A gap exists in how Salesforce and Google Apps (specifically Gmail) communicate. I’d like to discuss potential solutions to allow my users to more efficiently relate their emails to Salesforce records.
The company I work for has spent a fair amount of time migrating our users to Google Apps for their email, calendar, documents, etc.
We also use Salesforce.com to track our Opportunities, Accounts and Contacts, in addition to some custom apps. I am the System Admin for our Salesforce org.
Users often ask me about the most effective way to associate an email with a particular contact or Opportunity. Previously, Outlook allowed users to associate an email with specific records, but the tool was at times confusing for users and did not show many of the fields that we use for filtering.
A tight integration for Gmail is currently nonexistent. At this time, I tell my users to print their email to a PDF from Gmail and then upload it as an attachment to a record. This process is time-consuming and frustrating.
Salesforce supports associating an email to a contact (and potentially all of the open Opportunities for that contact) by using a “BCC” email address, customized for each user. However, there is currently no way to associate an email with one specific record of any type – whether an Opportunity or a custom object.
Since many users live in their inbox, it would be helpful to have the integration point start there, rather than in Salesforce. The existing ‘Send Gmail’ button is a great start, but it would be nice to be able to include it on custom objects as well.
Here are a few ideas for improving the Gmail/Salesforce connection.
- Create an integration leveraging the Google Apps engine to allow users to choose a type of record (list of objects) and a specific record (filtered as they typed the name) to associate an email to, before they send the message or after they send the email. This could be in the form of an “Add to Salesforce” button on an email that opens a custom page with two related picklists and then redirected back to the email, whether a draft or sent email.
- Modify the existing ‘BCC to Salesforce’ email settings to be more customizable, such as looking for a particular unique ID that can associate the email with a record in Salesforce.
What do you think? Are there other options that I haven’t thought of? Please let me know in the comments.
If you have experience with an AppExchange partner that provides a solid Gmail/Salesforce.com integration, I would love to hear about it.
There are some existing ideas on the Salesforce.com IdeaExchange (shown below) and there is likely some overlap.
Similar Ideas on the IdeaExchange
- Send Gmail and Add to Salesforce (like the Outlook plugin)
- Email integration with Yahoo or Gmail
- Gmail to Salesforce - TRUE Integration
- Salesforce.com: The Leader in Customer Relationship Management & Cloud Computing
- Google Apps: Reliable, secure web-based office tools for any size business
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