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A Comprehensive Guide to Salesforce Integration with Other Solutions

| 14 min read
Salesforce Slack integration enables you to share messages between channels, Salesforce QuickBooks integration provides enhanced data sharing, and Jira, in tandem with Salesforce, allows you to troubleshoot even before issues arise
A Comprehensive Guide to Salesforce Integration with Other Solutions
Vova Babin
By: Vova Babin
Head of Salesforce Delivery at MagicFuse, certified Salesforce Architect with 13+ years of experience.

Salesforce Slack integration enables you to share messages between channels, Salesforce QuickBooks integration provides enhanced data sharing, and Jira, in tandem with Salesforce, allows you to troubleshoot even before issues arise! The possibilities are endless! But before moving on to the concept of Salesforce integration services, look at a real-life case to understand the idea better:

Sarah is a retail store manager. Her store uses separate software systems for inventory and customer relationship management.

One day, Sarah receives a call from a loyal customer, Robert, who has been shopping at the store for years. Mark says he's interested in buying a specific brand of smartwatch that was in stock a few months ago. He's wondering if the store still has it available.

Sarah wants to provide Mark with accurate information, so she needs to check the current inventory status. However, the inventory data is in the inventory management system, which is not integrated with the CRM system. This is where Sarah faces several challenges, such as logging into a separate system, data entry, time delay (Mark is still on hold!), and, as a result, poor customer service.

Have you ever been in Sarah's shoes? The solution is here!

What is Salesforce integration?

Salesforce integration is a way of bringing together two or more systems to optimize workflows. This way, you don't have to jump from platform to platform. Instead, you get a unified and structured experience across multiple apps, which is particularly important for all business teams.

Why integrate with Salesforce?

In addition to ease of use, you can expect other prominent benefits to give your business a new lease of life.

Improved efficiency

Working with data from both Salesforce and external systems is usually time-intensive. Moreover, the process may be hampered by a large volume of documents, different formats and data structures, lack of data synchronization, varying levels of security on platforms, etc.

Salesforce integrations with other products free users from these difficulties, providing a single place to manage data, workflows, and clients. Thus, you have more time to focus on your critical missions.

Accurate data

As we know, inaccurate data can lead to poor business decisions and strategies, potentially leading to missed opportunities. Moreover, it can undermine customer trust and satisfaction, causing reputational damage.

As information transfers between Salesforce and external systems, it undergoes automatic validation and conversion based on predetermined standards. Thus, you get accurate and consistent data. In addition, administrators get alerts if any data inconsistencies are identified, enabling them to fix the issue promptly and maintain the overall data integrity.

Better customer insights

Poor customer understanding can lead to misguided marketing campaigns and inappropriate product development efforts, resulting in wasted resources and time.

Fortunately, companies can efficiently gather and analyze customer data from diverse sources with Salesforce integration solutions. This all-encompassing view comprehensively explains customer behaviors, preferences, and needs. Furthermore, it equips businesses to personalize their interactions, fine-tune marketing strategies, and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. Therefore, Salesforce integrations are helpful for any organization seeking to optimize customer relationship management.

This is how you can improve your business in terms of efficiency, data management, and customer engagement when you integrate Salesforce with other products. Next, we'll show you the ways of integrating tools.

Types of Salesforce Integration

Generally, there are three most common Salesforce integration types: point-to-point, hub-and-spoke, and Enterprise Service Bus integration.

