What is Salesforce Integration? – An introduction

Nov 15, 2023

What is Salesforce integration? It is the integration of the Salesforce CRM with other clouds, apps on the Salesforce AppExchange and/or with 3rd party software. This topic was always important and popular in our part of the Salesforce world, email marketing and marketing automation, and sales team efficiency. The whole purpose of integration is to save your company time, to make your processes stronger and – if possible – to improve the customer experience.

With the introduction of Genie (Data Cloud enforced with Artificial Intelligence) in 2022 and SalesforceGPT, Prompt Studio, and free introduction to Data Cloud in Fall 2023, Salesforce continues its endeavour to provide true 360˚ customer views, and has brought the topic of ‘Salesforce integration’ to the centre-stage. So, let me share with you what it is about.

Salesforce integration – API or connector?

Salesforce integration – API or no API ? – that is the question. What?! Often, 3rd party software likes to integrate with Salesforce, and put this forward as an option on its website.

At times, these are perfectly easy to use non-API connectors, that connect at the click of a button. Note: often there’s an extra charge for this connector, which at times can cost more than the 3rd party software itself.

At other times, there’s no connector. But, if that third party company offers and open API, then usually a more sophisticated integration (with possibly with more real-time data) can be configured. This is particularly important for integrations of third parties with the Salesforce marketing cloud.

Salesforce integration API

The Salesforce Integration API (i.e. its own) is a complete API family. Here is a quick overview of it, so you know what I mean:

API NAMEPROTOCOLDATA FORMATCOMMUNICATION
REST APIRESTJSON, XMLSynchronous
SOAP APISOAP (WSDL)XMLSynchronous
Connect REST APIRESTJSON, XMLSynchronous (photos are processed asynchronously)
Apex REST APIRESTJSON, XML, CustomSynchronous
Apex SOAP APISOAP (WSDL)XMLSynchronous
Analytics REST APIRESTJSON, XMLSynchronous
User Interface APIRESTJSONSynchronous
Tooling APIREST or SOAP (WSDL)JSON, XML, CustomSynchronous
Bulk API 2.0RESTCSVAsynchronous
Metadata APISOAP (WSDL)XMLAsynchronous
Streaming APIBayeuxJSONAsynchronous (stream of data)
source: Salesforce 2022

I’ll stop with the technical aspects right after this paragraph. This article is meant as a high-level intro for non-developers, not to teach the ins/outs of how to configure the Salesforce APIs.

  • If you are a developer, look for Salesforce API patterns. You know that each integration scenario is unique, but there are patterns for common integration scenarios. Each pattern describes the design and approach for a particular scenario rather than a specific implementation.
  • If you are not a developer, but find yourself in a team with developers, just know this:
    • Use the Rest API for mobile and web projects.
    • Use Soap API for interacting with Salesforce:  create, retrieve, update, or delete records. 
  • Leave it to us, or your in-house Salesforce developers to do the heavy lifting for your desired integrations.

Salesforce Integration tools

For SME and commercial companies

Sometimes, there’s not much of an integration possible at the 3rd party end. That’s when Salesforce integration tools like Zapier come in handy. They are ‘clicks no code’ solutions that befit a lot of situations where a company wants to connect MarTech platforms.

Zapier can be handled by your own Marketing Department. Zapier can be a Salesforce or Pardot solution. We’ll show you the difference.

Connectors are best configured by Salesforce consultants like CloudAnalysts as part of a greater piece of work: your total Salesforce marketing automation solution.

For larger enterprises

For large corporations, there’s a suitable heavy-weight solution: Mulesoft. We just want to mention Salesforce Mulesoft, which connects everything for any department in your organisation. It’s priced in line with scope and impact; £250K/yr cost is not uncommon.

As this article is meant as an introduction, I’ll leave the complete discussion of such integration tools for another day.

Favorite Salesforce Integration Examples

Some Salesforce integration examples that relate to email marketing and email communications I’d like to highlight — i.e. some of my favourites I’ve implemented over the years:

1. Zendesk Salesforce Integration

Key Benefit: Seamless Customer Support. Zendesk integration with Salesforce is a game-changer for customer support teams. It provides a complete view of customer interactions, helping you deliver great customer service and personalised marketing messages. As an alternative to Zendesk, Salesforce has Service Cloud.

People look for Salesforce Integration with Zendesk mostly because they had Zendesk before. Salesforce Service Cloud is however a robust, extensive platform for customer service that share the same platform as Sales Cloud, so it makes sense to give users access to the whole platform rather than just Sales Cloud. Contact us for details. You can find a Service Cloud Overview here.

2. Salesforce CRM with Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud can be used on its own or integrated with Salesforce CRM via MCC, Marketing Cloud Connect. A granular connector. If you intend to buy both Marketing Cloud and the Salesforce CRM, then be sure to start with Salesforce and add marketing cloud and the connector afterwards. Saves you a lot of headaches. Third-party integration for marketing can be with the CRM or with Marketing Cloud directly. Today, companies also have access to Data Cloud. Talk to one of our Salesforce marketing cloud experts about your needs and we will work with you to determine the best configuration.

Learn more about our work: Marketing Cloud Consulting Services .

