Sea of Knowledge

9 Considerations Before Integrating Salesforce and HubSpot

If you want to get the most out of your sales and marketing teams, you might consider installing the HubSpot Salesforce integration to maximize your ROI. HubSpot and Salesforce are two of the most commonly utilized CRM platforms in many industries today; the former being used primarily for marketing whereas the latter is used mainly for (you guessed it), sales! While each of these platforms can be used individually to handle most of your needs, you won’t be able to realize the full potential of your marketing automation setup until you have them both integrated and working in harmony. 

Unfortunately, sometimes your marketing and sales teams just don’t align. A temporary misalignment may not have that big of an impact on your business, but an ongoing disconnect can end up costing you thousands of dollars if it’s allowed to continue. In fact, executives estimate that 50% of funds spent on lead generation are wasted and only 37% of misaligned companies meet their revenue goals. To avoid serious confusion within your sales team, mismatching important data between systems, and misfiring emails to unqualified contacts, it’s important to implement these industry-leading systems correctly the first time

Installing the HubSpot Salesforce integration can give your business the boost it needs, taking satisfactory performances and making them into highly-successful campaigns! When the marketing team has instant access to the information they need, and the sales team can access relevant details to all their leads with only the click of a button, you’re sure to see a change in the overall efficiency of your team operations. Still, like most things, the integrating process in itself can open up a whole new can of worms, so here are nine things to consider when you begin to plan for your upcoming integration.

Initial considerations

It's more than flipping a switch

While HubSpot and Salesforce can be easily mapped to share data, the data types across platforms vary a bit in name. This will most likely be your first big obstacle when it comes to integrating because even the most basic data can be rendered useless if you’re not sure where to access it due to a name change.  For example, the “Date Picker'' property field type in HubSpot is referred to as the “date, datetime” in Salesforce. Fortunately, common properties can be mapped for easy integration between the two platforms, allowing you to easily carry over information without worrying about mislabeled (or misplaced) data. Before integrating, make sure your picklists in Salesforce have an equal dropdown select field in HubSpot. 

Tip - Make sure the internal value in HubSpot matches the API value in Salesforce. The integration doesn’t see the label, just the internal values.

You’ll have a few different options when syncing the data types between Salesforce and HubSpot:

  • “Prefer Salesforce unless blank”
  • “Always use Salesforce”
  • “Two-way”
  • “Don't sync”

Take a look at the different options to figure out which syncing rule will be most beneficial for your automation map. It’s important to consider what data needs to be on which platform because there’s no point in syncing marketing data irrelevant to the sales team (or vice versa).

How to manage user profiles

Not every HubSpot user will need a Salesforce profile (or Salesforce user a HubSpot account). This cuts back on the amount you’ll need to invest in user licenses, so it’s important to consider what information each user will need to access on an individual basis. While some users may need access to both the sales and marketing information, others may only need access to one, so limit access to those who need it and avoid over-permissioning if possible. Limiting access will ultimately be helpful to the users, as they’ll have less data to search through when looking for key leads, KPIs, or other relevant information.

Weighing the costs of an integration user

An integration user is a standard user profile that’s not assigned to anyone. When explained in these simple terms, an integration user may sound like a waste of money, but the truth is having an integration user can save you a lot of time in the future (and time is money!). Although you will have to purchase a separate Salesforce license for the IU account, it’s well worth the investment because your Integration User can be used to integrate 3rd party systems without risking administrator access, which could result in unauthorized users, deleted records, unnecessary password resets, or other ill-effects. You’ll also be able to generate reports more effectively (avoiding hours of effort on your part) using the account, and you’ll never have to worry about broken integrations due to departing employees, as they’ll all be attached to your integration user account!

Platform variations

Now that we’ve taken a look at the initial things you’ll need to consider before installing the HubSpot Salesforce integration, you should have a general idea of what you’ll need to consider throughout the process. While some decisions (such as whether or not to utilize an Integration User account) can be made at a later date, it’s best to begin the process with a clearly-defined plan to avoid unnecessary complications in the future. Speaking of complications, let’s go over some of the common ones you might run into throughout the process of integration.

Data model discrepancies

In Salesforce, there are two types of contact objects: “leads” and “contacts”. Leads are unconverted contacts that don’t have an opportunity associated with them yet, whereas contacts usually have an opportunity associated with them or are existing customers. Unfortunately, when you sync your “leads'' and “contacts” with HubSpot, both types of Salesforce contact objects become a HubSpot contact! Instead of using separate labels for each type of customer, HubSpot uses a “Lifecycle Stage” field to mark where your contacts are on the customer lifecycle. Customers without an associated opportunity will display a Lifecycle Stage of “Subscriber”, while those who have an opportunity associated with them will be marked under the Lifecycle Stage of “Customer”. It’s important to recognize that, although the two platforms use different data models, they are still showing you the same information, just under different names. Setting a plan for how you’ll differentiate leads and contacts in Salesforce is essential to make sure you’re emailing prospects and customers at the correct time. 

