CRM 4.0 E-mail Integration Overview

A few days ago, David West posted about the new e-mail features in CRM 4.0. For many of you, this list of new features is probably music to your ears, but if you’re a newcomer to CRM you might be a little overwhelmed. The e-mail integration story we have in CRM is both powerful and very flexible—enough to cover nearly any IT setup out there. This post is designed to give you an overview of our e-mail integration story and set the groundwork for future posts where we will dive deep into our e-mail feature set.

Let’s start by looking at the basic building blocks:

  • A Microsoft Dynamics CRM organization
  • An e-mail server

Between those two bullet points, there are a vast number of deployment permutations. Your CRM org might be on-premise, on-premise + internet-facing, hosted, or on CRM Live. Your e-mail server might be inside the corporate domain, outside the corporate domain, behind firewalls, and might be POP3, Exchange, Notes, etc. You could easily be dealing with multiple CRM orgs and multiple mail servers. And CRM also does e-mail processing based on business rules.

Unlike previous versions of CRM, for 4.0 we wanted to have a story which would work with all these permutations. Basic solutions involving direct connectivity between e-mail server to CRM and vice versa fell flat quickly. What we needed was a bridge to connect the two that was flexible in different deployment topologies. This bridge needed to handle e-mail send/receive for the multitude of mailboxes across a business, do the appropriate e-mail processing, and connect to multiple CRM organizations.

For CRM 4.0, we have two “bridges” that the administrator can choose from:

  • E-mail Router
  • CRM for Outlook

The generic topology looks like this:


For incoming e-mail, CRM for Outlook and the E-mail Router regularly check for new messages in the mailboxes they’ve been configured with. When new mail is found, it is picked up, processed, and promoted to CRM.

For outgoing e-mail activities created in CRM and marked for sending, CRM for Outlook and the E-mail Router will poll CRM, pick up the mail, and push them out through the configured SMTP server.

Important: Without utilizing the E-mail Router or CRM for Outlook in your deployment, CRM will have no functioning e-mail capabilities (e.g. no e-mail marketing campaigns).

Which Bridge to Use?

Depending on your requirements, you can mix and match between the E-mail Router and CRM for Outlook on a per-user basis (though you must use the E-mail Router for Queues). As always, there are pros and cons.

CRM for Outlook: Single User Routing



Sent e-mail appear in Sent Items folder of Outlook

CRM for Outlook must be running and connected to process mail

Works with the mailbox already configured in Outlook

Do not need to manage inbox forwarding rules

Does not require an administrator to manage


This is a good option for CRM deployments without an IT staff, such as hosted offerings or CRM Live.

E-mail Router: Centrally Managed Routing



Can be used with forward mailboxes
 (more on this in a future post)

Standalone component

Connect to multiple CRM organizations

Requires an administrator to manage

Queue integration (unmonitored mailboxes)

Need to manage inbox forwarding rules when used with a forward mailbox (see video)

Ideal for centrally managed deployments


Supported for deployment on server or client OS


This is a good option for centrally managed CRM deployments, typically those on premise.

E-mail Router Supported Protocols

While CRM for Outlook piggybacks on the default mail server configured in Outlook, the E-mail Router supports the following protocols out-of-the-box.

  • POP3 (new for 4.0)
  • Exchange (via the DAV protocol, only Exchange 2003 and 2007 supported)
  • SMTP for outbound e-mail

We recognize that this is not an exhaustive list of e-mail protocols out there. In an upcoming blog post, Dominic Pouzin will discuss how you can write your own e-mail plug-in, providing options to connect to systems like Lotus Notes, Yahoo! Mail, etc.

To see is to believe…

There’s no better teacher than experience. I highly recommend taking a look at a few short videos I’ve made to illustrate connecting the E-mail Router to a POP3 server and also to Exchange.

The CRM 4.0 E-mail Router with POP3

The CRM 4.0 E-mail Router with Exchange

The CRM 4.0 E-mail Router with an Exchange Forward Mailbox

Michael Lu

Comments (23)

  1. Nice summary.

    New item: For several hours today I have been working on debugging the CRM email functionality and I believe I have identified a missing piece of information that is critical to setting up your first CRM 4.0 for Outlook environment.

    I set up the system and then began to test, but try as I might direct send emails weren’t being sent. So after trying a send I would go back to the debugging process – checked the server, checked smtp relaying, checked the registry, re-read the documents.

    But here is what was happening, I wasn’t waiting long enough!

    It appears when you use Outlook to send CRM emails that the emails only get pushed out when Outlook syncs with CRM on its 15 minute or whatever schedule you set. It doesn’t happen immediately on send nor does it happen when Outlook does a ‘normal’ send/receive.

    It was only when I went to lunch and came back did I see that the messages had been sent.

    How about adding this to the IG and the new Examples on-premise document? If it is already there make it larger!


  2. Dominic Pouzin says:

    To force Outlook to download email activities from CRM and send submit them at once, you can invoke the "synchronize" action under the CRM menu in Outlook. You can also change system settings to make this happen automatically a bit faster (ex: instead of every 15 minutes, every 5 minutes).

  3. Peter says:

    Great demos, very clear and useful

  4. ibiz says:


    What CRM admins need to be aware of is how to set those values in the Outlook tab of the Systems Settings as there are new options – Send pending CRM e-mail every x minutes.

