Many businesses are turning to Salesforce as a powerful platform to stay up to date with leads and clients. At its core, Salesforce is just like any other CRM, with the primary function of managing customer relationships. In order to use Salesforce to its full potential, you’ll likely need to integrate it with other systems.

If you are not a Salesforce expert, integration can sound very intimidating. What is integration? How should you approach this integration? What are good options for integrating Salesforce with other systems?

Integration is the process of connecting data across multiple platforms. And I am not just talking about email integration. We will cover email specific integration in its own blog post in the future.

We have clients that use Salesforce integrations with a variety of functions, like Google Forms,  Quickbooks, Eventbrite, inventory management systems, email marketing systems, etc. Once integrated, these outside platforms  “talk” to Salesforce so that the right information flows to the right system without having to manually enter it every time. .

How do you go about integrating Salesforce?

The simplest answer is that it depends. The answer will vary depending on what systems you need to integrate for your business.

You have 3 main options:

  •  You can use an AppExchange app that allows you to integrate with another system. Some AppExchange apps are free, others are subject to a subscription fee. If you have a free integration, test it in a Sandbox to make sure it provides all the features you are looking for. You can learn more about the benefits of getting integrations through AppExchange here.
  •  You can hire a developer. While hiring an expert is often the way to go when it comes to Salesforce, I am hesitant to recommend this one. The moment you hire a developer, you will also need to own and manage infrastructure in the cloud. The maintenance of custom development can get expensive very quickly and that expense will be ongoing. Even if you have a team of developers available to write code for you, I recommend that you always look into other options before going this route.
  • Our recommendation is to use a Third Party integration tool if it is available to you. There are several on the market, but not all third party integration tools will work with the platforms you need. I personally recommend Zapier- a third party system specifically designed to connect and integrate different systems for thousands of apps. And on top of that, they have proven to have good tech assistance, in our experience. 

How do you know if you can use Zapier?

First you need to check to see if the system you are trying to integrate with is available in the Zapier platform.

Then you need to see what types of triggers you have available with this particular system. The system may be available for you to use, but if it does not have the proper functionality, then it will be of no use to you.

Next you need to test the integration with a Salesforce Sandbox and make sure that you can configure Zapier to help you achieve your goals and fulfill your integration requirements. You can learn more about testing in Salesforce Sandbox here.

Before you get started with any integration, it is important to document the different scenarios for your integration.

What is the flow of data?

  • Are you sending data to Salesforce?
  • Or are you sending data from Salesforce to another system?

What data points are going to trigger the data going in or out of Salesforce? 

As an example, We have a client that is using Zapier for the integration of Salesforce with Eventbrite. This integration uses the following scenarios to guide the integration: 

  • Flow of Data: from Eventbrite to Salesforce
  • Triggering data points:
    • When a new event is created in Eventbrite, a new campaign is created in Salesforce.
    • When a new event attendee is added to Eventbrite, a new campaign member is added to Salesforce.

We have another client using Zapier for the integration of Quickbooks Online with Salesoforce. In this case:

  • Flow of Data: from Salesforce to QBO.
  • Triggering data points:
    •  When an opportunity is closed as won in Salesforce, a Sales Receipt is created in Quickbooks Online.

When designed and configured correctly, integrations help decrease the amount of data entry and increase the efficiency of the systems used by the organization. Integrations are important, but they are also tricky. If you are not familiar with integrations, it is easy to assume that simply linking an app or signing up for a third party system will provide you with the most optimized integration and that all of your business’s needs are being met. Unfortunately these assumptions are not always correct. 

Still needing some assistance with your integrations?

Teaming up with a Salesforce expert, like CRM Growth Strategy, can be the difference between your business using a sub-par integration and having your entire system optimized. We always work to help our clients understand the importance of testing  and validating whether the integration provides what is needed in the context of their specific project.

CRM Growth Strategy explains how outsourcing services at any stage of CRM implementation can help to design a better workflow, develop customized processes, and deliver an efficient CRM system that can keep up with your evolving company. Our engineers are certified to work with today’s robust and complex Salesforce CRM features to help your sales, marketing, and customer service teams work more efficiently together.

If you need guidance on integrating systems into Salesforce, or need an extra set of eyes to go over integrations you already have, schedule a discovery call with us and find out how we can assist! Depending on your situation, we either serve as your outsourced Salesforce Admin or combine our services to support in-house staff.