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CRM and E-Mail Integration

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Sep 1, 2013 JJ Smal , (0)

Many, many CRM providers boast how their solution integrates with e-mail. And, by the letter of the law , they do. But elegant it is not. And expecting all users – if you are in the lucky position to be more than a one-man band – to actually use this email integration functionality is asking to much.But I’m rushing ahead of myself without explaining to you how email integration works in a majority of cases, how it should work in a minority of cases and how people are obsessed with email clients which are only really valid for personal use and not company use.
Lets have a closer look at this claim of email integration made by some: Forward, cc, or bcc an email to your “ADD YOUR OWN CRM HERE” dropbox address, and the email will be attached. On its own, nothing wrong with that, but lest’s consider: How are you – manager, owner – going to enforce this behavior? You are utterly dependent on the users themselves. Furthermore, yes, you see the email details in the CRM on the record, great, how about the other way around? Do you see the extended contact details from CRM in you email client? Highly unlikely. So, in my book, this is not email integration, but people will argue, and no harm there.
Others do have true integration, but all seem to have shortcomings and general ‘issues’. Take Zoho CRM and Nimble CRM for example. They both have a native email client which you can integrate with gmail – ie you are not leaving your CRM, but stay in one location and retrieving and sending your emails through the CRM’s email client. This is proper email integration in my book, one issue though – fairly big one: if a user leaves and you deletedsaid user, the emails no longer reside on the record, they are “gone”. All these CRM’s do is create a shortcut, and the emails are held on a different server – there is no copy of email being copied into the CRM database – thus minimizing data usage and hence space. So that doesn’t really work either.
GoldMine always worked well, you have a native email client, you pull in emails from wherever, and the emails link to the record. You can delete the user and the emails stayed. problem? Old email (CRM) interface, on-premise only and fairly expensive for what you get. They (GoldMine) did make a fairy nifty integration into Outlook – bypassing the need for the native email client and giving user their trusty outlook interface (aaaarfgh!) Salesforce did the same, except when you link emails you get the entire html as well in the crm when you open the email – duh!
Dynamics then, they are Microsoft etc….well, agaig because of integration into Outlook – which for all intense and purpose is a personal email client – it kinda works…nothing great and would expect better – especially since you are constantly flicking between different programs. And that is usually the killer for any CRM if there is no big stick – constant switching between different tools to get a complete picture. No wonder, most CRM implementations are a disaster – they can’t handle email proeprluy, and if they can, they are more than likely useless in some other aspect!

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