Getting the Best of Both Worlds: How to Integrate Salesforce with WordPress
Any modern business owner who has big-time aspirations increasingly realizes that the age of narrow-scope experts and piece-meal solutions has long since passed. In order to win over new clients, expand into unconquered markets, and outsell your rivals, you have to combine all possible means, ways, policies, and tools. Only by practicing a composite approach can you hope to not just precariously survive on the outskirts of the vibrant business realm of the 21st century but build a thriving company whose revenues always display a steady growth pattern.
Requirements for business software conform to the umbrella-style strategy that promises success in the world of sharp competition and oversaturated markets. Modern digital solutions are to be able to embrace a wide range of issues, adequately handling each of them. With this goal in mind, WordPress and Salesforce integration is sure to amplify your company’s capabilities and boost the efficiency of your workflow.
Salesforce and WordPress: Two Tools too Good to Miss
It doesn't matter whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or an online business, today it can hardly be managed well without leveraging Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. As the name suggests, this tool is indispensable in handling information related to clients. It helps your personnel keep track of any activity pertinent to customers (quotes, call notes and logs, etc.), hold marketing campaigns, develop forms to capture leads, and do many other things that enhance and speed up your workflow. Salesforce is rightly considered the global leader among CRM platforms, providing its users with every amenity CRMs are capable of.
However, being in possession of heaps of data may easily turn from a boon to a curse if you can’t utilize it properly. A tool that provides a user-friendly interface to create and manage website content is known as a Content Management System (CMS), but there is no need to be scared of this formidable-sounding name. In fact, this software app is meant for people who know nothing of coding but want to be able to customize sites in terms of their design and functionality, which is affected through downloading templates and add-ons.
Among the CMS platforms that are available today, WordPress is preferred by over 37% of users, whose adherence makes it the top player in the field. Lately, this tool has been enriched with numerous plug-ins and themes, which transformed a primarily blog-building platform into a ramified ecosystem catering to all possible needs of retailers and non-profits.
Combining the facilities and capabilities of both platforms via WordPress to Salesforce integration, it is possible to obtain a cumulative effect to the benefit of business owners and the satisfaction of their clients. How can you connect WordPress to Salesforce?
WordPress Salesforce Integration Scrutinized
There are seven ways to integrate Salesforce with WordPress.
1. Taking Advantage of Web-to-Lead Function in Salesforce
If you want to be able to automatically turn customer information into a new Salesforce lead record, this free setup wizard is just what the doctor ordered. It is the simplest technique for one-way (from WordPress to Salesforce) integration, which is affected by embedding the HTML it generates in your site. However, this method of integration is quite limited. First of all, it is only used to produce lead records. Second of all, you can choose fields only from the scope of those that the wizard has to offer. And finally, the HTML code may not match the theme of your website, so you will have to put in some additional styling efforts.
2. Leveraging an E-Commerce Platform
Such platforms offer plugins to effect integration. One of the most favored and universal plugins is WooCommerce. The reasons for its popularity are quite simple: it is free, easy to get, and easy to use. Users can download it directly from WordPress or find it in the offerings of most web hosts as an e-commerce option. Once you employed WooCommerce’s Oauth 2.0 or Salesforce Organization ID to connect your Salesforce account (this can also be done if you have several of them), you can perform various operations within the CRM: map WooCommerce fields to Salesforce objects, export data and events, configure error reporting messages, save entry logs, filter orders, and do other things that boost the efficiency of both WooCommerce and Salesforce.
3. Effecting Custom Object Synchronization
It is performed via specialized plugins used for narrow purposes. For instance, the Object Sync plugin streamlines mapping and data synchronization between Salesforce objects and WordPress content (user, page, post, etc.).
4. Tracking Visitors
Another specialized WordPress Salesforce integration plugin is Pardot, which provides an opportunity to track visitors, operate forms, as well as dynamic content. Its unquestionable forte is that the users who employ it don’t have to write code or even be aware of what goes on behind the curtain. You just use the widget to locate a form or a video where a sidebar is spotted, or press the Pardot button on the Visual Editor’s toolbar and embed them in a post or page.
5. Logging in WordPress via Salesforce
This method, known as Single Sign-On (SSO), is essentially an authentication ploy allowing users to utilize their credentials (ID and password) for one software system (typically an app or website) in order to access another system. To achieve this, SSO stores different credentials for initial authentication on centralized authentication servers and translates them into credentials specific for various systems.
