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Evernote for CRM / Support Ticketing / Bug Tracking

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I have been using Salesforce.com for CRM for some years. I work independently with nobody sharing my salesforce.com database. Salesforce is therefore far more sophisticated than I need.

I searched "Evernote CRM" and came up with the following link: http://twurl.nl/o3meix

Does anybody have any suggestions about how best to set up EN for lightweight personal CRM? For instance, how best to set up a hierarchy of tags/sub tags?

Objectives:

- Ability to capture contact/project related notes wherever, whenever

- Need to be able to tag quickly and consistently even when there are some hundreds of contacts

- Need to view all notes related to contact/project quickly and easily, probably chronologically

- Notes should ideally relate to contact details held in a separate database, e.g. Outlook

I will be grateful for suggestions.

Thanks

Peter Button

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I'd appreciate advice before I embark on a significant [for me] development [on a sole laptop]. I organise a lecture series and wish to capture info about potential speakers through to detailed management of contacts. So, at Level 1, I may want to gather newspaper articles, CVs, photos, and web links about say 500 potential speakers, including videos on youtube - anything that profiles them. They could be classified by topic/specialism/area of interest.

At Level 2, I'll be collecting contact info like qualifications/title/organisation, address/telephone/email, and secretary/colleague detail on say 100 individuals prior to a 'recruitment campaign'

At Level 3, I'll be sending letters and emails to a further subset, getting written and phone replies, and tracking the relationship and outcome to a conclusion of agreed dates and lecture subjects with those who accept.

This probably seems pretty straightforward but needs to be efficient in terms of retrieving and viewing info on the numerous experts I'll be dealing with. I'm guessing that Evernote will deal with Level 1 OK but I'm not sure about L2 and L3. I'll be creating individual Word letters and Outlook emails in level 3 and making lots of phone calls too. So can expert practitioners tell me how far I should try to go with EN, and how best to link with prospect management software and email if that is necessary. I'm really keen to avoid creating more than one system in which I have to copy data about 100's of people from app to another.

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Witsend75 said:

This probably seems pretty straightforward but needs to be efficient in terms of retrieving and viewing info on the numerous experts I'll be dealing with.

No, it is quite complicated if you want to do it correctly.

I think Evernote is great, but you are going to have to do an incredible amount of customization to meet all your requirements. Actually, I don't think Evernote could accomplish several of your requirements.

Personally, I would look for a full-fledged CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program. It's going to cost you, but you won't spend days in trying to develop a brand new system. SalesForce.com is an application that could work for a lot of the stuff you need. Zoho.com is another newer program.

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Evernote can get you part of the way here, but you can use a set of tools from our Trunk, as well as additional tools to help you as well.

Enter your initial notes, and then send emails from Evernote to http://www.followupthen.com/ to remind you of any contacts you need to make.

Here's a good baseline, with realistic expections, from someone who has done precisely what you're intending:

http://www.lawpracticematters.com/blog/ ... s-crm.html

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I'd hate to have a boss like the Project Manager (mentioned in followupthen.com)

He sets up 3-hour email followups to chase down his staff.

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Witsend75 said:

This probably seems pretty straightforward but needs to be efficient in terms of retrieving and viewing info on the numerous experts I'll be dealing with.

No, it is quite complicated if you want to do it correctly.

I think Evernote is great, but you are going to have to do an incredible amount of customization to meet all your requirements. Actually, I don't think Evernote could accomplish several of your requirements.

Personally, I would look for a full-fledged CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program. It's going to cost you, but you won't spend days in trying to develop a brand new system. SalesForce.com is an application that could work for a lot of the stuff you need. Zoho.com is another newer program.

I think you're way overestimating the complexity of what I want to do. Give me a CRM and I'll go to town with it for a few weeks and be back to sticky notes in a flash.

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I think you're way overestimating the complexity of what I want to do. Give me a CRM and I'll go to town with it for a few weeks and be back to sticky notes in a flash.

My response was directed to the Original Poster Witsend75.

But sticky notes? OK, if they work for you.

Good luck.

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I think you're way overestimating the complexity of what I want to do. Give me a CRM and I'll go to town with it for a few weeks and be back to sticky notes in a flash.

My response was directed to the Original Poster Witsend75.

But sticky notes? OK, if they work for you.

Good luck.

Sticky notes don't work for me, but I won't use a complex system which takes extra time to make it work, so a CRM would end up not being used and I'd be back to sticky notes.

That's why I'm looking for a simple system. I'm finding that using EN with a very simplified version of GTD is huge step beyind sticky notes without significantly more work than writing a sticky note and much less work to find the information I need.

I would really like a date field that could be added to a note and sorted on in addition to the created and updated dates. That one thing, along with the other EN features, would enable all of the task management and ticklers I need without having to use workarounds such a putting a due date in the title or using the created date as a due date.

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I would really like a date field that could be added to a note and sorted on in addition to the created and updated dates. That one thing, along with the other EN features, would enable all of the task management and ticklers I need without having to use workarounds such a putting a due date in the title or using the created date as a due date.

A due date field. That is a fantastic idea.

