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Product Review

Folk CRM Review 2024

Stackfix's verdict on Folk CRM - the new personal CRM from the eFounders startup studio.

Ed Fry

Software Reviewer

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What is Folk?

Folk is a multi-purpose CRM tool. Usually, we think of CRMs as the place for sales teams to manage their deals. ‘Customer relationship management’ tools record all the details and processes surrounding each customer.

But sales aren’t the only function that needs to manage an address book of contacts. Think of recruiting, fundraising, investing, partnerships, PR, events management, and so on. For many of these teams, sales CRMs are too complex. A spreadsheet is much easier!

That’s where Folk comes in. Folk is designed for these CRM-style use cases, not just sales. It feels like a collaborative spreadsheet over your address book with sales-style productivity tools on top.

Folk comes with a good pedigree too. It graduated from eFounders in 2019. eFounders are the makers of Aircall, Front, Spendesk, and dozens of other popular workplace apps. More recently, Folk was backed by Accel.

But is Folk right for your business and team? To find out, our team put Folk through the Stackfix test process. Here’s our verdict.

Stackfix's Verdict

Strengths

Multi-purpose CRM (works for use cases outside sales)

Incredibly easy to gather and prepare contacts for outreach

You can self-serve everything without talking to sales

Weaknesses

No reporting views

No automatic tracking of meetings or phone calls

Limited filtering and segmentation

Best for

Individuals and small sales teams with simple sales processes

Non-sales teams to organise contacts and automate outreach

Temporary use cases (like fundraising and event follow-up)

Less good For

Larger sales teams

Complex sales processes and reporting needs

Channels outside email for outreach

What does Folk do?

Folk is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

Like many CRMs, it enables you to:

  • Store, manage, and track customer-related data.
  • Streamline core sales processes like prospecting, sales outreach, and managing a sales pipeline.
  • Group, de-duplicate, and enrich contacts
  • Create, send, and track email outreach messages

Unlike many CRMs, Folk emphasizes that it works for multiple use cases: sales, recruiting, fundraising, PR, etc.

What does Folk look like?

Strengths

Incredibly easy to gather and prepare contacts for outreach.

Folk connects to your Gmail or Outlook inbox in a few clicks and pulls through all your contacts and history of email interactions.

When testing, it was slick and seamless to connect my personal Gmail. 36 minutes later, it had imported my 1700 contacts and organised them all. It feels richer than the usual “CSV import” (which is also available).

I loved how it matched them to companies (something I wish Gmail did automatically). All my previous email threads and interactions were visible on each contact. It even suggested groups for some of my similar contacts. Very slick!

Alternatively, you can connect Folk to other software you’re using (using Zapier or Make integrations) so that contacts in Folk are automatically created or updated based on the data in those tools.

The Chrome extension also makes it simple to add contacts as you browse the web. I tried it for LinkedIn. No irritating copy-paste - it was quick to grab from individual profiles and even searches. Here I was looking for past employees of a company, and it could grab them all easily.

LinkedIn prospecting searches with Folk CRM's chrome extension
Quickly prospect through LinkedIn and add to Folk CRM with their Chrome extension

Fast to prepare all your data for outreach messages

Folk is particularly good at cleaning and enriching your contact data so that you can quickly send outreach emails at scale. Often contact and company data is a headache to get into a “ready to use” format. This data wrangling often happens outside the CRM in somewhere more flexible like a spreadsheet.

For example, Folk’s auto-enrichment lets you fill in the blanks in your contact profiles (like their email address) with a single click. Folk says they use Clearbit, Apollo, and Dropcontact data behind the scenes.

Merging duplicate contacts is a doddle too. In a few clicks, you can see all the suspected dupes and merge them all (or one-by-one). That means so you don’t have data around the same person or company split over many separate profiles.

But Folk CRM’s best data prep feature is something they call “Magic Fields”. These are AI-powered custom fields that allow you to use existing data (like an individual’s name, title, and company) to create and auto-populate new fields (e.g. find and add company revenue, company headquarters, or competitors) . Folk gives credits every month for magic fields to be generated - even on their free plan!

Folk CRM Magic Fields
Generating an icebreaker "Magic Field" to use in outreach emails

But, there’s no easy way to customize your data without Magic Felds that cost credits. You may find it simpler to run some data preparation in other tools (like using spreadsheet formulas), then importing the data later.

