Gmail & CRM

Is Gmail your primary email environment? It is for me. I use a number of Google’s services, and having a Gmail account makes using them easier. The general lack of SPAM is also a nice bonus.

One of the features I use extensively within Gmail is Groups. By creating these lists within my contacts, I can track who I met at Gnomedex, or who listens to RPG Countdown. I can easily see if someone falls into multiple categories, which helps me when I’m in contact with them. This is important if, like me, you have over 10,000 people in your address book.

The one thing I haven’t had – the one thing I’ve been looking for – is a way to see where my contacts are in my social graph. When I’m talking with a fellow podcaster, it’d be nice to know if they are on Facebook so I can attempt to connect with them there. Until now, I’ve been playing this game by ear, relying on my ability to spot holes in my social graph and plugging them manually.

Today, I found rapportive.

When I open an email from someone, rapportive allows me to see which social networks they participate in. It easily allows me to note if I am connected with them, so that I can take steps to reach out if I am not.

Rapportive isn’t perfect. It relies on plumbing account data based on the addresses in your contact list, so if you don’t have the right email on file you won’t get all the data available on someone. Likewise, if your contact hasn’t maintained their social profiles, the data you get may be out of date. Still, this is a wonderful, and free, tool to help with CRM.

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