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I have been using Maximizer a CRM package since it was a DOS package.

I have approx 15,000 contacts, with every conversation, letter, email, quotation since I bought this company in 1996. This information is invaluable and I cannot see this being done by any package other than a CRM.

For me the benefit of a separate note taking package is being able to type simple notes that can be worked on then completed by creating a phone call, quotation, email etc on the CRM. It has surprised me that CRM's don't have this simple functionality, but Easynote has slipped in well with my current work flow. But in no way could Easynote be a replacement for a fully fledged CRM such as Maximizer.

Best regards

Chris

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I would really like a date field that could be added to a note and sorted on in addition to the created and updated dates.

For this project, a note name convention like "due 2012-01-31 - name of note" could act as a workaround. Sorting by name would equal sorting by due date.

Edit: Argh, I thought you were the original poster, but here you go witsend75. Nice nick for a help forum, btw. :P

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I would really like a date field that could be added to a note and sorted on in addition to the created and updated dates.

For this project, a note name convention like "due 2012-01-31 - name of note" could act as a workaround. Sorting by name would equal sorting by due date.

Edit: Argh, I thought you were the original poster, but here you go witsend75. Nice nick for a help forum, btw. :lol:

Thankis anyway. For the moment, I use the created date as a due date and then tag "due". I use the note history if I want to find out when a note tagged "due" was actually created. - In other words, "due" meant the created date isn't the created date.

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I would really like a date field that could be added to a note and sorted on in addition to the created and updated dates. That one thing, along with the other EN features, would enable all of the task management and ticklers I need without having to use workarounds such a putting a due date in the title or using the created date as a due date.

A due date field. That is a fantastic idea.

You know, if you use a a tag with this date field, you could use the date field for anything you wanted: due date, birthday, historical date, whatever.

Essentially, that's what I'm doing now. If the item is tagged "due", that means the created date is actually a due date.

In fact, you could even use a simple date tag hierarchy so you could find all non-created date posts, or just the specific ones (due date, birthdate, etc.)

I've moved Tags next to Created in the note list to make it easier to tell what the date means when looking at larger groups of notes.

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Essentially, that's what I'm doing now. If the item is tagged "due", that means the created date is actually a due date

That's pretty smart. I'll try to remember this. If I only had a tool that would help me remember this kind of thing...

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Essentially, that's what I'm doing now. If the item is tagged "due", that means the created date is actually a due date

That's pretty smart. I'll try to remember this. If I only had a tool that would help me remember this kind of thing...

Well, I have an EverNote notebook where I store documentation, tips, tricks, etc, but I have a similar problem. I forget (or am too lazy) to use it consistently.

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I work for a technology support organization, I would like to know ideas/templates for using Evernote premium as a ticket/issues tracking system. My staff are the support techs and using Evernote as the system of record, seems to be a good idea, but I just haven't found examples/templates of this type of work. Or best practices for the hierarchy of notes and folders.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

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Hm, I'm not sure whether there's a reliable way to set this up with Evernote. With support tickets, it's important to track status and contact history, as well as that you follow a certain workflow, and every change of status is tracked. Evernote CAN do a lot of things with tags, but what it cannot do is enforce a workflow. It also doesn't automatically track when/by whom and with what reason one "status" tag has been replaced by another. It can still work, but you would have to rely on convention a hundred percent and would need very disciplined staff.

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I'd take a look at JIRA from Atlassian, looks like you are fitting a square peg into a round hole.

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As it happens, we use JIRA at work. This sort of application is what JIRA is made for. Evernote, not so much.

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Depending on the size of your organization, you'll definitely want to start looking into a CRM solution, which is not what Evernote does. We do use Evernote to share information amongst our teams here, but not as our overall CRM. Feel free to PM me to discuss it, as I have tons of experience with this :)

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I work for a small IT consulting co. and are looking at EN as the next improvement in our sales and client facing interactions. I am aware of Worketc and other hosted CRM solutions, along with ACT, Salesforce, etc. Since I was once the lead programmer in writing the front end of an internal CRM/time tracking solution, I am also familiar with the pitfalls and issues associated with "scope creep" and other enemies of finishing a project. For that reason, we want to try a more free formed (and inexpensive) approach to meeting specific needs, instead of spending a lot of time and money setting up a solution that would be overkill. That said, I can't find anything comprehensive, either on this forum or on the web, about using EN as a "pseudo" CRM solution. Since you have 20+ million users, I'm certain to not be the first to think of this, so assume I must have missed something.

  1. Are there any tutorials or whitepapers out there on trying this approach?
  2. Have I missed a forum post I should have seen?
  3. Are there any "Trunk" apps which could be combined with EN to make it more doable?
  4. Have others tried this and failed (and written something I can read about it)?

Thanks for the feedback!

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Try searching for the word collaboration.

Quite a few comments on the subject including the problems of syncing with multiple users who are editing the note at the same time.

Also the lack of a due date for tasks, appointments, meetings, reminders, etc. could create some difficulties for you.

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...we want to try a more free formed (and inexpensive) approach to meeting specific needs

hi ted. sounds like an exciting way to use evernote. there is something in the trunk that sounds perfect for you.

http://www.evernote....ce=desktop_page

let us know how it goes!

