Attaching Emails as Activities

Linking emails to Contact, Company and Project Blog pages

Email can get messy. Team members have important information locked-up in their individual email accounts related to your business’ contacts, companies and projects. It’s not only hard for each person to remember the context of each important email, but that information is not accessible to the rest of the team!

Solve provides an easy to use feature that will create an entirely new way for you to view your corporate email history and manage client relationships. We simply call it Linked Emails.

Google Apps users

Solve also offers a set of useful features that make linking your Gmail messages into the CRM seamless, so be sure to take a quick peek at our Google Apps Email Linking features. You’ll benefit from learning how the linked-email feature works too, as the underlying concept is universal.

What does that mean?

Email messages can automatically be linked to corresponding Contacts, Companies and Project Blogs. The email linking feature enables you to share certain outgoing and incoming email messages with your team and keeps all your communications related to a certain project or contact bundled for easy reference. So, when you are viewing a project blog, for example, you will see all the email messages related to the project that you and your team members have shared.

So how does it work?

The Linked Emails function works with your current email system and mobile devices, requires nothing to install, and like we promised, is extremely simple to use.

Your team is assigned a unique Solve email address called the workgroup’s email address e.g. (you’ll use the same address to link to anything in Solve). This workgroup email address and related email folder is an email sorting machine; when you forward or Bcc an email to the workgroup’s email address, it automatically links the email message to the appropriate contact, company and/or project blog.

Sending a message

Compose and address your message normally, then just add the special workgroup email address to the Bcc field. If you click on the contact’s email address from within Solve the workgroup email address is automatically added to the Bcc field.

Receiving a message

Forward the message to your email workgroup email address.

Reviewing the linked messages

Open the contact (or company, or project blog), if it’s already open click the “Refresh View” button to update the page to show the most recent data.

Click-once on a message in the linked-email activity, the message will open in a new window.

Click the Older or Newer buttons to read other messages.

More details (AKA the “fine print”)

In no time it will seem instinctual to link your emails to Solve, but in order for the linked emails to do its job there are a few points to consider. Don’t worry they’re pretty obvious, but we’re listing them here just in case.

  1. Send a copy of the message to Solve
    • The email must be forwarded to or Bcc’ed to your workgroup email address. This is displayed on the linked-email activity on the page when there are no email messages displayed.
    • To link an outgoing email message that you are composing, whether it’s a new email or a reply to an email, simply enter your team’s workgroup email address in the Bcc field (in most email clients, this is the field directly below the “To” field).
    • Oops! I already pushed the send button and forgot to Bcc the workgroup email address. No problem, open your email client’s “Sent” folder, select the message you forgot to Bcc and forward the email to the workgroup email address.
    • To link an incoming email message sent to you by a client, vendor, supplier, etc., forward the email to your team’s workgroup email address by entering the unique address in the “To” address field.
  2. The message must provide a hint to what it relates to
    • The email message must mention the contact’s business email, personal email, or other email to be linked to a contact record (most email programs do this automatically). To link an email to a company record, the message must mention the company name or website. To be linked to a project blog, the email message must contain the project blog’s title. The fields used to link the messages can be customized for every contact, company and project blog.
    • Outlook users should choose the “Forward as Attachment” option when forwarding emails to the workgroup email address because Outlook does not always add the previous sender’s name and email address to the message when using the default forward method.
  3. The item you are linking to must be shared
    • The contact, company or project blog must be owned by a workgroup i.e. it cannot be private to a user.
  4. The item you are linking to must have a linked-email activity to display the messages
    • A linked-email activity is automatically added to a contact when you first create it, for companies and project blogs you need to add the activity yourself.
    • The linked-email activity is a container that displays a list of all messages in the workgroup email folder that relate to the page you are viewing. Only one linked-email activity per page is needed. You can add or remove a linked-email activity on a page and it will not affect the messages in the workgroup email folder.

Managing linked emails

Where are the email messages saved?

