Salesforce For Outlook is Retiring: What You Need to Know about Salesforce Email Integrations

The Salesforce for Outlook integration has helped countless Salesforce users sync their email, contacts, tasks, and calendars between the two systems. However, come the Winter ’20 update, expected this December, Salesforce will officially retire this integration.

Salesforce for Outlook’s pending retirement should be a mild cause for concern for current users who rely on its functionality to streamline sales efforts and automate email data capture. The good news? There are several possible replacement solutions for Salesforce for Outlook. The not-so-good news? There are several possible replacement solutions for Salesforce for Outlook. 

Today, we will address those challenges to help you pinpoint the right email integration for your business. Whether you use Outlook or GSuite, Salesforce has some great out-of-the-box offerings that will help you integrate your systems. 

Next, we will look at some of the key considerations you need to analyze before choosing a 3rd party email integration service. 

Finally, we walk through the Salesforce for Outlook Integration and show you how to check and see if your integration is set to retire, and the steps you need to take now to plan an effective migration. 

The New Lightning for Outlook (Similar Package for G-Suite Customers)

The new Lightning for Outlook’s best feature is that it is free and already installed into your Salesforce instance. This new integration delivers many of the same features as Salesforce for Outlook. However, it takes things up a notch, offering a wide range of additional functionality. Using newer technology, Lightning for Outlook creates a direct sync between Outlook and Salesforce. The older Salesforce for Outlook required other software to be installed on a user’s machine.

For the techies out there, the old Salesforce for Outlook integration was an executable application (.exe) file that required you to download software to integrate between Salesforce and Outlook. This process is being replaced with a cloud-based application. 

The new outlook integration will still sync your emails on any device using Outlook without the need to install software, giving you the freedom to email anywhere on any device — a feature any on-the-go Salesforce user can appreciate.

The Lightning experience also allows your Salesforce Administrator to create customized layouts within Outlook so your team will always have the most pertinent information available to them, without having to log into Salesforce. Additionally, this update will sync your Salesforce email templates into Outlook, boosting efficiency and productivity.

Einstein Activity Capture

Einstein Activity Capture (EAC) is an AI activity logging assistant available for all organizations using an out-of-the-box Salesforce email integration (Outlook or Google). EAC provides several impressive features designed to launch productivity for Outlook users. Leveraging artificial intelligence, EAC syncs Outlook contacts and events with the Salesforce CRM and tags the correct contacts and accounts, making activity tracking a breeze. Email and event capture shows Outlook activities directly in the activity timeline of relevant Salesforce records, and are updated with any changes eliminating manual tracking. EAC also delivers more in-depth insight and context by offering Activity Metrics for data point analysis. 

Despite an impressive list of features, there are some potential drawbacks to Einstein Activity Capture, beginning with the fact it is only available to customers who use Salesforce Lightning. Also, business owners will be charged additional licensing fees if there are over 100 EAC users in your organization.

While EAC is a very smart and powerful tool, there are a few considerations that need to be looked at in more detail. Einstein Activity Capture stores captured data that lives outside of Salesforce. For some businesses, this may pose potential security concerns. If you work in a regulated industry, it is best to ask a Salesforce expert if this is the right solution for you. 

Additionally, EAC logged activities are not the same as a user’s logged activities. To prevent a storage nightmare down the road, all logged EAC activities are purged from the system after 90 days (paid users have a bit more flexibility over the timeline). So, it is important for users to still manually track their activity, especially when they need to log high-value interactions that should not be purged with the rest of the EAC data. 

Email Relaying

While not an official integration feature, the latest Salesforce update has solved Salesforce’s pesky email relaying problem. Before this update, emails sent through Salesforce looked to some email providers like spoofed emails causing the messages to be quarantined or directed to spam. Email spoofing is the forging of email headers to make messages appear as if they came from someone other than the original sender. Since all emails sent out of Salesforce were sent via Salesforce’s email servers, they needed to spoof their email to look like they were being sent from your sales reps. This practice was largely criticized by regulated industries that needed to track all email sent internally, and the delivery issues were causing major headaches for all businesses.

Email relaying allows you to use your company’s internal email systems to send an email out from Salesforce. This stores all of your sent emails locally and leverages your company’s IP address and email servers, helping with both compliance goals and deliverability. With the email relay configured, sent emails from Salesforce will now show up in your sent email folders, a feature we can all appreciate.

Considerations for a 3rd Party Email Integration Tools 

Not sure if Outlook Integration or Einstein Activity Capture are the right options for your business? There are other options to consider. The AppExchange has dozens of email integration tools that often come with additional features well beyond what Salesforce provides. However, when searching for a replacement product, it’s crucial to consider the following:

Research Replacement Options for the old Salesforce for Outlook

Pinpointing the right replacement option that suits your existing Salesforce environment and internal operational needs is challenging. It is essential to schedule a meeting internally with a cross-departmental team and develop a wish list. 

Rather than spin wheels and waste time, many sales professionals bring in an outsourced Salesforce consultancy to accelerate the selection process. An experienced Salesforce consulting team can help you quickly narrow down the list of options to designate a viable product before the pending December deadline. 

Verify Next-Generation Product Requirements

Once you’ve identified the right product, it is vital to review that integration and determine whether it is a long term, viable solution. Not all third-party services are created equal. All integrations should go beyond meeting your internal requirements and should have a well-rated support team. The Salesforce platform updates three times per year, so you should ensure your integration won’t be affected during those updates. 

Consider Internal Security Needs

Security considerations should also take top priority when installing a new solution into your Salesforce environments. For highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, e-commerce, and finance, you may be running enhanced encryption on your Salesforce data, so not all integrations may work for you. Nevertheless, not all 3rd party services are equipped to handle these stringent data security standards and should be carefully evaluated. 

Salesforce for Outlook Retirement: Are You Ready? 

The retirement of Salesforce for Outlook will not impact existing contacts, events, tasks, or data. However, once retired, data will no longer sync between the two systems using legacy technology. While updating to the new integration isn’t incredibly complicated, it is important to ping your IT team as soon as possible to avoid any crunch time headaches.

Determine if You are Using the old Salesforce for Outlook Integration.

Most sales leaders aren’t aware of exactly how much goes into a successful Salesforce integration, and that is okay. The best way to tell if you are using the old integration software is by looking at the user interface. 

The newer Lightning for Outlook will be a bit more modern, colorful, and have large icons on the screen. The old integration is much more plain and just feels a bit older. If you really can’t tell what version you are currently using, check with your IT department.

Assemble the Integration Migration Team

If you need to update your integration, you should assemble a team. Since the Lightning for Outlook program must be configured on the Microsoft and Salesforce side, you should meet with your Salesforce Admin and IT staff. Migration to the new Lightning for Outlook integration will require some configuration on both the Outlook and Salesforce side. 

If you are interested in the Einstein Activity Capture, determine the final license count by identifying all users who have logged into your Salesforce environment over the last six months that will be utilizing the feature.

Execute on Your Migration Plan

Developing a customized product rollout is critical to ensure a seamless transition to your new product. When selecting a Salesforce administrator to entrust with your project, it’s vital to source a provider with solid data migration and deduping experience to move forward without significant operational disruption. 

Contact Sadhana Consulting Today

Sadhana Consulting specializes in product integration and data migration. Contact our team of Salesforce consultants today to learn more about how we can help your business successfully navigate through a Salesforce for Outlook transition.