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How to use Airtable as a CRM

Matthew Gira
32 min read

People can be a lot to handle. Especially when you are trying to manage relationships with 10s or 100s of clients related to your business.

If you've never used a CRM before, Airtable can be a great starting point. That's why in this post, I’m going to cover how to use Airtable as a CRM.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager and can be a really great tool to keep you and your team organized when it comes to marketing and sales for your business. If you search CRM in Google, you’ll have a lot of different options and there are definitely some really powerful CRM tools you could use.

If you’ve never used a CRM though, creating a CRM in Airtable can be a great starting point. Especially if you’re running other aspects of your business like events, a social media calendar, or a team wiki through Airtable. The beautiful thing about Airtable in this scenario is that you can even relate these different aspects or bases of your business together in Airtable with synced tables.

If you want to follow along with the exact base I’ll be going over, there’s a template to the Airtable CRM base below.

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    Creating your CRM in Airtable

    This entire CRM was built using an empty Airtable base. Obviously, if you have this specific Airtable CRM template and want to use it, you don’t have to do that. However, I would still recommend that you build it out if you haven’t used Airtable much. That way, you know where things are in this particular Airtable base and you can understand the basics of Airtable a little better. Once you leave the tutorials like this one, it does get a little bit trickier to build wonderful Airtable bases.

    People Table

    To start creating this Airtable CRM, let’s begin by creating the People table. This information is the people part of your CRM. In this particular CRM, we’ll keep track of people, organizations, and interactions. Since they’re all different types of data, we’ll keep them in separate databases.

    In theory, yes, we could have people and organizations in the same table here in Airtable, but as you’ll see as we build this Airtable CRM out, that eliminates a lot of the data collection and flexibility that Airtable provides.

    As this is a template, I’ve kept the information I potentially want in this Airtable CRM to be pretty simple. The beauty of Airtable is that you can always add or delete information later on without any big consequences.

    In this people table, I have the following fields:

    • Full Name
    • Status
    • Campaigns
    • Send Date
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Instagram Link
    • Twitter link
    • YouTube link
    • Notes
    • Last Modified
    • Created Time
    • Organization
    • Interactions

    Let’s cover a few of the key fields in this People table.

    Full Name (First and Last Name together)

    As you can see in the screenshot above, the first column, “Full Name” is a formula field. The reason that it’s a formula field is that we want to collect “First Name” and “Last Name” separately. This way, we can create automations that allow for personalization. An example being if you want to send an email to a batch of people, you can have Airtable write in the email “Hi {First Name}!,” in the intro of the email.

    This way, you can create more of that personal touch with automations and still save yourself a lot of time from copying and pasting template emails or even writing each and every email manually.


    People are people and life happens. Not everyone is going to stay with an organization for 20 years and you’ll always have a contact in the organization that they are currently working at. As a result, we need to have a status that says if a person is active or inactive. If you want to customize this further, you can. I kept it simple in this template!


    This is where Airtable can be most fun. In your CRM, you’re going to have all sorts of different clients. Some will create more than others in terms of revenue for your business or be in different industries.

    With this multi-select of “Campaigns”, you can tag which people have been part of which campaigns and create different views in Airtable based on those campaigns.

    Tagging people by campaigns allows you to create robust data collection processes such as response rates by campaign or just see what types of campaigns work best for a particular client.

    This “Campaigns” status helps with automations too, but we’re not covering that in this section!

    Send Date

    This “Send Date” column is purely for automations. Like I mentioned above, automations with the “First Name” and “Campaigns” can be helpful. Let’s say you do want to send automated emails, "Send Date" acts as the trigger to send the automated emails for particular campaigns.

    If the “Send Date” is today, Airtable can automatically send the email to that particular client for the particular campaign you are working on.

    Last Modified

    This is a really nice feature of Airtable as you can keep track of if a client has been updated in your CRM with this “Last Modified” time keeper. This helps you create processes to update people in your CRM on a regular basis and you can keep track of how often you engage with particular clients.

    If you are being active with certain ones more than others, this Airtable CRM will show you that pretty quickly with this “Last Modified” field.

    Organizations Table

    This Organizations table in this Airtable CRM is similar to the People table except it's for an entire organization, not particular people in an organization. We’ll link the people to the organization they are a part of using the linked records function of Airtable!

    In this Organizations table we have the following fields:

    • Organization Name
    • Status
    • Website
    • General Email
    • Instagram Link
    • Twitter Link
    • YouTube Link
    • Phone Number
    • Street Address
    • City
    • State
    • Country
    • Type
    • Last Modified
    • Created
    • Notes
    • People
    • Interactions (as a lookup field!)

    Let’s talk about a few of the key fields in the Organizations table of this Airtable CRM:

    Address Information

    In this day and age, you might be thinking to yourself, why in the world would I want to have a business’ address? We’re not traveling as much in this post-COVID world and so many companies have people all over the world now.

    That all might be true, however, the ability to mail someone something and just keep track of where the base of your customers are can be pretty important.

    Direct mail can still be a powerful marketing and sales tool if done properly and it’s a great relationship builder with clients if you’re not just sending bills all the time. Send a thank you note, send a small gift after they reach an important milestone as a business, or even just a holiday card at the end of the year.

    These little actions add up and build trust with customers. Your CRM should help you create effective processes so you are building trust with your current and future customers.

    Additionally, maybe after some time you find out that you’re doing well with clients in one particular area of the world. You can create data collection processes to tell you where you have a cluster of customers located.

    It can help identify if particular messaging works only in certain areas of the world and if you do have business trips, you can batch meetings together in an efficient matter if you know where your customers are.

