In a world driven by software, technology, and data, businesses must be utilizing data points to streamline their businesses. Data now exists from all aspects of a company and must be properly integrated to make intelligent decisions. From client sales, purchasing behaviors, inventory, and beyond, collecting, understanding, and interpreting these data points can help your business thrive in your respective industry. This whitepaper will discuss the top Salesforce integration assets to connect with your CRM.

The best way for your business to get started with collecting and optimizing data is through something called a CRM, or customer relationship management system. CRMs are used for sales automation, lead management, and customer engagement. While plenty of CRM options are available, the most popular CRM is Salesforce.

Salesforce uses cloud technology to help businesses expand their operations. Salesforce is one of the best-used tools in marketing departments today as it helps marketers understand customers’ buying behavior through data analysis and predictive intelligence.

However, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to utilizing the power of Salesforce is how to efficiently and adequately integrate the CRM into the current business structure and core systems.

This whitepaper will discuss the top Salesforce integration assets to connect with your CRM.

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Integrating Salesforce Overview

Companies use multiple software for various roles within the organization. According to Mulesoft, in 2020, organizations will use an average of 900 different applications. This can lead to many challenges in terms of utilizing the data collected. To best maximize the information collected, the data must work as a whole to achieve a goal.

Salesforce can become the centralized hub where your data is stored. Even if you have hundreds of different software, using Salesforce as the central system to connect these systems will make data analysis and decision-making much more accessible.

Salesforce is a cloud-based software that uses the internet as its backbone. Salesforce was designed for easy access from any location and can be accessed through any device that has an internet connection. Because of this, Salesforce does not require any additional software installation on your computer; all you need is a web browser.

However, before you can get started integrating your applications with Salesforce, you first need to understand Salesforce’s architecture and how it integrates with other systems.

Salesforce Architecture

Data acquisition, process orchestration, and data delivery are three main integration points when integrating Salesforce with another system. Data acquisition is where the data is collected from either the external system or within Salesforce itself. Process orchestration is where Salesforce uses the acquired data to categorize, sort, and organize. Finally, data delivery is when Salesforce delivers this data back to your external system or Salesforce itself.

Each integration point (data acquisition, process orchestration, and data delivery) has its own set of assets used for Salesforce integrations. These assets can be categorized into three different types: connectors, APIs, and third-party tools/services.

In terms of connectivity options with Salesforce, there are two main categories: real-time integration and batch-based integration. 

Real-time integrations will give nearly instant access to data as it’s being processed, while batch-based means a lag in processing between systems as they connect at designated times throughout the day. These Salesforce integration assets are used for different reasons and at different times.

For example, if your Salesforce CRM is the system of record, you will most likely use batch-based integrations because Salesforce can connect with other systems daily to sync data. If Salesforce is not the system of record or if you need instant access to data as it’s being processed, then you should consider real-time integrations. You can also use real-time integrations to transfer documents between Salesforce and other external systems.

Next, we will look at connecting and integrating Salesforce with your current CRM.

How to Connect Your CRM With Salesforce

When companies adopt Salesforce, one of the most significant issues is how to connect Salesforce with other third-party systems within the organization. Salesforce has a powerful integration platform that allows Salesforce to integrate and exchange data with much external software through Salesforce Integration Assets.

These Salesforce integration assets will allow you to pull data from your current CRM into Salesforce or push data from Salesforce back out into an existing system, such as SAP or Oracle ERP.

There are three main connectors:

  • Point-and-click connectors
  • API patterns for real-time integrations
  • Prebuilt adapters for batch integrations

If you are looking to build your own APIs to connect with Salesforce, DreamFactory provides instant SQL server APIs that can help you achieve your Salesforce integration goals.

Point & Click Connectors

Salesforce offers two point-and-click connectors: inbound (importing) and outbound (exporting). Salesforce’s inbound connectors allow you to pull data from an external system into Salesforce, while the outbound connectors push data from Salesforce into another system.

Salesforce’s outbound connectors come with a library of commonly used adapters for SAP and Oracle ERP systems. These adapters will map the fields between Salesforce and the other system, so there is little configuration needed on your part.

To use an adapter, download it from Salesforce’s AppExchange, install it into your Salesforce Org, and configure it using either point-and-click or drag-and-drop tools. You can also preview how the adapter will work before installing it into your Salesforce environment.

API Patterns for Real-Time Integrations

API patterns for real-time integrations are Salesforce’s newest type of connector. They are designed to quickly and easily connect Salesforce with other systems in real-time.

API patterns use an event-based approach, which listens for changes within Salesforce and then pushes or pulls data as needed. This allows the system to stay in sync without any manual intervention.

To create an API pattern, you first need to identify the endpoints used in the integration. Once you have identified these endpoints, you can use Salesforce’s Developer Console to create a new API pattern.

Once created, this API pattern can be used by anyone within your organization who needs access to it. You need to provide them with the necessary credentials, and they can start integrating Salesforce with other systems in real-time.

