How to Choose the Best Inbox Integration for Salesforce

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1 How to Choose the Best Inbox Integration for Salesforce This guide is written for information technology specialists who are looking for ways to improve Salesforce productivity. Salesforce is one of the most innovative and fastest growing companies on the planet. Over the last fifteen years, they ve grown to become the leader in customer relationship management (CRM). They ve led the cloud revolution which has spread to with Google Apps for Business and Microsoft s Office 365, both of which allow for a business to do their entirely in the cloud. Both options, along with Salesforce pride themselves on being customizable and powerful systems that can drive profitability. As companies move both their work suites and CRM into the cloud, they are increasingly looking to integrate the two to improve employee productivity, increase the quality and quantity of business data, and streamline their workflows. However, the biggest reason that companies are looking to integrate the two is one of practicality: poor user productivity is the single biggest thing holding most Salesforce deployments back. And the biggest reason for poor user productivity is that it s an inefficient process for the vast majority of workers. Salesforce is a fantastic resource for managers, but acts as a time drain for sales and support workers. Simply put, sales and support workers live in their inboxes, so they re unwilling to put in the time and effort needed to learn and use a bulky CRM system on a daily basis. This guide will help users of Salesforce, and either Google Apps or Microsoft s clients (Office 365 or Outlook), figure out if a third party integration makes sense for their organizations, and, if so, how to differentiate between the various vendors providing this service. This paper will begin with an overview of the prevailing research on CRM adoption and its impact on businesses. This is followed by an overview of the options available to increase CRM adoption. Focusing on cloud based, software as a service solutions, this paper will then provide a checklist of relevant questions to ask in order to help differentiate between the top providers of third party Salesforce inbox integrations. Our objective is to help readers determine the best fit for their individual organizations. Problem of Salesforce Adoption How common is poor Salesforce adoption?

2 The statistics speak for themselves: Only 31 percent of companies reported user adoption of 90 percent (Accenture CSO Insights) A well known AMR study shows that 47 percent of companies reported serious challenges with user adoption that often put projects in jeopardy (AMR Research) Lack of user adoption is cited as the primary cause of 70 percent of failed CRM projects (Forrester Research) 50 percent of software functionality paid for and licensed by organizations is not actually used (Butler Group) What impact does poor Salesforce adoption have on an organization? Low Salesforce adoption is damaging to companies on multiple levels. It causes confusion, inaccurate business intelligence, and, a ton of lost value. Businesses may be able to get by without a fully functioning CRM, but there s a ton of lost potential value. That loss leaves room for the competition to take that potential revenue and profits for themselves. It s the classic story of a leaner, hungrier competitor coming in and disrupting a field. It s also just plain wasteful of money. In 2003 alone, it was estimated that over $1 billion was spent on software that companies weren t even using. Imagine that number today.that s why it s extremely important to increase that adoption rate. However, the true value comes from increasing it correctly. If a company was able to guarantee 100% Salesforce adoption tomorrow, then their workforce would be wasting a ton of time inputting data into a bulky and hard to use system. Employees only have so many hours in a day. While CRM adoption is important, many workers feel that they time they spend making sales calls, talking with clients, and working on deals is more important than time spent inputting data. And they have a point! Why should they use software that ruins their workflow? The real key to improving CRM adoption is to make it as efficient and painless as you want the rest of your business to be. Think of your employees as customers would you sell your Salesforce organization to them to use? What are the options for increasing Salesforce productivity? One of the challenges that companies face with increasing Salesforce productivity is figuring out what solution will work for getting their employees to input more data. There are a number of different ways that companies look to accomplish this.

3 The problem lies on trying too hard to improve the usage rate, but not actual productivity. In many cases, improving adoption can actually lose the company money in terms of employee time spent on data input rather than selling, supporting, or marketing a product. Here are some of the different options that companies have available for increasing adoption: 1. Gamification Gamification is a fast growing field in all sectors of business. Most commonly, businesses use gamification software to drive productivity in terms of things like number of calls made, number of support tickets handled, most leads converted, etc. It can be incredibly useful for an outbound sales team to have a friendly, competitive spirit. Gamification for Salesforce can have drawbacks, though. If you re rewarding the employees that do an inefficient process the most times in a day, then you re going to end up with a lot of wasted time. Your employees will focus on the wrong things! Hence, it s not really a solution for increasing Salesforce productivity. 2. Hiring more developers to make Salesforce easier Salesforce developers are in huge demand for businesses of all sizes. They make sure the backend of Salesforce is working right by coding and setting the organization up to the needed specifications. As such, average starting salary for a Salesforce developer can be north of $90,000 and much more for those with experience. Hiring a developer to focus solely on improving employee Salesforce productivity is therefore very cost inefficient, especially if you need more than one, which is the case for many large organizations. And you re still asking employees to learn a foreign system. 3. Training If you thought hiring a developer was expensive, think about how costly training sessions are. Learning Salesforce can be complex and time intensive. One or two hour training sessions won t cut it for a lot of employees. Training needs to be repeated and in depth if employees are going to remember it. Think about all the things that they could be doing other than learning an inefficient system with those hours. When you add in the cost of the trainers and the success rate of training programs in general, this too becomes a poor option. 4. Threats Believe it or not, this is one of the more common ways managers look to increase Salesforce productivity. It s also one of the worst and most ineffective ways to do things. Most companies aren t going to risk firing an otherwise effective sales, support, or marketing employee because they aren t reporting on enough customer information.

