Working excerpt from “Small Business Owners Playbook for Salesforce.com and Microsoft Office” Chapter 4 – Play SFDC Contacts and Leads – Get your Outlook Contact data in the Cloud via Salesforce.com and toolbars
So as I sit here writing for my book and listening to Rick Germanson, on the Owl Studio’s label (Thanks @jamiejams!) I was wondering how to explain my focus on the Outlook Inbox, and then it became quite simple. I have been using software and applications so long, I forgot that the basic communication point for people in an office used to be the “in box”. That is were memos where put, interoffice mail and mail delivered from external contacts delivered by courier services like the United States Postal Service. How quickly we forget about the basic physical box on our desktop that has been virtualized. Most people don’t even think about the outbox unless they send “delayed” email, so that physical box is all but forgotten.
So here is the excerpt:
Inbox Control Center and Dashboard
Microsoft Outlook is my “Inbox Control Center and Dashboard” to drive my communications with all my contacts. I find this business and application area to be target rich for generating effectiveness and efficiencies by the integration between Outlook and Salesforce.com. This may be because I am a Software Integration Architect but at that same time I think you will see that you have many other integrations with Outlook that will enhance and enrich the quality of data and insight you have and can acquire about your contacts. I am exploring additional toolbars to scan business cards, send documents for electronic signature and etc. Since the largest and hardest part of implementing any CRM like Salesforce is getting all your contacts and leads in one place, I focused on the ones that help you accomplish that task. This is even harder if you have an existing CRM like Act or Goldmine, coupled with the social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. The next hardest part is getting the contacts de-duplicated while managing all the Web and local content as well as networks and demographics connected to them. I will argue that the Small Business Owner’s single greatest asset is the relationships with people they have and manage.
It has been my experience that Outlook integrations, generally called toolbars or plug-ins, are normally huge time savers when it comes to not having to “retype” or by reducing the number of clicks to get a task accomplished concerning an activity from that communication you just received, are about to send or attend.
The below figure is my Microsoft Outlook 2007 Inbox with the key toolbars and plug-ins numerated to match the below sections that cover each toolbar or plug-in at a high level that I use.
- Microsoft Outlook Inbox – Inbox Control Center and Dashboard
- This is your main point of message integration with most tool bars, notice the LinkedIn info button below RE: on the far top right side in the image below
- You can get more information and download a free trial at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/default.aspx
- This is your main point of data integration with Salesforce.com and is bi-directional, free and works with all Salesforce.com editions including Group. This allows you to add a contact in Salesforce and it comes to outlook via sync. Want a contact in Outlook in Salesforce, mark it for sync and sync it. It will even let you know about conflicting data a let you resolve it. This works the same way for email and cases. So if a tweet can be an email, now it can be in salesforce without an app exchange app integration and it works with all versions.
- You can get more information and download the toolbar by logging in to your Salesforce.com instance and then going into setup. You will find the “Connect with Microsoft Outlook” menu item under the “Personal Setup” section as an option below the “Desktop Integration” menu item.
- This is your main point of contact integration with LinkedIn which is really a reference and invite tool for your Business Network at LinkedIn and is free.
This allows you to review contact information by pressing the button in the email header by the contacts name to get a popout window. It also allows you to quickly invite them if they are not in your network.My Favorite Features are the info button, grab feature to create a contact from highlighted email signature and Invite.
- You can get more information and download the LinkedIn toolbar at https://www.linkedin.com/static?key=outlook_toolbar_download
- The Gist icon in the Windows taskbar is your main point of integration with Outlook Contacts and Email.Gist is a cloud based aggregator of contacts from multiple data sources and aggregates web content for each contact. Gist is currently in Beta and Free. Gist is manually bidirectional with Outlook via the Export Contact feature from the Clould application. The sync from Outlook is only to Gist, so you have to export from Gist, which just happens to send the exported contact as a VCF via email to your inbox is very handy. From the Gist Cloud Application you connect all your contact data sources including those you can export to CSV formats, merge contact records and then export the final version back to Outlook via the export. Next you mark to sync that contact with the Salesforce toolbar, and walla – You have a contact with all his info from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn now in Salesforce.com as a contact. If you want that contact as a lead first, you export the contact as a CSV and import to Lead per the LinkedIn export walk thru.
Gist allows you to review contact information by pressing the button in the email header to the far left of the contacts name to get a popout window.