    But that really isn’t the issue, it is about user education to let them know that send email using Outlook won’t go until the cycle triggers.

    And yes the instruction should advise/recommend doing a ‘forced’ sync to release the hounds.


  5. Under veckan som varit körs något som heter Techready i USA. Det är ett internt Microsoft

  6. Hunter says:

    I’ve been stuck on an incoming email issue for days.

    I’ve replaced our real company name with "contso".

    Get error message when entering incoming email server address. I have tried many different combinations. Our internal domain name is "contso.local" our exchange server is named "heracles"

    The setup document from MS says:

    "Type the HTTP-DAV location of the Microsoft Exchange server in the Server open text box.

    Note: This location is not the location of Outlook Web Access. Typically this location will be entered as http://ExchangeServerName or"  

    Does anyone know how to find out exactly what you "http-DAV location" is?

    Can you use a local address if your crm 4.0 server is in the same domain for example "http://exchange.contso.local" ?

    Our webmail address is ""

    and our mail is hosted by 3rd-party company and we pull it into our exchange server via pop.

    Any help appreciated.

  7. Bill Smith says:

    We want to use SMTP for outgoing email – and we want to use an SMTP server on another physical box. Is this allowed.

    If an SMTP service is not running on the same box as CRM how does the email get to the remote SMTP server?

  8. Peter says:

    Is it possible to have CRM 3.0 email router for 1 CRM instance and CRM 4.0 email router for another?

    Or can I install the 4.0 router to work for the 3.0 & 4.0 instances?

  9. saframian says:

    have you every got an answer for this?

    "Is it possible to have CRM 3.0 email router for 1 CRM instance and CRM 4.0 email router for another?

    Or can I install the 4.0 router to work for the 3.0 & 4.0 instances?"

    one of my clients is looking to have both email routers at the same time (for a short period).


  10. Madhusmita says:


       We are trying to install MS CRM oofline for outlook.

    But getting some issues.

    The installation is complete, but when i am going to the configuration wizard and giving the URL , it is giving me an error of HTTP:401, Unauthorised.

    Can somebpdy help me with it?

    One more thing when i open the configuration wizard, i get 2 options i.e.

    Connect to MS CRM Dynamicas through

    1)My Company

    2)Online Serrvice Provider.

    I click on the second option.

    Please help…URGENT!!! 🙂

  11. Sairung says:

    Is it possible to integrate the e-mail function of CRM 4.0 with Lotus Notes?

    If yes, how to do that?

    Thanks in advance

  12. boruto says:

    I would also like to know if this is possible. Maybe someone can post a link where I can find the instructions how to do it.


  13. dun says:

    Is there a matrix available documenting what you get/don’t get if you integrate CRM to Outlook vs. Exchange from CRM on-premise, offline, online, etc. Or is all functionality (aside from queues) available regardless of topology?

  14. d-Snell-b says:

    I have recently been carrying out tests to see if you can concurrently deploy the CRM 3.0 email router and dynamics CRM 4.0 email router against the same Exchange server. In short – you can. The rules that are set up for 3.0 do not interfere with the CRM 4.0 router, and likewise, the 4.0 router does not interefere. This was expected as the rules being published against individual email accounts only.

  15. iyman says:

    We have already configured CRM for Outlook working fine for sales module, recently we planed to use CRM IT Help desk – service module. The requirement is customer will logon their support call through our website, these call will be direct to support@ mailing ID, up this it works’ fine and done. Now we need to create automatically case in Microsoft CRM 4.0 from emails, I have created a workflow, but workflow doesn’t start, pls suggest do I need to configure E-mail Router is it mandatory for such requirement or there is some other issue

  16. ibiz says:

    If you create a workflow or have workflows already created but they don’t fire, then you need to check for two items right away:

    1. Did you publish the workflow? It is easy to miss this last step.

    2. Is the Microsoft CRM Asynchronous Processing Service running? If not restart it and workflow will starting executing. For a variety of reasons it can stop unexpectedly.


  17. Lucas says:

    Hi, also want to know if its possible to integrate CRM 4 with Lotus Notes.

    Are there any guides or some whitepapers to do that??

    Thanks in advance.

  18. Pradeep says:

    Inbulit microsoft has provided email Integration capablities to Microsoft outlook only. If you want to integrate Lotus notes to CRM you should need to use third party tools.

  19. Shaju David says:

    Is Exchange Server mandatory for offline clients? In the case of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Office Outlook with Offline Access can we use POP3 server with Microsoft Dynamics CRM E-Mail router with Forward Mailbox option or E-mail Router option?

  20. Alejandro Cesetti says:

    Hello Michael, I was wondering to know where is the document explaining how to work with Lotus if any. I have read "In an upcoming blog post, Dominic Pouzin will discuss how you can write your own e-mail plug-in, providing options to connect to systems like Lotus Notes, Yahoo! Mail, etc." above and I’m anxious to read this post. Could you  or anybody help me?

    Thanks in advance.

  21. JayshriP says:

    I’ve a workflow designed which includes Sending Email from one CRM user to another when some event occures. Now problem is that all emails are having "Pending Status", no email activities are completed. So what can be the probolem. So please help.

    Thanks in advance.

  22. John says:

    Does anyone know of an Email Marketing solution that integrates with Custome entities of MSCRM and not just the standard Contact, Lead and Account entities?

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