Keep in mind for small groups, the cost this add-on (Worketc) is $40 per user per month.

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jbenson2: Thanks for the tip. I did search, and found enough to understand the editing conflicts issue. Reminds me of working with distributed DBs (Lotus Domino) and replication conflicts. Google solves this by throwing billions at lightning fast, in-memory, replicated DBs (plus dark fibre connections, etc.) so that they can pull off real-time editing and the like. It's an issue I think we can work around.

GrumpyMonkey: As mentioned, I did look at Worketc, and it's overkill right now, because we're doing a lot of what it does already using other tools.

Note to EN developers: We would pay $ for an added feature I will call a "collaboration class" note. Instead of syncing it at the "note" granulatity level, it would sync at the "pause" level within a note. Since you are working in XML, these notes would have an adjustable "pause" global property (5 sec., 10sec, etc.) and whenever the person editing them paused, the last bit of edit would be saved locally between two time-stamped XML tags. With the same done on all other copies, this should allow merging of conflicts at the "paused" granularity at some future point, and could be built on the note history functionality you already have. This would be much more elegant than the "conflict folder" approach. Just a thought...

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We're aware of the limitations of our note history feature for enhanced collaboration tracking at an enterprise level, and we're working toward enhancing that within the constraints of our pricing model.

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We're aware of the limitations of our note history feature for enhanced collaboration tracking at an enterprise level, and we're working toward enhancing that within the constraints of our pricing model.

I'm not sure what "enhanced collaboration tracking" is, but, as you probably know from user feedback, there are individual, non-enterprise users who would use Evernote for collaboration if they could. I understand well that the company can only do what makes financial sense, but I hope you realize there's some financial upside to be gained from non-enterprise users from greater collaboration functionality.

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Ted,

You may want to look into what Aarons has done (link here: http://blog.evernote.com/2011/10/06/how-furniture-retailer-aarons-inc-built-a-point-of-sale-for-hundreds-of-stores-using-evernote-business-series/ )

Cory Voglesonger has done some great work getting his company on board. He's using collaboration, just not the "instant" collaboration that it seems you're looking for. Still, it is a relevant use case.

I'm interested in hearing more about what you're designing. What attracted you to using Evernote as your solution?

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FYI: Someone recently contacted me about how we are using Evernote with respect to CRM for our small consulting firm. Here is my reply:

We use the following:
  • http://www.14Dayz.com/ - for tracking time and (a form of) mileage & expenses. It isn't perfect, but it is inexpensive and flexible, and it allows for quick backups on to local disk (in case the company flops over or servers go down). The owners are good about answering support questions, too. Be aware that your data will live in the Netherlands, if that makes any difference.
  • Evernote - for project tracking & management. The low cost, fast search and flexibility are key for us, as well as the good job they do in providing clients across Win, Mac, web, Android & iOS (we use them all). We might do a form of CRM using their APIs and our own code in the future... it depends on how their developer ecosystem grows.
  • Gmail - calendar & contact tracking. Our system is very basic at this point, and the tie in between a particular client's contact info, the projects and the time/mileage/expenses related to them is still a work in progress. However, I may write or have written our own backend DB for this, so it isn't worth it for us to get locked into something like Salesforce.com at this point.

Hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Ted T.

Perhaps this will help some of you as well...

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CRM -- Customer Relationship Management

The key word here is "customer". A good, acceptable CRM system will track everything you do with respect to each of your customers, including all communications, proposals, orders, research, etc. And this is almost always done in a team environment, where you have many members of your organization collaborating about your customers and your products/services.

As a long-time user of dedicated CRM systems I can tell you that I don't see any way for Evernote to even approach providing the most basic, simplest features needed by a CRM system.

Just do a Google on "CRM", and you will see a wide selection -- some cheap, some very expensive.

Simply put, don't waste your time trying to make Evernote work like a CRM system.

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Are there any integrations with CRM-software like SugarCRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and so on?I think this will be much interesting when we have Evernote for Business at the end of the year or what you think?

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Hi

We are working on an Evernote / Dropbox integration with our CRM Software subscriptions at OpenCRM. Sorry, this is not ready yet and ties in with the V4 release later this year, just in case this was of interest.

Always very happy to hear any features that you might want on the WishList which will we will always consider as part of the development cycle and roll out.

Hope you find what you are looking for.

Graham

Graham Anderson

OpenCRM

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Evernote may not be the best option but wanted to know if anyone has experience with using evermote to manage customers databse virtual crm? Just thinking out of the box. I have a hair salon client with 6 employees approx. 120 hair cuts per week and we want to manage clients via ipads and storing data on their service history, birthdays, etc and all cloud based.

Id appreciate your help...

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You may want to look at Evernote Hello as one piece of the CRM option. It would have the clients photo and all their info as well as every time they come in for an appointment you log it and can add a new photo.

I am currently working on a way to use Evernote as a complete CRM tool and thought that using Hello would be an interesting addition.