Prebuilt Adapters for Batch Integrations

A prebuilt adapter may be the best option if you need to connect Salesforce with another system not supported by an outbound connector. These adapters are built by Salesforce and allow you to quickly and easily transfer data between Salesforce and other systems.

Next, we will discuss Salesforce integration assets that fall under all three of the mentioned categories, as different use cases may require different types of connectors.

1. Salesforce Connect

One of the most popular Salesforce integration assets is Salesforce Connect.

Salesforce Connect is a Salesforce connector that allows you to quickly and easily integrate Salesforce with other applications. Salesforce Connect is a lightweight Java library that can be integrated into any application in minutes.

Salesforce Connect uses its own set of APIs, eliminating the need for complex coding when integrating Salesforce with other applications. In addition, Salesforce Connect also provides an easier way to authenticate with Salesforce and manage sessions and transactions.

When using Salesforce Connect, all you need to do is create a new Connection String in your external system and provide the necessary authentication information (username, password, security token). The Connection String will allow your external system to communicate with Salesforce without writing additional code.

2. Salesforce Lightning Platform

The second of the Salesforce integration assets is the Salesforce Lightning Platform. Lightning Platform is a Salesforce development platform that allows you to develop, deploy, and manage applications quickly.

Lightning Platform is built on the Salesforce Lightning Framework, and a JavaScript framework is used to develop web and mobile applications. The Lightning Framework provides everything you need to create custom user interfaces, including components, templates, and more. In addition, the Lightning Framework also includes an easy-to-use navigation system and a robust data model that makes it easy to query and manipulate data.

When using the Salesforce Lightning Platform, all you need is a basic understanding of HTML and CSS to create your custom user interfaces. You do not need any coding experience or knowledge of Salesforce Apex code to use the platform.

To build Salesforce Lightning Platform applications, you need an account with Salesforce and a Salesforce Developer Edition license. Salesforce provides more information on using Salesforce Lightning Platform here: Salesforce Lightning Platform – Getting Started.

You can also check out the Salesforce Lightning Development Trailhead for more information about developing custom user interfaces with Salesforce Lighting Framework.

3. Apex Programming Language

The third of the Salesforce integration assets is the Apex programming language, creating custom business logic in your external system or application. Apex code allows you to quickly develop complex business logic and connect disparate systems without writing additional code or learning another programming language such as Java or C++. The following are examples of how Salesforce uses Apex code to integrate Salesforce with other systems.

Case Assignment Rules

Salesforce uses the case object to track and manage customer support requests, such as bug reports or feature requests. When a new case is created in Salesforce, it can be automatically assigned to a group or individual based on criteria that you define using Apex code. For example, suppose you are creating a software application for an insurance company. In that case, you could set up Salesforce so that all cases related to medical claims will be automatically assigned to your Medical Claims team members. You can also use Apex code to assign cases based on specific keywords in the subject line (e.g., “Bug”).

Sales Process Automation

Salesforce Sales Cloud provides a Sales Process Automation feature that allows you to automate tasks such as email marketing campaigns, lead scoring, and notifications. Sales Process Automation is powered by Salesforce’s Apex coding language and uses Salesforce Workflow Rules to automate these tasks based on specific criteria that you define.

If you are looking for a specific API but want to mitigate the risk of error, try using DreamFactory’s API auto-generation tools.

4. Salesforce Workflow Rules

The fourth of the Salesforce integration assets is Salesforce Workflow Rules. Salesforce Workflow Rules allow you to automate tasks such as email marketing campaigns, lead scoring, and notifications. Sales Process Automation is powered by Salesforce’s Apex coding language and uses Salesforce Workflow Rules to automate these tasks based on specific criteria that you define.

To use Salesforce Workflow Rules, you need to understand how the workflow works in Salesforce. You do not need any coding experience or knowledge of Salesforce Apex code to use this feature.

Workflows are a powerful tool in Salesforce, and there are several ways to utilize them. Of course, it’s simpler to show what a workflow is in Salesforce with some examples.

Workflow Rule Example: Automating Tasks Based on Sales Stage

In this example, we will create a workflow rule that will automatically send an email notification to the sales manager when a lead is moved to the qualified stage in Salesforce.

First, we need to define some criteria for our workflow rule. In this case, we want the workflow rule to trigger when the Lead Status field is set to Qualify.

Next, we need to specify what action we want the Salesforce Workflow Rule to take. We want to send an email notification to the sales manager when this condition is met.

Now that our criteria and action are defined, we can name our workflow rule and save it. The completed Salesforce Workflow Rule will now be active in Salesforce.

When a Salesforce user manually changes the lead status to qualify, Salesforce Workflow Rules will automatically send an email notification to the sales manager. Another option would be to use Sales Process Automation so that every time someone qualifies for a lead, Sales Process Automation sends an email notification about it.

