The Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provides organizations with a variety of flexible, highly customizable capabilities to manage their daily operations, from internal management to external outreach. Of course, your Salesforce CRM may not be the only platform your organization uses.
Integrating your various systems, such as your website, can be essential for staying organized and effectively managing your data. For example, some organizations want to display data from their Salesforce instance on their website or have information input by visitors on their website easily flow through to their Salesforce CRM.
For example, an organization may wish to allow its stakeholders to log into a members-only area of their website, update their contact information and have that updated contact information automatically sync back to Salesforce. Or, a nonprofit may want to create a list of recent donors publicly viewable on their website and have it automatically update whenever a donation is entered into Salesforce.
To help organizations solve these challenges, this guide will answer several questions about integrating your website with Salesforce before exploring various tools organizations can choose from for their website integration process.
Let’s jump in.
Salesforce Website Integration FAQ
Integrating your website with your Salesforce CRM can be a somewhat complex process, and it’s normal to have questions before getting started. Here are a few frequently asked questions many organizations have when it comes to the data integration process:
Can I integrate my website with Salesforce?
Yes. While Salesforce offers functionalities that allow users to create websites through Salesforce, your Salesforce instance can also integrate with websites implemented with almost any Content Management System (CMS) that has an Applications Programmer Interface (API). This includes popular open-source CMSs, such as WordPress and Drupal.
What are the benefits of integrating my website with Salesforce?
The primary benefit of integration is that data does not need to be duplicated manually between the two systems. Without integration or duplication, data can become siloed in separate systems, making analysis more difficult. By integration your website with Salesforce, your data will always be up-to-date with only one master repository for all information.
Can I complete the integration process by myself?
With the right technical expertise in Salesforce, its APIs, and your CMS, it is possible to complete an integration without an external vendor. However, it is often more time and cost-effective to hire a consultant.
Are there tools I should consider using?
There are a variety of third-party tools created to assist with your Salesforce website integration, which we’ll explore later in this article. These range from expensive and sophisticated solutions, to simple and affordable options. Some systems come with functionality out of the box to integrate with Salesforce, such as Mailchimp for mass email or Cvent for event management. Many common CMSs also have pre-built integration capabilities, such as ObjectSync for WordPress.
What should I consider when choosing a website integration tool?
As with most technology choices, the best Salesforce website integration tool for your organization will depend on your specific situation.
First, consider what you want your integration to accomplish, such as needing data to update in real-time or analyzing complex data that’s represented by multiple separate database objects or across different systems. Then, check if any tools you already use come with integration methods.
Estimate how much data will need to be integrated, how often it will need to be synced, and what security measures you will need before choosing a specific integration tool or method. Keep in mind if you have a large amount of data and will need to sync frequently, you may encounter speed and performance issues, as well as potential API limits.
Additionally, ensure you choose an integration tool that will make the process as simple as possible. For example, if several software solutions you currently use all come with their own unique integrations, it may be cost-effective but quite complicated when compared to investing in one integration solution that will handle of your needs. Plus, investing in a single method can pay off later with reduced maintenance and support expenses. Tradeoffs between simplicity, cost, and functionality may need to be made.
5 Salesforce Website Integration Tools
There are many Salesforce website integration tools available. In this guide, we’ll review just a few tool-specific solutions that are for popular CMSs many organizations likely use, as well custom solutions that can be tailored to fit your unique integration needs.
Integrating with WordPress
Organizations using WordPress have several options to integrate their websites with Salesforce. Salesforce offers users several native options to integrate data capture from websites to Salesforce such as their Web to Lead Forms, Content Management System Form Builders, and Advanced Form Builders. Each of these solutions comes at a different price point and has their own advantages and disadvantages based on what your organization intends to do with your data.
Organizations can also invest in a third-party solution or configure a custom integration between Salesforce and their CMS. This synchronization can be either one-way or bi-directional, and due to the nature of custom solutions, handle more complex needs.
For simple needs, organizations using WordPress can also download the WordPress Object Sync plugin. This plugin allows users to assign Salesforce objects to various WordPress content and vice-versa, creating either a one-way or bi-directional system depending on your needs.