Learn more about: Salesforce Integration for Marketing Automation.

3. Salesforce CRM integrated with Pardot

Yes, while Account Engagement (i.e. Pardot) is owned by Salesforce, it still is an app from the AppExchange that needs to be configured and integrated via a Salesforce connector. What is superb about this connector is that it has granular settings to befit any kind of organisational requirements and suit the workflow between sales and marketing.

Marketing Cloud Engagement and Account Engagement (Pardot) are our main services. Learn how we can help you via a Pardot consulting solution.

4. Integration with Zoom

We were pioneering advanced integration with Zoom for our healthcare practitioners when the pandemic started. Needless to say we forwarded our initial solution to a most -bespoke, fully automated, fully integrated email marketing set up. Over the last few years, Zoom has morphed and integrates really well with Salesforce. Ask us how.

Update Oct 24: See Salesforce Winter 23 Release Notes – Best Free Features. We are excited with the new Pardot development (see point 6 in this article) that allows us to more deeply integrate with third party apps such as Zoom.

5. Jira Salesforce integration

Key Benefit: streamlined collaboration. Jira is a project management tool used by many teams to track and manage tasks. Integrating Jira with Salesforce allows seamless collaboration between your sales and support teams, ensuring that customer interactions are well-coordinated. There are of course other Project Management tools for Salesforce, but Jira has long been an industry favourite and integration makes a lot of sense for most companies. Ask us to discuss your needs.

6. Stripe Salesforce integration

Key Benefit: payment processing

Integrating Stripe with Salesforce simplifies payment processing and allows you to track financial transactions, enhancing your customer relationship management.

7. Integration with industry systems, such as medical systems

For some of our clients we needed to complement and augment its existing medical system with patient communication details. We configured Salesforce sales & service cloud (Digital Engagement) with Pardot, to handle all patient comms and appointment management. Integration has been achieved via API.

8. Salesforce integration with websites

Website integration is possible in so many ways. It ranges from a web-to-lead form, a Pardot form handler, Pardot plug-in for WordPress or for the CRM: Salesforce with WordPress integration, Marketing Cloud Cloud Pages, API work, Zapier, and we’ve even achieved this via Microsoft BI tools.

9. Integration with BI tools

This again is an API project. We’re talking Microsoft BI tools here. Of course, Salesforce has its own BI tools. It’s just that some companies have invested lots in their Microsoft BI tools before they came to Salesforce. So, to orchestrate a smooth business continuation for them while they adapt to Salesforce, we integrate Salesforce with their BI tools. Needless to say, they love it.

10. Salesforce with Survey Monkey

We have integrated Salesforce with Survey Monkey in a number of ways: from simple Zapier all the way to custom API-integrations with a series of automations in Salesforce and Pardot at the back of it.

For companies who take a holistic view to customer experience and measure in lifetime value of the customer, this is a very important discussion point. The potential value of a survey strategy (based on the SurveyMonkey-Salesforce integration) is phenomenal. Please do contact us to learn more how we can help you with this.

11. LinkedIn sales navigator for Salesforce

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Salesforce application is a great B2B solution. It enables you to view LinkedIn information and Sales Navigator insights where you’re already tracking your other sales activity: right within Salesforce. Turn your contact records into rich profiles by viewing LinkedIn information directly within Salesforce. Makes outreach and sales teams more productive with less time spending importing data in Salesforce, and/or looking into multiple systems for a 360˚ prospect view.

While not a cheap solution, it might be perfect for some. The connector requires Linkedin Sales Navigator Advanced or Advanced Plus, which might be notch up from your current Navigator investment. Plus you’ll need to spend $125/user/mth. on the connector.

Perhaps a better way is to work with Linkedin Ads.

12. Other integrations with handy business tools

There is Salesforce with DocuSign integration – DocuSign being a popular document generation toolkit. We’re resellers for Salesforce with OwnBackup – as Salesforce itself does not offer backups any longer, this is quite important. Ask us more info or a demo.

Build a pipeline with Salesforce integration with Calendly – a low cost alternative to Salesforce Inbox. or choose Acuity Scheduling with Salesforce.

While Salesforce has its own commerce cloud, it is also possible to integrate Salesforce with WooCommerce, or choose Salesforce with Shopify.

13. Integration with CampaignMonitor or Emma email marketing

CloudAnalysts is the recommended implementation partner for the “CampaignMonitor for Salesforce” and “Emma for Salesforce” — apps by Beaufort 12. These integrate CampaignMonitor and the Emma email platforms with the Salesforce CRM, extending these email marketing platforms with all that Salesforce has to offer by way of reporting, lead qualification, and more. Both easy-to-use, inexpensive solutions. Learn more: CcampaignMonitor for Salesforce, Emma for Salesforce

14. Salesforce integration – Hubspot

Yes, Salesforce can be integrated with Hubspot also. Hubspot lures many smaller companies who then grow and they stay accustomed to it. When they learn that Hubspot is actually more costly when you’ve grown and, that Salesforce has in fact all features wanted, some may wish to integrate the two. Note that Hubspot is both a website hosting company and a CRM.

We’d love to talk to you about your ideas of what platform or tool you’d like to integrate with Salesforce.


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