Understanding Salesforce Email Integration

by Martin Gessner

Do you ever get confused about all of the different options available for working with email and Salesforce? I do, and so we created a one pager overview diagram. It is broken up by use case or scenario.

Get the Email Integration Options PDF


  Gmail / Outlook

If you use Outlook or Gmail for your email, you have a few options. To start with, there is Outlook Integration (formerly known as Lightning for Outlook) / Gmail Integration or Outlook / Gmail Integration with Inbox. We have also included Salesforce for Outlook, even though it is no longer available for new orgs, it was the original method for integrating Outlook and Salesforce and is still in use extensively today. These are the basic tools that are used in your client email application to view matching Salesforce records and relate emails and events to those records. You can extend this functionality with Inbox, which is a paid feature and this will add features such as relating emails to custom objects, schedule emails and track emails.

In addition to the client integration options, there are also the options of adding in background syncing using Lightning Sync or Einstein Activity Capture. These options are very similar as they sync contacts and events in the background at the server level. The main difference is that Einstein Activity Capture will automatically relate emails sent to the related account, contact, contract, lead, opportunity or quote records. Einstein Activity Capture is an additional cost.

"These are the basic tools that are used in your client email application to view matching Salesforce records and relate emails and events to those records. You can extend this functionality with Inbox, which is a paid feature and this will add features such as relating emails to custom objects, schedule emails and track emails."

  Emails from Salesforce

The next category is sending emails from Salesforce. There are 3 options to choose from when determining how the email is sent. It can be sent using Salesforce email servers ‘Send Through Salesforce’, using gmail or office 365 accounts ‘Send through Gmail or Office 365’ or using a company SMTP mail server ‘Send Email Through Email Relay’.

After the option of how to send the emails has been selected and configured, emails can be sent from the user interface, through automation tools or programmatically using APEX.

In Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience, emails can be sent from standard objects such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads and from custom objects. It is also possible to send individual copies of emails to a group of people - this is called ‘Mass Email’ in Salesforce Classic and ‘List Emails’ in Lightning Experience. Emails can be sent to Campaign Members, however email limits apply and this is not designed to replace a marketing automation solution.

The automation tools can be configured to send emails. Workflow rules can be configured to send email alerts, emails can also be sent from a process and from a flow. If custom logic is required APEX can be used to send emails either to an individual or a group of users programmatically.

"In Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience, emails can be sent from standard objects such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads and from custom objects. It is also possible to send individual copies of emails to a group of people."

  Mobile

To work with emails on a mobile device, Inbox for iOS and Andriod, a paid feature, can be used. This adds the ability to log emails to Salesforce records and custom objects, create Salesforce records and tasks and track and schedule emails.

  Emails to Salesforce

The last category includes the options for processing emails into Salesforce. A simple way to relate emails to Salesforce records is to use ‘Email to Salesforce’ which works by entering a special Salesforce generated email address in the bcc field of emails sent. This will automatically relate the email to a lead, contact, opportunity or other specific record. In order to relate an email to a specific record, the record ID can be added in the subject line or body of the email.

Emails sent by customers to specific support email addresses can be processed by Salesforce and turned into case records. There are two versions of email-to-case, On Demand Email to Case and Email to Case. The difference depends on the business case, the maximum number of emails that can be converted, the email size limits and if the email traffic should be kept inside the company network firewall.

In case custom logic is required to process incoming emails, an Email Handler can be used. An email handler will ‘listen’ for incoming emails from a specific address. It can then use custom logic to create or update records based on the information in the email.

"Emails sent by customers to specific support email addresses can be processed by Salesforce and turned into case records. "

We hope this solves the complication of the different email integration solutions, for you. Go ahead and test to see which one best fits your requirements. You can download our one pager here.

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