Top 5 Gmail Labs features for marketing and sales

Gmail Labs is a feature of Gmail wherein you can use experimental features before they become officially launched. Most of these potential features are developed so that the average user can save time and be more efficient in using the mailbox. This gives a better overall experience with email, as it’s now one of the most widely used forms of communication.

Aside from being built for general purposes, Gmail Labs features can also be useful for marketing and sales processes. This stems from the fact that people involved in marketing and sales nowadays are constantly interacting with leads and prospects through email. In this article, I discuss 5 Gmail Labs features below that are suited for marketing and sales. You can enable any of these features by going to the “Labs” tab in your Gmail settings page.

Gmail Labs - Auto-advance

Auto-advance

A common behavior in Gmail is that upon archiving or deleting an email, you are automatically redirected back to your inbox. As salespeople, we regularly have to reply to dozens of emails per day. By using the auto-advance feature, you can reply to leads in your inbox in succession and archive those threads of conversation at the same time. This saves you time from going back to the inbox and selecting the next email you have to attend to. It also removes inbox clutter from emails that you’ve already replied to, i.e. inactionable emails (not unless you need to do a follow-up).

Gmail Labs - Quote selected text

Quote selected text

Turning leads into customers requires pointing out what’s important for your contacts as you interact with them, so you can ultimately turn them into paying customers. These valuable snippets of information are found as part of a contact’s email as you engage with them through every stage of the sales funnel. It’s useful to be able to easily reply to a specific part of a message. Also by outrightly quoting what your leads or customers just said, you can show that their messages have your genuine attention.

Gmail Labs - Canned responses

Email templates

It’s true that personalization is becoming more essential for every email that’s meant to be for marketing or sales, but there are inevitably still some parts of an email that can be reused. Salespeople can now save time from doing repetitive emails by using the email templates feature in Gmail labs. This also removes the stress associated with writing the same thing over and over again, so that salespeople can focus more on personalization rather than repetition. In order to use email templates in Gmail, you have to enable the “Canned responses” in Gmail Labs.

Shameless promotion: If you’re using Highrise CRM along with Gmail or Google Apps, you should use our productivity extension. We will be rolling out an email templates feature within the week!

Gmail Labs - Undo send

Undo Send

Possibly one of the most important features in this list. One incomplete or unorganized email that’s mis-sent can result to losing a potential customer. So if you’ve accidentally pressed the “Send” button before finishing to write an email, or if something immediately came up in your mind that you want included in the email you just sent, you can still do so by pressing “Cancel” within a few seconds after hitting the send button. Undo send is an indispensable safety feature, it’s like having insurance for your emails!

Gmail Labs - Multiple inboxes

Multiple Inboxes

If you’ve written drafts of follow-up emails in advance, you may want to have a separate inbox for them, apart from all your other draft emails. This can be done via multiple inboxes. It adds another layer of customization to your pre-built categories such as drafts, starred messages, and labeled emails. This feature allows you to classify emails into buckets of work, which proves efficient for marketing and sales people interacting with various sorts of emails throughout the day.

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How we use Highrise with Gmail and Google Apps

I’m very delighted to bring you the final post for the Highrise series of blog posts! It’s about how we effectively use Highrise alongside our Gmail or Google Apps (GA) mailboxes as we communicate with our customers. The key ingredient here is our very own extension which brings Highrise in Gmail/GA, saving us time from all the window-swapping and customer data management between CRM and email.

Collabspot UI

Increase your sales team’s CRM adoption

Our sales team undeniably spends most of their time doing emails. On top of that, using a CRM such as Highrise requires additional work for them to be able to organize data found in their emails. With Collabspot, CRM adoption is improved and this has led us to a more streamlined sales workflow:

The extension’s way of displaying information allows contacts to be easily recognized and other CRM data faster to navigate. It uses different colors to designate different types of data in Highrise. The extension also behaves like a drawer, so it is unintrusive when we’re using other extensions or when we just need the basic Gmail interface. We are continuously making CRM adoption better for salespeople.

