A while ago, I wrote the specifications for a Trello-based CRM known as ZIC (zero input CRM) and tasked it to an intern. Nevertheless, the product's complexity meant that the result would be unstable. And it was unstable. In my experience, it will take a full-time developer a month to rebuild it, and another two months to baby it for bug fixes. So I decided to drop the product.

In the meantime, our sales team was everywhere because the product is iterating an a breakneck pace and no one was tracking anything. I have to regain control, starting with lead tracking.

My mistake with ZIC was that I tasked a tool that I will be using every day to an intern. This time, I will do it myself. This is one of the exceptions for which I figured it is far better not to delegate.


As is with every product, I begin the design process by asking what the problem is.

How can the sales team track prospects so we can follow-up religiously?

This is a dumbed-down version of ZIC's intent to track every prospect, including communication context without input.


The product scope starts with the problem and is framed by resource constraints. And my constraints are:

  • I will spend no more than a day to build this product.
  • Also, I prefer not to code. Even superman needs a rest day.


The tool requires an easy to use input because there are less technically-savvy users who will be using it.

Date computation is needed. It should serve to inform the sales staff when it is time to follow up with a prospect. Our internal goal is to follow up with prospects who have responded after a week.

Sounds like a perfect job for Google Forms and some spreadsheet math.

How to use?

New prospect

Fill up the Google Forms.

Managing past prospects

  1. Visit the spreadsheet populated by the Google Forms (AKA Prospect Sheet)
  2. Filter the sheet to show only prospects uploaded by you (the user)
  3. Look for prospects that have the Requires follow-up cell colored yellow.
  4. Follow up!
  5. Click on the Followed up button and watch the yellow cell go back to being white.
  6. The cell will re-appear yellow a week later.

The CRM Sheet

This "CRM Sheet" that I built is extendable in so many ways.

Customer Acquisition Funnel

With the Status field, I can track the customer acquisition funnel of the entire sales team, or for unique individuals. I can build the funnel as a chart because Google Sheets support charts out of the box.

Performance tracking

Some individuals perform better than others. With the spreadsheet, the performance metrics of every individual can be calculated to the dot.

Channel tracking

In the form, I collected channel information too. So I know how well each acquisition channel works the best.

The real reason why I built the CRM Sheet

I am building a sales team. To instill a follow-up culture, I built CRM Sheet. In my (limited) experience, I have found that persistent follow-ups to be the most significant contributor to conversion rates. Without a tool, the entire team, INCLUDING myself only had N most important client in our heads. With CRM Sheet, I expect 100% follow-up coverage.

This is my method to build teams with consistent and reproducible results -- Instilling culture via systems.