June 7, 2023
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The Top 10 free Google Sheets CRM Templates & Alternatives: A Guide to Lightweight and Customizable CRM Solutions

Looking for a lightweight, customizable, and affordable CRM solution? Look no further than Google Sheets! With its simple interface and endless customization options, a Google Sheets CRM can be a perfect fit for small businesses, freelancers, and startups. Moreover, you don't have to start from scratch. There are plenty of pre-built templates and solutions available for Google Sheets. In this article, we will be covering the following::

  • 10 ready-to-use Google Sheets (or equivalent) CRM templates
  • A step-by-step guide to build your custom Google Sheets as a CRM
  • Exploring alternatives to Google Sheets as CRM

CRM Templates: Starting simple for managing customer data

As a starting point, we have compiled ten links to popular Google Sheet CRM templates that you can use for your business. These templates are customized to perform different functions, from basic lead tracking to advanced revenue forecasting. You can find them on the internet, download, and install them on your Google Sheets. They are the easiest way to get started.

Quick overview of each free template

Lightweight CRM on folk

This is a free template designed for small businesses and startups. It allows tracking sales leads, customer contact info, and revenue pipelines. It's as easy to set up as a Google Sheets CRM template, but more comprehensive and flexible, as it combines the simplicity of a Sheet with more powerful CRM features, such as the ability to send bulk messages, track your interactions automatically (by syncing your Gmail or Outlook) and set reminders.

Lightweight CRM template on folk landing page
Lightweight CRM on folk

Pros

  • Chrome extension: folkX allows you to import search lists and individual contact information straight into your folk CRM without interrupting your workflow.
  • Pipeline management: supports tracking interactions, assigning tasks, and team collaboration. 
  • Multi-business function support: folk isn’t limited to sales teams. It can also support business nurturing across recruitment, investment, fundraising and more. 
  • Automation: automate manual tasks to save time and streamline your workflow processes. Get help with filling missing contact information from contact enrichment, creating pipelines and grouping contacts. 
  • Team collaboration: Assign team mates to follow up with a contact and build a single source of truth with collaborative note taking. 
  • Mail merge: send email campaigns, create email sequences and track analytics directly from folk without having to export your contact lists. 
  • AI-support: ‘Magic Field’ helps users create custom prompts that tells the AI what data to pull out from your database so that you can send ultra-personalized messages to multiple recipients. 
  • User experience: Easy to use with Notion-like experience. Helps users avoid a steep learning curve.

Cons

  • Reporting is not available on folk yet, but it is coming soon. 

Deal flow CRM on folk

This template provides an easy way to manage deal flow for investment teams. It allows you to track leads, customer contact info, and other important data.

In one click set up it, as quick as a Google sheets CRM template, but with the additional powerful features you can access in folk, for free.

Deal flow CRM template on folk landing page
Deal flow CRM on folk

Pros

  • Scalability: Once you're ready to expand your business, folk can expand with you and offer affordable prices and plans that have features designed to create a seamless workflow between you and your team.
  • Multiple view options: Choose from a listicle or Kanban board view.
  • Contact enrichment: Missing contact information? Contact enrichment can help you fill in the blanks in moments.
  • Ready to use contact list: Get a head start with folk's investor lists.

Cons

  • Reporting isn''t available in folk yet, but it's coming soon.

Sales CRM built on Notion

This CRM template built on Notion is great for sales teams looking to manage their customer relationships. It includes features such as contact management & pipeline tracking.

You can start in a single click, just the same as a Google Sheets CRM template.

A simple CRM template on notion
CRM on Notion

Pros

  • Easy to setup: template is easy to use and modify.
  • Collaborative: easily assign teammates and create a single source of truth. 
  • Multiple view setup: Choose from a listicle or Kanban-board view that can be tailored to your specific sales cycle.

Cons

  • Reliance on manual input: if you accidentally plug in the wrong estimated value, this will affect the forecast it calculates.
  • Project management-first tool: Notion is great for organizing workflow processes, but it’s hard to keep up to date. You will have to manually update things which will be time consuming. 
  • Clunky CRM experience: Notion is not a traditional CRM so you won’t be finding features such as automation or contact sync. 

Simple CRM built on Notion

Simple CRM is a lightweight solution built on Notion that offers basic features like contact management, lead nurturing, and follow-up reminders. It is ideal for freelancers and small businesses that want to keep track of their customers in an organized manner.

