The Problem with Emails in Salesforce

With only 40% of all companies achieving company-wide CRM adoption, the challenge of getting all information into Salesforce is ongoing. And while email is one of the key means of business communication nowadays, the support for this in Salesforce is still very low. In this article, I will explain why I believe the current setup will provide a problem in the near future.

Manually registering equals incomplete data

If you are not using any email integration solution (e.g. from the AppExchange), your sales employees are probably adding the Email2Salesforce address in the BCC of their emails. With this you only capture outgoing emails, giving you a significant blind spot. In addition, with each email that is sent, the employee has to consider if this email should be added to Salesforce or not.

Letting your sales reps decide which emails get registered in Salesforce distorts the quality of your data. There can be many different reasons why an email does not get synced to Salesforce. An email could be assessed as unimportant, an employee could forget, or might even want to keep information to himself to strengthen his internal position. And then this will differ per employee.

ALL emails should be in Salesforce

Many companies have implemented email integrations to relieve their sales reps of the manual email registration in Salesforce. A number of these tools provide a front-end interface to interact with Salesforce, for example as a browser extension on top of Gmail. The email sync to Salesforce can then be activated and deactivated by the sales employee.

While these solutions save your sales reps quite some time, they don’t solve the data problem, because the decision to sync is still made by the employee. If you think about it, all emails should be registered. Of course, not all emails have the same importance, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be registered. Generally speaking, every customer contact moment should be somewhere in your CRM.

Why you should care

The possibilities of Sales Analytics have increased tremendously over the past few years. With technologies like Machine Learning it will soon be possible to automatically figure out how you can increase your sales. That is… if you have a unified and complete dataset. Some companies will make this to their competitive advantage, while others will stay behind trying to figure out where they missed the boat.

An example: A sales rep might only save the emails on contract negotiation, and not the ones regarding the technical implementation. The reasoning is that else there might be too many emails saved under the account and you lose the overview. However, it is a realistic possibility that the number of emails sent around implementation influence how much value this customer will have. How will you find out if you don’t register the emails?

The limitations of Salesforce

This is also one of the bigger issues I see in the current Salesforce system, where emails are still being saved as tasks, without email header information and with no relationship to each other. Every email is saved as a separate item, resulting in tens or hundreds of emails under one contact, which could actually be summarized in 3 conversations. This naturally also makes it impossible to do an in-depth analysis on the performance of your email conversations.

The quality of any artificial intelligence is dependent on the training data. The training data in this case being the information of emails in Salesforce. And it is exactly this information which is incomplete, not unified, and lacking detail.

I believe that this problem will have a strong influence on the success of sales organizations in the nearby future. This is why I have founded Thrive for Email, a fully automatic email integration for Salesforce, which we are offering for free. Since it is such a fundamental functionality, we want to give every Salesforce user access to automatic email syncing.

Do you recognize this problem, or do you disagree? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “The Problem with Emails in Salesforce

  1. One of the main differentations between Salesforce and other CRM systems is the integration with email – it’s seamless, but only if you are on Outlook server or Outlook 365. I’m a Consultant working with mostly small companies in rural areas that rely on local internet service providers for their email – mostly POP/IMAP and they are frustrated that they don’t have any options for email other than paid, and even then it is very limited. I could not find any info on Thrive on the AppExchange, and their website has limited information – will it work with POP/IMAP email servers?

    1. While Salesforce is recommending to use the on-demand Email2Case solution, you still have the option of using their legacy on premise Java Client that allows you to work at the POP/IMAP level. In fact, it is much more comprehensive and is better equipped for error handling and notifications than the on-demand counterpart. This might be something that you can consider for your scenario. What is the best part? It is FREE as long as know how to set it up (which is not that difficult either).

      Reference: https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=setting_up_email-to-case.htm&language=en&type=0

  2. Greetings, my implementations have often relied o apps like cirrus insight and ebsta for email syncing effectively and as a means of targeting sfdc’s email limitations. I am definitely curious in knowing how thrive can resolve many issues with email to Salesforce such as mass emails, campaigns, record updates and more. But I am glad you brought up the issue because it’s something many sfdc users struggle with.

    1. Hi Medhanie, yes the alternatives you mention are well known but rely on an implementation in the front-end. We have some features specifically aimed at mass emails as well, so happy to have a discussion about this. Feel free to send me an email at vincent@thrive-email.com if you’d like to go into detail.

  3. I agree with you that email is the primary source of communication and the current models are lacing or expensive. I’d be interested in knowing more about your thrive project (but the link above wasn’t working when I clicked it.)

    1. Hi Dave, sorry to hear that the link wasn’t working for you. Feel free to just shoot me an email and I’d be happy to tell you more personally. (vincent@thrive-email.com)

  4. Thanks Ben, great article! Even after being told today to have a user utilize email or survey monkey to collect feedback from people Attending an event that our company will be conducting throughout the year. The mentality is find the quickest solution and don’t spend too much time on such a small request. The reality is, this was the perfect opportunity to develop a process for any of our other 600 users that may be in need of a solution that will be fast and allows them to gather the necessary data using sakesforce’s platform in creating a custom solution. Not to meeting, acquiring new leads for the company as a whole,

  5. Service Cloud solutions also need email features that are currently very limited and is a great pain for Customer when they find out. I agree that every touchpoint needs to be available inside Salesforce and linked together to offer business inteligente.

    I find there are many oficial options for sales such as Salesforce for Outlook, Salesforce IQ, Google apps for Salesforce… Service only has Email to case but it’s too limited.

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