Quick and simple to use (like a spreadsheet)

Folk doesn’t “hide” features away. The left navigation bar, search, filters, and tabs make every feature feel close. The app feels different to the rabbit warrens of clicks that many other CRMs have.

There isn’t a generic “all contacts” list to view every person. In fact, it’s hard to make a view with every single contact. But how often do you think about people that way anyway? Folk organizes all your contacts into ‘groups’ so the lists don’t feel overwhelming or packed with irrelevant data. It feels quick and simple to use, like a spreadsheet that organises itself for you.


You can self-serve everything without talking to sales

Unlike many CRMs that push sales pitches before demos, Folk empowers you to explore at your own pace. All features are self-serve, allowing you to try, test, and buy without pressure from a sales rep. The only time you have to contact sales is if you hit usage limits, or want custom billing, onboarding, or support.

Of course, expert help is always available. Folk offers live demos, in-product live chat support (under an hour response time in our test), and dedicated sales reps for specific needs.

Weaknesses

No reporting views.

Folk does not include any reporting views. This makes it hard to understand trends, conversion rates, and filter by each segment.

Folk offers the spreadsheet-style table view and the Kanban view, but you can’t turn that data into a chart like in a spreadsheet or other CRMs. We’d love to see a funnel view added to understand interactions and pipeline progression.

No automatic tracking of meetings or phone calls

Folk’s outreach functionality is focused on email. There are some features for bringing templates to LinkedIn Messages via their Chrome Extension. But you have to manually track meetings, phone calls, and other engagements as “Interactions” (similar to adding notes), which won’t work for companies who mostly cold call or hold live meetings with their contacts

Limited filters for segmenting people and companies

Folk makes it difficult to segment your contacts based on activities (like form submissions, sessions or meetings). This means that regular CRM users may struggle to map out their sales processes in Folk.

Instead, you need to individually add contacts to ‘Groups’, which is takes ages at scale. Folk does have templates and automatically suggest groups based on your data, but those groups are limited to the kinds of data that are native to Folk

Pipeline management is limited to the person and company profiles.

Unlike a traditional CRM, Folk doesn’t have a separate “Opportunity” or “Deal” object that contacts/companies can be associated with. Instead, you add a contact or company to a pipeline. Pipeline stages are tracked in a single field within the contact or company's profile. This speeds up setup, but limits you to one pipeline per company or person.

One workaround is to add new status fields and amounts that represent different pipelines to the Person and Company profiles. This doesn’t feel as easy to track and maintain types of status and create unique pipelines for each of these. For example, you would struggle if you were selling subscriptions with renewals, upsells, or any follow on purchase. You wouldn’t have an easy way to see the total value of a customer.

All progression and updates in your pipeline are manual (although you could automate some updates via Zapier). You can’t add products, payments, contracts, and other processes typical to the customer journey, although you can attach files.

Best for

  • Individuals
  • Small B2B sales teams with simple sales processes to manage.
  • Non-sales teams who want to automate outreach and contact management.
  • Temporary use cases (like fundraising and event follow-up)

Less good for

  • Larger sales teams
  • Complex sales processes and reporting needs
  • Channels outside email for outreach

Wrapping up

Our verdict: We gave Folk 6.8/10 (May 2024).

If you’re looking for a full sales CRM, you’ll find a lot of functionality missing with Folk. It lacks the integrations and data models (like a separate “Deal” or “Opportunity”) that most sales processes rely on. We’d like to see spreadsheet-style formulas give another easy way to prepare data for outreach. Simple reporting via a “Funnel view” would help understand and share how effective your outreach is too.

But Folk’s simplicity is its brilliance. Their mistake is missing this or claiming it to be something else. In a fundraising announcement, they call it an “xRM”, but it’s not immediately obvious what an xRM might be. It’s not really what many in sales would call a CRM either. Folk is your address book, organised for you, with easy email outreach automation on top.

We think Folk is ideal for one-off use cases like events. Prospecting during and follow-up after events needs to happen fast (so a complex “full” CRM would slow you down).

Folk is a huge upgrade for other teams too. Now they have a powerful alternative to a spreadsheet, but with a fraction of the overview and cost of a “full” sales CRM.

But, don’t buy Folk CRM just yet…

There is no perfect tool. Every software buying decision is a trade-off decision.

If you’re interested in Folk CRM for its Ease of Use, Look and Feel, and Customer Support, then we’ve found two other top-rated CRMs that could be a better fit for your business.

Stackfix product experts buy, try, and review all the software we recommend.

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