The purpose of this article is to provide information about Smart Email Assist, a feature designed to streamline email communication by generating AI-based replies. It eliminates the need to start from scratch and empowers users to respond to emails more efficiently.
- Outreach User
- Outreach Admin
- Outreach recognizes the importance of ensuring Outreach AI is lawful, ethically adherent and technically robust.
- Customer data used by the models is visible only to Outreach and to the customers to whom the data belongs.
- Availability of this feature is subject to your pricing plan.
- Smart Email Assist is currently available in Outreach and in the Gmail extension.
Smart Email Assist does not:
- serve the purpose of drafting initial emails to prospects [not in the initial scope of this release]
- function as an AI assistant for spell-checking or providing real-time tips while composing email responses
- it is not intended for generating content such as Sequence email steps, Templates, or Snippets
- Always review responses generated by the feature for accuracy and branding tone.
What is the feature?
Smart Email Assist leverages AI to auto generate email replies based on the prior context of conversations between buyers and sellers. By bringing the power of generative AI directly into the current processes, Smart Email Assist increases seller productivity so they can focus their time on editing and personalizing the AI-generated content, rather than starting from scratch.
The benefits of incorporating generative AI into current sales processes include:
- Gain efficiency by focusing their time on editing and personalizing the AI-generated content
- Avoid writer’s block by removing the daunting task of starting with a blank screen
- Focus on activities that matter - building relationships and selling
Key functions of the feature:
The Smart Email Assist feature is accessible to Outreach users when they reply to a buyer (prospect) in the email compose window. The buyer should be included in the recipients' list (TO, CC, or BCC fields). This feature is available both in the Outreach web app and the Gmail extension.
To utilize the Smart Email Assist feature, users can invoke Assist (see the gif below), optionally provide more context in the prompt and hit Generate. This will automatically generate three different versions of the response for users to select. Users should review the generated content, make any necessary modifications, and click "Send" to proceed.
ADD MORE CONTEXT VIA PROMPT
By default 3 last email replies (if available) are used as a context to generate an email response.
To increase the quality of the AI-generated responses, users are highly encouraged to provide additional context in the prompt. This context helps generate more accurate and relevant replies.
Here are some examples of prompts that can be used:
By customizing the prompts to suit different scenarios and objectives, sellers can harness the power of Smart Email Assist to generate high-quality and targeted email responses.
Note: user prompt input field is limited to 300 characters.
ADDITIONAL PROMPT SETTINGS
Users can apply the following settings to the prompt to adjust the output response:
Length of the response in seconds (default: 40 seconds)
- The read time affects the length of the text. It determines how long it should take an average person to read the text while still being able to understand it.
- Options available: 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 40 / 60 seconds
- Tone of voice (default: Professional)
Note: user prompt, length and voice settings are used as a guidance to LLM for a desired response generation that does not guarantee the generated response to have those instructions enforced.
References can be used to provide seller-specific context to the prompt that helps generate more accurate and relevant responses. References are content types that exist in Outreach platform, that include: Templates, Snippets and Content (Kaia) cards.
Suggested Content cards
If available, Content cards can be automatically matched based on email intent defined from the conversation between buyer and seller. Users have the option to exclude these matched content cards from being used for response generation by unchecking the checkboxes
Search for Content cards, Templates and Snippets
Alternatively, users will have an option to manually search and select specific Templates, Snippets or Content cards. Once selected and after clicking “Generate”, chosen references’ content will be used as additional context to generate a more relevant response.
It's important to note that there's no limit to the number of References users can select. However, the final response generated will depend on the length of previous email replies used, the user's input prompt, and the length of the selected references' content.
How to enable Smart Email Assist [for Admins]:
Smart Email Asisst is disabled by default on org and user level. In order to enable this feature, Admins must enable it on org level first and then enable on user level through Governance Profiles. Note: Admins are the only users that have access to enable this feature.
Enable Smart Email Assist on org level:
- Access the Outreach Platform.
- Go to Administration settings (gear icon in the bottom left corner of the navigation sidebar)
- Click Org info under the Organization section in the Settings panel
- Click on the Email tab in the Organization settings
- Scroll down to the Smart Email Assist section
- Enable Smart Email Assist for the org using toggle button
Enable Smart Email Assist on user level (through Profiles):
- In the Administration settings, click Profiles under the “Users and permissions” section in the Settings panel.