My favorite features are Stack Ranking your contacts by your importance, not just email volume like in Xobni, being able to print a dossier, and merging contacts. I also like the Tag feature for quickly listing only a certain group.
- You can get more information and download the Gist Plug-in after you setup an account when you connect Outlook at https://www.gist.com
- This is your main point of contact integration with Xobni which is a powerful reference and statistics tool for your contacts in Outlook. Xobni has a Free mode with additional features requiring a paid upgrade. This allows you to review contact information without pressing any buttons like you have to with the LinkedIn info or Gist buttons. My favorite feature is the Email Graph showing email activity times. I also like the networks and related content tabs to eliminate the need to search for attachments and email conversations.
- You can get more information and download the Xobni toolbar at https://www.Xobni.com
- This is your main point of contact integration with Twitter and is a great tool for getting and sending tweets just like email you do with email. Currently this toolbar is in Beta and is Free
I really like that it brings the Tweets into a sub-inbox by Twitter account and automaticlly adds a Direct Folder, Mentions Folder and the Home folder for all the Tweets from the people you are following. This allows Xobni to index them as well as allowing you to get deeper and richer content added to Salesforce.com without having to purchase a Salesforce App Exchange App which would leave Group Editions high and dry. This way you can just add the tweet to contact or case just like you add an email from the Salesforce.com Toolbar. My favorite feature is the ability to add Search folders just like you add search columns in other products like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to watch for keywords or twitter addresses of people of interest to you. This make it easy to keep up with competition on twitter and you can use Google alerts to do the same for Web Content.
- You can get more information and download Twinbox at https://www.techhit.com/TwInbox/twitter_plugin_outlook.html
- This is your main point of contact integration with Facebook and is a great tool for getting updates on requests and fiends status. You can update your status quickly from here as well. Currently this toolbar is in Alpha is Free
I really like that it brings the request and status updates into Outlook without me needing to open a browser to get my updates. I normally do all my updates via email to Ping.fm so I don’t normally use the update feature of the toolbar.
- You can get more information and download Fblook at https://www.techhit.com/FBLook/
- This is your main point of contact integration with Skype and is a great tool for voip communications; instant message, calling and screen sharing. You can call from your email quickly using the toolbar. Currently this toolbar is Free, as is Skype and require Skype and a Skype account. Like Gist and Goto Meeting you will have a icon in the Taskbar.
I really like that it brings the “Phone” and “IM” to my inbox where I work.
- You can get more information and download Skype at https://www.skype.com
- This is your main point of contact integration with Goto Meeting and is a great tool for conference calls, presentations, screen sharing and recording of the online meeting as a all in one video. You can schedule a conference call meeting quickly using the toolbar and it is sent as a regular Outlook calendar appointment to all the attendees with all the information needed for the call. Currently this toolbar is Free and is turned on by a preference setting in Goto Meeting options from the icon in the taskbar. Goto Meeting is a monthly subscription product and in my mind the best in breed product and worth every penny. The recording feature helps me refine my skills by reviewing as well as a life saving note taker as it is there to refer to after the meeting is finished.
I really like that it brings the conference call appointment setup and participation to my inbox where I work.
- You can get more information and download a trial for Goto Meeting at https://www.gotomeeting.com
So now that you have an overview of the Inbox Control Center and Dashboard, it makes since to talk about at a high level about making the authoritative contact data be in Outlook while still being synchronized to each respective service and network. Below is a the basic top down flow to get this accomplished.
- Install the toolbars above – Items #2,4 are required to de-duplicate contacts from other email systems and networks into one account and #3 &5-9 are efficiencies
- In Gist, connect to all of your networks, email providers and import all your non-listed sources as CSV files – See LinkedIn walkthrough latter in this chapter as an example of how to use create and use CSV files
- In Gist, Merge duplicate contacts from multiple sources into one, I would start with you active clients and leads first. You can tag and set stack ranking as you go through them
- In Gist, Export the de-duplicated contact – It will send the contact as a VCF via email to you
- In Outlook, open VCF in email and add to contacts. This will cause outlook to ask you to merge if there is already a contact by that name, and let you review the data first.
- In Outlook, open the new or updated contact and mark to sync with Salesforce using the Salesforce Tab on the contact. If it is a lead vs a contact, export the contact and import via the Import Leads option in Salesforce.com Setup
The next part of the chapter is a walk through of the step by step example of both a contact and a lead going thru the above process. I will also cover how to attached emails to contacts and cases.
This is the end of this excerpt.