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CRMs can be some of the more confusing apps when you first start using them. There’s contacts to add, leads and deals to track, and yet another place to store your messages and notes about your customers and clients. So why not keep everything in the one place it already lives: your inbox?
Google Contacts gives you some basic CRM power right inside Gmail, but when you need more tools to track your messages and interactions, see quickly what needs followed up on, and make sure your messages are getting sent when they’re needed and read when they’re received, Streak is the next CRM you should consider.
Rather than being another app account to setup, Streak is a plugin for Safari and Google Chrome that superpowers your Gmail email. To start using it, just install the plugin from Streak’s site, then open your Gmail inbox and you’ll find it ready to get to work. It’ll first ask you what you’d like to track in Gmail: traditional CRM leads and deals, fundraising prospects, story leads, potential hires, mail support, and more. Any business process that revolves around email is a perfect fit for Streak.
Once you’ve selected the way you’d like to use Streak, go ahead and use Gmail as normal, and you’ll start noticing little Streak extras throughout your experience. You’ll likely notice a few email enhancing features first. When you’re writing emails, you’ll see an option to schedule when an email will be sent—a great way to write emails ahead of time and have them arrive, say, after your company has launched a new product that’s still secret at the moment. There's also a mail merge tool to send similar emails to multiple contacts, snippets to help you write common emails faster, and more.
Then, there are the CRM features, which are centered around Streak’s box and Pipeline features. When you’re looking through your emails, you can sort them into boxes based on the contact or company, and Streak will then automatically sort emails from that company into appropriate boxes and shows you relevant tasks and conversations in the sidebar whenever you’re reading an email from them. You’ll then be able to look over every conversation in boxes in your Pipelines, the place where you’ll progress through your deals, keep track of conversations, and keep comments about that contact. And, you can share your boxes and pipelines with your team, giving you an easy way to share your emails with your team members and collaborate on the contacts that’ll need followed up with.
Streak's free for its basic CRM features, and is a great option if you need a simple CRM for personal use. Its paid plans then let you bring its full CRM power to your team to organize your email into actionable boxes and make sure you follow up with leads.
If you love Gmail and want to make it a more powerful place to keep track of your business interactions and give your emails more flexibility, Streak is a great choice. It’s simple to use, and integrates so nicely with Gmail that you’ll quickly forget that its features aren’t just a built-in part of your email app.
Originally published September 18, 2015; updated September 25, 2018 with new pricing and features