Salesforce for Outlook retirement: Everything you need to know

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Salesforce recently postponed the retirement of its Salesforce for Outlook product until December 2027. But for many organizations, the journey to finding a new solution is already underway. After all, Salesforce for Outlook is no longer being supported and key functionality like the action menu has already been removed.

If you want to find the alternative best suited to your team—and make the transition on your own timeline—we recommend starting to act now. 

The reason for this was emphasized by George Shalhoub, Director of Financial Services at Plative, an Affinity partner. He said: 

“Don’t oversimplify the search for a tool like this. Go through the evaluation and spend the time to think about how this change can be a net positive for the organization. This tool might be small in the grand scheme of your tech stack, but it’s one of those features that every single one of your end users is using, and it's an extremely important feature and function.”

This article outlines some of the main considerations in the evaluation process and points to additional resources where you can find out more. 

Already an Affinity for Salesforce customer? Head over to our Help Center for guidance on using Affinity's Outlook add-in.

Why integrating Salesforce and Outlook is important

As Shalhoub alludes to above, almost every end user in your organization benefits from an automatic, up-to-date connection between Salesforce and Outlook. Shalhoub continues, “We all know that people hate change. So when we talk about changing something that’s so integral to a sales team’s workflow, these businesses are so relationship heavy. Anything that actually interferes with Outlook or the Outlook calendar can have serious consequences; you need to make sure you get it right.”

Beyond the need to keep workflows predictable and consistent with a Salesforce for Outlook replacement, there’s also opportunity in finding something that unlocks more advanced functionality. Dan Klek, Head of Enterprise Sales & Alliances at Affinity explains:

“Historically this has been seen as an email and activity capture tool. But as we move into the future with the new technology that’s out there, there are many more ways that you can take all the data you’re capturing and activate it.”

This might include running reports and forecasting based on engagement activity, or setting up triggers based on relationship strength to ensure no valuable connection goes cold.

Key considerations when finding a Salesforce for Outlook alternative

Speaking recently with Affinity’s Dan Klek, Shalhoub discussed what teams should think about when looking for their next connection between Salesforce and Outlook:

1. Timeline

There’s a lot of choice out there, which makes it critical that you take the time to assess your options. The evaluation process should take a minimum of six weeks and prioritize:

  • Identifying and matching the must-have features and functions of your end users
  • Uncovering the features and functions your end users wanted all along (a stretch goal, but a worthy one to gain additional value from the transition)

2. Users

Different users are going to have different requirements. Take the time to understand what each group needs to be able to continue (or even improve) how they do their jobs.

For example, users in business development gain maximum benefit from the relationship component of the existing Salesforce for Outlook integration. They need all relationship data to live in the CRM so they can access and act on it with ease.

For users who manage client relationships, the most important part of the integration is the calendar connection. Client meetings need to be automatically pulled into Salesforce for optimal efficiency.

3. Baseline features

While the needs of individual users and teams will differ, there are some baseline requirements across all companies moving away from Salesforce for Outlook. These include:

  • A side window in Outlook that displays Salesforce information
  • Email tracking notifications
  • The ability to update records and log events in Salesforce that show up in Outlook (and vice versa)

Ensure you test alternatives for these baseline features along with the specific requests collected from your team.

Want to dive deeper? Watch this webinar or read the summary.

Helpful resources for Salesforce Admins

Even if you’ve evaluated the needs of your organization for a Salesforce for Outlook alternative, finding and implementing a new Salesforce-integrated solution can be a challenge. 

We’ve made this process easier with several resources designed specifically for Salesforce Admins.


How to integrate Salesforce and Outlook

To reiterate, maintaining a connection between Salesforce and Outlook allows organizations to:

  • Capture all data, making the CRM more valuable and useful for reporting
  • Improve sales team productivity by eliminating manual data entry
  • Identify warm introductions based on engagement data

We created a detailed walk through covering how to integrate Salesforce and Outlook using three of the most popular connections:

  1. Affinity for Salesforce: Automated data capture, inbox and browser extensions, unlimited data storage, and relationship intelligence
  2. Einstein Activity Capture: Keeps data syncing between Salesforce, your email, and calendar applications like Outlook or Gmail
  3. Legacy Lightning Sync: Keeps contacts and events in sync between your Microsoft or Google applications (legacy users only)

Read the blog for detailed steps on each of these integration processes. 

Looking further afield? This blog outlines pros and cons of 8 different integration solutions including Affinity for Salesforce, Match My Email, and Riva.


Why Affinity for Salesforce is the right solution for your team

Industries as varied as investment banking enterprise technology, professional services, and commercial real estate have one thing in common: relationships are key. People want to know who knows who in their organization, and how they can use that information to find and close deals faster.

Affinity for Salesforce’s automated activity capture not only pulls in every interaction across your organization; it processes your team’s activity into AI-driven relationship scores. By exposing this data natively in Salesforce, leaders and end-users can build dashboards and reporting to make better business decisions.

Ready to discuss your options with a member of our team? Request a demo to learn more about how Affinity for Salesforce matches—and exceeds—the functionality of Salesforce for Outlook.


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