What always seemed like an unceasing discussion on email and calendar integration, contacts and events syncing with Salesforce, and activity tracking, finally has a lasting resolution.
We have been testing out different options and have detailed some pros and cons below, as well as the product that we believe to be the best on the market right now. Before I tell you some of the wonders of Groove, let me expound on why we chose a third-party solution instead of an in-house tool.
Salesforce has had integration tools for years and the newer integration tools offered are actually quite adequate to a certain extent. Lightning Sync has been available for a few years, and Einstein Activity Capture (EAC) with Inbox is a relatively new addition to the lineup. But the question remains: Which one is right for your organization and do they address all your needs?
Let’s first understand Lighting sync and Einstein activity capture with/without Inbox, and some of their limitations:
Lightning Sync is a toolset already included with your Salesforce licenses and it keeps your contacts and events in sync between your email system (Exchange or G Suite) and Salesforce. There is no user interface for this tool and user calendars sync automatically in the background every 15 minutes. This is a nice lightweight feature offering simple syncing activity.
A few of the limitations:
- Lightning Sync doesn’t sync custom fields. However, Lightning Sync does consider email addresses saved as custom fields when looking for matching records between applications.
- Formula fields aren’t supported when setting filter conditions that contacts must meet to sync.
- Lightning Sync doesn't support contact or event matching with alias email addresses.
Einstein Activity Capture automatically logs events in addition to emails (incoming and outgoing). You can use Lightning for Outlook/Gmail or Inbox with Einstein Activity capture – just like Lightning Sync.
According to Salesforce, “With Einstein Activity Capture (EAC), emails and events that you send and receive are automatically added to the activity timeline of related account, contact, contract, lead, opportunity, and quote records. Plus, contacts and events are synced between the connected accounts and Salesforce.”
There are many positives of EAC, but here let’s focus on the drawbacks to determine why we don’t consider it the best possible tool for our clients.
The major limitation is that activities captured by EAC are not stored in Salesforce. Let that sink in for a second. Activities are housed in a secure server outside of Salesforce which presents a host of issues. Here are a few:
- If you migrate away from Einstein Activity Capture in the future and deactivate the service, all of the activities captured by Einstein Activity Capture are no longer displayed in Salesforce on record timelines. You essentially lose all this data.
- Activities cannot be reported on by standard Salesforce reports.
- Users cannot delete emails from Einstein Activity Capture. This must be performed by a System Administrator.
- Only 24 months of captured activity data is stored and displayed.
Given some of the limitations with the Salesforce tools above, we dug into some external options that would solve some of the key gaps we were looking to fill.
Without further ado let me introduce and talk about our new favorite ‘GROOVE’.
Groove is a leading sales engagement platform for enterprises using Salesforce. They are known for their speedy and quality customer service which we can attest to firsthand. Groove addresses most of the limitations posed by lighting sync and Einstein Activity Capture. It performs dozens of jobs, like syncing CRM with inbox, tracking email opens, acting as a work phone for incoming and outgoing calls, allowing for quick edits to CRM records, and much more. Groove has native Salesforce integration which makes the data flow and integration effortless.
What we love about Groove:
- Really unobtrusive UI and user-friendly interface that fits perfectly within Gmail's crowded interface.
- Groove automatically captures all email, calendar, meeting, and LinkedIn activity and logs it to Salesforce. Syncing is super smooth.
- Ability to view and edit Salesforce records without leaving the inbox. It also has an option to create a new lead, opportunity, and contact record right from the Groove Omnibar in Inbox.
- It provides an intuitive scheduler - send a customized booking link to customers where they can view your calendar availability and choose an open date/time that works for both parties to meet.
- You can track customer activity and see if they opened an email, read it, clicked on it, deleted it, or ignored it - really important when you’re negotiating by email, and especially useful to know when a customer is online to call them and close whatever we have to do together.
- Create multi-step campaigns and automated flows to engage contacts with personalized emails, SMS, LinkedIn messages, calls, and more.
- Tailored and personalized templates in different languages that can be adopted team-wide, allowing for strategic connection with our audience.
- A constant stream of updates and new features.
- Helpful chat support. On the few occasions when I struggled to find the right feature or faced some technical issues, I got the response with a fix/resolution within 10 mins or at the latest within 24 hrs.
We have been using groove for a while now and love how it has saved us time and increased productivity. The customer service and ease of collaborating with the Groove team have been trouble-free. It is a great tool in the market at the moment and we highly recommend it.