There are some Chrome extensions that go a long way to make working with Gmail a far richer and powerful experience. One such extension is Streak. This particular addition to the Chrome browser (and Gmail) turns your Google email client into a powerful CRM tool, ready to help you:
- Group emails from customers
- Keep track of status, notes, and details of customers
- Share with a team
- See every email between customers and your team
- Schedule email
Streak helps you manage business processes such as sales, hiring, support, and product development ... all from within your Gmail inbox.
Let's walk through the process of installing and starting to use Streak.
As mentioned earlier, Streak is only available for Gmail via the Chrome web browser. Streak does not work with Inbox nor any other browser.
To install Streak, go to the extension page and then click ADD TO CHROME. Once Streak is installed, you then need to go to your Gmail page and Streak will integrate into your account. You'll know the integration is successful when the small orange icon appears next to your name (Figure A).
Successfully installed Streak ready to serve.
Okay, now comes the part where I say "You're better off reading the extensive help information found within the Streak tool". Why? Streak is complex. It will take some time to get up to speed... and the tool offers a lot of features.
However, let me give you an example of what Streak can do. Streak makes it easy to organize emails into what they call Boxes. When you open an email, you'll notice the Streak drop-down. Click on that and then you can either quickly add an email to a box or create a new box (Figure B).
Creating a new box to hold emails.
Once you create the new box, you must then add it to a Pipeline. Pipelines are the bread and butter of Streak. By default there are two pre-built pipelines (Journalism and Sales/CRM). What are pipelines? They allow you to better manage processes such as hiring and/or sales. You create new Pipelines from the left navigation in Gmail. Take a look at the left navigation and you'll notice the Pipelines entry. Click New (next to Pipelines) and then (from the popup) select the Pipeline you want to create (Figure C).
Selecting a new pre-configured Pipeline.
Once you've selected a Pipeline to create, Gmail will automatically open to it so you can start working with it. You will, however, notice there are no users added yet. This is essential to some Pipelines. To add users, you can open the Pipeline from the Gmail search tool. Say you want to add users to your Journalism Pipeline. Type pipeline:Journalism in the search bar and, in the resulting window, start adding users from within the Add person box (Figure D).
Configuring a Pipeline in Streak.
At this point, you would be much better suited going through the Streak documentation. To find it click on the Streak icon in Gmail and then, from the resultant popup, click Get Help. This will open the Streak help window where you can find out everything there is to know about this incredible tool.
If you're looking for a CRM-like tool to turn Gmail into a serious powerhouse, look no further than Streak. There is one thing to note about Streak - the cost. There is a free plan which will get you a five user limit and an unlimited number of boxes and email tools. If you need the likes of reports, formulas, tasks, call logs, and more, you'll want to check out the pricing matrix to see what Streak has to offer.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.