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Auto import of emails

One of the things I asked SF about early on was how we get customer emails into the system. They said we needed to copy-paste the contents of the email into SF. After realising they weren't joking (!), I was pleased to hear about the Outlook plugin, which deals with many of my concerns.

But.. this still relies on a human being to shove an incoming email into the system. So if for example a customer emails us, and we're short-staffed, and the email doesn't get dragged into SF for a few hours, it negates a lot of the benefits of the queuing and auto-escalation systems.

So my curiosity is whether anyone has put together, or is considering putting together, an app that will poll a mail server (for us, it would need to be via IMAP), pull incoming emails into SF, and then file them in another folder. The benefit then is that emails go directly and almost immediately into SF to be handled appropriately.

Is this feasible given the way SF works? How would emails be pulled in? How can we ensure emails that are pulled in are dealt with appropriately by support and sales personnel? My sense is that for this to work all emails would need to be shoved into SF as Cases, to ensure they were seen and handled by customer service people. Would that cause problems?

I welcome your thoughts.



Hi Ollie:

We have a  number of customers who have done various forms of Exchange/MAPI integration, and a number of partners who add functionality in that area as well.

I'm not sure exactly what use case you are describing, but if the standard Outlook Edition pluging does not meet your requirements, you may want to check out VIPMail @ http://www.widgety.com/



Hi Adam,

I think you have misunderstood what I am suggesting. What I am looking at is the feasibility of having some code running on a server that checks an email account (say, sales@blahblah.com) every minute or two, and when it sees emails it feeds them directly and automatically into SalesForce (as a Case, presumably). It would be an automated version of the Outlook plugin's "Add to SalesForce" feature, one where no human intervention is required and no software needs installing by the user.

I don't understand why salesforce itself doesn't do this. If our customers can create cases directly from the web, why can't they create cases by emailing us (say at support@blahblah.com)? Also, if an email sent to the email account has the text "case number" and a case number in it, follow-up emails could be correctly stuffed into an existing cases in salesforce.

At the moment customers can create a case on the web, we then respond to it via email, but if that customer then responds to us again, we have to *manually* copy that message into salesforce. This whole process should be automated. At the moment if we have an escalation on say 4hrs, but it takes an hour or two before an incoming customer email gets added to salesforce as a case, we're looking at offering a 5-6hr turnaround, and salesforce doesn't even know that.

In short - I'm looking for an automated server-side solution to get incoming customer emails into salesforce, not a plugin for Outlook.



Hi Ollie,

You can certainly do what your asking for.  I've done a proof of concept agent for Exchange Server.  The problem with productizing something like this is that there are a number of different email servers out there to target and many different ways in which a company may want to do this.  If you email server is at an ISP, then you need the agent to run on a client external to the mail server.  You also need to impose rules on messaging that allow you to properly detect, process and thread email "conversations".

What you are suggesting is definitely something alot of companies would embrace and is maybe a commercial opportunity for a consulting or product partner.  salesforce.com, as a general rule and culturally, does not want to put software on the client or the server (no software?).  We typically rely on and support partner efforts to meet these needs.


Hi Dave,

I hear you about the challenges of integrating with multiple email systems, but given the two primary email standards are IMP and POP and these are available for most email servers, including Exchange, I'm still surprised there isn't support in the main product for automatically pulling emails in as Cases. I imagine many businesses, small or large, would benefit from being able to configure one or more email accounts and have salesforce automatically pull incoming messages from those accounts and present it in salesforce to be handled by the relevant queues. In our organisation we're looking to have email addresses for sales, support, etc, that feed into matching queues.

Threading is certainly an interesting issue, but for most scenarios isn't this just a matter of matching text in the subject line with a pre-existing case number?



Tarak SilliniTarak Sillini


we are currently working on a application that would do just that. 95% of the work is done for direct Exchange connections. we are working on Pop and Imap at the moment. We will probably end up releasing the Exchange version very soon and then finish the work on the POP, IMAP version and release this in a couple of months.

If you would like to beta test either one of the applications, contact me and i'll get in touch with you when we are ready to move ahead with this.

Tarak Sillini
Dinamix Systems


I'm interested in being involved in the beta. Please provide details of expected software pricing as well.

My email address is ollie@richtextbox.com.



Great to hear that some one is working on a solution for this!  Let us know how it goes.



I haven't heard anything back from the guy, and sadly he didn't leave any contact information in his profile.

The product sounds great, but I'm interested in pricing before I get too excited


Ollie, there is also a Salesforce.com professional services solution that accomplishes this exactly.  I'll email you with more details
Could you also send me the information for this professional service


I am also interested in this professional services solution for auto importing emails.  Please email me (address is in my profile).



I'm also interested in getting more info on the Salesforce.com professional services solution. Can you please email me the details. Thanks.

I am also interested in the feature. I am doing application in vb.net. If you have created the email-to-case agent, do let me know, please.