Integrating with Drupal
If your organization’s website is hosted on Drupal 9, 8, or 7, you can use Drupal’s Salesforce Suite to sync your data. While there are third-party solutions available for organizations based on Drupal, the Salesforce Suite is a time-tested solution that has been regularly updated since its original release in 2007.
Drupal’s Salesforce Suite is made up of multiple modules that facilitate the integration process. Complete your Salesforce website integration with:
- Data pulling and pushing. Export data from Salesforce to Drupal or vice-versa depending on your needs with Drupal’s Salesforce Push and Salesforce Pull modules.
- Real-time and asynchronous updates. Choose whether to have your data updated in real-time or asynchronously in batches.
- Field mapping. Map data entries in Drupal to Salesforce to keep your data consistent across platforms.
The Salesforce Suite has a variety of other modules to facilitate parts of the integration process and allow your Drupal site to display data from your Salesforce CRM.
Nonprofits looking to expose data in their CRM on their website without extensively building on their website may first assume they need a tool like Salesforce CMS. However there are other solutions organizations can look to, such as Fíonta’s custom Salesforce website integration tool, Baja. While a custom integration may cost more initially, there are no recurring license fees, which can ultimately make them a more cost-effective solution.
Baja allows organizations to display information from their Salesforce CRM with shortcode (small pieces of code that accomplish small tasks). This can be especially useful for organizations using CMSs with limited features, as there is no need to further build out your website to showcase the information you want to expose on your website.
If your organization is hesitant to host data from Salesforce in the website CMS’s database due to security issues, Baja can also be a useful solution as all exposed data will remain in your CRM. Plus, Baja can handle complex logic expressions, making it easy to display data that is represented by multiple objects, which can be a challenge for other Salesforce website integration tools.
Instead of looking for an external solution, the Salesforce API can allow your development team to create a custom service just for your organization. APIs are standardized protocols that can create, read, update, and delete data between two separate systems. Salesforce takes an API-first approach, meaning many Salesforce tools your organization uses on a daily basis are built with APIs.
For your Salesforce website integration, development teams familiar with Salesforce can often rely on the Salesforce API to create a custom solution. This can be a practical solution for organizations with a website whose CMS does not offer integration utilities or who have complex needs that are not easily supported by those programs, such as expressing data represented by multiple objects in your CRM.
Salesforce also offers an integration platform, Mulesoft. Integration platforms provide users with a framework for managing multiple integrations from several third-party systems.
You will only need to consider investing in an integration platform if you have multiple systems that need to be integrated with Salesforce in addition to your website. For example, an organization looking to integrate their website, a payment processor, a learning management system, an accounting system, and their digital ad management tools with Salesforce using different integration tools may benefit from using an integration platform.
Due to Mulesoft’s complexity and price-point, it should typically only be considered when there are many third-party integrations for multiple systems that need to interact with Salesforce. Some organizations can have literally hundreds of systems to integrate, and this is where an integration platform may make sense.
However, if your organization does decide to invest in Mulesoft, you can look forward to support for testing, along with many other sophisticated functions.
Salesforce integrations need not feel like an overwhelming challenge, nor should they be constrained to pre-built modules that may not fit an organization’s needs. Assess your organization’s data needs and overall technology environment to choose the Salesforce website integration method that will work best for you. Then, partner with a developer to manage the integration process and handle any complications that may come up along the way.
To learn more about Salesforce and how to leverage this valuable platform, start exploring these top resources:
- Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP): A Guide. Is your organization a nonprofit interested in what Salesforce can do for you? Explore the ins and outs of the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack with this complete guide.
- Salesforce for Associations: Everything You Need to Know. By contrast, is your organization an association researching CRMs for your industry? Explore how Salesforce can elevate your organization.
- Raiser’s Edge vs Salesforce: 5 Reasons Why You Should Switch. If you’ve already invested in Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge, you may be unsure about switching to Salesforce. Learn if now is the time to make the jump with this guide.