There are several ways on how this is done. For sites sharing a common DNS parent domain, IP networks using cookies are used. Otherwise, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and its databases on directory servers come into play. Alternatively, you can employ an SSO plugin that comes in versions of different scope. The free version conventionally contains a basic set of features, such as attributes and role mapping, login widgets, and user auto-creation. If you want to obtain binding type selection, auto-redirect to IDP, reverse-proxy support, or multiple certificates, you must acquire a standard, premium, or enterprise version of this plugin.
6. Leveraging Salesforce Community Cloud
7. Opting for Custom Integration
For instance, you may need forms that include multiple payment tools, be able to dispatch data to multiple campaigns or empower donors to update their credit card data themselves. Or it may be necessary for you to display Salesforce data in WordPress or on the website (say the list of members or a board of directors) tailoring the style to your taste. Plus, you would like to have searchable databases on your website where Salesforce will act as a system of the data record. All of these necessitate real-time Salesforce data queries and synchronizing its fields with WordPress. If your integration presupposes a complex logic that rules out all the above-mentioned methods, custom development via Salesforce API is the only solution for you.
Web-to-Lead Integration Options
Web-to-lead integration is one of the most popular ways of bringing WordPress and Salesforce together. One of the reasons why this is so is because it offers several ways of eventually reaching the goal.
1. A Salesforce WordPress Plugin
Such tools may not only act as middleware (like Zapier) but can be used as a standalone (and typically free) means for Salesforce WordPress sync.
The one that specializes in web-to-lead integration is the Brilliant Web-to-Lead Salesforce plugin, as can be surmised from its name. This platform allows you to directly build forms in WordPress that match your website’s theme via the use of a shortcode. Being simple and user friendly, this plugin with its limited functionality will suit small to medium businesses where it can be employed for collecting some basic data, such as clients’ names and emails. How does it work?
As soon as a visitor enters a contact on your site, Salesforce immediately gets the lead without annoyingly copy-pasting the lead info. Moreover, you can tailor the form settings with subsequent inserting of the form into posts or web pages with the help of a shortcode. To streamline form insertion, you can utilize the plugin’s widget and have the form inserted directly into your sidebar.
Gravity Forms plugin is mainly designed to provide dispatching form submissions from your site to your CRM. In addition, it does a lot of other helpful things like mapping Salesforce fields, sending all entries to Salesforce with an option of filtering them, viewing details of each form submission, sending data as Salesforce objects, updating contacts in Salesforce, etc.
WordPress Leads analyzes user activity to figure out where the traffic on your site comes from. Gathering leads from social media, emails, and referrals, this plugin will help you dig deeper into your customers’ interests and tailor your actions to cater to them. However, WordPress Leads isn’t that intuitive to use and requires a Zapier installation to accomplish integration.
Among numerous free plugins available on the market, one of the most popular is Contact Form 7 which provides an easy integration procedure requiring no coding skills and wide customization options. How to integrate Salesforce in Contact Form 7? First, you download, install, and activate it. Once that is done, choose “Salesforce” in your WordPress dashboard and then click on “Salesforce Accounts”. It will allow you to log in with Salesforce, where you press the “Salesforce Feeds” tab to create a new feed. After selecting your Salesforce account and the Contact Form 7 you want to connect, you should map the corresponding fields with each other and all Contact Form 7 submissions will now be featured in your Salesforce account.
Plugins are also a good solution if API access is disabled for your Salesforce account. Contact Form 7 enables us to overcome this obstacle by simple usage of the "Web2Lead" feature in it.
2. Form Builders
These tools are foolproof since you don’t have to write a single line of code to employ them. Instead, you just perform the classical drag-and-drop maneuver and place questions and form fields where they belong. Sounds like a cakewalk, right? Well, with WordPress Salesforce integration, it isn’t as easy as it seems, but it’s not all that hard either, only requiring a medium level of implementation effort.
To be able to work with form builders, you need software serving as a bridge between the two systems (aka middleware or connector). Only if you have one, you will be able to map form fields to respective Salesforce fields via a foolproof graphical user interface. Once you have the necessary middleware add-on, you can enter data into both core and custom Salesforce objects (it is a one-direction procedure where Salesforce is a target) as well as integrate payment processors.
For instance, FormAssembly is a solid and affordable form builder (with a free trial to boot) that performs reliably when used as a standalone integration solution and is provided with responsive customer support. However, if employed with a connector it may be quite challenging for a rookie to master. Users also mark the scarcity of information furnished by error messages, which makes it next to impossible to figure out the problem.