Again here, it's simple to start in the same way as in a Google sheets CRM template.

A sales CRM Notion template landing page
CRM Tracker on Notion

Pros

  • Lightweight contact management solution: Easy to use for freelancers and small businesses who have a small pool of contacts. 
  • Visual upgrade from Google spreadsheet experience. 
  • Notion AI: Can extract key points from your notes into a high-level summary

Cons

  • Clunky CRM experience: no automation support such as contact synchronization that can help you keep all your contacts in one platform.
  • Fact-check process needed: Notion’s AI may output incorrect information so you need to make sure you double check this after each use.

Sales CRM built on Airtable

This template offers a comprehensive set of features such as contact management, pipeline tracking, lead management, and revenue forecasting. It is designed to be highly customizable so you can tailor it to your specific needs.

No need for a software engineering degree to start, it's simple as a Google Sheets CRM template.

A sales CRM template on Airtable landing page
Sales CRM on Airtable

Pros

  • Relational database: Streamline your sales funnel with help from its database so it can help you connect one piece of data with another.
  • Privacy control: Have complete control over what each team member can see. 
  • Sales-centric features: Customizable interface that can easily align with your internal sales process.

Cons

  • Clunky CRM experience: Airtable is not a traditional CRM so you won’t get support such as contact sync, mail merge or automation support.
  • Steep learning curve: Airtable is not intuitive to use. Expect to block some time out to get used to the platform.

Business Development CRM on Airtable

This template is ideal for businesses looking to manage their customer relationships and drive business growth. It includes features such as contact management, pipeline tracking, lead nurturing, and revenue forecasting.

A business development CRM template on Airtable landing page
Business Development CRM on Airtable

Pros

  • House documents in one place: Attach files and new customers directly to your business opportunities.
  • Multiple view options: Observe your progress towards various contracts, or track upcoming interactions in a calendar.

Cons

  • Clunky user experience: User experience is reminiscent of Google sheet’s. Still very manual. Distinguished only by Airtable’s CRM features.

Hubspot CRM for Excel and Google Sheet

Hubspot CRM for Excel and Google Sheet is a great way to manage your customer relationships. It allows you to track customer contact info, sales leads, revenue pipelines, and other important data. You can also export your data into CSV format for easier access and analysis.

You can download this free CRM template with a click, compatible with both Google Sheets and Microsoft excel.

Hubspot CRM template for Excel landing page
Hubspot spreadsheet CRM template

Pros

  • Free CRM plan: Includes basic marketing automation, user-friendly form builder and meeting scheduler.
  • Team alignment and productivity: Known for increasing visibility and productivity within teams. Particularly between sales and marketing departments.

Cons

  • Steep learning curve: HubSpot is known for its challenging interface. New users often have to block out a few days to become familiar with the platform.
  • Limited customization: Offers limited options for custom configurations, which might be a constraint for larger organizations seeking highly customized CRM solutions. Some integrations may incur a steeper cost.
  • Price and plans: As you scale and get ready to upgrade, HubSpot becomes expensive.

Google Sheet CRM

Building a CRM software in Google Sheet is an intuitive and cost-effective solution for businesses. It provides features like contact management, task tracking, sales funnel progress monitoring, and revenue forecasting. You can also customize the columns in your spreadsheet to meet your unique needs.

You can build a Google Sheets CRM effectively from Google spreadsheets.

Google Sheet CRM template landing page
Google Sheet CRM template

Pros

  • Cost-effective: Google Sheets is free to use, making it an affordable option, especially for small businesses or startups.
  • Ease of use: Many users are familiar with spreadsheet functionalities, making it easy to adopt and use without specialized training.

Cons

  • Manual data entry and maintenance: Requires a lot of manual input and constant updating, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
  • Inadequate to support scalability: As the business grows, Google Sheets might become cumbersome to manage due to data volume and complexity.

Building a Custom Google Sheets CRM software

A Google Sheets template can feel pretty basic and limited. Crucially, it lacks integrations to important tools used for communicating with contacts, or importing contacts and synching them.

