Integrating Marketing cloud with Salesforce CRM

While Salesforce offers great integration between Marketing cloud and CRM through the Marketing cloud connect. There are couple of design consideration that implementers need to mindful of. We touch upon some of the design considerations as part of this blog.

1. Sends – One of the important factor while configuring marketing cloud connect is the platform to be used as send engine. Couple of use cases that we have come across implementing similar solutions include:

Salesforce Sends– Often come across the requirements around lead owners sending campaigns from salesforce, while leveraging Marketing cloud as the design tool. These can be achieved through running a report to identify the audience for the send, plugging the email designed in Marketing cloud and triggering the send through salesforce. Caveat there is data from synchronized data extension needs to be moved to contact model(discussed below) through SQL queries, before ingesting them in journey.

Marketing cloud sends– Using synchronized data extensions through marketing cloud connect, to access the CRM data. While doing the segmentation and send through Marketing cloud. This options gives far more flexibility over other send mechanism, and allows to automate and customize customer journeys to great extent. Also goes beyond. some of the send limitations around volumes associated with Salesforce sends.

With synchronized data extension, pushing leads and contacts from CRM. More than often, client SFMC accounts ends up with two subscriber records for the same person. Leading to duplicates and putting unsubscribe functions at risk. While there there are couple of ways to address, it’s a losing battle given the default salesforce CRM behaviour.

2. Unsubscribe – It is really important to think and consider how the unsubscribe should function, given the two platform working in conjunction. Keeping the best practice in mind, and considering CRM as single source of truth  – the unsubscribe status for subscriber needs to be in sync. This can be achieved through couple of ways but not limited to setting up automation to move data back from marketing cloud to CRM and vice versa. Depending on endpoint for Unsubscribe capture from the emails being sent out. Remember that the unsubscribe happening at CRM end, needs to pushed manually. An automation can be put in place to fetch data from CRM into SFMC for unsubscribes, as an alternative

3. Preference Center – Managing Opt ins and preference between the two connected system typically requires, landing page with an AMPscript or SSJS function to update the contact object in Salesforce with the preference, which than can be fetched back into Marketing cloud through synchronized data extensions. Further to it, an automation needs to be in place to refresh that data into publication lists, should the customers need to be put in multiple buckets of send list. Publication list ensures customer received communications that they have opted for, and keeps unsubscribes at low with offering options against the default unsubscribe from all.

4. Contact model – Setting up marketing cloud connect and configuring the contact builder requires the implementer to be aware of

  • Use case for contact attributes being used in the journey
  • Whether population needs to be created.
  • Assigning channel order to the contacts

Reason behind these considerations revolves around the long-term maintenance and associated billing for contacts in the marketing cloud. Over the time, with high volumes of send the contact count might go beyond the set limits for the account. Its also important to understand how the billing works for contacts, which is indeed a combination of the distinct contacts across channels. Challenges associated can be managed though implementing the best practices at the time of contact builder configuration.

5. Reporting – As we all know that  sync between marketing cloud and CRM is a one way sync, there is an exception of Tracking data that flow the other way. Reporting form marketing cloud is synced to CRM against the contact records with the history of send being logged. Comes with details  of the send and standard tracking  with a great looking email thumbnail. However the catch is, the send needs to happen from the salesforce data extension in order to make this working. Another aspect to be though of, before going ahead and utilizing the great feature the marketing cloud connect has to offer.

Summarizing if you are doing a green field implementation that requires the two great platform to be connected, a design thinking is a must to go through the discussion points mentioned above. Solution the data model keeping in mind the business process, test in sandbox preferably(visit our another post on marketing cloud sandbox) and finally roll the connector.

Important. An important thing to be vary of:

– SFMC is still, technically an external system to SF CRM. Any data that ET exchanges with Salesforce uses API — getting lists of Leads/Contacts, updating Leads/Contacts, updating Campaigns or Campaign members. It can result in significant rise in API calls.

As per Salesforce: Using MC Connect’s Data Stream functionality will count towards your Salesforce Organization’s API limits.  If this is of any concern, it’s recommended to upgrade your MC Connect managed package to the newest version, and upgrade to ConnectedApp Authentication. ConnectedApp Authentication will lift the limits of the SOAP API and Replication API used by MC Connect and Data Stream (source: )

There is report available which is ” API Usage last 7 Days” to keep this in check.

If you liked reading the post, let us know comments, thoughts or suggestions. We would try and address in greater details the different aspect of contact model and lead contact deduplication from marketing cloud perspective in our next article.