    The rest of the fields in the Organizations table are pretty similar to the People table, so there’s not much to cover. However, there is one significant difference between this People table and the Organizations table: a lookup field based on a linked record!

    Interactions as a Lookup field from People

    The naming of this field may make absolutely no sense to you right now. The Interactions field in this Organizations table is a lookup field from the linked record of People.

    This means that when you record an interaction in your CRM which requires you to link that person you interacted with, it’ll also add it to the Organization table as an interaction.

    This is important because let’s say you’ve been trying to close a big deal with this organization for months and there’s multiple people involved in this deal. Every interaction you have with someone from a particular organization will be recorded right here no matter which person in their organization you’ve been working with. This is crucial, especially if there’s multiple people on your own team working on the same client. It keeps your team organized and you can see how many interactions you need on average to close a deal.

    This field definitely has the potential to get messy fast. One way to keep it cleaner though is to have only so many interactions appear within a certain amount of time.

    For example, let’s say you only want to see the interactions with this particular organization in the last 90 days. All you have to do is go to the “Customize field type” settings in the field, and toggle on the feature : ”Only include linked records from the People table that meet certain conditions. Then create the filter based on the creation time of the interactions.

    Interactions Table

    The interactions table in this Airtable CRM is a lot simpler compared to the previous 2 tables that we’ve covered so far. However, it might be the most used table that you use in your CRM.

    The Interactions table only has several fields which are the following:

    • Interaction // Whom
    • Type
    • Notes
    • People
    • Organizations
    • Created

    Let’s now cover a couple of the key fields in this Interactions table.


    This is a field you can complicate quite a bit, but I kept it pretty simple. This “Type” field is the type of interaction that you have with a potential or current customer. If you have an email, that gets marked down as an interaction. If you run into them at an event, that gets marked down here. Any interaction with the customer gets put into this Airtable CRM.

    It can definitely be tedious, but if you mark down every type of interaction you have with a customer, this is hugely valuable data.

    First, it helps with internal communication. Who is talking to who? What is the relationship like? Has your team interacted with this customer in a while?

    Second, after a while, you should be able to have a better understanding of what types of interactions work best. Maybe you find out that meeting potential customers at events gives you a higher conversion rate to a sale!

    Measuring the type of interaction helps you and your team work smarter, not harder.

    Organizations as a lookup field from People

    This “Organizations” field is similar to the “Interactions” field in the Organizations table. It’s a lookup field from the People table.

    This means that every time you add the person you had an interaction with, it’ll bring up their organization as well. This won’t get as messy compared to what this might look like in the Organizations table because it’ll really only be one Organization per interaction. Whereas, in the Organizations table, it’s a flipped dynamic. There will be a lot of Interactions per organization. That’s why in this Interactions table, we don’t have to worry so much about creating filters like you might think about previously.

    The power of views in Airtable

    Now, we’ve gone over the basics of each table in this Airtable CRM base. Obviously, that’s pretty valuable as if you don’t understand why those tables exist, the rest doesn’t really matter in this Airtable base.

    One feature of Airtable that makes these tables 100x more valuable though is the power of views in Airtable.

    Views make a complex table look simple.

    For example, in the Organizations table, there’s an “Active” view and there’s a “Not Active” view. The “Active” view only shows which organizations you are active with and “Not Active” shows the opposite of that.

    This is really helpful because Organizations and People will come and go. Some people will be active with you for a while, go not active for a little while, and even come back active. The views in Airtable help you stay on top of that and help you and your team stay focused.

    Too much data in Airtable can make it very overwhelming quickly. Views help to make Airtable much simpler and digestible.

    One of the views that really helps make this Airtable CRM simple, especially for new team members, is the forms view. As you can see, I’ve created a form for every table in this Airtable CRM.

    Need to add a new person to your People database? No problem, use the form you can’t mess it up. The form acts as an onboarding checklist for when you are adding data to a table or Airtable base in general. Require only certain fields and leave others as optional. Heck, even make fields only show up when they are needed.

    Airtable forms are pretty nice and if you have a new team member that has never used Airtable before, these forms make Airtable a lot easier to understand out of the gates.

    Eventually they can move away from the forms and right to the grid views, but let the Airtable forms act as a great onboarding tool to Airtable and your Airtable CRM.

    Automations in this Airtable CRM

    There are three automations (two are essentially the same though) in this Airtable CRM and automations in general in Airtable can be really powerful. Especially if you can create some amazing conditional automations.

    I’m not covering conditional automations in this post, but you could build them into this Airtable CRM if you wanted to.

    The three automations built into this Airtable CRM are good starting points though. The first two automations just set the original status to “Active” when you submit a new form entry for the People or Organizations base. It’s probably one of the most simple automations you can have in Airtable.

    The third automation is probably one of the most useful automations you can have in this Airtable CRM. That is, an automation that sends a personalized, automatically generated email.

    All you have to do is set the campaign that you want it to send for, set the “Send Date” to “Today” and there you have it: essentially mail merge within Airtable.

    If you have multiple campaigns going on, this is where you have an opportunity to create conditional automations based on the campaign you want to send to a customer.


    I just mentioned that there’s an opportunity to improve this Airtable CRM with conditional automations, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. This Airtable CRM template is meant to act as a starting point, not an ending point.

    Some improvements you could make out of the gate would be to create conditional automations, create interfaces for data collection, and create more complex statuses or interactions based on your needs.

    If you wanted to get a little bit out of the Airtable bubble too, you could use Zapier to import information from your email inbox to Airtable. If you haven’t used Zapier before, the video below is a tutorial.