Implementing a Salesforce Outlook plugin can make your sales team more efficient and effective. Here are eight reasons why:

  • Versatility
  • It saves time
  • Fewer errors
  • Less missing data
  • Data confidence
  • One screen for Salesforce and Outlook
  • Easy to install
  • Works in the background

Every sales team wants to be more efficient, to save time on admin so they can spend it serving their customers. If you use Salesforce as your CRM and Microsoft Outlook as your email application, there could be a way to save time right in front of your eyes. Rather than spend time delving into your Outlook emails for customer data, then manually entering it into your Salesforce, a Salesforce Outlook plugin could automate this transfer of information for you. 

There are several Salesforce Outlook plugins available. The most popular was Salesforce for Outlook, Salesforce’s official application. However, at the end of 2018, Salesforce announced this product would longer be available for new users, nor would it be updated for existing users. Companies who want to take advantage of its functions would have to try alternative solutions.

The advantages that a Salesforce Outlook plugin can bring still make it a worthwhile investment for your organization. Here are 9 great reasons why you need a Salesforce Outlook plugin.

1 – Versatility

Your Salesforce Outlook plugin can perform a variety of tasks, all designed to make the admin side of your business run more efficiently. The original Salesforce for Outlook app offered three main functions.

  • Locate and connect relevant salesforce data within Outlook
  • Access Salesforce functions without leaving your Outlook screen
  • Sync contacts and events between Salesforce and Outlook

Other Salesforce Outlook plugins offer more advanced functionality, such as the ability to work with Custom Objects in Salesforce, track email responses and set follow-up reminders.

The ability to access useful Salesforce functions while remaining in your Outlook app is a real time-saver for your team. It means you can perform tasks such as:

  • Create Salesforce records, such as leads, opportunities or accounts
  • Add email information or calendar meetings to your Salesforce contacts
  • Search your Salesforce records

without having to leave your Outlook. 

2 – It saves time

It is rare to find a sales rep who actually enjoys admin. They would much rather be serving their customers, bringing in revenue and hitting their targets. So, anything that can speed up these admin tasks can only be a good thing. 

There are certain areas where the functions of Salesforce and Outlook overlap. These include:

  • Tracking contacts
  • Scheduling meetings and events
  • Keeping track of conversations that affect deals (initiated via email but tracked in Salesforce)

Typically, a rep would have to enter information into both Salesforce and Outlook, or manually transfer data between the two apps themselves. With a Salesforce Outlook plugin, this is taken care of. Information is automatically synced, matched and moved to the right place. That means there is no duplication of work. The rep enters the information in once. Then, the plugin does the rest.

Your reps gain more valuable time to spend with customers.

3 – Fewer errors

Reps are busy, facing significant challenges to their time and bandwidth in their work. Plus, we know they tend not to prioritize admin. It’s no wonder that when it comes to admin tasks, such as entering data into Salesforce, they might rush things. What happens when you rush things? Mistakes. 

You need your CRM data to be as accurate as possible. Reasons include:

  • Having as much information about your customers as possible
  • Knowledge of where you stand against target at any given time
  • Being able to share information across departments and locations in your company

If a rep has to enter a piece of information into the computer twice, once for Salesforce and once for Outlook, it doubles the chance of them making a mistake. With a Salesforce Outlook plugin, they only have to get it right once. That means fewer errors.

4 – Less missing data

As well as performing admin tasks as quickly as possible, busy sales reps will also do the bare minimum. When it comes to entering data into Salesforce, it means they will fill in as few fields as they can. However, when there is information missing in Salesforce, it means the reps and the rest of the team may not have all the information they need on their customers and deals. It means opportunities can slip through the cracks.

In theory, a rep should be updating relevant part of Salesforce after every touch with a customer. With a Salesforce Outlook plugin, the automation will make sure this happens with accuracy and reliability.

5 – Data confidence

Even minor errors when entering data into Outlook or Salesforce can cause significant problems, whether it’s a misplaced dot in an email address or more seriously, misplaced figures when reporting numbers. You need to have the utmost confidence in the data you hold in your CRM, for purposes such as:

  • Reporting revenue figures to the Executive Team
  • Forecasting revenues for the future
  • Billing, budgeting and credit control

When you rely on human beings, especially sales reps who are under constant pressure, to perform data entry tasks, you create an environment where mistakes happen. Anything that reduces the amount of human input, such as a Salesforce Outlook plugin, is an excellent idea. When you combine this with saving time, reducing errors and eliminating missing data, you can see that a Salesforce Outlook plugin can significantly boost the quality of your data.

To find out more about the benefits of Salesforce for Outlook, click here to read the Benefits chapter of our Salesforce for Outlook: Complete Guide.

6 – One screen for Salesforce and Outlook

One of the main benefits for people who use Salesforce Outlook plugins every day is the ability to see Salesforce data while remaining in your Outlook app. It makes it so much quicker and easier to find the information you need to help you sell. There is no more flicking between two screens to find the relevant data.

For example, with the original Salesforce for Outlook app, there is the Salesforce sidebar where you can search through Salesforce, assign relevant Outlook data to contacts and more. Other Salesforce Outlook plugins have their own ways of presenting data and making life easier for users.

7 – Easy to install 

Installing your Salesforce Outlook plugin is simple. It can be done in a matter of minutes, as long as your system fits the installation requirements. Once you have downloaded the installer file, you will be asked to choose which items to sync. You can choose to sync from Salesforce to Outlook and Outlook to Salesforce, but depending on your setup, you may want your data to only travel in one direction.

Another useful option with Salesforce Outlook plugins is to separate your private emails from the syncing process. After all, you don’t need an email from your partner asking you to buy some bread to show up in your Salesforce! However, with some of the more advanced Salesforce Outlook plugins, you don’t need to do this. Your plugin uses intelligence to know which emails need to be transferred into your CRM and which do not.

Once your Salesforce Outlook plugin has performed an initial sync of your info, it will be ready to use. 

8 – It works in the background

Once your Salesforce Outlook plugin is installed, if you wish, you can set it and forget it. It works behind your Salesforce and Outlook screens, automatically transferring information between the two apps. With Salesforce for Outlook, the default time for automatic syncing is ten minutes for events and tasks, and every hour for contacts. If you don’t use either Salesforce or Outlook for half an hour or more, the frequency of syncing will reduce. 

Of course, everything automatic can also be done manually. You can execute sync manually, or manipulate individual items, such as creating a new record in Salesforce from Outlook information.

Most of the time, however, your Salesforce Outlook plugin will silently work for you in the cloud, intelligently analysing your emails and making sure every piece of information you might need is in your Salesforce CRM.

Find the Salesforce Outlook plugin that works for you

Since Salesforce ended support for the original Salesforce for Outlook app in late 2018, organizations face a choice. Existing users are still able to use it. However, it’s not advisable. This is because the lack of updates may cause a risk to security, allowing in viruses and malware. 

Luckily, there are a wealth of available alternatives, offering you all the features and benefits that the original Salesforce for Outlook app did and more.

FunnelFox provides an alternative solution to keep your CRM data up-to-date by connecting directly to your email account through the cloud. This means no manual work at all is required to sync your data. FunnelFox also ensures no data slips through the cracks.

Click here to access our Complete Guide to Salesforce for Outlook.