How to handle unwanted email attachments in Salesforce
In the course of just a few days two clients on one of our support plans have contacted us about how to handle unwanted email attachments in Salesforce. You know the ones I’m talking about, the company logo and social network icons that hang out in our email signatures.
A little background:
Why store emails in Salesforce in the first place? Most organizations do this to enable a cohesive view of all past activities with a given Lead or Contact. Having emails logged in the context of Salesforce records also makes it easier to find written communications that could prove useful in a compliance or dispute resolution situation.
Who cares if there are a bunch of un-wanted attachments? While Salesforce has increased file storage limits (see Spring ’14 release notes) these Twitter and Facebook icons will slowly eat into your available space. Getting rid of attachments can be a real pain, not to mention the fact that in the process you might purge files that should remain. This leads into the next point. When you have a file that is important you don’t want it getting buried in a long list of unimportant ones.
If you don’t think you have this problem take a look at the notes and attachments list for one of your most active leads or contacts.
Now that you know you have the problem what can you do about it?
The answer is, it depends. What mechanism are you using to log emails in Salesforce and what are you using as your back end email server?
Email to Salesforce
– this is an easy one. Your’re out of luck. Plain and simple. This is all or none, you get every attachment or you get no attachments. The counter-signed proposal – yup. Lots of little birds and blue “f”‘s – check.
Now you’re thinking, “Scott, you’re being kind of a downer here.” Well, there may be hope!
Salesforce for Outlook
– If your organization is running a newer version of Microsoft Exchange Server or Office 365 you have the ability to leverage the Salesforce for Outlook Plugin. With the Winter ’14 release Salesforce introduced the ability to cherry pick attachments to be added. Note that your users will have to consciously select attachments, they will not automatically appear in the Notes and Attachments related list. Administrators be sure that your users are running the latest version of Salesforce for Outlook (at the time of this post the current version is 2.7.1). Also, you will need to update your Salesforce for Outlook configurations for this change to occur. Navigate to Setup>Outlook Configurations>Data Settings – “Allow users to select attachments”
Here’s what things will look like for your users:
This is great but what about those of us who are on Team Mountainview, not Team Redmond?
Thats Google and Microsoft respectively for those of you who aren’t die-hard fanboys/girls of one of these two. There are options for you…but they come with a price.
Enter the AppExchange:
This is not an exhaustive rundown of all of the Gmail/Salesforce plugins available. Instead I’m going to direct you to two.
Cirrus Insight consistently gets rave reviews. Check it out here. To be fair, they also have a solid app for the Microsoft camp too. Mobile apps are also available. Pricing is about $20/user/month.
Both of these apps strip out inline images as well and like the most recent version of Salesforce for Outlook requires users to specify that they want files to be attached in Salesforce.
Ok, so there are multiple options for companies using Exchange or Gmail. We use a POP or IMAP system at our company. What about us?
Remember what I said earlier about being out of luck when it comes to Email to Salesforce? Well, I suppose that isn’t entirely true. That is if you are willing to spend some money. We’ll turn back to the AppExchange.
Signature Slayer by Internet Creations takes a completely different approach. Rather than select attachments to come in, their app asks you to build a “Hit List” of specified files that get automatically purged. Read the listing details on the AppExchange to learn more.
Again, logging emails in Salesforce can be a great thing but needs to be managed properly with regard to attachments.
Which approach will you take with respect to managing email attachments?
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