  1. Point-to-point integration

Point-to-point system integration, also referred to as one-to-one integration, involves the transmission of messages between systems through a 1-1 relationship. For instance, consider a sales application that sends new order information to a billing system, a shipping application, and a tracking system, each as a distinct integration. If you require the shipping and tracking systems to communicate with each other, an additional integration must be set up.

pros

✔ Straightforward and easy to implement

✔ Quick to set up

cons

❌ Expensive to build and maintain

❌ Lack of reusability

❌ Inflexibility in accommodating changes

  1. Hub-and-spoke integration

This integration method involves a centralized system that serves as a hub for facilitating communication between other connected systems. This hub is responsible for routing all traffic, thus eliminating the need for multiple connections for point-to-point integration.

pros

✔ A single point of control and management for all integrations

✔ Asynchronous communication between systems

cons

❌ A single point of failure

❌ Initial investments

  1. Enterprise service bus integration

The Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is a more evolved version of the hub-and-spoke integration architecture model. ESB uses a powerful integration engine to establish connections between various software applications and systems. ESB is particularly useful if you need to manage your 'messages' in a certain way.

For example, if you need to route a message from one system to another or multiple systems, ESB can help you achieve this. Additionally, it can assist you if you need to orchestrate the order of transactions. For instance, you may require a series of events to occur in a specific order, and ESB can ensure that these events occur according to your desired sequence. It can also transform messages from one system to another, especially if the destination system doesn't speak the same language as the source system. Finally, this architecture can provide robust security features, including authentication and authorization, to ensure your system meets all necessary security requirements.

pros

✔ Easy application deployment

✔ Better monitoring and governance

✔ Easy service reusability

cons

❌ A single point of failure

Salesforce Integration Patterns

Integrating with other apps is essential when using Salesforce, but each scenario is unique. Developers must address common requirements and challenges by following specific design patterns.

The integration patterns are as follows:

Remote Process Invocation—Request and Reply

Salesforce initiates a procedure on a distant system and remains in a waiting state until the procedure is completed. Upon completion, it monitors the progress by analyzing the response received from the remote system.

Remote Process Invocation—Fire and Forget

A process is started by Salesforce in a remote system using this pattern. However, unlike the request-and-reply pattern, Salesforce does not wait for the process to complete. Instead, the remote process receives a request from Salesforce, and when the request is accepted, Salesforce regains control.

Batch Data Synchronization

Data saved on the Salesforce Lightning platform is refreshed or created to reflect modifications transferred to an external system. The updates are carried out in batches in both directions.

Remote Call-in

A remote system can manage data stored on the Salesforce Lightning platform through a call-in method, which enables the creation, retrieval, updating, and deletion of the data.

User Interface Update Based on Data Changes

The Salesforce user interface should be updated automatically due to changes in Salesforce data.

Data Virtualization

Real-time access to external data is available in Salesforce, eliminating the need to store data in Salesforce and then match it up with data from another system.

We've just covered different types of Salesforce integration types and patterns. So, now it's time to explore real-world scenarios where businesses apply Salesforce integration to boost workflows and increase productivity.

Common Salesforce integration scenarios

Whether you're a Salesforce amateur, an IT professional, or a business leader with an eye on innovation, the following integration possibilities will open new doors of opportunity in your quest for success.

Salesforce and project management tools integration

Although Salesforce is the top-rated CRM software globally, it has some limitations for project management. Nevertheless, users have found ways to make the Salesforce platform more efficient by easily integrating it with the right services.

What project management services can you integrate with Salesforce?

  1. JIRA

Jira is Salesforce's project management application, which helps teams optimize and speed up business processes through its automation mechanisms. Also, businesses can manage projects more efficiently with Jira's drag-and-drop user interface.

  1. ASANA

Asana offers an intuitive task management system suitable for teams of all sizes. What sets Asana apart is its ability to integrate with other tools like Salesforce, making it an even more efficient and streamlined solution.

  1. TRELLO

Trello is a popular app for managing projects based on the Kanban method. One of its key features is the ability to organize tasks into three columns: To-do, Doing, and Done. Thus, users can quickly move cards between these columns and add notes, voice recordings, or images. So, thanks to these features, Trello simplifies collaboration between team members and external partners.

