Sea of Knowledge

5 Limitations of the HubSpot Salesforce Integration

A big challenge for companies of all sizes is creating a cohesive experience throughout the customer lifecycle. In most cases, each team (sales, marketing, and customer service) operates individually and hand-off is anything but smooth.

Now, if you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that our team is a big proponent of using automation as a way to align your marketing, sales and customer service for the best possible experience.

And we know that many companies turn to the HubSpot Salesforce integration to achieve what’s called sales-marketing alignment, which is simply a set of standardized processes so everyone knows what to do when a prospect moves through its lifecycle. The thing is, the integration alone isn’t enough to achieve true alignment. Here’s why.

5 HubSpot Salesforce integration challenges and what to do about them

1. Naming conventions

If you’re used to working with either HubSpot or Salesforce, you’re probably used to referring to elements with a specific name, like Contacts or Campaigns in HubSpot. However, when you integrate both platforms, you’ll find that the names on each refer to different elements.

For example, a Contact in HubSpot is anyone who’s engaged with your company and has a record created in your CRM. On the flip side, a Contact in Salesforce is only a person who has engaged with your sales team. If they just entered your system, they’re Leads, which is a contact whom no sales rep has engaged.

Similarly, a campaign in HubSpot is a set of assets relating to a marketing initiative. It includes emails, landing pages, social posts, and any other collateral. But in Salesforce, a campaign is a list of leads or contacts who received a specific marketing communication.

2. Property mappings

Your contact information won’t automatically sync between platforms because the fields aren’t identical. So any property you add to a contact in HubSpot needs to be mapped with your fields in Salesforce using a picklist (aka a dropdown menu in HubSpot).

Plus, if your properties change over time and your team doesn’t sync them regularly, you’ll start facing sync errors. Thankfully, when you create new property mappings, the system warns you of potential errors you may be creating.

3. Syncing issues

One of the number one issues people face when integrating HubSpot and Salesforce is duplicate contacts. HubSpot matches emails, so it won’t create a new contact if it finds the same email in another record.

But in Salesforce, you need to create specific rules to prevent this from happening. This step should be part of your data hygiene policy as duplicate contacts affect your reporting and can hike up your subscription costs.

When integrating HubSpot and Salesforce, you can select one of four sync settings depending on your needs:

  • Prefer Salesforce unless blank: If a field is blank, HubSpot will pass the value. Otherwise, it won’t.
  • Always use Salesforce: HubSpot’s data won’t make its way to Salesforce regardless of there being a value in Salesforce.
  • Two-way: The latest value will overwrite the existing ones regardless of which platform it comes from.
  • Don’t sync: Data won’t pass between the platforms. This also means that deleting a record from one platform won’t remove it from the other.

Another factor to consider is whether you want every one of your HubSpot contacts in Salesforce. This is the default, so if you only want contacts that meet specific criteria, you’ll have to create an inclusion list.

And finally, you want to create a custom field in Salesforce to track their lifecycle stage, since this HubSpot property doesn’t exist in Salesforce.

4. Data flow

When using your integration, you may find that the data you need from one platform isn’t available on the other. For example, activity-level data like your timeline entries from HubSpot won’t show up in Salesforce. Instead, you’ll see it in a window, but you won’t be able to do much with it.

Likewise, emails logged in Salesforce won’t sync as part of your timeline in HubSpot. And neither will the attachments associated with Salesforce opportunities. At least not from the native integration, so you’ll need a custom one if your team needs this feature. The only way to circumvent the challenges of limited data flow is using custom APIs that can quickly get expensive to set up.

5. Segmentation

Segmenting your contacts is essential for nurturing your leads. Unfortunately, the HubSpot Salesforce integration doesn’t make it possible to move segments from one platform to the other.

To be able to segment your lists in HubSpot and Salesforce, you need to create the segments in both. 

The HubSpot Salesforce integration is powerful, but it needs a little elbow grease

Many companies adopt the HubSpot Salesforce integration hoping it’ll be the silver bullet to end all misalignment between marketing, sales and customer service. While it is a powerful tool, it’s not without flaws. You’ll need a team dedicated to the integration’s proper setup and maintenance in order to get the best out of it.

Give your team the tools they need to run your CRM. Enroll now in the first-ever HubSpot Salesforce integration course.