Many people who are considering a switch from GoldMine to a cloud-based CRM solution for their organization are disappointed to find that the popular, cloud-based CRM systems do not have a built-in email client that’s similar to the GoldMine email client.
Even though GoldMine’s built-in email client has its share of drawbacks, GoldMine users who have been using GoldMine’s email client have become accustomed to the fact that every sent and received email is automatically attached to its matching Contact record. Contact management and email management are a tightly coupled experience for GoldMine Users who use the built-in email client.
Solutions for Former GoldMine Email Client Users
There are a variety of email integration solutions available to organizations that move from GoldMine to a CRM system. Here are some of the options.
The Outlook Plugin
The most common way for CRM vendors to couple their CRM solution with email is to provide integration with Microsoft Outlook, which is, of course, the most popular business email client. This integration is accomplished by way of installing a software component – an Outlook plugin or add-in.
However, companies for which a majority of staff are using GoldMine as an email client may not currently have deployed Outlook or Microsoft’s popular email server, Exchange Server. These companies may have simply been connecting GoldMine users to POP3/SMTP email accounts that are provided by their company’s internet service provider (ISP).
Different from GoldMine email, the Outlook plugin does not automatically attach inbound and outbound email to CRM records. Users have to proactively attach emails by clicking a special button on sends and by highlighting inbound emails and also clicking a button.
Cloud to Cloud to Browser Email Integration
For a more seamless transition with respect to email integration, there’s a solution that GoldMine users who are switching to Salesforce, in particular, may want to consider. This solution does not require Exchange Server, it does not require Outlook and it does not require a software installation in the traditional sense. In addition, it is not operating system dependent, so it works on Windows 8, OS X and Linux in the same way that it works on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
This solution begins with a company switching its email service provider from the current, ISP-provided POP3/SMTP service to Google Apps for Business. From a technical switchover perspective, once the user Gmail accounts are set up, the company’s domain’s MX record — or records in the case of multiple domains — simply needs to be repointed point to Google’s mail servers.
While Google Apps does support locally installed email clients, many Google Apps users prefer to use the Gmail Web interface as their primary email interface on their desktop or laptop computers. For the combination of Salesforce and the Gmail web interface, Cirrus Insight provides a comprehensive integration between the two. Installation is a simple browser plugin for Chrome or FireFox.
As with an Outlook plugin, Cirrus Insight’s integration with Salesforce is not as seamless as GoldMine’s built-in email client on the inbound email side. Users must proactively select a message or messages in their inbox and then click a button in order to associate the messages with CRM contacts and/or other records. On the outbound side, if a user clicks the standard Gmail Send button, the email will not attach to a Salesforce record.
The Cirrus Insight integration does provide an important feature that GoldMine email client users are accustomed to – the ability to quickly add a new record from an inbound email. Cirrus Insight also displays detailed CRM information, within an email, as shown in the above image. Users can also search for a Lead or a Contact right from within Gmail.
Cloud to Cloud Solutions
In the Salesforce world, there is class of solution, which while coming at a cost, provide seamless and automatic attaching of all inbound and outbound email. These solutions include iHance, which is $10 per user per month and MatchMyEmail, which is $14.95 per user per month. These solutions are also email server agnostic and email client agnostic.
A Native Email Client Solution
For former GoldMine users who want a built-in email client solution in Salesforce, there’s a free app called VCS Smart Email. This solution involves routing a user’s email address to a unique, Salesforce email service address. Inbound and outbound emails can be automatically tied to Contact, Account and Task records and manually bound to records in other objects, such as Cases and Opportunities.
While VCS Smart Email does not have all the functionality of Outlook or Gmail, it is fully native to Salesforce and it provides some capabilities that are not available in external email clients.
It’s likely that CRM vendors in general will gravitate more toward offering back end and/or server side solutions for email integration in order to support the variety of email clients used in an increasingly BYOD world.