  1. WRIKE

Wrike's various project management and productivity tools make collaboration with teams easier. In particular, it enables the project manager to create comprehensive plans and assign tasks to respective team members. Wrike's prominent feature is Project Risk Prediction, which helps prevent missing deadlines. Notably, integration with Salesforce further enhances the functionality of the app.

  1. BASECAMP

Basecamp offers collaboration tools and project management software. Its ability to adapt to different team structures and transparent pricing makes it a popular choice for big-team companies. By facilitating communication and coordination among team members, Basecamp significantly streamlines project management.

Salesforce and marketing automation tools integration

The benefits of marketing automation tools themselves can hardly be overestimated. But when you connect Salesforce with them, the value increases even more. Specifically, your company can attract the best prospects, follow up and keep them engaged, and reach out to them at the right time to ensure the best deals for you.

What marketing automation services can you integrate with Salesforce?

  1. HubSpot

HubSpot is one of the most widely used tools for automating monotonous marketing work. Salesforce integration with HubSpot helps users streamline lead management, take their marketing campaigns to the next level, and keep perfect consistency between marketing and sales.

  1. Marketo

Marketo is a powerful marketing automation program, but combining it with Salesforce CRM creates better opportunities to recognize and reach more targeted customer audiences. For example, the Marketo Salesforce combination provides accurate data integration, better alignment between sales and marketing teams, and highly personalized and targeted marketing campaigns.

  1. Pardot

By integrating Salesforce with Pardot, businesses can enjoy various advantages, such as streamlined lead generation and nurturing processes, in-depth analytics and reporting for informed decision-making, and better measurement of marketing efforts. Plus, Pardot offers a range of other features, including lead scoring and email marketing, which can drive business growth.

  1. Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a widely used email marketing automation tool that offers a range of features to help businesses streamline their marketing efforts. One of the key benefits of Mailchimp Salesforce integration is the ability to automate email marketing campaigns, saving you time while improving your results. Additionally, Mailchimp's contact segmentation and reporting features can help better understand the audience and optimize messaging.

  1. ActiveCampaign

Like other tools, this one offers marketing automation capabilities that help you automate critical tasks and workflows. However, some of ActiveCampaign Salesforce integration highlights include lead scoring for identifying the most promising leads and prioritizing your efforts accordingly. Additionally, ActiveCampaign offers advanced reporting features that track your progress and identify areas for improvement so you can continually refine your marketing strategy and achieve goals.

Salesforce and e-commerce tools integration

Salesforce e-commerce integration combines customer data and purchase history, allowing businesses to personalize marketing efforts and recommendations, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases. Thus, analyzing customer behavior and preferences helps create a seamless and engaging shopping experience that encourages customers to return and build long-term relationships with a brand.

What e-commerce services can you integrate with Salesforce?

  1. SHOPIFY

Shopify is a widely recognized e-commerce solution suitable for small startups and established enterprises, offering a user-friendly setup process for online stores. The platform provides diverse themes to help users create a polished and appealing storefront. However, integrating Shopify with Salesforce strengthens its potential for executing creative marketing strategies.

  1. WOOCOMMERCE

WooCommerce enables the transformation of a regular WordPress site into a comprehensive e-commerce venture, and the best part is that it doesn't come with any cost. Tasks like product addition, payment gateway setup, and theme selection are relatively uncomplicated for those well-acquainted with WordPress. Additionally, WooCommerce extends support for numerous plugins and extensions, including integrating WooCommerce with Salesforce.

  1. MAGENTO

Magento is a perfect e-commerce solution for well-established enterprises or those poised for growth, as it offers features essential for online stores. Configuring Magento is relatively straightforward, even if you need more technical expertise. Also, Magento accommodates Salesforce integration, making it an appealing choice for businesses seeking smooth connectivity.

  1. ZUORA

Zuora provides various solutions tailored for businesses operating under the subscription model. Its primary component, Zuora CPQ, streamlines payment processes, boosts customer retention and has been instrumental in the growth of numerous major corporations. When integrated with Salesforce, Zuora's connection with this leading CRM system ensures seamless data integration and management.

