Salesforce today announced the availability of SalesforceIQ Inbox for Outlook, an add-in for the Microsoft Outlook web-based email service that integrates with Salesforce’s Sales Cloud customer-relationship management (CRM) software and adds smart features such as automated responses.
The introduction of the feature follows Salesforce’s launch of a SalesforceIQ Chrome extension for Gmail. And today’s launch also comes after multiple partnerships have been established between Microsoft and Salesforce, even though the two companies compete in the CRM business.
“Four hundred million people are on Outlook,” said Adam Evans, a cofounder of RelateIQ (which Salesforce acquired in 2014 and which formed the basis of SalesforceIQ), in an interview with VentureBeat this week. “It matters because it’s the most popular email client. The idea is that there’s a huge intersection with our current customer base.”
The new tool is meant to simplify life for salespeople, eliminating the need to constantly switch between email and Salesforce. The Gmail feature has been useful for smaller businesses, and Outlook is probably more common in larger companies. Having products for different company sizes is important, because CRM is the pillar of Salesforce’s business, and enhancements will help protect it against competitors.
When someone is reading an incoming email, the new tool provides information from social networks and any records available from the Sales Cloud. The tool can suggest accounts to add information to or register new accounts, with certain fields prepopulated.
When someone is replying to a message, the tool suggests contacts to loop in, offers prewritten templates that can be pasted into the body of the email with a click (admins can adjust exact wording), and includes calendar information that makes it easy to select times when users are free. When someone receives a message, the calendar widget will only show the times that are still available, which are updated to reflect any new commitments the sender has confirmed during the time since the message was sent.
SalesforceIQ Inbox for Outlook also includes read receipts and email views with information on where the email can be viewed.
The new tool costs $25 per user per month, according to a statement. Support for the Outlook desktop app will be added later.