Hello, How have people intergrated custom CRM type applications with email?

I have a Access 2003 front-end application with a SQL Server 2005 backend. One CRM part of the application tracks the activity with the customer in a traffic log table. Sometimes the salesstaff has communication with their customer using email instead. What do people do to synch this up with an application? I was thinking about creating a form to enter the initial message, so I could save it into a table and then have the system generate a email, of course, this doesn't handle the email communication after the initial email.



What you need to do is setup your domain name with a free google apps account. Your sales staff can still use the clients of their choice, but since they are essentially using custom gmail accounts, every single email that they send and receive will be recorded in a nice and neat transactional format in the gmail interface. Since your sales staff is always online, they will always have access to every message they ever sent. If you want to have access to the emails, you can set it up that every single message that gets sent are automatically blind forwarded to your account. Filters can be set up to automatically tag and archive them, so you will not be overwhelmed, but you will still be able to search them. Google Apps will also give you a central contact directory similar to outlook/exchange.

David Duggins

Here are a few options for you:

  1. Use web forms for all communications. When a message is sent out, the only thing it includes is a link back to the site. Responses are sent the same way.

  2. Setup an email alias that your sales staff Cc's when they want their correspondence to be tracked. Your app would periodically read a POP mailbox, and record the traffic. Customers would have to remember to Cc the same email box for the traffic to be remembered.

  3. Establish a single common email box, such as [email protected]. All outgoing mail is marked as being from that account, so all replies will go through it. To send mail, sales staff uses a web form. Messages are tagged with a key that associates them with a particular customer. Putting the key in the subject header usually works OK (that's how many support ticket management systems work, for example). Replies from customers keep the tag. Your app then reads an associated POP mailbox, parses out the keys, and stores the email accordingly.