A question that we've gotten a lot over the years is about email and activity logging within CRMs:
We want to see emails, texts, and other activities between internal people and shared vendors, but only the activities that are related to the opportunity/project at hand, not other opportunities/projects unrelated to the specific email/activity.
First, let's drill down on this question for a moment, in business, it's not not uncommon to have the same external person (e.g. a vendor) pulled across multiple opportunities. Say you're reselling insurance and you need John Doe from Acme Insurance roped into the deal whenever you're ready to close the deal. Your team is going to be pulling John into a lot of different conversations, and thus, Opportunities.
So what you do is add John Doe to the opportunity:
And boom! All of the emails that John has ever sent your team and vice-versa is pulled into this opportunity feed.
This is one of those incredibly difficult scenarios, because while it may seem like an obvious "feature", it's way more difficult to "solve" in an automated fashion (we've spoken with countless CRM product/engineering teams about it).
Thing is, from a technical perspective, it's actually nearly impossible for a CRM to actually know what any given email is pertaining to, and more specifically, what opportunity or project it should/shouldn't be related to. In a CRM, email + communication-based activities (e.g. meetings/calls/texts) are tied to the person-entity level, so any opportunity/company/project that person is tied to, will also rope in all of their communication. It's how most people would ideally want it to function most of the time... The place it falls apart is when there's people that overlap multiple opportunities/projects.
So there's two ways to ultimately handle this, either auto-relate all of the person's activities to their related entities (Opportunities/Company/Projects), or relate none of them.
If you relate emails and activities automatically (like a CRM like Copper does—especially the automatic email logging as being one of the main benefits of Copper over other CRM's), well, you can't have automatic tracking of communication along with automatic filtering out of communication. Think about it for a moment: how would Copper (or any CRM for that matter), know that X email from John Doe is related to Y opportunity but Z email from the same person is related to B opportunity (and not Y opportunity)?
It's an answer that only you would know because you have the full additional context from the email and all of the active opportunities/projects. So unless you go the path of never having your CRM automatically pull in the emails (e.g. you removed all people from a project—which brings with it other issues), and you now get into the habit of relating every single email/activity to the specific opportunity/project at hand, then the CRM will never really tell the story you're hoping it would.
We also wouldn't recommend this path as it'd be incredibly tedious and painful to do it. Not to mention, any phone call/text/other activity type you create, you'd need to also log it on the project/opportunity, not just the person, since the person would no longer be tied to the project (and most integrations match the phone call/text to the person entity, so you'd actually have to manually just do everything moving forward).
The main hope is that maybe one day AI could help solve this problem (e.g. OpenAI) as GPT gets more powerful to be able to make these types of distinctions consistently. General AI is really the only way that this could in be done automatically at scale. And is also why general AI is so interesting, as it's giving us a glimpse into being able to automate tasks that humans are great at (contextual awareness), at scale.
But with that, having all your emails ingested into GPT to make these distinctions would be both immensely expensive for the CRM to take on right now, and it would also be a pretty big data/privacy concern (every email and activity ever being logged would have to be fed into AI to try and understand the context around it before deciding to show it or not on the given opportunity/project).
So because of that, I don't see it happening in the near-term, and would be surprised to even see it in the long-term, as there's just bigger fish to fry in this space—the truth of the matter is If it wasn't for the advancements of AI in recent months though, I'd have said that it's unlikely to ever see this type of functionality being able to come to CRMs in an automated way.
All of this to say, sometimes the "simplest features", that seem obvious to people (e.g. filtering out unrelated emails from an opportunity/project), are actually one of the most complicated technical challenges that exists. To put it another way, humans are great at understanding and making decisions based on context, nuance, and history—code isn't 😅
You Might Also Like
Unlock Software Stack Access
Want access to the top SaaS companies software stack?
& our thoughts on their software stack decisions.
Subscribe To Be Entered Into A Free 30-Minute CRM Audit Giveaway
Our CRM Tips Digest is read by 300+
businesses that are successfully using their CRM
to automate and scale 🚀
Subscribe For New
Content on YouTube
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more podcasts, candid chats, Shorts, & best practices on how to make your business more efficient!Subscribe on YouTube
Make Copper an Efficient App
If you'd like help refining your processes, automating communication, and would like ongoing support, we can help!Request Pricing
(please note only eligible companies will be chosen for the audit.)