Outlook vs. Gmail: How to Manage Projects, Contacts, Leads, and Tasks Better

I've been using Outlook for years, but since integrating it with WORKetc it has become more than just an email client. It's now my go-to app for managing everything I have on my plate. Here's why—and how.

WORKetc Outlook Integration

It’s been two decades since Microsoft first let Outlook loose on the world and it’s still in heavy use today. Litmus Labs‘ The State of Email 2017 report notes that Outlook is still among the top email clients in the world, with Outlook 2017 in particular showing a steady upwards trend in email opens.

An overwhelming number of responses to our recent integrations survey on WORKetc Insiders also showed that Outlook is used by a lot of WORKetc users.

I use both Outlook and Gmail in my day to day; the former for business, the latter for personal emails. Being my very first email client, though, Outlook will always have a special place in my heart—especially since I can also access my personal Gmail inbox there.

And ever since I started using WORKetc’s Outlook add-in, I’ve found that Outlook has become more than just an email client. It’s turned into one of my top go-to apps for managing everything I have on my plate.

Dan wrote a few weeks back that email needs to do more to survive, and that’s what the WORKetc add-in lets Outlook accomplish. Here’s how.

Manage Your Business from your Inbox

Similar to the WORKetc Gmail gadget, the Outlook add-in’s biggest strength is the fact that it lets you manage your entire business from right within your email client’s inbox.

Imagine you run a website development company called Acme Web, for instance. You’ve got a support email setup in WORKetc so that any email sent to that support address automatically gets entered into the system as a ticket.

Now, let’s say a client sends an email to your personal email address asking for help with the site you created for them a couple of weeks back.

Without the Outlook add-in, you would have to switch to WORKetc from Outlook to create a new support ticket, connect that ticket to the appropriate contact and / or project, and then assign it to your support team.

And since the email was sent to your personal email address and not to the Acme Web support email address, you’ll have to either forward the email to the appropriate address or just straight up copy and paste the text and attach it as a note to the ticket you created.

Either way, it takes too many clicks and too much time. Plus, asking the client to send another email (this time to the right support email address) will just lead to a frustrated customer.

WORKetc Outlook Add-in Support Case

With the Outlook add-in, however, you can create and assign a support ticket with the client’s email already attached in just a few clicks—all without the need to leave your Outlook inbox.

You save time and effort, plus the support agent to whom you assigned the ticket won’t have to bug you for context since the client’s email, along with any other interactions they’ve had with your company in the past, is automatically attached to the ticket as well as that client’s contact record.

Get Things Done, Fast

One thing I found in Outlook’s favor is that creating new WORKetc items (leads, contacts, projects, support cases, tasks, events, expenses, or timesheets) or attaching emails to existing ones using the Outlook add-in is, arguably, even faster that the Gmail gadget.

Here’s a quick comparison:

WORKetc Outlook Add-in

Click on image for more details.
WORKetc Gmail plugin

Click on image for more details.
How to access: Shows up on your Outlook Home bar or by right-clicking n an email in your inbox list. No need to fully open an email to access the add-in.How to access: Loads at the bottom of every email in your Gmail inbox. Open any email to access the plugin.
What it does: Turn any email into a sales lead, contact, project update, task, or support ticket without leaving your inbox. Manage your entire business without leaving Outlook.What it does: Turn any email into a sales lead, contact, project update, task, or support ticket without leaving your inbox. Manage your entire business without leaving Gmail.

Thanks to Outlook’s default interface, you don’t even have to open an email completely to be able to attach it to or turn it into a lead, contact, or any other WORKetc item or activity.

Just click on an email, click the WORKetc action buttons under the Home tab—Attach to Activity, Attach to Contact, or Create New—and you’re good to go.

WORKetc Outlook Add-in Buttons

You can also use Outlook’s right click menu to access the WORKetc add-in’s features.

Simply right click on the email you want to use in Outlook’s Inbox list (the second column, by default) and you’ll see the WORKetc add-in in the contextual menu that pops up.

WORKetc Outlook Add-in Right Click Menu

You can also create a sales lead, a person-type contact, and a company-type contact all at the same time using the Outlook add-in.

So if a prospective client emails you a question regarding Acme Web’s hosting services, for example, you can immediately create a new sales lead, a contact entry for the person who emailed you, and a company contact entry for the company that person works for—all in one go.

Plus, you can attach that initial email to the sales lead and contact entries you just created so it shows up in those items’ activity histories, which is a running record of every single interaction you have with your customers.

That way, if you were to assign that sales lead to a different sales agent, that new agent wouldn’t have to bug you about the particulars of the prospective client’s original query. It’ll all be right there in the sales lead’s activity history.

Being able to do all of that from right within your email inbox saves you a few precious minutes that you can instead use to immediately start nurturing that sales lead.

Using the WORKetc Outlook add-in, when you create a sales lead, you can create a person-type contact and a company-type contact as well simply by navigating to the “Client” tab in the Lead popup menu.

WORKetc Outlook Add-in Create Lead

Keep Contact Details Updated

Think of a single incorrect detail in your contact entries as a sort of virus. Left unchecked, it can spread through your entire organization and affect everyone from sales and marketing through to billing and support.

At best, a couple of missent emails would probably lead to some minor embarrassments. At worst? You could end up losing clients or sending out invoices to the wrong email address and crippling your business’ cashflow.

The integration between WORKetc and Outlook makes the chances of incorrect contact details wreaking havoc on your cashflow infinitely small. By syncing contacts between WORKetc and Outlook, you make sure that both systems always have up-to-date contact details.

Let’s say a client emails you using his new company email address and you quickly go ahead and update his contact information in Outlook. You can then use the WORKetc Outlook add-in to update that client’s contact details in WORKetc without having to leave your inbox.

WORKetc Outlook Add-in Contact Sync

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the green “Settings” button under Outlook’s Home tab.
  2. In the menu that pops up, click on the “Outlook -> WORK[etc]” tab.
  3. Choose the “WORKetc” category and what tags you want to apply to the contacts you want to sync.
  4. Click “OK”.

It’s that easy.

Please note, however, that you need to categorize any contacts that you want to sync with WORKetc as “WORKetc”. This category will automatically be created once you enable contact sync.

Never Lose Track of Upcoming Tasks and Events

Finally, you can also use Outlook to view any of your WORKetc calendars. This comes in really handy when you need to make sure of your current schedule but don’t have the time to logon to WORKetc and check your calendar there.

Doing this is simple. You just go to Settings > Event Calendar Settings in WORKetc and copy the iCal link of the calendar you want to view in Outlook.

Each WORKetc calendar will have its own unique iCal link. If you want to view your company shared calendar, for example, just right click the blue iCal link next to it and click on “Copy link address”.

WORKetc Outlook Add-in Calendar View

Then, in Outlook, switch to calendar view and do the following:

  1. Click “Open Calendar” under the Home tab.
  2. Choose “From Internet…”.
  3. Paste the iCal link in the box provided.
  4. Click “OK”.
  5. When Outlook asks if you want to save the calendar and subscribe to updates, click “Yes”.

And that’s it. You can now view your WORKetc calendar in Outlook. Quick, easy, and hassle-free.

How has the WORKetc Outlook add-in helped make your workflow more efficient? Let us know in the comments.

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