Zoho is deprecating their CRM plugin for Microsoft Outlook on March 31, 2021. This is an outdated plugin and Zoho has made the decision to move on from it, requiring that users integrate Outlook in an alternate way in order to maintain the functionality they've become accustomed to. What follows is an overview of the options you'll have access to moving forward for April 1+. If you have any questions or need any assistance transitioning away from the old Outlook plugin, please contact us.
What was the Outlook plugin for Zoho CRM capable of?
Many of our clients utilized the Outlook plugin to synchronize their Zoho CRM calendar events with Microsoft Outlook. Additionally, contacts and tasks could be synchronized. Others relied on the Outlook plugin to attach outbound emails automatically or to selectively attached other emails on an as-needed basis. The plugin also provided a side-pane, giving more insight into Zoho CRM records and additional capabilities to add data to your records. A complete list of all of the capabilities for the plugin can be found in the chart at the end of this article.
What choices are there to replace the Outlook plugin?
Many Outlook users are actually Office 365 users. If you are using Office 365, you may want to take advantage of Zoho CRM for Office 365. This integration is initially established by an Office 365 & Zoho administrator but then allows individual users to customize their own specific integration. Through this integration, users can choose to synchronize Zoho CRM events (meetings), contacts and tasks with Office 365.
Additionally, for the Zoho CRM administrators, this allows you to add Office 365 users seamlessly to Zoho CRM:
For those using Office 365 or other IMAP-enabled email accounts (Zoho Mail, Gmail, Yahoo and others), you can configure server-level integration between Zoho CRM and your IMAP email account. This will automatically display both inbound and outbound emails from your integrated mailbox(es) on Leads and Contacts in Zoho CRM. Alternatively, there is a POP/SMTP configuration as well.
If you're looking for an alternative email integration option, many Zoho users also take advantage of BCC Dropbox. BCC Dropbox only addresses outbound emails but is a good option for users who took advantage of the Sent Mail integration from the old Outlook plugin. Traditionally, BCC Dropbox has required users to manually add a specific email address to the BCC line of their emails in order to have them attach to Zoho CRM. More recently, we have begun employing Mail Flow Rules for our Office 365 clients where the BCC email address can be automatically added to all outbound emails for a user. This makes it easy because users don't have to remember to add the BCC email address, but all outbound emails will be recorded to Zoho CRM unless you have excluded specific domains in your BCC Dropbox settings or otherwise configured the BCC Search Pattern to ignore certain circumstances.
In addition to the contacts, calendars, tasks and emails integration, there was also the side pane functionality provided by the Outlook plugin, giving you insight into the Zoho CRM data for contacts and leads associated to emails. This is easily replaced by the new Microsoft Outlook Add-In for Zoho CRM and it also includes capabilities to add new contacts/leads, events (meetings) and tasks directly from Outlook, along with a manual email attach function.
How do your options stack up?
Check out this handy chart...