If you want to create something custom, here's some good news: You don't need to be a coding expert to create your own CRM in Google Sheets. You can set it up using Gmail, Zapier, Google Calendar, and LinkedIn. All these tools provide features that can improve your data management and give you the general overview of what's happening in your business. Gmail helps you categorize your contacts, Zapier triggers actions based on incoming/outgoing emails and calendar events, Google calendar handles appointment records and LinkedIn contact records. With these tools, you can input data all to one location, complete with all features that already exist in Google Sheets spreadsheets.

Here is a step-by-step guide to building your own CRM system using Google Sheets, Zapier, Gmail and Google Calendar, and limiting your daily manual data entry to a manageable level, whether for contact management or sales management.

Step 1: Connect Gmail to Google Sheets using Zapier

To begin setting up your custom Google Sheets CRM with Zapier, you'll need to first create a new Zap. To do this, simply open Zapier and click on the "Create New Zap" button at the top-right corner of your screen.

Once you've created your Zap, select Gmail as the Trigger App and choose to trigger when a new email is received. Then define the parameters for what emails should be captured by your CRM. From there, you'll need to connect your Gmail account in order to authenticate it with Zapier.

Zapier page showing an integration with Gmail and Google Sheets
Zapier trigger from Gmail to Google Sheets

You can do it here.

Step 2: Connect Google Calendar to your CRM software

The next step involves setting up a connection between your calendar events and Google Sheets. This will allow you to track appointments, attendee information, event duration, and more in one

To do this, you'll first need to create a new Zap and choose Google Calendar as the Trigger App. You can then define which calendar events should be captured by your CRM.

Zapier page showing an integration with Google Calendar and Google Sheets
Zapier trigger from Google Calendar to Google Sheet

You can do it here.

Step 3: Manage your contacts on Google Sheets

All your contacts, given step 1 and step 2, that you interact with, will be automatically imported into a Google sheet so you can keep track of them. This will help you better organize your data and make it easier to find specific contacts when needed.

A google sheets spreadsheet showing contact details
Contacts on a Google Sheet

Note that it's also possible to start from existing CSV files.

Other options we won't be covering in this document include integrating with a Google Docs account in order to have direct links to contact profiles when mentioning them in a Google doc.

Exploring Alternative Options for Customer relationship management: folk

Although Google Sheets is a top lightweight CRM solution, there are other options to explore. If you're looking for something more than what Google Sheets offer, folk is a lightweight yet very comprehensive and powerful CRM system.

folk offers a variety of readymade templates that are fully customizable, support API integration, and collaborative editing, including the following features:

  • Easily import data from other platforms such as Gmail, Outlook, Twitter, with a direct integration or with the extension in a single click
  • Categorize these contacts into groups with all the information you might need with custom fields
  • Have full interaction details logged automatically, for you and your team
  • Integrate with other business tools
  • Send contacts customized email campaigns
  • Build custom pipelines to easily follow sales progress with customers
A deal flow kanban board on folk
folk pipeline

More specifically, folk also offers a Chrome extension that works on LinkedIn and Twitter (and any other website on the Internet) to add people from these sites to folk in one click.

The folkX Chrome extension being used on LinkedIn
folk Chrome extension on LinkedIn

Note that contact details can also be imported from a CSV file.

Once in folk, you can use tags, views, and filters to organize contact lists to however you want to view them.

A table view of a Deal Flow CRM in folk
folk database of contacts

Contact details can also be imported straight from form responses, for exampe Typeform, Tally, Google Forms, or any other form tool.

It also offers an embedded mail mail merge system: it's very easy to insert variable fields as shown on the image below and send personalized emails in bulk.

A new message with variables being composed in folk
folk mail merge solution

Furthermore, it's way easier to send personalized mail merge messages given that you can review all previous email interactions and calendar events directly from your CRM sheet.

A contact in folk CRM, shown in context, with past interactions
Preview interactions on folk

It's also easy to track the results of emails campaigns by viewing open, click, and bounce rates.

Last but not lease, collaboration is a central element on folk, so sales managers and other teammates can keep track of processes: shared notes, mentions, reminders, shared emails, and more are features that can easily be activated on the CRM platform folk.

Conclusion: Navigating the world of Google Sheets CRM template

Building your custom CRM in Google Sheets can save you money on costly CRM infrastructure, while offering modest customization options.

If you're looking to reach you business objectives faster with a simple but more powerful alternative: try folk.