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Personal CRM Guide: Best Tools & How To Choose | Coda

Keep in touch with friends and former colleagues


This doc makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your important contacts.

It can be hard to stay in touch with all the people you want to - friends who live nearby are easily remembered, and sadly, those you've known for years but live far away are harder to remain in contact with. But first, let’s start with a definition.

What is a personal CRM?

A personal CRM (personal relationship manager), is a toll that can be used to document personal relationships, just like a digital address book that has the functionality of a calendar reminder tool. Personal CRMs help individuals keep track of personal information of friends and family. Personal CRMs can be as simple or as detailed, based on need.

Personal CRMs can be as simple or as detailed, based on need. Users can record basic things like name, phone numbers, emails, and birthdays. Or, go a step further and include other information fields like social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facbook, Twitter) and reminder notes that empower you to become a better friend.

Benefits of using a personal CRM

In a world that is becoming more technology driven, it only makes sense to leverage technology to keep track of personal and professional relationships. Here are some benefits of implementing a personal CRM system.

Organize personal contact information

I don't know about you, but the pandemic has made me appreciate the value of phone calls more than I used to (Zoom fatigue, anyone?). It's really helpful to have a running address book, where emails and phone numbers are documented for instant reference. A personal CRM serves as a source of truth for all your contact management needs.

Set reminders for important events

Some people are naturally thoughtful and have machine-like memories for personal life events like birthdays, children's birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, you name it and they are all over it. Well, most people could use a little bit of technology help. Syncing your personal CRM to your calendar or a reminder app is like building a personal life workflow so you don't forget any important dates ever again! The bonus? You'll be a better friend thanks to this.

Document notes to enhance relationships

Have you ever been to an event, made a really strong connection with somebody, and exchanged contact information fully intending to follow up. Then, life happens and you forget. But then, you meet them again but it's been a while and you memory is fuzzy. With a personal CRM tool, you can add reminder notes right as you exchange information to jog your memory the next time you meet the same person. This is a very simple step to enhance any relationship, even those in your professional network.

The best personal CRMs compared

Now, there are a lot of tools and solutions out there for personal CRMs. Here are some tools that are established in the space.

Coda - for those who want a custom solution

While this seems like a no-brainer, the best personal CRM tool is the one that is designed by you and for you. Coda’s personal CRM doc (more on this below) helps users control the entire experience of your own CRM and iterate based on your needs.

Alternatives: Google Sheets, Notion, Airtable

ZohoCRM - for those who want an enterprise system

ZohoCRM is for users who want more of an enterprise feel to their personal CRM. ZohoCRM eables single users to manage communications across different platforms, such as social media, email, phone, live chat, and web conferences. It also includes lead scoring abilities as well as sales and marketing automation.

Alternatives: Freshworks CRM, Acftive Campaign

Streak - for those who want Gmail workflows

Streak is a CRM that is geared towards people who communicate primarily using Gmail. It integrates with Gmail and enables users to complete workflows like batch emailing, tracking engagemen and even some light segmenttion directly in Gmail.

Alternatives: NextHunt

How to build your own free personal CRM

We’re biased, but we think that the best solutions are built, not bought.

This doc helps remind you to connect with all the relevant people in your life, with Views which filter people into the contact bucket by time periods, depending on the contact's category. That way you never forget to ping a friend on their birthday, or let months elapse before you have a 1:1 with a colleague.

We’ve designed it to be 'build as you go', meaning there is no one-time import of all your contacts. We did this because we found most people, while they may have thousands of contacts in Google, really only need to connect regularly with dozens up to a few hundred.

Here's how you can use it:

1️⃣ Get rid of the template data by clicking these buttons 👉
Nuke People Data
Nuke Interaction Data

2️⃣ Add your contacts to the

3️⃣ Update tags in the
section. Update how often you want to be in touch with people from different tags - this will automatically surface them for contact later.

4️⃣ You'll use
to log new interactions, and check in with those folks who you haven't been in touch with in awhile - the 'frequency' column of the Personal Tags drives when they surface in this View. (Or if it's their birthday.) And you can even create a draft email to each person just by clicking a button.

5️⃣ Customize it! You can add anniversaries, children's birthdays, and any other attributes to the People Table to surface new and helpful views.

Personal CRM FAQ

Is there a CRM for personal use?

Yes, there are many CRM tools that can be adapted for personal use with the functionality of an address book, calendar, and reminder app in one. They enable users to jot down important details about their personal and professional connections.

What are the best personal CRMs?

The best personal CRM depends on the user’s requirements, from simple documentation of personal information to running reports and automating communications. This is why we are advocates for building your own personal CRM app using Coda.

Are there any free CRM tools?

Yes, Coda docs are free for anyone to use and experiment with. Other free single-user CRM tools include, Hubspot, Zoho, Freshworks, and Streak. However, these tools have varying feature availability for their free plans.

Does Google have a CRM product?

No, Google does not offer a CRM product. However, many CRM tools are able to integrate with Google products, specifically to track communications and conversions that are done through Gmail.

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