Simplify data entry into Highrise

Having easily accessible data have encouraged our sales team for quicker engagement, which is a plus since customers are always delighted and feel valued upon receiving quick replies.

The extension allows you to easily capture contact details found in an email into Highrise. This means that upon creating a contact, fields such as phone number and address are automatically extracted from the email. This simplifies data entry into Highrise.

Improved data quality

As a marketing/sales representatives and business developers, we need to constantly keep customer information up-to-date. We also need to keep a record of what needs to be done per contact. Collabspot prevents new leads from falling through the cracks by displaying correspondence history of any contact found in Highrise. It also allows you to create tasks while composing an email.

Get started in using Collabspot – Highrise for Gmail / Google Apps

Interested users can install the extension through this page. If you’d like to be convinced more, you can check out our success stories page containing people who have beared witness on how the extension has given them sales productivity boosts. Finally, we have a product tour page which contains a getting started video and a brief rundown of some of the extension’s most important features.

How to create and manage Highrise tasks


Note: This is the sixth of a series of blog posts on how to use Highrise to better manage customer data and efficiently serve leads and customers. Here are the links to the previous posts:

Whether it’s sending a follow-up email, or doing preparations for an upcoming meeting, or scheduling a call, it’s always a good idea to keep track of them as task items. Our brains are not very adept in remembering everything that needs to be done, this is why storing them in some list is very handy. For users of Highrise, this is where tasks come in.

Add Highrise task

To add a new task, just use the “New Task” button on the top menu of the Highrise interface (see image above). Every task has four attributes: title, due, the person assigned to the task, and category. One notable feature about tasks in Highrise is that you can associate a task to an existing contact or company in the CRM (see image below).

Create Highrise task for contact

To view all the tasks that are assigned to you, just go to the tasks page in Highrise. The link can be found on the left sidebar of the Highrise interface. Here you will be able to view all your upcoming tasks and even those that are already overdue.

Highrise tasks

Do you use Gmail to interact with your Highrise contacts? If yes, have you ever wished you could create Highrise tasks from within your Gmail inbox? This can be done through our productivity extension for Highrise and Gmail users: Collabspot. If you have a contact in Gmail that’s also existing in Highrise, Collabspot allows you to create a task that’s associated to that contact, without having to leave Gmail! To get started right away, you can install it from the Chrome Web Store.

How to use your Highrise email dropboxes

Note: This is the fifth of a series of blog posts on how to use Highrise to better manage customer data and efficiently serve leads and customers. Here are the links to the previous posts:

Highrise has this cool feature of giving you specific email addresses that you can use to 1) attach emails to existing Highrise contacts, and 2) create tasks in your Highrise account. To find these email addresses, simply click on the “My info” link on the top right of the Highrise UI. The email dropbox is the first tab in that page.

Setting up the sender addresses

Before anything else, let me note that Highrise email dropboxes only work when you’re sending from an email address that’s registered in Highrise. To register additional email addresses, scroll down under the email dropbox tab until you see the form shown in the image below. Use this form to add other email addresses as authorized senders for your Highrise email dropboxes.

Highrise addresses

Use your personal email dropbox to attach emails to Highrise contacts

Highrise personal email dropbox

When you’re composing an email to an existing contact in Highrise, you can BCC that email to your Highrise account using your personal email dropbox. The result is that the message will not only be sent to the contact, but will also be attached to the contact’s page in Highrise. To do this, simply BCC any email of interest to your personal email dropbox in Highrise (as seen above).

Use your “Create a task” dropboxes to create tasks in Highrise

Highrise "Create a task" dropboxes

It’s a fact that we need to spend time doing emails and turning leads into customers more than spending time managing data in Highrise. This is where “Create a task” (CAT) dropboxes in Highrise become very useful when it comes to immediately keeping a record of what needs to be done.