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Thank you Jamie. Do you know if:

  • you can custom the fields?
  • plus do you know if you can export the database as csv or excel files?
  • what the back up options are?
  • can clients update their own details without seeing all the notes etc? - ideally getting salon customers to enter their details would be ideal but without seeing their past history etc.

I appreciate your help very much.

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I don't think Evernote can work fully as a CRM yet as it is lacking many of the features of a good CRM like scheduling and a sales funnel. I do use Evernote for in-depth notes on clients and you can add a link to your Evernote note in your CRM.

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Any additional news on this topic? Given that CRM has notes as a key feature, this seems like a natural cross-platform integration. I know there are some integrations with Zapier, but I'd much rather see a direct integration. Given all of the great tools and applications linking with Evernote right now, I'm surprised CRM has not been an area with significant progress.

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One powerful way to keep your network relationships strong is to look for ways to pay value to these key people on a regular basis. A simple way to do that is to set up dossiers for them in Evernote.

 

Read more about how to set up your "personal CRM" system in Evernote here:

 

http://upyourimpact.com/use-evernote-to-manage-your-network/

 

Chuck Frey

Author

Up Your Impact: 52 Innovative Strategies to Add Value to Your Work

http://upyourimpact.com

@upyourimpact

 

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Hello,

 

I would like to know if it is possible to create an app to use inside Evernote capable to work as a contact/lead manager. Have a look at the attached example taken from Podio.

 

We could customize a few categories like Name, Company, Email, Website or any other field as we wish. This would work inside a note and we could use drag n´drop methods to organize the information. We could also have the possibility to create colours for the leads, for example.

 

I´m a designer and would gladly collaborate with some coder to work with me on this. My company really needs something like this inside Evernote because we have all the info there. We just need this App to make things perfect with our workspace.

 

You can contact me to  tc@blendpoint.net if you are interested.

 

Thanks for your time!

 

Best regards 

 

Tiago Cartageno

Linked In profile: www.linkedin.com/in/tiagocartageno
Website: www.blendpoint.net

 

 

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If anyone is interested I've just put up a blog post about this. I'm sure this must have been covered before, but my particular interest is how Evernote can save sales people and small business owners time compared to using say a CRM system. I hope it's of use to someone... 

--

Cheers

Mark

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Mark, I'm sure your blog will be of help to some.

 

But as a long time user of various CRM systems I have to disagree that Evernote would make a better contact manager.

The key word in CRM is Relationship.  A good CRM system will help you easily keep track of your Contact and ALL of their related info, like company, sales, proposals, etc.

 

Once you have a contact in a CRM system you should be able to easily generate Proposals, Orders, info emails, and of course the bigggie, follow-ups!  If you have put the Contact into Evernote, then you will have to just re-enter it into the CRM system when you need it.  Although Evernote is now introducing Reminders, they don't really work well for sales follow-ups at specific date, time, place.

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I'm looking forward to your next post to address your final sentence:

"how we organise those contacts and use them, for instance when prospecting, we’ll cover another day."

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Hello markg:

 

I just read your blog post and appreciate it.

 

JMichael - I have been looking at CRM's for quite a while and after reviewing some 50 of them, decided I was going to go with www.apptivo.com.

 

I learned about EN after Apptivo, and have decided to commit to becoming a high-competent user of EN... and then decide if I still need the additional relational power of a CRM.

 

BTW, markg, your blog article is also serves as a good beginner resource overview for EN.

 

I'm with jbenson2: we'd appreciate you follow up on:

"how we organise those contacts and use them, for instance when prospecting, we’ll cover another day."

 

Thanks much. Appreciate.  :)

Alan

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For just a Contact Manager, I think Outlook is superior to Evernote.

You can attach files and add notes to the Contact record.

You can then create Outlook tasks and email easily from the Contact record.

 

Outlook also allows you to easily filter and sort Contacts on a variety of fields.

 

You can also put Evernote Note Links in the Outlook Contacts Notes field, and on Calendar events.

This allows you to easily capture a lot of info in Evernote, then link to Outlook.

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Howdy, JMichael:

 

Appreciate your take on leveraging OUTLOOK as a contact manager app.

 

If I end up going that direction, I would likely opt for Apptivo.com for its CRM capabilities and how it would lend itself to the strategies you outline above.

 

Thanks much. Appreciate.  :)

Alan

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Hello markg,

I think the combination of Outlook and Evernote is perfect for me.  I work for a sales organization and do technical support/technical consulting.  My contacts are Outlook, and I use it for email, forwarding or clipping emails that I save over to Evernote with customer name as a tag.  Most correspondence and all phone call notes are kept in Evernote for easy look up.  If my phone rings I open a new note in Evernote and start typing phone notes.  I also store reference material and .pdfs in an Evernote reference notebook.  For me this combination of Outlook and Evernote is perfect and available on my Windows PC, iPhone, iPad and if needed on the web.  I do use Copy Note Link, for better organize my reference manuals.  I just make a directory note linked to all of them.  Great blog, great ideas.  I don't use a scanner, I snap a photo with my phone or pad and then put them in Evernote.  (but why can't I find a spell checker for this forum?)

