Seamless Salesforce to Google Drive Connector [In-Depth Overview]
Maximize your company’s investment in both Salesforce and Google Drive by bringing your users’ collaborative documents directly to your Salesforce records!
- Relate files from Google Drive directly to Salesforce records.
- Leverage Salesforce data to generate Google Drive Documents.
- Standardize file and folder creation process.
- Drastically reduce manual work in both Salesforce and Google Drive.
Nowadays, most Salesforce customers are using files in Salesforce, while also leveraging an external solution such as Google Drive or Sharepoint – this is to avoid hitting those inevitable storage limits. Of course, there is always the option to purchase more storage in Salesforce, but it’s worth asking if this really the best option for your Google Drive user adoption?
Drive Connect is a product that aims to fill in the gap between two of the most powerful and widely-used solutions on today’s market: Salesforce and Google Drive. The functionalities Drive Connect brings into play are sure to keep your Salesforce records and files in sync; you’ll enjoy an easy guided setup, while not going over budget.
This in-depth overview will showcase the main features Drive Connect has to offer, ideal use cases, and setup effort, as well as how fast your users can (and will) adopt this new integration.
Drive Connect is here to make sure your users get the most out of Salesforce and Google Drive, while optimizing the time spent on both platforms.
As we go through the functionality, it might seem that there are a lot of components in the backend. However, Drive Connect is actually one of the smallest (number of components wise) managed packages I’ve seen, containing just the necessary powerful components to help both admins and users save time when dealing with documents in their day-to-day lives.
Drive Connect Lightning App
The first thing you’ll encounter will also be your gateway to the Drive Connect world, and that’s the Drive Connect Lightning App. Here are two main tabs we’ll dive into below: Template Builder and the Setup Page. Note that you’ll have to authenticate with Google first.
Lightning Web Component
After being added to one (or all) Record Page(s) for the custom or standard objects you want to link Google Drive assets to, the Drive Link Component is exactly what your users were waiting for!
Once logged in with Google directly on the component (with the right permissions assigned), users will be able to link their files and folders with far fewer clicks than before when it comes to downloading documents. They can then upload into Salesforce files every time they’re updated.
Bonus: Any user can hit the Feedback button and leave a comment to help the team behind Drive Connect further enhance the application.
Link and Upload
At each record’s level, these are the main actions which users will be expected to take to relate existing Documents and Folders to the actual Salesforce record. The Files and Folders uploaded are saved back to Salesforce as Content Version records – at no point is any of your data stored outside Salesforce or Google Drive.
Link Documents and Folders
These actions are certainly intuitive and do exactly what the name suggests – they link Folders and Documents directly from your drive to Salesforce. So if you have a doc, sheet, or even PDF file that should be displayed in Salesforce, here’s where you need to be:
Also, while you can only relate a File which already exists in your drive, the Folder Link action gives you the ability to either choose an existing one or create a new one directly from Salesforce. The folder’s destination is totally up to you, and can be chosen upon creation – no need to go in and move it around manually.
This one action will help ensure that there is no longer a need for any users to download a file from Google Drive locally before coming back to Salesforce to upload it.
As simple as it can get, the File Upload action allows users to import files directly from their computer into Google Drive from the Salesforce record they’re working on. In most cases, they can start collaborating on the file online while a direct link to the most updated version will be available in the Drive Link Component at the record’s level.
Generate Documents Using Templates
Located as a separate tab within the Drive Connect Lightning App, the Template Builder is the place where you can build, edit, and preview all templates. You can also use the Drive Links Component to generate files from (or within) a Flow to manage this step automatically.
Since we’re just getting started, let’s build a simple template from scratch. Say that we want to have a small checklist at Account level for Sales reps to go through before sending out Quotes to customers – the template can always be modified afterwards, so this will cover the basics.
When a template is created for the first time for an object – the Account in our case – Drive Connect automatically generates two folders: one for draft templates, and another for published ones.
Once opened, the Template Builder brings almost the entire functionality you see in a Google Doc, and more. Not only can you format and arrange the text how you wish, but you can also use mail merge syntax to retrieve fields from the Object you chose, as well as from its related records. Cool, right?
When all text has been inputted into the template, it can be previewed; just choose one record to test all of the record fields you used to ensure the information is correct before publishing the template to users. Depending on how many fields you referenced, the preview will take a few seconds to be processed and displayed.
From a complexity perspective, the sky is literally the limit when it comes to template customization. While this was a really simple example, any template needed by your Salesforce users can be done here, including Quotes (see example below) which will be sent out to customers.
As it may come in handy when you embark on your Drive Connect Template Builder journey, make sure you check out this video on how to add lookup merge fields to your templates to ensure all information will be exactly where it’s needed.