4 What s worse is that it still doesn t solve the inefficiency issue. If you successfully get your employees to input tons of data into Salesforce, then you may have just threatened them to be more inefficient! Simply put, this just isn t good for your company or your employees. 5. Integration with Every businessperson has an intimate relationship with their client, be it Gmail, Outlook, Exchange, Lotus Notes, or any other. It s where customers, support tickets, and new information comes in. When employees enter information from Salesforce, they often have to copy + paste the data from their . As such, it makes much more sense to have a deep integration solution inside their client, especially one that fits it snugly to the existing user interface. Using a CRM system in Gmail is a lot less scary and intimidating than going to a heavy and cumbersome database site. Conclusion We think integration is therefore the most used and recommended system for increasing the ROI of Salesforce. The popularity of an integration is driven by many of the same factors that led organizations to implement Salesforce in the first place it s simply more efficient to do it in a familiar place to your employees. Compared with the other options listed above, integration offers several key advantages: The upfront cost is zero almost all integration providers offer a trial period. You can test drive the product before investing any money. Implementation can be done quickly and effectively. It costs far less than spending money on developers, training, or inefficient gamification software. Upgrading to new software releases is effortless the SaaS (Software as a Service) model allows for new features to be added all the time. Data can be accessed and managed from virtually anywhere especially with companies that have a fully compatible and featured mobile app. SaaS offers the ease of scalability to growing organizations. There is an entire team of developers and specialized IT professionals working every day with a single minded focus making that one application the best it can be. Essential Features of an Inbox Salesforce Integration All the leading Salesforce + Inbox integrations are characterized by these main features: Saving s to Salesforce There should be a dedicated system that allows you to save s to contacts, accounts, leads, opportunities, and more.

5 Editing of records contacts, leads, opportunities and more should be able to edited from your inbox. New record creation You can create contacts, leads, opportunities, and more right from the inbox. tracking You can track who opens your s whenever and wherever they do it. Mobile You can update Salesforce and use the integrator while on the go Security The company should pass the Salesforce security review Reliability Durability and availability of service ratings in excess of 99% SaaS Requiring no purchase or maintenance of software Pricing A free trial period with fees charged per user account thereafter SLA Reasonable service level agreements ensuring high level of continued support How can I assess the differences between various integrations? If you take a look at the most popular Salesforce + Inbox integration solutions out there, you ll find that they share many common features. All provide the ability to look at certain Salesforce information from your inbox. All of them offer data security and a free trial period, are implemented as SaaS, and have similar terms of use. However, beyond that, the services vary considerably in terms of ease of use, data management features, and the product vision that guides development moving forward. These differences can be hard to spot. A lot of companies offer Salesforce integration in Gmail, but only a few offer anything close to a deep integration. The field for Outlook and Office 365 integration is narrower, but can still cause difficulty when selecting the best solution. For that reason, we have included a concise list of questions (below) to help you differentiate between offers as well as determine which may best suit your organization s needs. Before committing to a Salesforce + Inbox integration, it is recommended that you test out the product take advantage of the trial period. During that time, be sure to compare services in terms of these core features: Saving s to Salesforce tracking Salesforce templates inside the inbox A fully featured mobile app Salesforce + Google/Outlook Calendar sync Salesforce + Google/Outlook Contacts sync Automatic surfacing of contextual Salesforce information Integration with other Salesforce apps Support for custom objects and fields Support for dependent picklists and related lists

6 These are the ten areas where you are likely to find the most variability from service to service. Beyond these functional comparisons, explore the following areas in more depth to ensure an integration provider is best suited for your organization today and well into the future. Evaluating the marketplace 1. Can you save s to Salesforce? a. Making sure that you have a complete record of all the communication between your organization and your clients is critical. Despite this, some Salesforce/Inbox integrations rely only on Salesforce s native BCC to Salesforce feature. This means you can t save s against opportunities, accounts, and more. It s definitely a best practice to have full connection as a main feature of an app. 2. Does it offer tracking? a. Can you see the who, where, and when of your outbound s? Some providers offer this feature so that you can see who is opening your s wherever and whenever they do it. This is especially useful if it s combinable with using templates so you can have hard data about which techniques are the most effective for your organization. 3. Does it have a mobile app? a. Salespeople use their phone to check around 40x a day, on average! That s a crazy number, but it s true. Hence, a fully functioning mobile app that allows you to have deep Salesforce integration with your mobile inbox will ensure that your employees will never miss an option to add data to Salesforce. Be sure to look hard at each company s mobile option and see which ones actually have DEEP integration. 4. Does it allow for Salesforce templates inside your inbox? a. This is why the leading Salesforce + Inbox companies emphasize productivity over adoption. At it s heart, the best productivity will drive Salesforce adoption. Having Salesforce templates that automatically pull relevant Salesforce information into an is critical for saving tons of time. If the company offers tracking, too, then you can see exactly which messages are having the most effectiveness. This will help you make the very best templates for your organization. 5. Does it offer calendar sync? a. Both Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar are two of the most user friendly calendar programs around. But Salesforce allows for more data management and for a better record of what your employees do. The best Inbox + Salesforce integrations out there offer this as part of their integration package. That way, users can access their Salesforce calendars in a simpler and better interface no matter where they are. Assessing the provider 1. Does the provider specialize in serving the needs of business?

