Hey Chris! Funny running into you here.
I’m going to make a few suggestions to make sure I understand what you’re trying to do. I have a tendency to overthink things and assume they’re more complicated than they are, so I’m going to start on the more basic side and work my way up. Let me know if any of these ideas hit the mark.
- In terms of general setup, if you want to track a recipient, the sent time, and the type of interaction, you’ll need these three field types: email, date-time (with timestamp enabled—it’s a little toggle in the field options when you create/edit it), and single or multiple select (respectively). Alternatively, you can use a last modified time field instead of a date-time field that automatically updates any time you change the interaction. Then you just have to create a sort on whatever date-time-based field you choose and you should be all set. This is a pretty quick setup once you know where to find everything so I just made an example for you here:
I generated some placeholder data and put both date-time field options in there (sorted on the manual one) so you can copy it into your account (there will be a “Copy Base” button in the upper right-hand corner when you click that link) and mess around with it. (I put the date-time fields in ISO format because I’m a nerd but you can edit the format very easily by double-clicking the field name/column header and just choosing another format.)
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, there are a ton of CRM templates in the template gallery. The templates show a lot of different ways to set things up and can help you figure out what you’re trying to do when you don’t have time to ask/wait for an answer.
- If you’re looking to do a bit more than that and want to automate the process, that’s also an option through Zapier, Integromat, and probably a few others I haven’t tried yet. (There’s also IFTTT, but I’ve never been able to count on it for anything work-related/critically important. I’ve loved a lot about IFTTT since day one so I hope that changes someday.) Anyway, you can set up integrations that check your email account for new drafts, sent messages, received messages etc., and automatically add them to your Airtable CRM base. You can grab pretty much any metadata including a date-time stamp. You could even hashtag messages and parse those through Zapier/Integromat/whatever to add status (or anything tag-like) to the base for context. You can also do that part manually. Not everything has to be automated.
That’s a bit much to walk through right now while I’m just sorting out what you’d like to accomplish, but it’s definitely do-able. It’s not hard to do but it requires a good amount of setup because of the number of possibilities you may want to account for. You can also take automation several steps further and set up email templates you can set up and send directly through Airtable (using the SendGrid block), do the same using an integration tool like Zapier or Integromat, and even automate certain types of responses if you really want to. If you wanted to go really crazy you can integrate AI tools and basically turn your inbox into a chatbot, but I say that just to demonstrate how far you can go with a CRM when you create and control its database.
Anyway, if you’re looking to automate things, there are very few limitations with Airtable-made CRMs.
I had a third thing but it seems to have slipped my mind. Anyway, let me know if either of those hit the mark or not and we can dig in further.