  1. DRUPAL

Drupal is a content management framework that drives numerous prominent websites. It offers the Drupal Commerce extension, facilitating the creation of online stores within Drupal 8 websites. Integrating this tool with Salesforce improves the customer shopping experience thanks to cross-channel consistency, efficient order management, and highly personalized content and product recommendations.

It is only part of the solutions you can integrate the Salesforce platform with. Other products include customer service apps, accounting services, payment management solutions, etc. Whichever of the above you need, you may be concerned about the integration process itself. No worries! We have compiled some additional valuable information to simplify matters for you.

How do you integrate Salesforce CRM with other products?

If you are going to integrate Salesforce with other solutions and need assistance, a few options are available. For example, you can work with Salesforce consultants. These professionals specialize in integration services and can assess your needs, recommend the right solutions, and implement them.

Another option is to rely on your in-house IT team if you have one. They can handle the integration project with expertise in Salesforce and integration technologies. Just make sure they have the necessary knowledge and experience for a successful Salesforce integration.

Lastly, you can hire independent freelancers. Websites like Upwork and Freelancer allow you to find skilled professionals for specific integration projects. However, it can be cost-effective if you only need help with a particular integration task.

Whoever conducts Salesforce integration must do it consistently. Check our step-by-step instructions below.

9 steps to make Salesforce integrations perfect

Here is what you should do to manage your Salesforce integration project smoothly:

Step 1. Create a Salesforce integration project plan

To begin, it's important to create a project plan for Salesforce integration. This plan should ensure that the integration supports your business objectives, resolves issues, and provides more benefits than difficulties. Identify the fundamental requirements for the integration, such as adaptability, expandability, and ease of use.

Step 2. Set budget and resources

After establishing your expectations and objectives, it is essential to determine what level of Salesforce integration is possible within your available resources, skill set, and financial means.

Step 3. Find a Salesforce integration consultant

If your team lacks the necessary knowledge and skills to integrate CRM systems with tools, seeking guidance from a Salesforce specialist may be reasonable. They can provide insight into possible integration and upkeep difficulties, estimate support costs, and recommend optimizing the solution. In addition, Salesforce consultants can aid in preparing data for system synchronization and provide a thorough understanding of the selected integration solution, its functionality, and how to configure it.

Check out the top 10 Salesforce consulting companies if you need support.

Step 4. Choose a Salesforce integration type

Seven types of Salesforce integration are commonly used.

App-Based Integration

One option is app-based integration, which requires minimal installation, configuration, and maintenance involvement. However, the preparation process can be time-consuming and requires thorough research on compatibility, application programming interface limits, and potential conflicts with other integrated apps and systems.

Code-Based Integration

Another type of integration is code-based integration, which is ideal for more advanced projects that require tailor-made integrations to meet specific system requirements and API versions. This option may take longer to complete and may require external support for solution maintenance with each Salesforce release.

User Interface Integration

User interface integration is another option that allows users to access multiple apps from a single platform and make them function as a single system.

Press Button Integration

Press button integration involves transferring data between systems when the second system is activated by either selecting an option from a menu or clicking a button.

Business Processes Integration

The integration of business processes may necessitate the utilization of Apex web services to manage business logic across several applications and finalize end-to-end business procedures.

Salesforce Data Integration

Salesforce data integration enables data synchronization via SOAP and REST APIs, allowing a single app in an organization to act as a major source of a specific business object. This integration type may not require coding, but it cannot implement custom logic.

Salesforce Security Integration

Finally, Salesforce security integration can unify all authentication mechanisms to improve the user experience and reduce administration.

Step 5. Choose a system integration solution

Several integration solutions are available for integrating systems and apps, including Salesforce Connect (Lightning Connect), Salesforce App Cloud (Force.com), and pre-made integration apps on AppExchange.

