In the past sales people might have spent their time at fancy dinners and board rooms selling their wares, but those times are long gone. The reality of sales people today is their inbox where large majority of their time is spent. The other place where sales people spend a lot of time is their company's customer relationship management system (aka. CRM). Since all successful CRMs can trace their origin to 1990's (or even 1980's), they are still built around the notion of calls and meetings, while email communication seems to be an add on to a system designed for some other times. While popular CRMs such as Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle provide a way to bring email into CRMs, these CRMs are certainly not built around email communication.

RelateIQ is a startup that approached CRM in a completely different way. Instead of bringing email to CRM, it brought CRM to inbox thus acknowledging the reality of contemporary sales process. Instead of requiring sales people to forward emails to CRM (or even manually type in information), RelateIQ integrates with Gmail or Microsoft Exchange and pulls in information automatically. Well, the process is not entirely automatic because RelateIQ is very sensitive above privacy of communication and it requires a person sharing his or her communication to explicitly allow sharing of contacts, accounts, and emails. RelateIQ might completely overhaul the CRM systems and it's therefore not a surprise that Salesforce acquired them last year.

While primary use of RelateIQ is customer relationship management, it's applicable to any use case where internal collaboration over external email communication is required. By bringing "relational intelligence" to your inbox, many other activities can be done in much more streamlined and collaborative fashion. So the next time you'll feel like setting a mail list, try RelateIQ instead. Especially if you're a startup, not willing to surrender to a bloatware that is Salesforce and other classical CRMs.