Covered in this article:
- Sending emails to any object, including custom objects
- Automatically creating leads, opportunities, cases, contacts and tasks
- Setting up a helpdesk ticketing system for any department
- Sending outbound emails from any Salesforce object
- Storing email history against any Salesforce record
- Automatically updating existing records with new information
Email-to-anything (e2a) is a powerful and native application which has been developed by London-based Ortoo for the Salesforce CRM platform. e2a is a bit like Salesforce’s own Email to Case solution, only much, much better. The beauty of e2a is that it enables you to send emails to any Salesforce object, including custom objects. So, not only can you fully automate the process of creating new Cases, you can also automatically create Leads, Opportunities, Contacts, Tasks or any object of choice, directly from emails.
Automate lead and opportunity management from the outset
One of the primary use cases for Email-to-anything is Email to Lead. Any new sales enquiries coming into an organisation by email (or indeed from a web form which is then routed via email) can be automatically converted into a lead and/or an opportunity. The inbound emails can be structured or unstructured, it really doesn’t matter. With a structured email, e2a can be configured to map the data from an email or web form directly to specified fields in the lead object so, when the lead is assigned to a rep, it is ready to be processed straight away – no need to waste any time manually creating or modifying the lead. With an unstructured email, e2a can be configured to search for keywords or trigger words. Email addresses can be automatically populated, and often a first and last name can also be deduced for the lead in question. Additional information, for example telephone numbers and postal addresses, can even be automatically extracted from email signatures.
Increase productivity, save time and money with an automated ticketing system
But Email to Lead and Email to Case are just the start. Email-to-anything enables you to set up an automated ticketing system for any object in Salesforce. In fact, because e2a supports custom objects, you can effectively set up a ticketing system for just about any departmental ticketing scenario. For example, larger organizations often need to manage a significant number of internal, IT-related issues. In smaller companies an email to the IT department might well suffice, but when there are hundreds or even thousands of employees who need on-going IT support, a more efficient, automated or semi-automated solution is required. By implementing e2a, such an organization can create a custom object, for example “IT tickets”, and then use e2a to generate a unique email address for that object. Going forward, any email sent to that email address will result in a new ticket being automatically created in Salesforce, and then that ticket can be assigned automatically to a queue or a specified Salesforce user, ready to be processed immediately. The need to manually create and assign tickets is eliminated, and productivity is fully optimized.
Send outbound emails from any object
Email-to-anything has an advanced email editor built-in, and one feature that reps and agents love is the ability to send emails from any object in Salesforce. So, in the example above, where we set up an IT helpdesk using e2a, an IT support person can respond to a ticket from directly within the “IT Tickets” object, without having to switch into Outlook (or whichever email solution they have in place). And if an on-going email conversation ensues, that whole conversation is stored right there in Salesforce, against the record and object in question. e2a is able to do this because when a new ticket is created, it is given a unique thread ID which is then present in all subsequent interactions with that particular ticket. By storing the entire email history in Salesforce, agents can become much more productive, never having to switch to a separate email application in order to process leads, cases or tickets.
Support for any email client using redirection rules
Because e2a is native to Salesforce, with no email plug-in required, it supports literally any email client, including Outlook, Exchange, Office 365, Gmail or any POP3 service. After you have set up your e2a email service and generated a unique email address for the object in question, then all you need to do is set up a redirection rule on your email server/system to direct your specified email addresses to the unique e2a email address.
For example, Salesforce may have generated an email address for your email service that looks something like this:
But you may want to use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org to route any sales enquiries into Salesforce. You could to this by setting up the sales@ email address as a mailbox, then adding a redirect rule which auto-forwards any messages to the unique e2a address. Alternatively you can set up a distribution list for email@example.com and put both the Salesforce email address (the long one) and a normal mailbox email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) in the distribution list. This way, you are also able to retain a copy of each email in a mailbox in your email system, so that if there are any issues with Salesforce you still have a copy of each incoming email.
Automatically update existing records with new information
Perhaps one of the most powerful features of e2a is the ability to update existing records with new information. When a new email is received into the Salesforce object in question, the first thing e2a does is check to see if the same (or similar) record already exists because, of course, the last thing you want are duplicate versions of the same record. But by the same token, if an inbound email does match an existing record, then if the new email contains new data pertaining to that record, then that data can be used to update out-of-date information, or to populate fields which were previously empty. So in this way e2a can be used to update missing telephone numbers, postal addresses, website information or any other fields that you have set up for the object in question.
The Power of Two
As you can see, e2a is a fantastic application in its own right, as a standalone app, simply by adding intelligent email automation to the Salesforce CRM platform. But e2a is perhaps at its most powerful when used in conjunction with its sister app, Q-assign. Q-assign dovetails with e2a by identifying newly created tickets and routing them to the best available rep or agent according to a set of intelligent and configurable assignment rules. When used in combination, e2a and Q-assign make for a formidable partnership, capable of delivering a highly scalable, end-to-end ticketing solution to address any departmental helpdesk challenge. In the next article, we will explore Q-assign in some depth, with a special focus on how Q-assign can automate Lead, Case or ticket assignment and, in so doing, can completely transform an organization’s conversion rates, revenues, profits and customer satisfaction ratings.
Both e2a and Q-assign are available to download from the AppExchange, on a free 30-day trial. To make things as easy as possible for you, our highly-regarded support team are on standby to help you configure either product to address your particular use case, should you need the help. If you are ready to jump straight in, please feel free to download e2a and/or Q-assign from the AppExchange now.