Agenda App as a CRM

I have played with many of the last couple of years, from Apple Notes, Ulysses, Bear etc. before deciding on Drafts app with its infinite customisation and scripting possibilities where I spend hours of time consuming fun making it dance to my tune.

However Agenda caught my eye, it seemed novel and after downloading and deleting I decided to give it another go with a specific use in mind. I need a "CRM" (client relationship manager) of some sort, what I know I do not need however is a sales orientated system or a SASS based system that requires another layer of automation to keep everything in sync. So for the last few months I have been using first Ulysses and latterly Devonthink, with entries automated through Workflow app on iOS. This worked quite well as a system, where it failed was me failing to use it as I should, and after trying to analyse why I could only come up with the fact it was not that pretty, markdown notes in Devonthink are really not that exciting, and so to Agenda.

Now let me say Agenda has its limitations at present, no URL schemes or automation possibilities so it is effectively an island. What it does have however is an interface ideal for associating notes both with dates and with individuals or businesses, and I believe the URL schemes and other features will follow as the app matures. If not exporting to another system is not that big as deal.

I am a commited Omnifocus user of a good few years, yes I have played with ToDoist for a year and it worked quite well, especially when sharing tasks with my partner, however I always seem to come back to what is in my opinion the best task manager bar none, Omnifocus. I have OF set up with a "SAL" (single action list) for each client, where I store repeating tasks like domain renewals, hosting invoicing dates and and any single support tasks I may receive. I mirror this set up in Files where I have each client has a folder holding their website files, documents and any other stuff relating to our dealings. Most of these are for reference, site files get changed or updated, but most are just long term storage.

In Agenda app I simply mirrored this, Agenda allows you to create both categories and projects, so again I just copied my OF setup. I have a "Clients" category, with one project per client, adding a note for each important interaction. Important is the key here, a lot of correspondence is not what I deem important, for example I manage quite a few sites that send small regular additions/changes to the site CMS rather than do it themselves, these are not important and if a reference is ever needed an email search will find it. What is important though is telephone conversations, email regarding potential new business or major changes, or time critical interactions. These go into Agenda, which then shows me a timeline of important events which occured with any client.

I also have an "Administration" category where I repeat this process with projects for key areas such as copies of Newsletters, and business contact interactions. This system is repeated with an "Enquiries" and "Current Projects" categories.

So in essence one "project" per contact or job, with individual time stamped notes added as needed.

I have so far kept tagging pretty simple, I do not envisage needing to search on tags with this system although tags do show me an easy visual reference to how each note each note originated. I use "incoming, outgoing, email, telephone, SMS and note" added before any notes body text, which so far seems to deal with most cases.

Agenda (unsuprsingly) has an "Agenda" section where notes can be pinned, at present I am using this to keep notes which still need action or have a task in OF still pending. If I need to close a "project" the free version of Agenda allows me to export it as a PDF which can then be filed in the folder system mentioned above, the paid version allows for markdown formatted notes to be exported if that is more your thing. Personally for archiving I think one PDF is best but the options are there.

Now let me say I have only been using this system for a few weeks, I did add all my previous DevonThink notes into it first, so I think the system has had a reasonable test, and it seems to both stand up to the load and just as importantly keep me interested in maintaining it. A CRM for me is not that critical, nice but not indispensable, it is however a nice compliment to basic filing and task management, and for my client makes me appear to be just that little bit more efficient and professional in my dealing with them, maybe that is indispensable after all?