Salesforce Integration Best Practices: Guide to Implementing Salesforce
Accurate and ongoing customer relationship management is a must have in every business today. Salesforce.com is the leading CRM system and businesses use it to boost sales, increase their marketing capabilities, and develop customer loyalty. Salesforce provides companies with important data that helps when it comes to decision-making. Other benefits of Salesforce include detailed reporting, easy account planning, customizable dashboards, and improved collaboration.
While Salesforce itself is a powerful enterprise tool, companies can get even more out of Salesforce by integrating it with other back office systems. Salesforce integration can provide cross-functional teams with the latest and most accurate data to help them streamline and improve current processes as well as maximizing the solutions and services on offer.
Successful salesforce integration with other enterprise systems can provide enormous benefits to the sales team and can quickly demonstrate ROI. When integrating Salesforce with other applications there are a number of best practices to follow. The following tips can help your Salesforce implementation project become a success.
1. Identify Data That Needs to be Stored in Salesforce
Before the integration, you will need to consider whether external data should be moved to Salesforce.com. Salesforce data migration is an important part if the integration project. Consider whether data from the external system is needed to supplement existing Salesforce records or if the data could be used for Salesforce Analytics.
2. Be Aware of Your Source Data and Where to Store it
A Salesforce.com integration requires complete knowledge about the context of the data and where to store it. As a result, IT will have to work closely with employees from other areas of the company who understand the context of the data. Through cross-functional collaboration, the integration team should develop a deep understanding of the details behind each data element.
3. Review Data Management Requirements
There are a number of elements to consider here including data replication, data clean up, analytics, business intelligence, and the process as a whole. Decide on the processes that are set in place to replace erroneous data in Salesforce.com.
4. Decide on a Schedule That Fits Your Company
Ideally, your company will implement real time, multi-directional Salesforce integration. Depending on your company’s financial resources, it might make sense to begin with a daily batch process and add real time updates for the most important data.
5. Leverage Standard Integration Apps
The Salesforce CRM integration project can be a significant enough time investment without having to write custom code. You should look to avoid having to do so. There are a number of software options to choose from that can help you to build a solid foundation that protects your data’s integrity and can optimize the Salesforce implementation process.
6. Set Up Time for Quality Assurance (QA)
Data integrity is key during the Salesforce integration. The back office systems that you integrate with Salesforce may contain legacy code which could leave gaping holes in your data integrity. Make QA non-negotiable to ensure your data isn’t vulnerable. QA allows for the resolution of these issues before they become a real problem.
7. Create a Salesforce Data Model Specific to the Needs of Your Company
It is not necessarily a great idea to mirror your data source’s structure. Take the time to identify data that is relevant to the needs of the end users and create a model that suits your company’s needs.
8. Use Salesforce Functionality
Where possible use Salesforce built in functionality instead of trying to manually code everything. For example, if you are trying to send an email notification you should create a workflow rule on field update within Salesforce to send a notification for you.
9. Set up a “System of Record”
As you integrate applications with Salesforce you can quite quickly create a number of overlapping, complimentary, and interconnected systems. As important business data passes from one system to another it can easily get lost unless there is a “system of record”. Be careful to document your internal data flows and make sure everyone on the Salesforce integration team understands how your systems interact to avoid losing important data.
10. Use Help Text to Provide End Users With Context
Setting field-level help allows you to give help text which details the purpose and function of any standard or custom field. This help text provides users with a helpful description for any field on all detail and edit pages where that field displays. End users can view the field-level help text by hovering over the Info icon next to the field. You have up to 255 characters to describe the field.
11. Use External IDs
External IDs can be created when importing custom objects, solutions, or person accounts. External IDs prevent duplicated records from being created as a result of the import operation.
12. Undertake Regular Updates and Logging
Salesforce integrations require a detailed and robust logging process complete with error notification capabilities. The process should include logging for automated as well as manual actions. One useful tip here is to create a workflow rule on field update to send a notification as critical errors emerge.
13. Perform a Security Check
You should review your security policies with all your integrated systems. Make sure the applications you integrated with Salesforce are not leaving you exposed. Check that there is consistency and compliance in all areas.
14. Get Ready to Enter Data!
Once users get their hands on Salesforce after it has been integrated with other Enterprise tools you will immediately face requests fro more data as they begin to realize how powerful a tool they have at their disposal. With your integration having passed your rigorous security checks and an error log created, you are well set up to enter more data as your end users need!
Written by Cóbhan Phillipson