Managing Data with Sitecore and SalesForce

SalesForce has become wildly popular over the past 10 years. And for good reason - it’s easy to use, powerful, and customizable. When it comes to any content management system a common question always seems to be “does it integrate with SalesForce?”  Inevitably any sales rep will answer, “Yes! Of course.” But that is a vague answer; anything can integrate with enough time and money. So here, in this post, is my honest assessment on Sitecore’s integration with SalesForce as I experienced it. Salesforce can be used to leverage all sorts of data – to keep things simple, in this post I’ll stick to lead capture / creation. First of all the SalesForce API is very logical and easy to use. Furthermore, there is plenty of documentation that should answer 95% of a developer’s questions about it.  In this case, the client had a number of custom fields they wanted captured about the lead (e.g. referring url, custom variants, and campaign name to name a few). After adding these fields to SalesForce I was ready to utilize the SalesForce API. Once you have an understanding of the SalesForce API, there are 3 major steps to getting this to work.

  1. Creating a LeadContract – this where the lead object is defined and assigned its values, including any custom data. Here you will point data from Sitecore and the front end web form to the LeadContract.
  2. Creating a Lead – this is where the LeadContract is passed in to SalesForce through the web service, creating the Lead record.
  3. Saving the LeadId – Upon successful creation, SalesForce passes the lead id back. Saving this data back to Sitecore is very important for 2 reasons. First, if you ever need to add data to the lead, the leadId is the easiest way to do it. Secondly, upon conversion to an account, the leadId is required in order to retain account information in the conversion.

Although I have not yet done it, creating a custom save action for the Web Forms for Marketers module in Sitecore seems like it would make sense and would be an easy fit for many solutions. There are products on the market that allow for a more out-of-the-box SalesForce/Sitecore integration such as S4S that I am evaluating right now. I’ll report back later and update you on my thoughts on this.

Matt Kloss, XCentium

Vice President, Client Services​

Matt Kloss