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Hi Cartageno,

 

My product, WORK[etc] might work for you.  Basically once you have connected WORK[etc] to your Evernote account you can use hashtags to turn a note into a sales lead, update a support ticket, assign a task, create a new contact and sync across to Outlook/Gmail and really a whole bunch of business oriented tasks.

 

Obviously completely biases here, but I'm using this integration myself several times a day.

 

Better explained by our video on Evernote + CRM here.

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Hi PRButton - 

 

We have an Evernote CRM integration but it isnt' an exact match to your requirements.  For example, we can't connect notes back into your Outlook contacts, but we can connect Outlook contacts + Evernote notes inside the interface on WORK[etc] - like an intermediary really.

 

In terms of how the integration works, you simply connect WORK[etc] and Evernote and then using some common #hashtag language you can perform actions such as:

  • create and assign a new sales lead
  • create, update, assign and set deadlines for projects and tasks
  • create, update and assign support tickets

There is a 90 second video on the link above that goes into a bit more detail or see our listing on Evernote trunk.

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jbenson2 and ab1kenobee I've just posted the first part of the promised follow-up article. Prospecting Using Evernote – Part I. I hope it makes sense.

 

Thanks to everybody for the feedback on Using Evernote for Contact Management. Just to address some of the issues raised, in no particular order ;)

  • I wouldn't argue that Evernote is a full-on, CRM system. I've used quite a few of these and done some consulting on CRM, so am familiar with what they can do. But I think for some CRM and contact management purposes Evernote works very well, especially when used with complimentary tools (more below).
  • Evernote can "keep track of your Contact and ALL of their related info, like company, sales, proposals, etc". All of this can be stored in Evernote and linked.
  • Evernote reminders are pretty basic. However by using a reminder system such as www.followupthen.com or Boomerang for gmail you can get all of the reminders that you need, such as follow-up of emails and calls, repeat reminders, reminder if no reply, remind a team member, etc.
  • One of my key points is that a lot of sales people and small business owners don't make the best use of CRM and contact management systems because capturing and entering the data is a pain. Many companies make huge investments in CRM only to find that their teams will do anything and everything to avoid using it. Evernote makes data capture a breeze and has very powerful search to pull it out when you need it.
  • Where Evernote falls down is on automated reporting (sales pipeline reports, etc), frequent transaction sales and integration with corporate tools such as ERP. But for small businesses, consultancies, where you have a limited number of deals and for prospecting I think it can work just fine.

Best Regards

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

follow up

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I'm with JMichael BUT I'm also a strong believer in "whatever works for you", especially if it's for an individual.  i.e. as opposed to a business where it's important that everyone uses the same CRM system.  So while I wouldn't do it, if EN works for people as a contact manager, go for it :)!

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<snip>

Thanks to everybody for the feedback on Using Evernote for Contact Management. Just to address some of the issues raised, in no particular order ;)

  • Evernote can "keep track of your Contact and ALL of their related info, like company, sales, proposals, etc". All of this can be stored in Evernote and linked.
  • One of my key points is that a lot of sales people and small business owners don't make the best use of CRM and contact management systems because capturing and entering the data is a pain.

</snip>

 

Mark,

 

I agree with both of your above points, but it remains too difficult to make this work in Evernote for most sales people.

 

I will agree that there are some bad CRM and CMS systems out there.  But there are many that make it EASIER to capture/enter the data than it would be in Evernote.  Like selecting any software app, you have to do your homework, read reviews from other users, and test out the App before buying it.

 

While Evernote can store just about anything, it is the LACK of automatic linking back to the Contact that, IMO, will cause most sales people to either not use it, or, if they do, soon find that they can't find the info they need for a specific contact.  

 

From the perspective of sales people (like the ones I have worked with), they would find it way to laborious to:

  1. Create a new Note for the new info (meeting note, proposal, follow-up, etc)
  2. Sync EN (required to create a Note link)
  3. Create the Info Note link
  4. Find the relevant Contact in EN
  5. Find the location within the Contact Note to place the info Note link
  6. Paste the link

In any decent CRM or Contact Management system, it is very easy to find your contact, click on a single button for that contact to add a Note, follow-up, proposal, order, etc.  It is automatically linked to the contact.

 

Finally, Evernote is primarily a single-user system.  If you are unavailable (sick, vacation, on a plane, etc), no one else can easily access all of your Contact records.  Even if you are a one-person company/consultant, there will be times you may need to call on others for help (spouse, sub-contractors, etc).  What happens if you start growing, and need to hire other sales people and/or support people?

 

Once you go down the road of entering all of your Contacts and related info into Evernote, there is NO easy way to export the data and import into a structured system (where you have specific DB fields).

 

I love Evernote, and it can be used for lots of things.  But I have to strongly caution against using Evernote for business contact management and/or CRM.

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Hi Mark, 

 

Thank you so much for all the helpful information! I am looking forward to trying all of these ideas out. Please keep them coming! 

 

I wasn't able to subscribe to your blog for some reason, but I will certainly continue to look for more posts from you!

 

Thanks again!