Salesforce Connect

Integrating with Salesforce ERP or other CRM systems and marketing automation software can be easily achieved with the Salesforce Connect framework. This option provides real-time or on-demand access to outside data sources, without the need for data duplication within Salesforce. The framework's point-and-click interface simplifies setup and configuration.

Tip: It should be noted that this integration approach is specific to the Salesforce side of the integration and requires using Open Data Protocol for system integration. If the chosen systems do not support Open Data Protocol, building a custom adapter with the Apex Connector Framework will be necessary.

Salesforce App Cloud

This app development platform facilitates the creation of integration apps and connections to external data sources. The process of app development does not require IT knowledge and can be accomplished using Force.com APIs and tools such as Force.com, Canvas, and Heroku, along with drag-and-drop components in Process Builder. Therefore, in-house IT departments are capable of performing this task.

The created apps can be tested and upgraded automatically and securely without complicated customization. However, suppose you prefer to build your solution on App Cloud. In that case, it is necessary to use apps from AppExchange partners, which can result in added expenses and a more complicated integration solution architecture.

AppExchange Apps

On Salesforce, there is an AppExchange marketplace where you can find various applications and software solutions from platform partners. These tools can be free or paid; some may require additional setup or customization using App Cloud developer tools. They can also serve as a foundation for more complex solutions.

All the apps available on AppExchange comply with security standards, so there is no need to worry about the safety of your company's data.

AppExchange apps are designed for specific integrations, so if you have a complex integration scenario, you will need to search for apps that meet the requirements of each integration.

Step 6. Explore your integration limits

To prepare for the Salesforce integration project, it's important to evaluate your current system's limitations, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. One option is to work with a Salesforce consulting partner to conduct an Org health check and determine its readiness for integration. Additionally, you should assess your app's limitations, requirements, compatibility with different Salesforce editions, and ability to scale.

Step 7. Prepare data

It is important to maintain clean, deduplicated and updated data in your Salesforce to ensure that your integrated tool displays accurate and current information. Establish who will be responsible for error-proofing your system data and how frequently this task will be done.

Step 8. Decide on integration patterns

Next, you should determine which technology integration approach best suits your scenario: direct or server-based integration.

  • Direct integration

The Salesforce integration method that involves a direct API or database connection between Salesforce and another system is known as direct integration. Despite appearing inflexible, this approach can facilitate two-way data exchange between systems for smaller projects.

  • Server-based integration

Integrating through a server-based system offers a more adaptable solution that minimizes the need for IT resources, reduces the impact of system updates on integration, and grants greater control over data flow. This method uses a hub-and-spoke or enterprise service bus model and can be hosted either on-premises or in the cloud.

The server-based integration solution is ideal for small-scale and larger projects involving many systems with substantial data flows. Additionally, it is crucial to select the integration method that best suits your needs, whether integrating one tool at a time, bulk integration by software type, prioritization, or integration complexity.

Step 9. Consider support and maintenance of the solution

It is crucial to tailor your software to match the evolving needs of your Salesforce platform, whether through app-based or code-based integration. Upgrading and debugging may also be necessary.

So, consider assigning a team member to monitor this process or reaching out to Salesforce administrators for support.

Final thoughts

As you can see, integrating Salesforce with other solutions and Salesforce apps is crucial for maximizing its potential. It enables your team to work more efficiently and provides opportunities for innovation and growth.

Anyway, before beginning any integration, it's crucial to have a plan. So, start by identifying your goals and objectives for integration. That will allow you to prioritize which Salesforce apps and third-party solutions to integrate, ensuring each one serves a purpose. Also, remember that it's important to regularly review and update your integration strategy to keep up with changing business needs and ensure that your Salesforce integration remains a valuable and dynamic asset. This way, you will create the best experience for your team and clients!

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Ross
Ross Kurhanskyi
Head of Partner Engagement