on the desktop version, simply click the New button in the upper left. For mobile devices, click the red circle with the white plus sign in the bottom right of the screen. Select New Folder and label it CRM, or whatever you wish. Click on the folder to open it. In the CRM folder, you can now make additional folders. The process is identical. These are the folders I've created for my business. You can, of course, create whatever folders you deem fit. I am only sharing what works for me. Clients Sorry, no pictures of this one. It is my duty to protect my clients personal information. But, I can still give you a play by play. 4

5 First off, I create folders to categorize my invoices. I label them Invoices 2015 and so on. When I first created this system, I uploaded all of my invoices from my desktop. For creating new invoices, I use Google Forms. In fact, Google Forms is how I gather all of my customer data. 5

6 Part Two: Google Forms We are moving straight Google Forms because setting up your folders is going to be a subjective process for each individual person. You will decide how to categorize your own information. Google Forms needs to be set up on your desktop. There is not an easy way to do it directly on a mobile device. I will show you later how to save the forms to your mobile device for easy access. Creating The Form On your desktop, click the New button like you did for the folders. In the drop down menu, choose forms. It will be the purple icon. If you don't see it right away, you might have to choose for it to show more options. The forms page looks like this: You will see a request at the top asking you to check out their latest version of Google Forms. Do not click on it! It is a trap!! I do not like it. It only has half of the features and is missing the important feature you need to collect data. They did not make it easy to figure out or navigate. You're better off sticking with this version for now. 6

7 When you first open Google Forms, little prompt messages will come up to guide you through the process. You can create questions with a text box, questions that require a short paragraph, multiple choice, multiple selection, and more. You can also divide the form into different sections. The program itself will guide you through the process. If you want further details on how to design your form, click this link: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/87809?hl=en After completion, click the Live View button in the toolbar to view your form. You can share a form with your client, embed it in an or send a link. You can also put the forms on your website as a way of gathering information. Here is my invoice form that the customer will never see. Most of my forms the client never sees because they are to make my data gathering work easier. When a new customer calls, I open up the form and fill it out as we talk. I use the form as a sales guide. It is like my script. The form prompts me on what to ask 7

8 next and it has a built in sales funnel. If they ask for a certain service, I know to immediately offer one of the correlating add ons. Putting The Forms To Work Now, we get into the fun part. How do we make the forms work for you? Just creating the form isn't enough. When the form is submitted, the information needs to go to the proper place and in the proper format. Using an add on to Google Forms, you can have the form automatically create a Google Doc or Sheet every time that same form is submitted. Start by clicking the Add On button. Search for an add on called Form Publisher. When you find it, click Install. Once it is installed, it will prompt you to get started. Click on get started and follow the steps. Creating a document automatically by submitting a form is exactly what I wanted from a CRM program in the first place. I wanted the ability to create contact sheets and invoices. The other CRM programs I found were only really good for creating automatic s and spreadsheets. But that was about it. Creating The Template Since you won't have a template already created, you can click the button that says create new template when the process prompts you to do so. The Forms Publisher will generate anchors in a Google Doc which corresponds to the form s questions. If you one of your form questions is Name, it will be expressed in the doc like this <<Name>>. That is the anchor. Wherever the anchor is, the answer to the quin will go. It will take you to a Google Doc that looks very plain and boring. It will simply say the name of each question and then the anchor. 8

9 You can reformat it to look however you want. This is what I made my invoice like: Once the form is submitted, I will get an notifying me. This is optional. It is probably more useful to have Forms Publisher notify you if the client is filling out the form from your website. I just like to be safe. To help you with the process of anchoring the form to a document, follow this link: https://sites.google.com/site/scriptsexamples/available web apps/form publisher 9

10 Part Three: Get Organized Form Publisher allows you to designate where you would like the document to end up. When I fill out my invoice form, the invoice is automatically sent to the invoice folder for that year. The information on the form is then automatically updated on the responses spreadsheet. I can refer to that spreadsheet if I want to know how many miles I've driven this year, how many birthday parties I've done, what zip codes have I worked, and so on. It's all right there. I can easily send and invoice to my clients and automatically be converted to a PDF. I can also save the PDF to my desktop and print it. You can of course print it from Google Docs. It's up to you how you would like to backup your information. The Other Folders The other folders in my CRM are also crucial to running my business. Next to Clients, the Prospects folder is probably my second most important. One could argue the Reports folder would be the most important, but there are other applications like QuickBooks for your accounting. I chose to do everything in Google Drive so I can have it all in one place. Prospects In this folder I have subfolders to break down my different types of potential clients. When they're all lumped together in one spreadsheet, it can get very difficult following up. The subfolders also help me measure data and create marketing strategies. The CRM program I was paying for only allowed me to create subfolders if I upgraded to a more expensive plan. For some, it's worth paying $40 a month to have complete control over how you compartmentalize your data. I thought it was worth spending a little bit of time to save a lot of money. I designed each sub folder with the same template. Each contains a form, response spreadsheet, and another folder for breakdowns. Let's say you set aside some time to cold call schools. You would simply open the Schools folder, open up the form and start adding contacts. Every time I submit the 10

