Salesforce as a platform allows you to do exactly this! Sending e-mails to leads and contacts; however, the management of the conversations (that is, the back and forth of e-mail dialog that occurs) happens in your company’s e-mail management system of choice.
Step 1: Activating the Email to Salesforce feature
To first activate the Email to Salesforce feature, you have to have administrator access and navigate to Setup→Administer→Email Administration→Email to Salesforce. Click the Edit button in the middle of the Email to Salesforce page to select the Active checkbox and enable Email to Salesforce.
If the e-mail server passes at least one of these protocols, Salesforce processes that e-mail and proceeds to log it as an activity under a lead or contact.
After you make your checkbox selections and click the Save button in the middle of the page, a pop-up box appears that optionally allows the admin to notify all Salesforce users about the Email to Salesforce feature.
Step 2: Identifying your Email to Salesforce address
After you have activated Email to Salesforce, choose My Settings→Email→My Email to Salesforce to get to the My Email to Salesforce page. In the middle of the page, a highlighted field notes your Email to Salesforce address.
Whenever you’re writing an e-mail in your online e-mail system (Gmail for example), paste that address into the BCC field of your e-mail. When you send your e-mail, it’s logged as a completed task in Salesforce, under whichever lead or contact record whose e-mail address matches that in the To field.
If you send and receive e-mail from multiple addresses (and possibly from the same inbox), you can list all your e-mail addresses so that Salesforce can associate correspondence from those e-mail addresses to the automatically generated Email to Salesforce address. To edit your e-mail addresses, follow these steps:
In the My Acceptable Email Addresses field, add all the e-mail addresses that apply, separated by commas.
In the Email Associations section, select the Opportunities, Leads, or Contacts checkbox, depending on which object(s) you want Salesforce to attach your external e-mails to.
(Optional) Select the Always Save Email Attachments checkbox to have Salesforce include any attached files on your external e-mails.
(Optional) Select the Email Me Confirmation of Association checkbox to set your preference for whether you want to be sent a link via e-mail of your newly created e-mail record in Salesforce.
Step 3: Saving an e-mail to Salesforce
After you set your Email to Salesforce special e-mail address, it’s time to use it.
Keeping your web browser open to Salesforce and the My Email to Salesforce page, open a new browser window to access your online e-mail system and compose an e-mail to a person whose e-mail you know is in Salesforce, associated with a lead or contact. (Make sure that your relationship with this person allows you to send test e-mails to him or her, or you might have some explaining to do!)
Simply copy the special e-mail address and paste it into the BCC field. When you’re done writing the body of the e-mail, send it, and voilà! Almost instantaneously, it appears as an activity associated with that lead or contact.