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Great article and discussion here. My company uses an internal crm system that is not virtual/travel friendly so I use Evernote to capture my notes and and Outlook to manage my contacts when on the road. Great idea about placing a evernote link in the contact record. I still have not mastered finding the data I need in evernote and will work on that.  I have to re-enter notes into our company system but I like that I can copy evernote on emails to insert that data. I have tried many ipad apps but it always falls back to Evernote being the easiest to use.

This is a great tool for individuals that do not have to share the data often.

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Hey all-

 

I'm reaching out to the Evernote community to see if anyone has a suggestion on Contact Management ideas.

 

How I use Evernote:

  1. I've implemented the GTD system with a heavy use of tags. I watched these excellent videos to get the hang of it: http://www.afterthebook.com/how-to-use-evernote-for-gtd-videos/ (no affiliation)
  2. I manage account relationships and add notes to accounts when a relevant conversation / email occurs (I'm in sales).
  3. Each note / todo / project is tracked with an "$account_name" tag so I can get a quick overview of everything that has been done for each account. I manage 103 currently.

 

Here is how I currently manage my contacts:

  1. I use my personal Gmail Business Apps accounts.  My work uses Lotus Notes 8.5 and I'm not very happy with it.
  2. When I have business cards I take a photo on my Iphone using "CardMunch." When it's ready it automatically loads to my Iphone contacts.  It's an Iphone App run by LinkedIn. I'm not affiliated with them.
  3. Contacts are synced between my Iphone and my personal gmail account.  Work emails have to be manually added.  I would love to hear a workaround. I currently manually enter any work related contacts that I get.  My Gmail contacts page is open all day and Lotus Notes Contacts don't seem to sync with Gmails.
  4. I use the native Iphone mail app on my Ipad or phone.  This makes sending emails to my contacts easy but is a pain when I use Lotus Notes on my PC because they are not in the system. 

 

In Summary:

  1. I'm sold and will continue to use my current Evernote Setup
  2. I don't need An All in one system that does everything.  Contacts don't belong in Evernote IMO.
  3. I don't need A full blown CRM option.

If you have any ideas that would fit the above criteria or any suggestions on how to improve my current system, I'm all ears.

 

Gracias Amigos,

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I totally agree with JMichael that Evernote is just not adaptable or malleable enough for a true CRM,

 

With 16,000 customers (culled from 25,000 a couple of years ago) and data on my current business going back to 1996, I cannot imagine what a minefield it would be if I had something like Evernote instead of Maximizer which I have been using all that time.

 

To be able to keep every conversation, email, letter, fax, quotation and meeting is a huge amount of data. I have instant and quick access to that with Maximizer. True it is only in one location, but I generally only need 'all' of that information when I am sat at my computer.

 

I have however, imported and now automatically import, all my Word quotations into Evernote. This gives me an easy way of researching old quotes and product sources from the past.

 

Best regards

 

Chris

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JMichael-

 

Thank you for your reply.  I have read that post and only got three things out of it.

 

1) Contacts don't belong in Evernote as I stated in my original post

2) Outlook is suggested as a good contact manager.  I don't have access to it as we use lotus notes at work.  This is also why I use gmail contacts because it is browser based.

3) I'm not in need in a full blown CRM as stated previously.

 

It's a good conversation but it seems to be lacking for what I am asking for. The conversation on the link you provided is a good discussion; however, it is geared more towards being for or against Contacts in EN.

 

I'm all ears for anything else I may have missed while searching. 

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With 16,000 customers (culled from 25,000 a couple of years ago) and data on my current business going back to 1996, I cannot imagine what a minefield it would be if I had something like Evernote instead of Maximizer which I have been using all that time.

 

To be able to keep every conversation, email, letter, fax, quotation and meeting is a huge amount of data. I have instant and quick access to that with Maximizer. True it is only in one location, but I generally only need 'all' of that information when I am sat at my computer.

 

 

Chris, it is probably not financially feasible at this point for your company to change CRM systems, but for everyone's benefit I wanted to mention a CRM/ERP system called NetSuite.  It is 100% cloud-based and is very easy to use.  It runs in a web  browser of course, which means any device that has a browser can access your account.  This works very well for laptops (I have a MacBook Air which is really great) but also on tablets like the iPad.  There is also an iPhone App with limited capability.

 

It would be really cool if Evernote could be linked to NetSuite (and other CRM systems).

 

Disclosure:  My company used to be a NetSuite Partner and Implementer.

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Well then, Mr. Walrus, what exactly are you looking for?

What are the key issues that you need to resolve WRT Contact Management?

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The more I think about this topic and explore the different applications available, the more I believe my current system is working.

 

Just writing down how I'm using the system helped a lot.  I believe my biggest issue is Lotus Notes and how my company chooses to secure it.  Unfortunately, I'm just stuck with it.

 

Thanks for Challenging me JMichael.

 

I'm still open to any suggestions if someone has them.  Possibly a way to better manage Gmail contacts is better question.

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Hi JMichael,

 

Thanks for the heads up about NetSuite.

 

I have been looking unsuccessfully for a sensibly priced cloud based CRM so will add this to the list of those I am watching.