Automate Files and Folder Creation
One thing everyone using Google Drive has surely done a million times, is create folders and sub-folders to organize the documents we work with. What if this could be done automatically based on information from a Salesforce record?
The Drive Connect managed package includes a custom flow action (Automate Drive) to help you decide how files and folders should be organized related to your Salesforce records. These are then automatically created, ready for your users to start working on them.
Before jumping into the Flow, know that each object can have a Default Object Folder, which you can set in the Drive Connect Setup Page. Within the flow, a folder that gets created can only be set as the Default Record Folder.
For this example, let’s use the simple template we created above for the Sales team to complete before they start sending Quotes over to the customer. Starting with a Record-Triggered Flow for the Account Object, the below can be added with an Automated Drive Action.
Since the template was ready and it was just a matter of deciding how to structure the files related to the record, the Flow is completed in less than five minutes and can be activated.
Within one action, there can be multiple Drive Operations as well as child operations, each with a few different options to choose from. Check out the detailed walkthrough on how to leverage the Automated Drive action with the Record-triggered flow here.
Note: Prior to getting started with any automation, make sure the Marketplace Drive Connect App is installed in your Google Workspace and that the automated process user is set. More details on this can be found here.
As an additional sneak peek into the Drive Connect world, here are some functionalities the team is working on and aiming to deploy over the next few releases:
- When driving adoption of a new tool in your org, one significant area is certainly reporting. This year, the team behind Drive Connect is planning to expose the Drive Connect Event custom object within the managed package, along with custom fields ready to be reported on.
- The Document Generation capability will have quite a few upgrades (coming soon); it will support more complex merge queries, will include a template gallery (to make it easier for admins to get started), and it will also support direct PDF and MS Word generation directly from your Salesforce Org.
- Last but most definitely not least, the main Drive Links Lightning Web Component will support emailing linked files to ensure faster and smoother document handling – even outside of Salesforce and Google Drive.
Surely by now, you have quite a few potential use cases in mind relating to the Sales teams – anything from Quotes, to Contracts, to PPTs – but let’s touch on how Drive Connect can be used for other teams and even Customers or Partners.
The Drive Connect Link component works with every Standard or Custom object in a Salesforce instance. This means that it can be easily leveraged to link those Campaign related Files marketers work on (locally or in Google Drive) to their respective records in Salesforce.
For example, Child Campaign folders can be linked directly under one folder for the Parent Campaign, making it much easier for everyone with access to start collaborating in an instant!
Experience Cloud (Communities)
When talking about customers and partners, experience is key. Drive Connect actually built a Lightning Web Component (available in the Drive Connect Pro Extension package), which is sure to be a scalable option for Google Drive files to be shared in communities (Experience Cloud).
Taking security into account, Experience Cloud users will only be able to access records marked as ‘visible’, providing they also have document access in Google Drive. This provides you with an additional level of control.
After exploring the features that Drive Connect offers, the positive impact for your Salesforce org becomes obvious. What this app does best is ensure that you’re getting the most out of your Salesforce experience – Google Drive information is included exactly where the Sales, Support, or perhaps even Marketing teams are spending most of their time.
Similar to other managed packages that passed the Salesforce security review, Drive Connect can be installed either in a sandbox or a production environment from their AppExchange listing.
The overall setup has four main steps:
- Installing the Salesforce managed package.
- Installing the Marketplace App in your Google Workspace.
- Assigning permissions in both Salesforce and Google Drive.
- Adding the Drive Links Lightning Component to record pages.
While the above will surely cover the out-of-the-box functionality, you can always start building templates for your team to use and various flow automations to further reduce the manual work.
The Drive Connect team takes away some of the burden by allowing you to manage licenses and permissions in Salesforce without having to navigate the managed package (and every user). The necessary permission sets are also included in the package, so you can grant them according to users’ specific needs.
Even though comprehensive documentation can be found within the DriveConnect HelpCenter, in the eventuality that you require extra support, a request can be submitted directly from your Salesforce Org – from the Contact Support button at the bottom of the Drive Connect Setup page within the Drive Connect Lightning App.
When it comes to pricing, Drive Connect has adopted the most simple and transparent way there is to purchase licenses directly in-app. There is no need to discuss with a dedicated Sales team, and getting extra licenses for your users is as easy as getting a Netflix subscription.
At $16 per user per month, the entire functionality is included – there are no hidden costs, there’s no credit card required upon starting the trial, and the subscription can be canceled anytime.
All in all, Drive Connect is one of those managed packages that makes you wonder why you haven’t heard about them sooner. If your org is using Google Drive, this app will ensure users can make better use of their time (no more moving files between Salesforce and Google Drive), while admins can enjoy automating their experience using Salesforce native declarative tools.
Test out Drive Connect as part of a 14-day trial directly in your developer org or sandbox, and let us know which of the features you liked best.