Let’s say you’re doing emails in your mailbox when at some point you have to create a task in Highrise regarding another matter. Instead of switching to another browser tab, logging into Highrise, and creating a task, you can instead create a task right from your mailbox. To do this, simply compose an email whose subject line is the name of the task you want to create, and send it to one of your CAT dropboxes. Each email address pertains to a due date for the task, e.g. for tasks that are due tomorrow, send an email to the address that starts with “task+tomorrow”. After sending the email, a task will then automatically be created in Highrise. This prevents you from having to move out of your mailbox and to continue your usual email activities.

If you ever find yourself a frequent user of Highrise email dropboxes, I really suggest you try out our productivity extension for Highrise and Gmail users. It lets you BCC emails to Highrise with a click of a button. You won’t be disappointed!

Never forget to create that Highrise task again!

Let’s say you’re replying to a customer’s email who made an inquiry about your product. Making customers happy is always the top priority. So after replying, you plan to create a new task in Highrise to remind you to follow up on this customer to make sure that everything is going well. But while writing your reply, you get disturbed by more urgent tasks that you altogether forgot to create a task for that follow up email.

Tasks help you get things done. But sometimes the problem is when you forget to create task items on what needs to be done. If you highly depend on tasks list, chances are you’re going to miss listing some items when urgent things unexpectedly and continuously come up.

Today, we’re happy to introduce a new feature in Collabspot: creating Highrise tasks while composing messages in Gmail. This feature can be accessed by using Collabspot’s custom toolbar at the bottom of the Gmail compose view.

Collabspot task compose email

How does this feature work?

1. When writing an email, enable the BCC Highrise button, or choose an existing deal or a case in Highrise.

Collabspot BCC Highrise button

2. Choose an action category.

Collabspot task category

3. Choose a time frame when this task needs to be completed.

Collabspot task due

4. Check the “Create” checkbox.

Collabspot create task checkbox

5. Send the email and you should see your task created on your task list (right after Highrise receives the copy of your email).

Collabspot homepage Highrise tasks

What do you think of this new feature? Let us know through the comments below.

Write better emails and use Highrise effectively!

We’re offering a free 30-day course on how to write better emails and on how you can start using 37signals Highrise CRM effectively. You will receive exactly 8 emails over the course of a month about the following topics:

– How to write better sales emails
– What tools to use for email analytics
– A crash course on Highrise and how to use it effectively
– The importance of follow-up emails
– Why email subject-lines matter and email testing advice

To sign-up for this course, just use the form on the right sidebar of this blog. You can also sign up through the following page:

http://www.collabspot.com/free-course-write-better-sales-emails/

In case you’re already using 37signals Highrise, boost your sales productivity further by using our Collabspot extension. You can avail of a 15-day free trial by installing it via the Chrome Web Store (you must be using Google Chrome). Or if you first want to learn more about our useful extension, just go to our product tour page.

Here’s to a good sales productivity at the start of the year!

How to use deals and cases in Highrise

Note: This is the fourth of a series of blog posts on how to use Highrise to better manage customer data and efficiently serve leads and customers. The first three posts are here, here, and here.

In Highrise, cases and deals are used to group information based on a specific matter such as a project, a negotiation, a bid, or a contract. Each case or deal gathers a collection of notes, files, and contacts in Highrise so you can easily manage them in one screen. The main difference between cases and deals is simply that deals have a monetary value attached to them.

Deals
Deals in Highrise can be very useful for salespeople who are quantifying their performance and are expected to generate a certain amount of revenue within a given amount of time. Deals can also be used to manage small services, by and for the company, that have costs tied to them. These range from graphic design gigs to purchasing office materials. You also have the ability to specify who in your team can see people, companies, notes, and cases that are included in every deal.

Cases
As for cases in Highrise, use them to keep items related to the same negotiation, project, topic, or issue. Cases are essential when you need to have communications from multiple contacts together in one place. Specific uses of cases are searching for new hires in your company (this can later become a deal when a hire is found and salary negotiations arise), sales case studies, events, and communicating educational content.

If you’re using Gmail in corresponding with your Highrise contacts, our extension will allow you to quickly create cases and deals in Highrise. It also allows you to BCC emails into your already existing cases and deals.