- Click the applicable profile
- Scroll down to Mail section
- Check the checkbox “Enable Smart Email Assist”
How to access Smart Email Assist [for Users]:
Outreach web app:
- Open the Outreach Platform
- Navigate to your regular workflow for replying to a prospect (e.g., Prospect > Emails > Open an email thread > Reply)
- In the email compose window, you will find Assist located in the top toolbar among other options
- Make sure you have the latest Outreach Extension installed and enabled
- Access Gmail with the Outreach Extension active
- Choose an email thread with a prospect you want to reply to
- In the email compose window, Assist will be visible alongside other Outreach action buttons on the top
1. What AI technology does the smart email assist feature use?
Smart Email Assist uses Large Language Models (LLMs) that provide generative AI technology. We are currently using Azure OpenAI service from Microsoft. With Azure OpenAI, customers get the security capabilities of Microsoft Azure while running the same models as OpenAI.
2. The Assist button does not show up in my email or it is disabled.
“Assist” is only available for email reply and when Outreach prospect is among recipients (to/cc/bcc). Make sure that these two conditions are met. Note: this assumes that Admin enabled Smart Email Assist for you.
3. What data does smart email assist use to generate the responses?
Currently Smart Email Assist uses:
- the last 3 email replies (just email body) from the same email thread (if available)
- information that users provide in the Smart Email Assist prompt
- desired response length and voice setting selected by the user
4. What inputs can I give to generate an email reply with smart email assist?
Users can add a prompt to provide additional context or to specify what needs to be added to the response, for example: “Suggest meeting agenda”. Additionally, users can specify the tone and length of the desired response.
5. Is smart email assist able to capture the full email thread when suggesting a reply?
Smart Email Assist is using the last 3 email replies that are added as a context to generate an email response. We are constantly evaluating and improving the quality of generated responses by updating the prompt through prompt engineering.
6. Is smart email assist available only in english?
Smart Email Assist uses Large Language Models (LLMs) which are designed and tested to understand and generate text in English. The LLM models support other languages and will be able to generate results in different languages, however, the accuracy and quality of other languages is not guaranteed in the initial scope.
For example, if users receive email replies from prospects in French, Smart Email Assist can generate responses in French too. Users can also enforce the desired output language by specifying that in the prompt (example: “create a reply in French'').
Best Practice: always review responses generated by the feature for accuracy and branding tone.
7. Is smart email assist able to pull data from Outreach and CRM to generate more personalized email responses?
Not in the first iteration. Check specific scenarios below. A user should always check the accuracy of the generated response.
8. Is Smart Email Assist pulling data from my calendar when suggesting meeting times with a prospect?
Not in the first iteration. If the user adds a prompt for Smart Email Assist to suggest meeting times with a prospect, Smart Email Assist will generate meeting time proposals. Still, those suggestions are not being pulled from the user’s calendar. The meeting times should be treated as placeholders and should be edited by the user.
9. Is Smart Email Assist able to generate a response that includes prospect/deal-specific data from Outreach?
Not in the first iteration. The user should always check the accuracy of the generated response.
Governance and Security FAQ
1. Is Smart Email Assist optional to turn on?
Smart Email Assist is optional to turn on. Only Admins will have control to turn it off/on on org level or user level (via governance profiles).
2. What data is shared and with whom (3rd party)?
Smart Email Assist uses Azure OpenAI by Microsoft. Microsoft has no access to Outreach and Outreach's Customer data. Customer data is also not incorporated or used to train Azure OpenAI models. Smart Email Assist calls Azure OpenAI Service for reply generation.
Outreach has opted out of (1) content filtering; (2) abuse monitoring, so Microsoft has no access to Outreach’s data. Customer data is not shared with other customers, nor is it incorporated/used to train the Azure OpenAI models.
3. Where and how is the data stored?
Smart Email Assist uses the same storage mechanism (Amazon Web Services) that is used for storing Prospects, Accounts, Emails, and other customer data. The same security and privacy measures apply to Smart Email Assist data. Customer’s data is not stored in Microsoft Azure.
4. Can the data be deleted on customer request?
Yes. The data is stored in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and can be deleted upon request with the compliance service.
5. How is data being processed (e.g. PII anonymization, etc)?
For Smart Email Assist, we apply data masking (replacing data with placeholders, e.g., phone number, email address, etc.) to the prompt we send to Azure OpenAI service. After the response is received from Azure OpenAI service and before returning a response to the user interface, data unmasking is performed where placeholders are replaced with real data.
6. Does Smart Email Assist use the text my organization inputs to generate text for other customers?
Outreach does not share data that’s attributable to, or expose, one customer’s data with another customer. This includes the outputs of Outreach's AI/ML models. Additionally, Outreach does not allow Microsoft to utilize our customer data for their own purposes, including the ability to train their models.