Complex Salesforce enterprise integrations are a rite of passage for every growing business. At some point, your business will no longer be able to thrive—or even make do—with native data syncs, or at worst stratified, siloed systems that don’t speak to each other in real time.
If you are depending on native integrations to help streamline your business operations while also customizing Salesforce and Marketing Automation Platforms like HubSpot or Marketo for your business, you will eventually run into some serious challenges. Or, if the different platforms in your business ecosystem don’t share data, then different teams and automated processes will continuously operate with out-of-date information.
But once your platforms are aligned through a cutting-edge and configurable integration infrastructure, there are few barriers to collaboration. Everyone from your revenue team members to your repeat customers will notice more fluidity. Salesforce lists the key benefits of integration that enterprise organizations almost universally experience, which include:
- An open company culture
- Better employee experiences, with less frustration and more fulfillment
- Better-quality data
- More robust insights from that improved data
- More efficient sales, which generate more revenue and more profit
Accessing all these benefits for your organization can be challenging, but the right partner and strategy can make it happen with zero missteps and delays. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the meaning of a configurable Salesforce enterprise integration with other systems like HubSpot and some of the most effective strategies you can use to make it happen and create a business environment where everyone wins.
Why a Configurable Salesforce Enterprise Integration Should Be at the Top of Your RevOps To-Do List
‘Integration,’ ‘syncing,’ and ‘migration’ are similar terms, and they can almost seem interchangeable for professionals in non-technical roles. But the difference is vital, not pedantic.
- Syncing is just copying data from one place to another. Your platforms may continuously sync, but that just means data from one source overwrites another. It doesn’t have in-built logic, and it’s not robust enough to transform data of different types. Native syncs are a default functionality in many business tools, but they’re too restrictive for enterprise organizations.
- Migration is a one-time data transfer. When you migrate your data and work processes to new software, you’re replacing one platform for another. In enterprise businesses, there is no universal platform for all your departments, so migration—while offering better interfaces or individual widgets—will never eliminate silos and splintered work processes.
These two concepts have hard limitations, especially if the goal is to have a continuous and accurate flow of data connecting all of your business processes.
Integration, on the other hand, is all about creating a web or ecosystem where all of your currently used tools (as well as tools and platforms you may use in the future) can constantly communicate to share real-time details, data, and records updates.
For example, your sales team may update prospect details in Salesforce through manual and automated processes. However, those updates won’t reflect in Marketo without integration infrastructure. They won’t appear in your key account management team’s account profiles. Customer support won’t see that there may be a new primary contact, and their communications may never be seen.
Unintegrated processes may have been sufficient in past revenue models that were distinctly linear—marketing to sales to customer support—but they are utterly insufficient in today’s flywheel models and continual cross-selling, upselling, and touchpoint-based models that continually orbit customer experience (CX). No team in your revenue department can do their work without getting input from the others.This is just the baseline requirement for any enterprise in today’s flywheel world!
Why a Configurable Salesforce Enterprise Integration
As enterprises scale their business, the baseline is simply not good enough, however. Name one enterprise that does not customize or at the very least highly configure their Salesforce instance or instances. You simply can’t find one. Therefore, enterprises always get to a point of inflection where they must adjust their data integration practices to align with this more complex application integration architecture—or the smart ones consider this from the start.
So what does customization or highly configured really mean? B2B businesses are interested in tools and services that are more than just cookie-cutter platforms designed for mass production; they want something that fits their own unique processes and does so in a way that is intuitive and effective.
Let’s keep it simple. When you are integrating a customized Salesforce instance with HubSpot or Marketo and hear things like custom objects, custom fields, and activity data, you can start to see what we’re talking about. Salesforce was built to be a highly configurable and scalable solution for enterprises—and so were marketing automation platforms like HubSpot. The only challenge is, integrations that are natively built have not kept up with this highly customizable CRM<>MAP integration world.
Let’s also look at the multi Salesforce instance world for example. Let’s say you are a global enterprise with a rich M&A strategy. With this strategy, there is a high likelihood that you are acquiring 3-5 businesses a year, all of which have their own Salesforce instances. Migrating all of that information into one instance can be extremely costly and unruly. And on top of that, native syncs will not work in this multi-system environment. This is where a more robust data integration architecture, using an integration automation platform that lets you customize workflows, any way you want and get the most out of your Salesforce investment comes into play.
5 Strategies for Making Your Configurable Salesforce Enterprise Integration Project a Success
Deciding to move forward with an integration automation platform to enhance Salesforce is an essential first step for transforming all of the digital ‘machinery’ humming behind the scenes of your business. But, just like any transformational project, it’s crucial to create a robust plan where you set the project’s vision, structure the implementation steps, prepare for challenges, and account for what the world looks like after project completion. Use these five strategies to make your integration project more feasible and, ultimately, more successful.
1. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Objectives
First, start by identifying the problem or problems you want to solve through your customizable Salesforce integration. Is it that some teams don’t use it and so lose visibility into the data that it houses? Are your connectivity structures fragile, and do people constantly work with out-of-date or inadequate data? Do you need to have a more clear and real-time look at lead activity across your systems? Do you struggle with hygiene and have a need to align lead and contact hygiene across Salesforce instances? Are you simply looking to have a more clear and concise view of your customer?
Once you know the challenges, articulate how you want the integration project to solve them. Keep in mind that if you are working with a highly configurable integration automation provider, they should work alongside you to help you through this process. You are not on your own. These will translate into specific objectives. You can also consider objectives that will help with long-term business goals, potential benefits that may step outside of resolutions to particular problems, and previously established objectives that align with the integration project.
One last point, if you do not have the resources or knowledge to move this process forward smoothly, do not just ignore it. This first step is critical to mission success. So, lean on RevOps-as-a-Service partners to guide you to success.
2. Assess the Needs of Your Teams That Will Help Achieve Those Objectives
Consider your teams’ needs and what types of integration best serve them. This can include three different types of assessment:
- Where do you sit on the data management maturity curve? This will help you build a plan that is based on the reality of where you are today and where you want to go tomorrow.
- The requirements you should consider when choosing your integration process and ecosystemic platform
- What your teams need to complete the project (extended timelines for other projects, a consultant, additional support staff, etc.)
This process will help you explore the specifics of implementation and what resources you will need along the way.
3. Choose the Right Approach for Your Business
Sure, enterprise-level data integrations can be accomplished through myriad different approaches and structures. Three of the most common methods are point-to-point, hub-and-spoke, and ecosystemic. Consider:
- Point-to-point integration: In this integration paradigm, every platform has a one-to-one connection to every other project. As your tech stack grows in complexity, each platform will have hundreds of APIs and ‘strings’ connecting them to other parts of your business. This is conceptually simple but introduces lots of points of failure. For scaling enterprises, we do not recommend this antiquated approach that can be found from providers like Celigo, Boomi, and even Mulesoft.
- Hub-and-spoke integration: In this model, there is a core source of truth in your business. For this article, let’s assume it’s Salesforce. Every ‘spoke’ program—Marketo, Mailchimp, Zendesk, etc.—connects to the Salesforce ‘hub’ rather than each other.
- Ecosystemic integration: This is relatively similar to the hub-and-spoke model. An integration platform is a hub, but it’s also a film or a cloud covering every other tool. When one platform wants to speak to another, it passes through the ecosystemic platform, which can translate the data, control the orchestration or order of data transfer, and control all the routing of different data streams. There are no longer just strings connecting one platform to another. This is the new way of doing things, and frankly, you can’t afford to do anything else. Providers that take this approach likely evolved from the Hub-and-spoke methodology. They innovated.
As businesses grow in complexity, an ecosystemic approach offers much more stability and security, both now and if your business processes may change.
4. Make Sure You Have the Tools to Clean Your Data
Every integration project requires data cleaning because:
- Different platforms will have distinct records at varying levels of completion and accuracy; you don’t want them to overwrite each other or leave you with duplicates.
- Some data types will not be recognizable to other programs, and accounting for that early on reduces the risk of data corruption or loss.
- Insufficient data builds up over time, and you don’t want to transfer all of that load to a new system.
But, you hold the keys to the kingdom, and you have a choice as to how you approach data cleansing and hygiene. You can either manually manage this from the beginning and through the lifecycle of your integration, or you can partner with a provider that bakes this process into the platform itself. After all, isn’t it more efficient to trust a platform to manage data hygiene in transit?
Cleaning the data will simplify unintended stress that can occur in the integration process and allow for trust to build once the project ends. This can improve both the employee and customer experience.
5. Know What Your Post-Integration System Should Look Like
Start with the end in mind. If you have a specific vision for how your data governance and program management processes will work, you can set the stage for it as you choose your software and integration approach. Also, if you choose an antiquated point-to-point approach, every integrated system will need continual maintenance and monitoring post-go-live. So, consider this in the beginning when choosing the right partners to make Salesforce work for you and not against you. You should be able to rely on a platform that does the monitoring for you, alerting you of opportunities and errors along the journey.
Manage Your Salesforce Enterprise Integration for Long-Term Success With Vertify
A suitably managed Salesforce enterprise integration is similar to when your organization shifted data from local storage to the cloud. You’re removing barriers, giving everyone access to real-time data, and ensuring your business has the foundation for scalable growth.Choosing the right approach and tools is a critical step in the process. Vertify’s integration ecosystem provides streamlined software and support for configuring and monitoring your data streams. We’re here to support your integration project for long-term growth and success. Reach out today to visualize how your integration efforts can transform your processes.