Thursday, September 24, 2015 Email Gets a New Sync

As you know, many of us out in the Salesforce landscape have been struggling with the roadmap on Outlook and email Sync. I've written about it multiple times in the past. I've had a number of discussions with people about this issue, but nothing from Salesforce suggesting any real resolution.

In case you don't want to click the links, let me summarize the issue:
In recent versions of Salesforce for Outlook (the Salesforce-characterized path for adding email from Outlook into Salesforce), Salesforce changed the software so that it validates an Exchange back end. If you're using POP/IMAP on Outlook, Salesforce for Outlook doesn't work any longer (Salesforce will claim that non-Exchange was never "officially" supported). Outlook Connector (aka Original Outlook sync) also used to support POP/IMAP, but it's being EOL'ed with Winter '16.

In the lead up to Dreamforce, Salesforce sent out email about a new mobile app and Chrome plug-in that would be made available starting at Dreamforce. The app and plug-in would allow users to add email from Gmail to Salesforce. This product was revealed to be SalesforceIQ.

During Dreamforce I made multiple attempts to learn more about SalesforceIQ. Unfortunately, it seemed like the primary focus of the SalesforceIQ guys was to sell their SalesforceIQ for Small Business, a product that sort of falls similar to the / Salesforce Service Cloud relationship. Since recently acquired RelateIQ around this product, it's understandable that the team would be focused on promoting their original product, but it became a bit painful trying to get info about anything else.

On the fourth day, I finally found an open guy in the SalesforceIQ section, but when I asked him some questions, he didn't really know the answers and referred me to another guy with more expertise. I then got to watch another demo of SalesforceIQ for Small Business while I waited another 20 minutes.

But rather than go through all of what I went through, let me tell you about the product.

In Chrome with the plug-in installed, if you're using Gmail, it will pop a window on the side of your Gmail interface similar to the Salesforce for Outlook window. You can use this to add email to Salesforce and much more. However, if you add email to Salesforce with attachments, it does not handle those (according to the expert guy there).

There is another feature labeled "Feed" that will go through your inbox and recommend activities for you to follow up on. This is supposed to be the real strength of SalesforceIQ. Theoretically, if you're a sales guy, this will help remind you to contact the people you might have forgotten about. If you're somebody like me, it seems to work more as an added reminder to follow up with those sales people who've sent you random email trying to sell you things (e.g. conference sponsorship) -- a modern inbox version of "green elf has been eating all of the food lately".

One upside of this solution is that the Chrome extension works on both Mac and PC. The downside is that, if you've gotten used to using "Email to Salesforce", the BCC method of adding emails, you may find this provides less functionality.

Meanwhile back on the Ideas Portal...
You may recall the ideas portal thread RE POP/IMAP sync in Outlook. There are still no new updates to that thread. Further, if you have sales people that are used to using Outlook, this still doesn't address their issue.

SalesforceIQ is sort of a fix, but not really complete -- like a chair with three legs; you can use it, but you need to be careful. and it may not really be any help.

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