Einstein Activity Capture is slated to completely replace Lightning Sync. Starting from Winter ‘21 Lightning Sync will no longer be available to new Salesforce subscribers. Existing users can continue to use Lightning Sync, but the product itself will no longer be enhanced in any way.
Is this a good thing? The opinions on Einstein Activity Capture vary widely. With some praising it for what it does, and many expressing their frustrations about the product’s deviation from standard Salesforce objects.
What does Einstein Activity Capture do?
Einstein Activity Capture acts much like Lightning Sync, in that it connects to Gmail or Office 365. Events will automatically be captured and added to the correct records in Salesforce. But for the first time ever, emails are also captured automatically. When users receive and send emails, all of the messages will be captured and visible in the Activity Timeline. There’s no need to manually enable the logging or enter any data.
To sum it up:
Automatic Email and Calendar Sync
Capture every email/meeting created in Gmail or Office 365
Provide data-driven rep coaching with an activity leaderboard
Fast & Easy Setup
Connect to Gmail and Office 365 and Einstein does the rest
Adjust who can see your emails and events to ensure privacy
That sounds great. So why are Salesforce Admins lashing out at Einstein Activity Capture?
Why Salesforce admins are unhappy with Einstein Activity Capture
Many Salesforce Admins were excited to implement the new functionalities and rolled it out for their teams. But they quickly discovered that something strange was going on. The captured Activities were not actually logged as Tasks and Events in Salesforce.
And without these activities being logged into the standard Activities Object, there was no way to include it in any of the Activity Reports or to utilize it in Process Builder automation or Rollup Fields.
Admins were in disbelief and were convinced that they were missing a specific setting or had done something wrong. Except that they hadn’t.
As with any implementations, you’d be wise to read up on the “Considerations for Setting Up”. Upon a closer look, take note of the following:
Activities added to Salesforce by Einstein Activity Capture are stored in Salesforce databases hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and don’t affect your Salesforce data allocations. There are no additional costs for this storage.
Which effectively means that emails captured by EAC are not stored as physical records in Salesforce. They are stored in AWS and shown as virtual records on the Timeline and in the Activities Analytics dashboard. They can’t be queried like regular core Salesforce Activities. The virtual records are retained for a maximum of 24 months or as little as 6 months on Einstein Activity Capture Standard.
The Activities Analytics dashboard itself has been subject to heavy criticism as well. Admins have reported that despite being “good looking”, the dashboard without actual “real-world” use and thus borderline useless. Only up to 180 days of activity data can be displayed (90 in Einstein Activity Capture Standard). Editing the standard dashboard would require an Einstein license.
Admins have also expressed their frustration over the fact that they can not control which information Einstein Activity Capture is supposed to utilize. On Leads & Contacts it will use the email address of the Lead/Contact. But on Opportunities it will grab anyone on the Opportunity Team. Which means that if you have any external partners on the Opportunity team, all emails to this person (regardless of the case) will be attached to every single Opportunity where they are part of the Team. You can not define which Opportunity it should be associated with.
Einstein Activity Capture pricing
Another topic of frequent negative feedback is the Einstein Activity Capture pricing. In particular, the packaging of the functionality in different Salesforce add-ons, and different versions of Activity Capture leave many admins confused. When looking for concrete information on the pricing, this document from Salesforce states in small script that:
Einstein Activity Capture is a part of Sales Cloud Einstein, and costs $50 per user per month.
The issues associated with these technical drawbacks and the lack of proper documentation on Einstein Activity Capture has Admins scrambling for alternative solutions.
So what are the options?
When Einstein Activity Capture is the Right Choice
The biggest disadvantage of Einstein Activity Capture is that the captured data is not available beyond the Activities Analytics Dashboard and Activities Timeline. But if your organization does not have any need for advanced reporting on email activities or automation based on email activity, then Einstein Activity Capture could be a good solution for you.
The biggest pro’s of Einstein Activity Capture are its ease of installation and plug and play nature. Through a simple setup wizard you can get it up and running and let it do its thing. It’s very suitable for teams which only rely on email capture for the sake of having the information from an email logged in CRM for reference purposes and building rapport on an Opportunity or Lead.
But if you need more robust and integrated logging capabilities, you will need to consider an alternative solution.
Automatic Email Logging Solutions for Salesforce
Groove is a suite of functionalities which are positioned as a Sales Engagement Platform which is centered around improving efficiency, getting actionable insights, and driving revenue. Among its functionalities it offers Calendar & Email synchronization between Salesforce and Gsuite as well as Outlook.
- Automatic logging of inbound & outbound emails on any device.
- Automatic event synchronization from calendars
- Advanced filtering options based on domain and Opportunity/Case ownership.
- Optional logging of Bounced Emails
Cirrus Insight is a sales enablement tool that lives in your inbox. It offers a wide variety of handy tools for sales reps, including the functionality to synchronize emails and meetings between Salesforce and your mailbox and calendar. Cirrus Insight supports Gmail, Outlook, iOS & Android.
Cirrus Insight enables:
- Automatic logging of inbound & outbound emails to standard or Custom Objects
- 2-way periodic synchronization between Salesforce and Calendar apps.
- Advanced filters & logic for creation synchronization groups for Contacts & Leads.
Zero Keyboard Sales Activities
Zero Keyboard for Salesforce is a data collection platform which can be configured to support any business or process. With it’s Studio component, Salesforce Admins can configure an unlimited amount of data entry workflows which can be utilized through the mobile companion app on iOS & Android. Besides the capability to create and update any standard and custom Salesforce objects through its patented user interface, Zero Keyboard can also automatically synchronize emails and events to Salesforce.
Logging emails to Salesforce can be done in 2 ways
Without integration to email account
- In case that you are not able or allowed to grant access to your email account, the Zero Keyboard app can still capture your emails for you.
- From the app select the contact you are mailing and click “Email”
- Your default email client will open and Zero Keyboard automatically adds your unique “Email to Salesforce Address” to the BCC field.
- Send you mail as usual, and it will be logged in Salesforce
Fully integrated into your email account
- If you can grant Zero Keyboard access to your email account
- Grant the permissions once, and you’re all set! Zero Keyboard will automatically log all inbound and outbound emails to Salesforce. Email addresses will be matched against existing Contacts & Leads and automatically updated if a match is found.