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Learn the Benefits of Integrating Salesforce with Microsoft Outlook

Lightning bolt icon used to indicate that the content is for Lightning Experience

Attention, Trailblazer!

Salesforce has two different desktop user interfaces: Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic. This module is designed for Lightning Experience; however, you can integrate Salesforce with Outlook in Salesforce Classic too.

You can learn about switching between interfaces, enabling Lightning Experience, and more in the Lightning Experience Basics module here on Trailhead.

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Summarize how your reps rely on Microsoft® Outlook® and Salesforce to work their prospects and deals.
  • Recognize the redundancy your reps experience entering sales data in two applications.
  • Describe how integrating Salesforce and Outlook helps your reps become more productive.


Before we get going, let’s talk about what we cover in this module. In this first unit, we talk about the importance of integrating Outlook and Salesforce for setting up your reps to succeed.

In the next unit, we look at how folks using Salesforce for Outlook can move to our cloud-based Outlook integration products.

In the third unit, we show you how to set up the integration with Outlook and configure Lightning Sync.

Our final unit shows you how to help your sales reps be even more productive while they’re working in their email.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

A Way to Increase Your Sales Reps’ Productivity

Your sales reps use Outlook. And they use Salesforce. Isn't it time your reps use Outlook and Salesforce together? According to McKinsey & Company, sales reps spend up to 28% of their day in email and calendars. That’s the case with sales reps Erin Donaghue and Lance Park, who work at an emerging solar company, Ursa Major Solar, Inc. It’s important for them to bring Salesforce data to the place where they spend so much of their time.

When you integrate Outlook and Salesforce, you help your reps spend less time entering data and switching between the two applications. You also help sales teams track important email conversations relevant to Salesforce records. These perks help your reps:
  • Eliminate the time they spend on redundant data entry into two applications.
  • Access important Outlook email messages and relevant Salesforce records in one place, making it easier to craft targeted, meaningful email communications to prospects and customers.
  • Focus more on what matters most: their sales!
Erin and Lance use both Outlook and Salesforce. Let’s review how they use the two applications.

Why Sales Reps Use Outlook

Your sales reps already spend time in Outlook. Here’s what they do with it.
The Thing Reps Do Why?
Send email messages Email is an easy and effective way to engage with prospects and get relationships going.
Maintain contacts The contacts in Outlook serve as your reps’ virtual Rolodex card file.
Schedule meetings and appointments Your reps rely heavily on their calendars for planning their days and scheduling important events.

Why Reps Use Salesforce

Ursa Major purchased Salesforce because it’s a powerful sales tool. Kudos to them! Their reps use Salesforce to track information about their prospects and deals. But let’s take a closer look at what sales teams use Salesforce for.
The Thing Reps Do Why?
Maintain leads and contacts Your reps relate leads and contacts to other important Salesforce records, such as accounts and opportunities.
Schedule meetings and appointments Sales reps and their managers rely on the Salesforce calendar to get sales-related meetings and appointments on the books.

Your reps also relate these events to other important Salesforce records.

Track deals in the pipeline Sales folks track their deals using Salesforce opportunities, which your sales teams relate to (you guessed it) other important Salesforce records.
Learn about outstanding cases Not everything in sales goes smoothly. Your reps benefit from knowing of issues that their customers log with your company. Knowing about issues is especially important before your reps try selling whatever it is that your reps sell!

Why Redundancy Is a Problem

Why is knowing about redundancy important? Because your sales reps do some of the same things in Outlook as they do in Salesforce. Our Ursa Major sales reps Erin and Lance often use both applications to track contacts, schedule meetings and appointments, and track tasks.

Redundancy between Outlook and Salesforce Venn diagram

Let’s look at some ways that this duplication of work causes problems for you and your sales reps.
  • Time lost during context switching and maintaining data in two places. The context switching alone pulls your reps out of their selling mode and puts them into a tools management mode.
  • Greater chances for data entry errors. When your reps enter data in both Outlook and Salesforce, the possibility of getting something wrong increases. We can see that when Erin enters a contact in Outlook and then again in Salesforce, she inadvertently introduces an error. Not good.

    Misspelled name between Outlook and Salesforce

Mistakes, such as Erin’s data entry errors, compromise data quality, and even your company’s reputation. What’s most important here is that Erin’s sales efforts don’t have to compete with keeping her sales data current between Outlook and Salesforce.

How Integrating with Outlook Helps Your Sales Reps

Here’s a quick glimpse of the core features you can deliver to your sales reps.
Core Feature Why It’s Helpful
See and relate relevant Salesforce content in Outlook From Outlook email, your reps get context into what’s happening with the people they sell to. And most important:
  • Reps add email that’s relevant to the sales cycle, so that colleagues in Salesforce know what’s going on.
  • You play the important role of increasing Salesforce adoption among your sales team.
Access Salesforce features in Outlook There’s no need to leave Outlook when your reps:
  • Create Salesforce records, such as leads, opportunities, accounts, contacts, and even records based on custom objects.
  • Relate email messages and nonrecurring calendar events to multiple Salesforce contacts and to any other Salesforce record that accepts tasks or email messages.
  • Search for Salesforce records, including ones based on custom objects.
Sync contacts and events Using Lightning Sync in the background, your reps don’t duplicate data entry for contacts and events in both Outlook and Salesforce.

Depending on the options you choose, contacts and events sync in either or both directions between Salesforce and Microsoft Exchange.

These features are some significant wins for your sales folks. And we’re stoked to tell you more about the ways the Integration with Outlook helps sales teams free up administrative time. That way, your sales team can focus on increasing their sales. When sales are good at your company, you all benefit, right?

Do Even More with Tools While Composing Emails

Want your reps to be even more productive while working in their email? Of course you do! We already know that a productive sales team is the best sales team. You can add even more to your reps’ experience in Outlook with Inbox features available while composing emails. We talk more about these features in a later unit.

See the Integration with Outlook

See the integration between Salesforce and Outlook.

Next up, we cover the basics for preparing you to move your sales team from Salesforce for Outlook to the Outlook integration and Lightning Sync.


Use these resources to learn more about the Outlook integration and Lightning Sync.