I recently tested an Outlook CRM integration application from the AppExchange called LinkPoint Vue made by LinkPoint360 whose mission is “to make CRM easy.” The AppExchange is Salesforce.com’s application marketplace and is similar to the Google Apps Marketplace or the applications section on Apple’s iTunes store.
Since LinkPoint Vue is a local program that installs on your computer, instead of in Salesforce as an installed package, it is available for Group, Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited, Force.com, and Developer editions of Salesforce.com.
The first thing I noticed was that it supports Microsoft Outlook 2010. Salesforce does not yet support Outlook 2010 so LinkPoint Vue is a nice way to provide immediate support for Microsoft Outlook 2010.
LinkPoint’s pricing is competitive at $29.95 per user and they have better pricing tiers when you increase users. Most apps on the Salesforce AppExchange have a per month fee whereas this is a flat fee that you pay once.
So, you might ask, why would I pay for an application that does some of what the Salesforce Connect for Outlook does for free? Well, there are quite a few differences between the Salesforce Connect for Outlook and LinkPoint Vue. Let’s go into some of these:
First off, Connect for Outlook uses toolbar buttons to view and associate records with Salesforce whereas Vue has its own viewing pane in Outlook (a new column between your inbox and the reading pane). The Vue viewing pane has tabs so when you select an email, it uses the address and pulls any associated record from Salesforce. This allows you to see the contact and account record, any associated tasks, events, notes, emails, opportunities, and cases in real time. No need to open a new window and chase down a record.
One drawback to the extra viewing pane is that it uses valuable screen space. This is not really an issue on my 17” flat screen or my 21” wide screen but on my old 17” CRT at 1024 X 768, it makes things a little cramped. LinkPoint thought of this and included a couple of buttons that allow you to minimize or close the viewing pane when you are not using it.
[button type=”success” size=”lg” link=”http://info.StarrData.com/l/43882/2014-10-16/yjh9″]Read our 3 Tips for Setting up Salesforce for Outlook![/button]
With Salesforce’s Connect for Microsoft Outlook, you are essentially storing your contacts in two places, Salesforce and Outlook. Then when you make a change in one or the other, you have to sync Outlook to register the change in the other system. Since LinkPoint works in real time, there is no need to sync. It updates itself each time you select an email with the relevant information.
By using both the Connect for Outlook, and LinkPoint Vue together, I was able to sync all my contacts from Salesforce with Connect for Outlook and then use Vue for all other operations. This way, I only have to sync about once a month or so which should speed me up quite a bit.
Connect for Outlook allows you to associate an email with not only the contact, but with most standard objects in Salesforce as well. The drawback is that if you want to associate the email to more than one person, or to an opportunity and a case, you have to go through the association process again and again for each additional person and object. LinkPoint, on the other hand, allows you to associate that email to multiple related records (account, opportunity, or case) at one time. It also offers suggested records based on the To, From, CC, and Subject lines. You also have the option to search for other records.
How many times have you gotten an email from a new acquaintance and then had to copy and paste their signature information into a new Outlook contact? Yea, me too! LinkPoint has a feature that allows you to drag and drop the signature to create a new contact or lead right in Salesforce. It even does a good job of mapping the fields. Since there is no standard signature, it may miss a bit in the mapping but I would rather change a few fields then do it all manually! This would be a great addition to any CRM system and nice enhancement to Salesforce.
If you are a Salesforce user and have taken advantage of the Documents library, then you probably have quite a few files in there that you email out on occasion. To do this from Microsoft Outlook, you first have to go into Salesforce, then find, view, and download the file. Then you can attach it to your email in Outlook from where you saved it in your computer (if you can remember where you saved it, of course). Way too many steps! LinkPoint allows you to directly access any document you have permission to view. Select it and attach it to the email right in Outlook.
So far, we have just covered the standard features of both products. Let’s take a look at the right click options.
When using Connect for Outlook, the right click options are exactly the same as the toolbar buttons. I guess this could be useful if you do not want to move your mouse up to the top of the screen to press a toolbar button but that is about it.
LinkPoint gives you all sorts of options when you right click that are context sensitive depending on what you are looking at in the LinkPoint viewing pane. If you have Skype or Vonage, you can call the person with one click. You can copy the contact and account into Outlook, create a new or edit any case, opportunity, task or note, or view the record in Salesforce.
All in all, this is a nice product that adds power to your sales automation system and that is worth the small cost. If you are like me and live in Microsoft Outlook and are dependent on your CRM system, this will greatly speed up your workflow by having tighter integration between Outlook (even Outlook 2010) and Salesforce.
For more information pop on over to their website or if you have Salesforce, use the AppExchange link above and use the “Free Evaluation” link to try it out.
[button type=”success” size=”lg” link=”http://info.StarrData.com/l/43882/2014-10-03/t5m5″]Would you like more Outlook integration tips?
Watch our “Salesforce For Outlook” Video Series![/button]
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