Prior to working at Avidian CRM I have used Salesforce.com for over 5 years in my previous employment. With my experiences, I can shed some light on the challenges I experienced using Salesforce.com and using the Salesforce.com Outlook Synchronization tool.
Salesforce and Outlook Synchronization
When the Salesforce.com Synchronization starts, it virtually disables Outlook so that you cannot be productive while it is running. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the process doesn’t already know which items have been added, modified, or deleted and so it must first compare all records every time it synchs to determine which records need to be synched. The fact that the synchronization process might stop periodically and ask you to resolve a conflict before continuing with the remainder of the synch. Because of these issues I have had to revise how often it synchs on my computer to only once or twice a day to minimize disruption, which means that my Outlook (and therefore mobile phone) items are not as up to date as they could be. In contrast to Salesforce.com, Prophet CRM is built inside of Outlook so it’s synchronization
In contrast to Salesforce.com, Prophet CRM is built inside of Outlook so it’s synchronization process runs in the background on a pre-defined schedule (every 15 minutes out of the box) as you continue to work in Outlook unhindered. It knows which records in CRM and Outlook have changed and so it only has to touch those records during the synchronization process, taking less time and system resources. It uses its built-in rules to resolve conflicts without having to ask what to do each time. The result is an unobtrusive synchronization process that keeps your Outlook and CRM data in synch and up to date.
Linking Emails to Contacts in Salesforce
In the Salesforce.com integration to Outlook, a user hits the ‘Send and Add’ button in order to send an email while relating that email to CRM. A form pops up with 4 tabs to fill out, the first of which is ‘Names’. In this tab, the form will automatically search for each recipient in the email and return their Salesforce.com contact record. So if you sent your email to 3 Salesforce.com contact recipients, all three recipients will appear in the form.
The form instructs to you select one (and only one) of the recipients to relate the email to in Salesforce.com. That’s right – even though you communicated with 3 people in your email, you will not be able to see that you communicated with 2 of those people by looking at their Salesforce.com Contact records. This is because you can only relate the email to one of the three recipients.
Contrast this to Prophet which is built into Outlook, these the email record is easily retrieved using Prophet’s quick search feature or looking it up through the Prophet Contact Manager.
Delay In Synching Items to Salesforce.com
When I want to associate an Outlook Appointment, Contact, or Task to Salesforce.com, I click on the ‘Mark for Sync’ button on the Salesforce.com Outlook toolbar. This button does just what it says; it marks the record for synchronization to Salesforce.com. It does not; however synchronize the item to Salesforce.com.
In order for me or anyone else to be able to see the item in Salesforce.com, I have to either manually run a sync job (which takes a long time to execute and renders Outlook virtually useless while it is running – or I have to wait for the scheduled sync process to run (which can only run once an hour at the most frequent and which I had to adjust to run less frequently so it wouldn’t render Outlook useless 8 times a day while it was running).
Now you may not think this is a big deal, but what if you just entered some contacts or an appointment in Outlook and marked them for sync, but the sync did not run before you quit Outlook, no one is going to know about those items in Salesforce.com until you open Outlook again and your sync process runs, after you get back from vacation.
Contrast this to Prophet which creates an actual Outlook Appointment, Contact, Task, and Email items when you click an Outlook button in Prophet. Because Prophet is built into Outlook, these Outlook items are easily retrieved using Prophet’s search feature.
Salesforce’s Interface can be Difficult for Different Situations
If I want to sync an Outlook email to Salesforce.com, I hit the ‘Send and Add’ button or the ‘Add Email’ button on the Salesforce.com button bar in Outlook. When I do, I get a dialogue box that I can use to indicate to whom, to what, and how the email should be associated in Salesforce.com
If I want to sync an Outlook Appointment, Contact, or Task to Salesforce.com, I hit the ‘Mark for Sync’ button and then the ‘Change Associations’ button. When I do, I get a dialogue box that has a different interface with different tabs and fields to do the same job.
If I am associating one of these items from within the Salesforce.com application (not from Outlook), I get yet another interface. Why the different interfaces when ultimately I am trying to do the same thing; associate an email, appointment, contact, or task with another Salesforce.com record? In my experience, it only confuses the user (me).
Contrast this to Prophet CRM which presents you with the same interface when associating any Outlook item to a record in Prophet. It is also the same interface that is used when you associate those items from within the Prophet CRM record. By keeping the interface consistent throughout the application, users know what to expect and user compliance is improved.
Prophet CRM’s True Integration in Outlook
When thinking about deploying a CRM system, it is important to consider the user interface that will be used to interact with the application. An unfamiliar or poor user interface can mean increased user training time, increased user process execution time, and user frustration (and I am speaking from experience here) all of which can result in low user adoption and a poor or failed CRM deployment.
While Salesforce.com provides a useful shortcut from Outlook to their CRM application, Prophet is built directly in Outlook and designed to take full advantage of and extend the robust and familiar user interface of Microsoft Outlook into a full CRM solution. This translates to reduced user training time, reduced user process execution time, increased user satisfaction, and increased user adoption resulting in a more successful CRM deployment. Contact us below to see if Prophet is a good fit for what you’re looking for.