11 form, a breakdown sheet will automatically be generated and the response sheet will update with their information. A quick marketing tip log onto Google, look up schools in the zip codes you wish the market and then copy and paste the information from each school into your form. The data will be waiting for you when you decide to spend a couple of hours making cold calls. You can either work your way down the response sheet or go into the breakdowns and take notes. If a prospect turns into a lead, you can move their breakdown into the leads folder. Quotes Subfolder I find this folder to be particularly important because it is where I keep all the data from clients who called me and requested a quote. These are more than just leads. These are potential clients who reached out to me and I must follow up with them. The inside of my quotes subfolder looks like this: 11

12 Their breakdown is saved to the general Quotes subfolder. I then move the breakdown into its respective category. Reports If you are like me, you are very picky about how you monitor your company's money. In this folder I created Google Sheets which allow me to keep a close eye on my company's bank account. Moreover, I need the ability to track spending, budgets, invoices, and taxes. 12

13 Part Four: Data processing In the next section, I will provide some tips to creating and using Google Sheets. But, for now, let's put everything together so you can see how this system really works. Here's a scenario: 1. A new client has called you. 2. From the second she called, you opened up the Quote Form and began filling it out. 3. You tell her the quote and she says she must run it by her committee. 4. Hang up the phone and submit the form. 5. Go into the Quote folder and her the form. 6. Move the quote sheet into the pending category. For now, you're done. You have the Quote sheet saved in the proper folder and a spreadsheet automatically updated with the forms response. She calls back the next morning 1. She feels you are the best fit for the job. Congratulations! 2. Tell her you will send the invoice over right away. 3. Open up the invoice form and the quote sheet. Transfer the information over to the invoice form and press submit. 4. her the invoice. If you had an opportunity to play around with Google Docs, you may have noticed it's pretty simple to create a copy of a document. The reason I don't just copy the Quote sheet and save it as an invoice is because I want the clients information on the invoice response sheet as well. No matter what, you'll be copying over information into one form or another. This process is a simplest for me. You may do what you like. Receiving Your job isn't over yet. As a sole proprietor, you likely don t have a receiving department. This means you must process the invoice yourself. Here is the process I came up with. 13

14 1. Go into the reports folder and open up the sheet labeled Annual Revenue Reports. 2. Use the information from the invoice to fill out the sheet. In this particular sheet, I only need the invoice number, the invoice amount, the month of the event and the month it was booked. The blue numbers indicate my profit goal for each category. The total amount invoiced will go under its respective category. Let's say, in this example, the client is paying $700 for two hours of strolling magic during a holiday party. I input the invoice number under the column labeled invoice numbers and $700 under corporate. I have an algorithm setup so when I place a number in a column, it will deduct the amount from the blue number of top and the large blue number off the top left. The large blue number is my profit goal for the year. The green numbers in row 3 are the total sums of each column. The green number under the big blue number in the first column it the total of all the gen numbers. The green number will increase as the blue number decreases. 14

15 Here's another marketing tip in columns J & I, I have booked in and booked for. The purpose for this it so I can refer to it the following year. If they booked me in, say, July for an event in August, they will likely look to book entertainment again around the same time; assuming it's a repeating event. I can give a courtesy call in June just reminded her I exist and shoot her an in July to ask if she is interested in having me at the event again. This particular spreadsheet also helps me track which events had the biggest pay outs. With this information, I can make smarter marketing decisions and see where I need to pick up the slack. Charts From the spreadsheet you can create a nice pie chart to help with the visualization. 15

16 Keep in mind charts, reports, and breakdowns are all things you would be responsible for presenting to management if were part of a larger corporation. Accountability is something a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with. Actually writing up reports, as if to present them to a committee, is one thing that helps me hold myself accountable. 16

17 Part Five: Helpful Links Here are some links that will help you get started using Google Sheets and some other features. Creating charts in Google Sheets https://youtu.be/kvcxyxybbei Creating algorithms in Google Sheets https://youtu.be/mhesumnu2hk Using Google Docs https://youtu.be/w7xnhjmbcg4 17

18 Final Thoughts Is this CRM system perfect? No. Are there features other CRM program offer that can't be done with Google Drive? Yes. This system is perfect for me. I specifically wanted the ability to monitor my accounting and customer relations all in one place. Other CRM programs give you the capability of using social media. I, personally, did not find that to be useful or necessary in a CRM program. But, if you want to connect your CRM with social media, you have Google Plus and YouTube. Both allow you to easily share from your computer Drive. This ebooklet, like my CRM, is a work in progress. I would love feedback. What works and what does not? Was this helpful? If you have a question or comment, please ask me on Twitter or Facebook. Chances are, if you have a question, so does someone else. If you ask me in a private message, or will suggest making it public on Facebook or Twitter. For Facebook, visit For Twitter, tag me in the Copyright 2015 Richard Ribuffo Anaheim, CA. 18

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