7 a. The needs of individual users and small companies can vary considerably from those of the enterprise. Is the service designed for individuals and small businesses? Does it focus exclusively on the needs of medium to large organizations? Is it a generalist that serves all types of users? Obviously, the best choice is a service that specializes in your organization s specific needs. Make sure that the service you select focuses on organizations of your size. They should be able to offer use cases, customer success stories, and examples of how they ll help you increase your Salesforce productivity. 2. Do they have a track record of providing secure service? a. In the age of cloud based systems and customers being ever more aware of privacy and security issues, it s vital to use companies that have a history of delivering 100% secure services. Make sure to look at what customers they have and whether they re listed on the Salesforce AppExchange. All companies listed on the AppExchange have to go through an intensive and notoriously difficult security review before they re allowed to list their product. 3. Does this provider offer any other cloud based services? a. Try and get a sense at how well the company knows the cloud industry concerning Salesforce, Google and Microsoft. See how many deep integrations they offer. See if they have a fully featured mobile app. Check their expertise by comparing the information they give out about Salesforce, Google or Microsoft, and business in general to see if they make sense and give a good overview of the industry. 4. What is the provider s development plan for the platform? a. How often does the provider come out with new services? Are they resting on what they ve done or are they working hard to make their product better? See what they ve come out with recently and ask them what they have planned. A good provider will view their service as both a service and a platform. They should have integrations with other apps and constantly striving to make their product better. With a SaaS model, this means that you ll continually be at the forefront of the marketplace. How future proof is the Salesforce + Inbox integration? The inbox will never go away. is the single most important communication method for businesses, and it ll stay that way for the long term future. However, the location of the inbox may change. More and more, salespeople are turning to smartphones and tablets to get their work done. As such, it s never been more important to have a Salesforce + Inbox integration that has a fully featured and supported mobile app. This will ensure that your employees get the best service even as they transition to being more mobile than ever before. And it s likely that they will. The stats are pretty staggering. Consider that: Worldwide mobile users are expected to double from 897 million to 1.7 billion by % of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying ipads for enterprise use. 70% of s are first read on mobile devices. Mobile CRM increases average sales rates by 20%

8 Summary Cloud based business software is going to increasingly become integrated into the day to day operations of many organizations over the next several years. Salesforce is the current leader in enterprise customer relationship management software and is projected to take over more and more of the market share with each passing year. Despite this dominance, Salesforce still suffers from the same problem endemic with all CRM solutions: a lack of user adoption. The number one reason for poor CRM adoption is that employees rightly recognize that it reduces their productivity. Learning a cumbersome system and entering data inefficiently numerous times a day can add up to a lot of wasted employee time. Hence, more and more companies are pursuing ways to improve Salesforce adoption by improving the efficiency with which Salesforce works. The most effective ways companies can do this is by integrating Salesforce in their client, for two big reasons. Simply put, the first reason is that sales, support, and marketing employees live in the inbox. It s where they communicate with customers, so their CRM ought to be right there. For two, all this time spent in the inbox means that employees of all technical skill levels become familiar with both the user interface and the general order of the inbox. As such, their CRM should be right there for practical purposes, too it s less threatening. More than anything else, Salesforce + integration has been proven to be the best solution for issues with Salesforce productivity. Other solutions are either cost prohibitive, focused on adoption rather than productivity, or infeasible. Ultimately, the best Salesforce + integration for an organization will be the one that best suits its needs today and can develop in line with its future requirements. This document has outlined several of the variables that can distinguish one provider from the other. These differences are summarized in a discussion and included in an assessment worksheet. Using these tools can save time and will increase the likelihood of selecting the service best suited for your particular organization s needs. About Cirrus Insight Cirrus Insight is the #1 app for integrating Salesforce with Gmail and Google Apps, Outlook, or Office 365. Users can create and manage leads, contacts, tasks, cases and opportunities right from where the inbox where they work. With Cirrus Insight, users can streamline workflow, boost productivity and sell smarter. Launched in 2011, Cirrus Insight is based in Laguna Hills, CA. For more information, visit For information on our ios app, visit https://www.cirrusinsight.com/mobile/. And for information on our Salesforce + Google Drive integration, visit

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