Eventually if one is getting anything done in this world (vs. just making noise), some emails become leads (the people do, but you get what I mean) and opportunities and so on. This would be where a CRM comes into play.
I can't tell you how many I have been through from Saleseforce.com to ACT! to the online applications like Highrise, Heap and so many, many others. None of them really do what I need them to so I'm always left thinking I'll have to just keep trying new ones or eventually design my own (which is a little side project I have been working on for years in fact).
Meanwhile, a search for "gmail crm" lead me to this article which is a whole new look at this for me.
As an avid Gmailer, maybe the thing to do is try using the plethora of features within Gmail itself to manage Leads, Opportunities and so on. The other features like managing Contacts and the emails themselves are already being handled swimmingly well by Gmail so maybe I just need to relook at how I use it to do a little more. Perhaps I have been looking outside when all the answers have been within all along (isn't that so often the case in life?).
If this strikes a chord with you, maybe take a moment to click to and read the short article below. The author makes a good case with real examples of features that could be used to make contact management easier without having to look to other applications, at least until things get really, really busy and you need multiple people working on the same information (and you probably wouldn't want to give them access to your Gmail account).
Lead Management - Turning Google's Gmail Into CRM
Today's internet is clear that Google plays a major role in developing some of the top software around. Google continues to distinguished itself as an innovator in software. If you are looking to accomplish a personal productivity task chances are Google has or is working on a solution.
The growth of email over the years has brought out the good and the bad of features we like to see when using our e-mail. Google' GMail is prime example of leading the way and being a top choice of many users today. Google' GMail has taken a very mature technology in our email and made us look at how we process, manage, and retrieve our electronic communications. Taking a closer look at a key feature that GMail has potentially touched on is it's versatility in creating custom management strategies or processing ques. This flexibility is what makes GMail an ideal platform to use as a personal contact management system or as a simple CRM.