About two months ago, I started the process to hire some new personnel at my day job, and I needed a way to keep track of who had applied and where they stood in the hiring process. After some research into basic CRMs, I found Streak.
According to the development team, Streak is CRM in your [Gmail] inbox. And boy, is it ever. Let’s find out how Streak integrates with Gmail and how it will make your life easier.
Streak only works for Gmail accounts (including Google Apps), so this won’t work for you if you use a different email service. To get Streak in your inbox, follow these three steps:
1. Add Streak to your browser
2. Login to Streak
3. Visit Gmail
It’s really that simple. Once you’ve added Streak to your inbox, you’re greeted with a window to set up your first project. Tell Streak how you plan to use it, and the app will set up your first pipeline.
Since I have used Streak most for hiring, I’m going to choose this project type. Once you’ve made a selection, Streak will ask you to create your first box.
A box keeps all the important information for a deal, task, applicant or issue together in one place for easy access. Depending on why and how you’re using Streak, this might have all relevant emails, files, contacts, documents and more.
To create a box, select or open an email and click on the Boxes menu. You can either select from an existing box, or create a new one. Now that email is part of the box and you can keep track of future communications quickly and easily.
When you’re inside a message that is assigned to a box, a panel with important information appears on the right side. You can view, add and edit field details here, and change the status of the box.
A pipeline is a group of boxes and you can create multiple pipelines for different situations. For my hiring process, I created a separate pipeline for each position and managed applicants this way.
The screenshot above shows my hiring pipeline for the Teacup Maker position. As you can see, boxes are organized into various stages from Resume to Interview, to Internal Decision, to Passed and more. You can see at a glance how many boxes are in each stage and additional information of your choosing.
You can add custom fields to each box. For example, I added phone number and interview date/time fields. You can sort by column, show and hide columns and move boxes between stages.
Click on the Streak icon next to a box and be taken to the box’s home, showing all information and a history, including when you added and edited details, and any email messages that are assigned to the box.
Streak offers a sharing feature to collaborate between colleagues. You can easily share a box or email(s) with others in your company, and even assign a box to someone else.
You can see where all boxes are in the pipeline and who is working or not working on them in your organization. This is great for organizations that are heavy in collaboration, and can even replace a simple helpdesk or project management system.
Snippets and Send Later
Streak also implements two important features into your Gmail that you might be using another extension to achieve: Send Later and Snippets.
Schedule messages to be sent at a later date or time right from the compose window. You can also create snippets that can be added to messages via a dropdown menu or shortcode. Snippets can be assigned to all pipelines or used across Gmail.
Keep in mind that if you share a pipeline with another user, they will see snippets that are assigned to that pipeline.
Streak in the Cloud
One of the best things about Streak is that it is one Gmail add-on that doesn’t store data inside your Gmail. Streak adds itself on top of your Gmail and stores all data on their servers.
This means you have to create a Streak account to use the app, but it also means that your Gmail rules and settings won’t be fiddled with. You also won’t be left with extra labels or missing messages.
Right now, Streak is free in beta. The developers plan to always offer a free plan, and give the option to pay for premium features. Pricing details for premium plans are not currently available.
I started using Streak a few months ago to streamline my hiring process. I am in love with this app. I have tried a dozen (possibly more) CRMs and while I’m a big fan of SugarCRM, it was overkill.
What really sets Streak apart from other CRMs is that the whole thing takes place in your Gmail account. It’s rich in features, especially for a new product that is still in beta, but still offers a simple approach to managing customers.
The only issue I’ve encountered is having to re-authorize Streak to use my Gmail account after a few weeks. I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing (or not doing) or if Google is just being super careful. Either way, it’s not a big deal to click the “Grant Access” button every so often.
I’m really excited to see what other features Streak will implement down the road and how they will price premium features. All in all, this is an incredible web app that will make managing people, emails, or customers a breeze.