Another form builder commended by users is Formstack. They complement its easy-to-use characteristics, the abundance of advanced features ensuring maximum control, and seamless payment integrations while performing WordPress Salesforce sync. Among the cons, they mentioned the inability to leverage time and date fields for triggering conditions and the plethoric number of clicks needed to complete the setup.
Most form builders can be acquired at a low cost (between $40 and $200), yet this is only an initial expenditure line that has to be supplemented by an annual licensing fee. However, the range of form building tools on the market is quite significant, so you may choose anything depending on your budget.
For instance, WPForms offers several packages that suit various needs, but it (as well as Gravity Forms) requires the preliminary installation of Zapier. If you don’t like it, shop around for other platforms (like Wufoo Forms) that don't presuppose any middleware to perform the integration.
If you envision more complicated operations with forms (like displaying various fields on the values of those that were completed before), think advanced form builders. These provide both one- and two-way integration procedures and have an expanded feature inventory. To implement them, you have to rev up your effort and display some coding skills, but if you feel that for your business venture the sky's the limit, go for it hammer and tongs. And be prepared to fork out a pretty penny, too, since the monthly fee here is considerably higher and the annual license will cost you anything between $1K and $8K.
3. Apps and Services that Integrate with Salesforce
Such apps and platforms are another kind of middleware, bridging the gaps between software systems enabling their integration. Moreover, they automate processes that are otherwise performed manually and thus take a lot of time and effort. The third-party software will allow you to do it quicker. For example, Zapier is a web app that ensures the automatic movement of information from WordPress to Salesforce, structuring and categorizing the data along the way.
This integration tactic has its shortcomings, though. Essentially, it is a narrow-scope venture that requires the additional custom styling of forms and substantial expenditure. Although some vendors offer annual licenses at just $120, you must be ready to fork out up to $5K and beware of a per-transaction fee that may be included.
4. Custom Integration
In case any of the above-mentioned options don't suit you, our team is ready to write for you a custom integration via API.
Synchronizing Data between Salesforce and WordPress
This is an important aspect of integration, so it makes sense to take a closer look at how it can be done.
1. A Plugin
The good old Object Sync does so remarkably well. Once you save data in WordPress, Salesforce objects that are created or updated are automatically assigned, and the other way around. Moreover, the developer hooks contained within this plugin allows other plugins to modify the data it is operating.
2. An Application-Integration Tool
When synchronizing WordPress data and objects, apps of this kind (like Integromat or Automate.io) function similarly to form builders, sparing users complicated operations with code and turning complicated APIs into easy-to-manage blocks that are moved wherever you like by dragging and dropping them at will.
A totally different approach is adopted by IFTTT (which stands for “if this then that”) – a platform that enables the development of applets. The latter are conditional statements arranged as chains that trigger changes applied to one software (say, Salesforce) to happen in other software (say, WordPress).
3. Custom Development via API
It is always a viable option if the available paths don’t appeal to you since you can tailor any aspect of integration to yield the desired outcome that will be a unique one-off solution. The undeniable merit of this choice is that if you can tackle custom development yourself, you won’t have to splurge on licensing fees (except payment processors which are a story apart with their own licensing costs) and will have the greatest control over what you are doing, including approach (one-way or bidirectional), styling, presentation, objects, and fields.
However, the DIY tactic requires advanced development skills, both language-wise (PHP or Java) and concerning Rest and SOAP (APIs in Salesforce). Are you sure you can handle this? If not, you should consider hiring a consultant for the initial implementation and possible modifications, or an experienced team of developers for end-to-end Salesforce to WordPress integration. Of course, this means significant investment (anything between $5K to $25K, depending on the complexity of the project), but the professionals will see to it that the results live up to your expectations and that the integrated solutions function smoothly.
Evidently, the list of integration strategy options isn’t short, so before picking one you should take into account such factors as the complexity of your data, the type of forms you will need to integrate, and, more importantly, the available budget. Being a Salesforce consulting partner, Ergonized can offer you the services of a seasoned consultant who can help you not only with the choice of integration method but recommend the right apps and third-party services that will best suit you or maybe even write the integration code for you.
Maintaining relationships with your target audience and streamlining your workflow are key to your marketing success. By integrating Salesforce with WordPress, you will enhance the marketing workflow and offer your customers a satisfying user experience while browsing your site.