A workgroup email address and corresponding folder is like a private email account Solve provides your team to save their email messages in. The moment you open a contact, company or project blog, messages are dynamically linked from the workgroup email folder and shown on the page. This provides a few unique benefits:

  • A single message will link to every related contact, company and project i.e. a message is not limited to linking to a single page
  • If you add or correct a contact, company or project blog after loading messages into the workgroup email folder the old messages will link automatically to the new page or linking
  • If you find the linking is not returning the results the way you expect, you can refine the linking filter for a given page at any time
  • When using the free Webmail add-on it is simple to manage all the messages at once

Adding a linked-email activity

  • Open the project blog, company or contact
  • Hover over the Add an activity button
  • Select Add a view for linked-emails (if this option is disabled it is because the activity is already on the page and you only need one)

Adding the “Linked emails” activity creates a placeholder for all linked emails to be displayed. If you choose to delete this activity, the display will vanish, but the emails will still be there in the workgroup email folder – you just can’t see them (until you add the activity back on the page).

Refining which messages are shown

If you only wish to see certain linked emails for a particular client, company or project blog you may change the criteria used to link the messages. For example, if you have contacts with the same name and the activity is showing messages from both contacts, or if your project blog title is not specific enough to pick up the correct messages. To eliminate the irrelevant messages or expand the view to include more messages:

  • Hover over the Linked emails activity
  • Select the “edit item” icon
  • Adjust the values in the fields to filter to your specifications

Note that the Linked emails activity can only be edited when sorting the activity feed by Placed order or Type.

Managing all linked emails in the workgroup email folder

Over time, you may want to review all the messages in the workgroup email folder to delete old ones, export them to another system, audit actions, etc. To do so, simply go to your workgroup email folder located in Solve Webmail: Solve menu > Access Webmail where you will see your unique workgroup email folder listed on the left

If the Webmail option is not enabled it can be activated by your administrator from within their account under: Solve menu (top right) > Add-ons > Webmail.

Webmail removes the need to Bcc and Forward

We’ve integrated an optional Webmail feature that can reduce the steps needed to link messages to pages. The only “drawback” is that to employ all these special features, you may not be able to use your current email server. If you want to take advantage of ALL the streamlining opportunities the Webmail feature offers, consider hosting your email with Google or Rackspace. These two email services integrate with Solve Webmail, so you will have more control over linked emails.

Sending a message

Compose and address your message normally. In the “Save in” dropdown choose the workgroup email folder (this dropdown remembers the last setting so you’ll only need to set this once)

Receiving a message

Drag then drop the message to the workgroup email folder, or right-click on the message and choose “Move to” and choose the workgroup email folder

About this Webmail feature …

We’ve integrated an email CLIENT into Solve called “Webmail”. Your administrator enables the feature under: Solve menu (top right) > Add-ons > Webmail > Add.

Without any configuration Webmail enables you to review messages saved in the workgroup email folder. But when you click on Solve menu > Webmail > Settings and connect the Webmail client to a supported email server like Google or Rackspace, all the remaining email features are enabled allowing you to send and receive messages just like you can with Outlook, Gmail, etc. The difference is that Webmail is fully integrated with your Solve data (e.g. address lookup, click to add contacts) and has special features to manage interactions with clients (e.g. shared email templates).

Confused? Let us clarify…

There is a difference between your email SERVER and your email CLIENT

  • Your SERVER actually hosts your emails, Rackspace, Microsoft Exchange are all examples of email servers
  • Your CLIENT handles your emails from a computer program, Outlook, Macmail and iPhone are examples of email clients
  • Many web-based services like Gmail and Yahoo act as the SERVER and the CLIENT

Managing multiple workgroup email folders (Administrator)

To follow along open Solve menu > Set Security Workgroups

You may have email messages you want to share only with certain people within your organization. For example, perhaps your main office should see messages for all clients, but a remote office should only see messages for their local clients.

As an administrator, you have the power to manage Workgroups. A Workgroup is a place you save Contacts, Companies and Project Blogs so you can share them with a specific set of users. Think of the Workgroups as rooms in a building: there is a room for each department or team in your organization. You can distribute keys, so you control who has access to each room. For example, Tom might have a key to the remote office’s room but not the head-office’s room. Each Workgroup has an associated email address and folder (a one-to-one relationship). To answer the question about keeping the two departments data separate, you would create two Workgroups which would provide two corresponding email folders for the email messages to be routed to.

All your users are displayed in columns and Workgroups are organized in rows. From this view, you can see the email address for the corresponding workgroup folder and easily select who has access to which Workgroups by selecting the icons listed below each individual’s name.

To grant a user access to a Workgroup, select the green “modify” icon; to eliminate all accessibility, select the red “none” icon.