5. Salesforce Integration Cloud

The fifth Salesforce integration asset is to utilize Salesforce Integration Cloud.

Salesforce Integration Cloud is a valuable resource for developers who want to quickly build integrations between their applications and Salesforce.

The Salesforce Integration Cloud offers connectors, APIs, and tools that make it easy for developers to quickly build integrations without extensive knowledge of Salesforce’s architecture or code.

Using the Salesforce Integration Cloud, you can easily connect your application to Salesforce using prebuilt connectors or creating your connector using the API. You can also use the integration cloud to test your connector before deploying it into production.

If you want to create your API, you can utilize a company such as DreamFactory to create a REST API for Salesforce.

6. Salesforce App Exchange

The sixth Salesforce integration asset is to utilize Salesforce AppExchange. Salesforce AppExchange offers thousands of third-party applications, integrations, and consulting services for the Salesforce platform.

When you open an app from the Salesforce AppExchange, it appears as a tab within your Sales Cloud instance. You can then customize how it looks and behaves by changing its settings or creating custom fields inside Sales Cloud (e.g., adding new fields).

Conga Composer is one example of a practical application on the SalesForce app exchange. It allows users to create complex reports in Microsoft Excel using data from their CRM system without programming skills! It’s also compatible with Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Service Cloud.

Another example is SalesLoft which provides a way to send personalized emails directly from within your Salesforce CRM. It’s also compatible with Salesforce Sales Cloud & Salesforce Service Cloud. So if you want to send an email campaign quickly, efficiently, and effectively — then this might be what you’re looking for!

SalesLoft allows users to create templates for their sales messages that can be sent out automatically through the integration or manually with just one click of a button (through its user interface).

7. Salesforce Email Integration

The seventh Salesforce integration asset is to utilize Salesforce email integration.

Email marketing has become an essential part of any company’s customer service and sales process, but getting started with Salesforce can be a challenge for many businesses! There are plenty of options available when it comes time to choose which provider suits your needs best. This ranges from the number one Sales Cloud provider (MailChimp) to other providers like ConstantContact or Campaign Monitor that may not have as much name recognition yet still provide excellent delivery rates at competitive prices.

One of Salesforce’s core tenets is to keep all customer interactions in one place, and email marketing falls right into that category. By integrating Salesforce with your chosen email marketing provider, you can track opens, clicks, unsubscribed are, bounces, and more — giving you a detailed view of how well your email campaigns perform. You can also use this data to create targeted email campaigns based on what you know about your customers!

Helpful Tips

Here are some things for you to consider before transferring data or integrating Salesforce with your CRM.

Organize Your Data Through an ETL

Before transferring data from multiple data sets to one location, you should always clean and optimize the data. This is done through something called an ETL. An ETL is a process that extracts, transforms, and loads data. It is used to identify errors in the source system and correct them before they are transferred over to Salesforce.

Prepare Salesforce for Integration

Before you integrate Salesforce with your CRM or any other application, it is essential that Salesforce’s data model is defined correctly and configured correctly for integration purposes. For example, if two different fields describe similar information (e.g., Account Type), those fields should be merged into one field so there aren’t duplicates when transferring over from SalesForce. This can be done by creating custom objects within SalesForce, allowing users to add additional details about accounts such as contact information or billing address without having multiple copies of the same information.

Utilize API Libraries

Salesforce offers several API libraries that make it easy for developers to build integrations without extensive knowledge of Salesforce’s architecture or code. These libraries are available in multiple programming languages such as Java, C++, NodeJS, and Ruby.

If the API you are looking to use is not available, using a platform such as DreamFactory’s Instant API Creation can help you create custom APIs without you needing to be an expert in Javascript or programming.

Utilize API Management Tools

API management tools can be beneficial for monitoring and managing the integrations you have with Salesforce. These tools can help keep track of which applications are connected to Salesforce, what data is being transferred in and out, and troubleshoot if errors occur.

Some of the best API management tools include Salesforce’s own Salesforce Connect and MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform.

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Summary

Salesforce is a powerful CRM platform, and Salesforce integration assets are a great way to connect it with other software that your business might be using. Salesforce integration can help you become more productive by automating tasks such as importing data from Excel spreadsheets into Salesforce or pulling information out of Salesforce, so it’s available elsewhere (such as in Slack). SalesForce offers many different APIs, making integration easy for developers who don’t know how to code; these libraries are written in popular programming languages like Java C++.

By utilizing Salesforces integrations assets – like email marketing tools – users will have access to all their customer data regardless of whether they’re working within Salesforce itself or not! This makes for a seamless experience across multiple platforms without having to worry about whether or not Salesforce supports certain features or software. 

It is also important to note that APIs are at the foundation of Salesforce. While Salesforce has several integrations available out-of-the-box (such as with Microsoft Excel), others will need custom development work done for them to work correctly. Salesforce’s APIs allow developers the flexibility to build whatever functionality they want into their applications.

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