Last Updated on August 17, 2022 by Rakesh Gupta
As a Salesforce Administrator, it’s your job to reduce busywork for your sales team so they can focus on more important things. One common example of busywork is updating data between Salesforce, email, and calendar applications. Fortunately, there are now several solutions that can help your sales team reduce routine tasks, one of them being Einstein Activity Capture.
Einstein Activity Capture (EAC) has evolved over the past few years to become the leading Salesforce solution for managing data flow between applications. Here’s a quick overview to help you get started with Einstein Activity Capture and understand whether it’s a good fit for your organization.
What is Einstein Activity Capture?
Einstein Activity Capture (EAC) is a productivity-boosting tool that automatically keeps data between Salesforce, your email, and calendar applications up to date. With Einstein Activity Capture, your email and events are automatically related to Salesforce records. Contacts and events are synced between the connected accounts of Email Calendar applications and Salesforce.
The three types of data in Einstein Activity Capture
To keep data between Salesforce, email, and calendar applications up to date, Einstein Activity Capture focuses on three types of data: emails, events, and contacts.
Einstein Activity Capture users can use email data to gain insights into their Salesforce records. If you use Inbox or High-Velocity Sales, email data creates more robust engagement data.
Einstein Activity Capture automatically adds users’ activity from Outlook, Google, and Microsoft accounts to the events timeline of related Salesforce records. This activity then appears on My Events in Salesforce. When these events sync to Salesforce and are made into a related record, they become Salesforce records and can be used for standard reporting and other Salesforce Platform capabilities.
You can sync contacts from your Microsoft or Google accounts with Salesforce. When you sync contacts, the contacts become Salesforce records. Also, contact data from your connected account may be used to generate email insights and suggested connections.
Salesforce Einstein Activity Capture syncs events and contacts similarly to earlier Salesforce tools like Salesforce for Outlook and Lightning Sync. However, Einstein Activity Capture offers even more benefits than the former, such as faster syncing of calendars, which enables additional tools like Salesforce Scheduler.
How does Einstein Activity Capture work?
You can change your Einstein Activity Capture configuration to handle emails, events, and contacts in different ways. For example, if you turn off email events, Salesforce will not send an email when you create or update an Opportunity record. You also decide which users receive email notifications based on which configuration they’re assigned to.
When you connect your Microsoft or Google account, Salesforce stores the data in its Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure. Email data isn’t used to create Salesforce records, but you can use the Activities dashboard and Activity Metrics fields to get a full picture of your activity data.
As we’ve discussed earlier, the data is synchronized between Salesforce and the connected account once events or contacts are enabled. You can choose the sync direction in Settings. Please note that events and contacts become Salesforce records when they sync to Salesforce and are available in the standard reports section.
Why Salesforce admins like Einstein Activity Capture
Einstein Activity Capture is very similar to Lightning Sync, in that it connects to Gmail or Office 365 and is quite user-friendly. Also, it has one significant advantage over Lightning – emails are captured automatically, and it’s relatively easy to set up and operate in EAC.
Let’s sum up the main advantages of Einstein Activity Capture:
- Automatic email and calendar synchronization – captures every email and meeting in Gmail, Outlook, or Microsoft Office 365.
- Activity reporting – provides data-driven rep coaching with activity leader-board.
- Fast & easy setup – once you select your Email and Calendar service, EAC does the rest; the process is very intuitive.
- Privacy control – you can adjust who can see emails and events to ensure the privacy of the personal settings in EAC.
Why Salesforce Admins do not like Einstein Activity Capture
At first, many Salesforce Admins were happy to start working with Einstein Activity Capture and were quick to transfer their teams from Lightning to the new solution. However, they soon discovered that some things were off about the product. Firstly, it seemed that the captured activities were not logged as Tasks and Events in Salesforce. Secondly, users were unable to include these activities into any standard reports or utilize them in Salesforce Flow Automation.
Initially, admins believed that they were missing some specific setting, but, unfortunately, they weren’t. It appears that emails captured by EAC are not stored as physical records in Salesforce. Instead, they are stored in AWS and shown as virtual records on the Timeline and in the Activities Analytics dashboard.
The virtual records are retained for a maximum of 24 months or as little as 6 months on Einstein Activity Capture Standard. In addition, when customer data is stored on third-party servers it becomes vulnerable to external threats, meaning you can lose your Salesforce data when switching from EAC to another platform.
Thirdly, Admins were not too thrilled with the Activities Analytics Dashboard. It appeared that only up to 180 days of activity data could be displayed (90 in Einstein Activity Capture Standard). Editing the standard dashboard would require an Einstein license.
Lastly, Admins were experiencing a duplicates problem. Admins could not control which information Einstein Activity Capture is supposed to utilize. EAC was unable to link leads or contacts to specific opportunities. Instead, in Opportunities, it syncs emails with everyone on the Opportunity Team. If external partners are attached to Opportunities, all emails from them will be attached to every single Opportunity where they are a part of the Team. This process resulted in data duplicates.
Also, EAC is designed to sync events and contacts, and there are minimal options to change this setting. While it can be disabled, there are few options for customization. For many organizations syncing contacts by default is a deal-breaker.
Now that we’ve walked through some of the downsides of EAC, let’s sum up the main disadvantages of the solution:
- Captured activities are not logged and reportable in Salesforce
- Data is stored in a third-party database and is not secure
- Data is not controlled by Salesforce Admins and can be lost
- Duplicates are created when data is captured and synced
- Limited customization options are available
When is Einstein Activity Capture the right choice and when is it not?
The biggest advantage of Einstein Activity Capture is its ease of installation and setup. You can go through the simple setup wizard and start working almost immediately. But if you need advanced reporting or automation based on email activity, it might not be a perfect solution for you.
If you’re interested in more robust and integrated logging capabilities, you will need to consider an alternative solution like Revenue Grid and enjoy:
- Captured activities that are logged in Salesforce – with Revenue Grid the captured Activities are logged as Tasks and Events in Salesforce.
- Reportable data in Salesforce – Revenue Grid captures data and saves it directly to Salesforce. This means you can easily build any reports based on this data
- Data under your control, which you can easily transfer to another software without the risk of data loss
- Accurately captured data in Salesforce without any duplicates
- Various customization options according to your requirements
If you’re curious about what makes Revenue Grid a better alternative to EAC, you can learn more about the differences between Revenue Grid and Einstein Activity Capture.
I want to hear from you!
What is one thing you learned from this post? How do you envision applying this new knowledge in the real world? Feel free to share in the comments below.