Automation is one of the key aspects, when it comes to implementing a CRM solution. Many mid to large sized companies are leveraging the power of SugarCRM and SuiteCRM. However, many desktop applications are still on Windows platform and the business users need data to seamlessly flow between these applications. Integrating MS-Outlook with SugarCRM is a key requirement at many companies.

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Though SugarCRM and SuiteCRM both have an off the shelve outlook plug-in, many a times, they need to be customized or enhanced to meet the business needs. In this article we will look at the features of the SugarCRM / SuiteCRM outlook plug-in developed by us.


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SugarCRM and SuiteCRM Outlook plug-in

In this article, we are going to see step by step procedure on

    • How to install outlook plugin for SugarCRM.
    • Contacts sync from outlook to SugarCRM.

Steps to Install outlook plugin

An outlook plugin is developed in C# which acts as a connector to sync data from Outlook to SugarCRM. This is provided as an installer.

    • Double click on the plugin to start the installation. Below screen will be shown.

Screenshot of starting the installation outlook plugin

    • Click on Run and click on Next button. Below screen will be shown.

Screenshot of selecting installation directory outlook plugin

  •  Select the directory in which you want to install the plugin and click on Next. Once the installation completes below screen will be shown.

Screenshot of installation complete outlook plugin

  • Click on the Close button and restart outlook. SugarCRM Outlook plugin icon will be created in the Outlook ribbon.

Login to SugarCRM / SuiteCRM

Below are the steps to login to SugarCRM.

  • Click on SugarCRM Icon at top right corner. Login page will be shown.

Screenshot of a log-in page of outlook plugin

  • Enter the credentials in the below format
    • SugarCRM URL: <SugarCRM_Domain> + /service/v4_1/soap.php
    • UserName: login username
    • Password: login password
  • Click on the login button.
  • If login is successful, a success message will be displayed as shown in the below screenshot.

Screenshot of login is a successful message of outlook plugin

  • Click on OK and close the login page.

Now that we have installed the Outlook plug-in, let’s look at how it works. In this section below we will look at how the contact, meetings and emails sync work with this plug-in.

Contact Sync from Outlook to SugarCRM

Below are the steps to sync contacts from outlook to SugarCRM

    • Create a contact or open the contact which you want to sync to SugarCRM
    • Click on the categorize and select “Sync to SugarCRM” from the dropdown list as shown in the below image.

Screenshot of the categorize and select Sync to SugarCRM

  • Once the contact is synced successfully. Below message will be displayed.

Screenshot of contact is synced successfully

  • When the contact is synced successfully to SugarCRM the category “SugarCRM” is assigned to the record as shown in the below screenshot.

Screenshot of contact is synced successfully to SugarCRM

  • Now we will see the same contact in SugarCRM or SuiteCRM.
  • Login to CRM instance and click on contacts module. Search for the contact which we have synced in the above steps. Below is the screenshot for the contact synced from outlook.

Screenshot of contact synced Outlook to SugarCRM

Meeting Sync from Outlook to CRM

Below are the steps to sync meetings from outlook to SugarCRM

    • Create a meeting or open the meeting which you want to sync to SugarCRM
    • Click on the categorize and select “Sync to SugarCRM” from the dropdown list as shown in the below image.
  • Screenshot of Meeting Sync from Outlook to CRM
    • Once the meeting is synced successfully. Below message will be displayed.
      Screenshot of meeting is synced successfully
    • When the meeting is synced successfully to SugarCRM the category “SugarCRM” is assigned to the record.
    • Now we will see the same meeting in SugarCRM or SuiteCRM.
    • Login to CRM instance and click on meetings module. Search for the meeting which we have synced in the above steps. Below is the screenshot for the meeting synced from outlook.

screenshot for the meeting synced from outlook

Email sync from Outlook to CRM

Below are the steps to sync contacts from outlook to SugarCRM

    • Create a meeting or open the email which you want to sync to SugarCRM
    • Click on the categorize and select “Sync to SugarCRM” from the dropdown list as shown in the below image.
      Screenshot Email sync from Outlook to CRM
    • Once the email is synced successfully. Below message will be displayed.
      Screenshot of email is synced successfully
    • When the email is synced successfully to SugarCRM the category “SugarCRM” is assigned to the record.
    • Now we will see the same email in SugarCRM or SuiteCRM.
    • Login to CRM instance and click on emails module. Search for the email which we have synced in the above steps. Below is the screenshot for the email synced from outlook.

Screenshot for the email synced from outlook

Emails will always be the first formal media to communicate between organization and clients and there will always be need of replicating the data from outlook into CRM System for the organization to achieve its higher objectives

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Benefits of using Outlook plug-in with CRM

You can sync details from outlook to CRM, eliminating any manual error that can occur, while replication information from an email into the CRM system and saving the time and effort of sales reps and other stakeholders of the process which increases the productivity and efficiency of the organization.

Automatic data exchange between platforms  

SugarCRM provides workflows to achieve many of this automation. Though it has many automation tools, conventionally sales reps in any organization use outlook for all communications with customers, ranging from informing quotations to scheduling the meetings with the new prospects.

Efficient management of data

An organization uses both CRM and outlook for communication and tracking progress. Most often reps come to the outlook application for contacts, emails, and meetings and then they have to re-enter the same data into SugarCRM. Leaving a huge pocket for human errors. As they mostly rely on the data of the customers and spends a lot of time on both the applications for information which makes them exasperate.

Approach to improve sales reps productivity

Now it’s time to help sales rep to save over the time they spend on outlook. What if reps can sync the details from outlook directly to sugar by just click of a button, instead of entering the same into SugarCRM manually. Awww!!! sounds good right…?. Yes, it helps sales reps to save their time of entering the data manually and concentrate on the further process which can increase the productivity of the organization. It also eliminates manual errors of entering the wrong data into CRM and increases the data quality for the org.


Conclusion

Over the decade we have come across drastic changes in technology, and the impact it makes on our personal, as well as professional lives and these changes, continue so on. The main motto behind these changes is to AUTOMATE any process where there is a possibility of loss due to human error. In simple terms, reducing the user interaction involved in a process is referred to as automation. Increasingly  Business organizations are now using CRM systems (on-premises / cloud) to maintain / develop / improve the relationship and interaction with their customers / prospects and to automate set of processes which increase their productivity and efficiency.


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