If you’re like us, your work world is split between two environments: your business documents live in Google Drive, and your customer data lives in Salesforce. Client records sit in Salesforce, while every contract they’ve ever signed is siloed over in Google Drive. Luckily, there are a few solutions to help the two play better together. Let’s take a look at three of the best ways to add Google Drive files to Salesforce records.
The Blunt Instrument: Custom URL Fields
The simplest way to associate a Salesforce record with a Google Drive file is pure Salesforce 101: just create a custom URL field on the record page and paste in the link to your external file. As a one-off solution, it works, but it doesn’t scale well. Adding multiple URL fields to record pages gets messy fast, and files linked in this way are usually lost to Salesforce search. To connect Salesforce with a Google Drive environment of any real size, you’ll want to seek out a different solution, and there’s one directly built in to Salesforce: Files Connect.
The Swiss Army Knife: Files Connect
Files Connect is Salesforce’s out-of-the-box solution for integrating external file sources. It allows users to add content stored in external systems to their Salesforce org’s Files tab, making them sharable and searchable like any native Salesforce file. It’s not a bad solution for files stored in Salesforce-owned external systems like Quip, but using it with a true third-party storage service like Google Drive presents a couple of serious issues:
Difficult setup process: Connecting to Google Drive with Files Connect is a finicky, confusing process that requires ping-ponging back and forth between Salesforce setup and the Google Developers console. The full setup journey is too complicated to walk through here; for the thrilling details, you can always check out Salesforce's 28-page implementation guide.
Incompatibility with Shared Drives: Files Connect only allows users to access files from individual Google Drives, making it a complete non-starter for organizations that rely on Shared Drives for team file access and collaboration. If your workspace is dependent on Shared Drives, you’ll need to find a different way to link Google docs to Salesforce.
Files Connect is a versatile tool that allows Salesforce users to interface with files stored across a variety of external sources, but using it specifically to connect with Google Drive is a little like opening a bottle of wine with the corkscrew on a Swiss Army knife – it works in a pinch, but there are tools made for the job that will make things a lot easier. We know because we built one.
The Precision Tool: Drive Connect
We rely on Salesforce and Google Drive every day, and we wanted to create a tool that not only brought the two together, but built on their individual strengths. Here are some of the features that were important to us:
Easy setup: Unlike Files Connect, Drive Connect sets up in minutes with a dedicated setup wizard, making it easy to get started without getting bogged down in documentation and permissions.
Full functionality: Drive Connect brings Google functionality into the Salesforce environment, allowing you to view, navigate, edit, and upload Drive files with native Google UI from within your Salesforce org. Everything you can access with your Google account is available in Salesforce, including files from shared drives.
Seamless integration: We’ve built a feature set that goes beyond simple file linking, allowing users to generate Google Drive documents with Salesforce data and automate Drive processes from within Salesforce.
Instead of copying client information from a Salesforce record page into a contract template in Drive, you can populate a contract document from within Salesforce with a couple of clicks. And instead of manually creating a Drive folder for each new Salesforce account and contact, you can use Salesforce Flow to automate the creation of a folder structure in Drive. Drive Connect is designed to make Salesforce and Google Drive work together as one.
Okay, we’re biased, but there’s a clear winner here. Linking out to a file via a URL field is a workaround that doesn’t scale, and Files Connect is a general-use tool that doesn’t mesh perfectly with the Google ecosystem. Simply, Drive Connect is the best solution for integrating Google Drive with Salesforce because that’s the job it was built to do. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and your first 14 days are free. Why not try it out now?