 

Currently they are either stupidly priced or are not flexible enough. Maximizer's cloud version falls into the too expensive category!

 

Best regards

 

Chris

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Last time I checked out NetSuite was 5th January 2012, I wrote this in my notes:

 

Quick look and it appears to be very complicated with links to all aspects of a company including manufacturing etc.

 

Will check it out again to see if it is any better.

 

Best regards

 

Chris

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This is turning into a really interesting discussion! Firstly for anyone who is interested I've just posted the second part of my Sales Prospecting Using Evernote here

 

I use Base as my CRM system and apparently have 7,819 contacts in it. I'd recommend it, but there are a number of web-based tools out there that are good. In the past I've used ACT, Goldmine, Saleforce.com, BatchBook, BCM, Prophet and even written my own in MS Access (not recommended!)

 

Chris: I appreciate what you say about digging yourself a hole by putting all of your contacts into a free-form database (e.g. Evernote) which you can't then export out of, do a bulk email, etc. Years ago I used a PC free-form database called InfoSelect. I stopped using it because (as you can see if you follow the link) it rarely got updated and also I didn't want to have all of my contacts in a system that I couldn't export from. But times have changed. Because it's in the cloud I share my Evernote "sales" notebook with my virtual assistant. So I can, for instance, capture contact details from websites, business cards and email sigs instantly into Evernote, and if I wish, get her to enter that data into my CRM system for $5/hour. [Michael: Evernote is multi-user. With the premium edition notebooks can be shared and Evernote Business is specifically aimed at sharing across the enterprise]. 

 

As ever, there are "horses for courses". If you have thousands of contacts, work in a big team, need to generate a variety of reports at the press of a button, regularly do bulk emails or need to integrate with an ERP system you definitely need a CRM system. But at the other end of the spectrum there are many freelancers, small business owners, etc who are paying for CRM systems that they only use as glorified address books. They never run reports, check the dashboard and either don't get around to adding new contacts or laboriously add contact data that they may never need or use. 

 

So I'd maintain that for some people all they need is a contact database (which may or may not be Evernote), a spreadsheet (to track their deals) and a reminder system. For those who need a CRM system, Evernote can still be useful as a quick capture front-end and research tool, with data only being put into your CRM when qualified. So going back to prospecting, I can do my prospecting campaign in Evernote given that 90% of the contacts may be useless to me, and then put the qualified prospects into my CRM system when I know they are worth tracking.

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Walrus (I don't believe you're evil)

 

As regards gmail/contacts addons have you checked out Rapportive ? I'm not sure it would help but it adds a whole extra degree of "richness" to Google Contacts. You might also take a look at Unifyo which is similar but with more team support for sharing contact/sales data.

 

Because I'm Mac-based I've had "issues" with clients who use PC-based Outlook add-on CRM systems (e.g. BCM and Prophet) that I need to access . You could use GoToMyPC or LogMeIn to remotely access your PC and Lotus Notes from your iPad. I found this worked very well.

--

Best of luck

Mark

www.reallifeselling.com

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And one more thing...

 

I found myself over in the Evernote developer forum and came across this Work[etc] which appears to be a CRM system based on Evernote. Unfortunately pricing starts at $195/month for up to 3 users. Yikes!

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Hi "Evil Walrus", not quite sure either what you are seeking, however, just wanted to chime in to see if maybe I can assist. I'm currently using an application called - IQTell. What this app does for me is it integrates Evernote, gmail(and any other email account), google calendar, & CRM type settings to give you an all-in-one application that allows each separate app to be accessible alone as well as integrates them to talk to each other and share data. Now I know you stated that you weren't looking for this type of application, however, you might want to give it a shot to see if it might work for you. It's free and they have web-based, IOS, & Android apps available. Plus it's free, so you have nothing to lose. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the responses everyone.

 

Markg, Thanks for the reminder about Rapporative.  It will be great to have when I am at my PC. I've enjoyed reading your articles too.

 

Brian-  IQTell looks interesting but would require a complete overhaul for what I need.  My Iphone Calendar and GTD Evernote system work great for day to day actions and projects.  I'm just going to have to get used to my contacts not sycing with our Domino Lotus Notes server at work.  With any luck we will be off that system by the end of the year.

 

Side note:  I have installed LinkedIN Contact on my Iphone and Ipad and so far it is has been great.  I use it to research who I am calling more than an actual contact database.

 

My Current Work around with Evernote and Google Contacts:

  • I've decided to store contact personal information (when applicable) in evernote.  When I do, I copy the note url to the website link in google contacts.
    • For Example:  Jon Doe contacts me about a project.  I create a note stating how we met, any relevant information, note links to the project and maybe other contacts involved etc. I don't add address or phone numbers as Google Contacts does that for me.  I then copy the Evernote note url to the website field in Jon Does Google contact profile and Whammo.  I now have access to his information on PC, Iphone or Ipad.  I don't do this for everyone but it comes in handy on high priority contacts.  All contact tags start with "#" so I can reference them quickly when needed.

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For my contacts, I use Nimble.com. Free for up to 3,000 contacts and it pulls in my Gmail & Linkedin messages for each contact as well. 

 

I am not affiliated with Nimble, but I do teach my students how to use it.

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That's a neat App. Thank you for the suggestion ebusinesstutor.

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@Dan with WORKetc

 

Really like the look and functions of your product.  Just a little pricey for a small team of 3-5. :)

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Bump.

 

I'm interested in something like this too - for issue tracking (like Jira) but for tiny projects with friends.

 

We're already using Evernote, I just wish there was a little more structure for software development workflow.

 

I've always seen Evernote as an API for CRUD-like cloud storage. Any front-end can be made to work with Evernote.

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Seriously, you can get a hosted version of JIRA for $10 a month for 10 users and it will do pretty much everything you need - I'm a big fan of Evernote but square peg....

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You know what they say: when you find that the software you use is lacking in functionality, that's not bad -- it's a market niche waiting to be exploited. Whether someone will actually do this is another matter; it appears that that's not what Evernote is interested in doing, but perhaps one of the many 3rd-party application developers might pick it up (or maybe they have already -- have you checked the Trunk)?

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Thanks for this post, Mark, and I've just reached out on twitter to follow up.  I'd like to comment on one particular pain point you mentioned:

 

One of my key points is that a lot of sales people and small business owners don't make the best use of CRM and contact management systems because capturing and entering the data is a pain. Many companies make huge investments in CRM only to find that their teams will do anything and everything to avoid using it. Evernote makes data capture a breeze and has very powerful search to pull it out when you need it.

 

My team at Evercontact has actually gone a step further with contact info capture for Evernote and other platforms.  With our chrome plugin, you can highlight contact information on any web page (or an email signature as you mentioned in your post), and quickly save it as a vCard within Evernote or google contacts, outlook, salesforce and more.  

 

Feel free to also check out our service which runs 100% in the background on gmail/outlook/salesforce and auto-enriches address books by analyzing email signatures.

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Mark, I enjoyed your blog.  Along with other posters I leverage Outlook with EV.  I have a maybe a silly question for you.  I love the list view for my notes, however when I use list view I get a Top and bottom pane view.  The pick in your blog shows a side by side list view and note.  How did you achieve the side by side view?  I also noticed you are a Mac user, i am PC so maybe it is not an option for me.  Tx

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jp09. I'm sorry to take so long to get back to you. I think I may have answered this one in another thread so got a bit confused. The view on the Mac is called "Side List View" and can be selected under [View] in the main menu bar or using the view icon which, on the mac, sits at the top of the list. I think I looked this up and this was available on the Mac version before the PC version, but is now available on PC. So you may want to check that out.

--
Cheers
Mark

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And I use Orderhive.com with the best feature and easy to use contact management system. The best thing of it is that its the multi channel integrated system. I hope after try 30 days free subscription, you will definitely like it.

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I just started sketching out an idea for using Evernote as a ticketing system, myself. Anjoschu hit the nail squarely on the head when he said, " It can still work, but you would have to rely on convention a hundred percent and would need very disciplined staff."

 

For what it's worth, here's a basic outline that I started. Please feel free to add your thoughts.

 

PROS

  • Cost: Free / $45 a year 
  • Quick and powerful search
  • Automatically sort notes by last update
CONS
  • Tags substitute for data fields. No way to make them mandatory. Can substitute with searches for missing mandatory tags, but this is kludgey at best.
  • Relying on Syncing for client doesn't work too well with sharing. Will produce conflicting notes.

 

Notebooks:
  • Tickets - Active
    • Each note is a separate ticket, to be left opened and annotated until it is resolved. Use CTRL + ; to timestamp all notes within a ticket. Use CTRL+ SHIFT + C  to create checkmarks for tasks.
  • Tickets - Closed
    • Move ticket notes here when they're closed.
  • Customers
    • The structure and tagging here would depend on how your company deals with its customers. If you keep track of individuals within companies, they could be listed inside the note for each company, to be copied and pasted, or each individual could be a separate note, and tagged with a "Company: Company A" tag.
  • Products - a listing and also Documentation
  • Knowledgebase / FAQ - tagged with "Product: Product A" tags.
Tags: Each ticket would have to have at least one from each of these groupings of tags.
  • Customer: Customer A 
  • Customer: Customer B
  • Tech: Tech A
  • Tech: Tech B
  • Product: Product A
  • Product: Product B

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We use Dynamics CRM (on prem) but prefer note taking and ease of finding data in Evernote. How can I link the Evernote data to my CRM entity? We do not use enterprise version of Evernote, is that my problem?

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Sorry if this is dragging up an old thread. I Think the term CRM covers such a wide range of expectations and requirements that it's very difficult to have a defined solution.

 

Personally I was looking for a 'CRM' solution in Evernote but this was not any kind of pipeline system. I'm (still) looking for a solution to keep all emails / info about clients in one place and ideally managing the low level of customer support we do. There's only me (and my spouse if I'm out) but it would help to be able to see the 'history' of a customer easily.

 

Perhaps I would be better with a contact management solution, they all seem a bit too much. It feels like this should be easy for Evernote but just out of reach.

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