Tip - The Salesforce Lead and Contact ID can be synced over from Salesforce. It’s helpful to filter by Salesforce Contact ID = Known or Unknown to see if they’re a contact or just a lead in Salesforce.

Archived picklist values resurface

Unfortunately, HubSpot does not recognize archived field values in Salesforce This can complicate things, because, despite not being active, “archived” values in Salesforce may still sync with HubSpot (and show up as a picklist option). You can avoid this by simply deleting the values in Salesforce, but you’ll have to do this before syncing the two platforms to avoid unnecessary work later on. If you wait, you’ll be stuck with the unpleasant task of manually reviewing your contacts and removing outdated information.

Separating processes between systems

In practice, it seems pretty easy to determine what information will go where. Generally, the sales and field automation goes to Salesforce, while your marketing automation is left to HubSpot. Sadly, drawing the line usually isn’t so simple. The “gray area” is often larger than you would expect as there is often a lot of overlap between the two departments and the information required for them to efficiently perform their jobs. When you’re trying to determine which system will house which type of automation, it’s important to include your stakeholders throughout the process. You’ll need to build a plan for clean documentation in both systems, so you’re not left with contradictory workflows or unnecessary duplications which can complicate operations moving forward.

Formula fields don't trigger

There is obvious consideration that needs to be invested when determining what data is needed in each platform. Changing a field value in Salesforce will be instantly reflected in HubSpot, sadly that is not the case for formula fields. In Salesforce, you can use formula fields to pull information from one object to another. For example, when a status field reflects a change in the account, you would build a formula field on that contact record to reflect the status change on every contact related to the account. While this works great within the Salesforce platform, these changes aren’t carried over to the HubSpot CRM, so HubSpot won’t automatically update the field value with the current information. Fortunately, there is a simple workaround to this issue! First, you will need to create a hidden field with a workflow rule that updates the value of the field you’d like to change. Then, you can sync this hidden field to HubSpot which will trigger the actions as desired, saving you (and your teams) from spending hours manually updating information on the platform.

Email activities sync as tasks

The Salesforce activity feed won’t allow any types of custom activity. This works against your sales team, as all integrations with HubSpot will be sent over and displayed as a task type. This will present them with the chore of manually filtering through these tasks to determine which have been completed, which ones still need to be done, and which are simply reflecting marketing activity and do not require action from sales. HubSpot sends over a lot of activity as tasks, such as when an email is sent, opened, clicked, and more. This highlights the importance of determining which information from HubSpot is actually relevant, and which information doesn’t need to be integrated at all before syncing everything between the two platforms. While the integration setup you use is ultimately up to you, we highly recommend only syncing tasks and emails between the two platforms, leaving the rest to be handled solely on HubSpot. Otherwise, you may overload your marketing team with “tasks” they don’t need to complete.

Products syncing is a no go

If you were hoping to seamlessly sync your product library between HubSpot and Salesforce, we’re sad to inform you that you’re out of luck. There isn’t a way to sync the product library using only the two platforms, and currently, even third-party platforms don’t allow you to perform this type of integration. However, like most things, there is a workaround if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort! One workaround you can use involves using the Salesforce Product ID in place of the SKU (if you happen to have the SKU for your products, you can create an ID field on the Product object in HubSpot and use that instead). This will allow you to make bulk updates in Salesforce as needed because you’ll have the identifier needed to do so.

It’s Worth It in the End

Like any systems integration, the HubSpot Salesforce integration will offer a hurdle or two, but that doesn’t mean the process isn’t worth your while! While you’ll no doubt have to make some adjustments along the way, in the end, you’ll be left with a custom, perfect-for-your-business marketing automation setup that ensures both your marketing and sales teams are running in perfect harmony all the time. Of course, setting up your integrations can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve never taken on such tasks before. If you’re worried about the success of your integration, then it may be best to take the safe route and trust your systems to a team with years of experience managing the integration between HubSpot and Salesforce. The last thing you want is to integrate your platforms, only to be left with a confusing and contradictory plethora of mismanaged and duplicated information. While you may well be able to do the entire process yourself, you should consider if it’s worth the time and effort required on your end before attempting it. 

Regardless of which approach you take in your marketing automation and integration efforts, with the proper implementation, we’re sure you’ll notice the benefits right away. When information flows freely throughout the platforms, easily accessed by the team members who need it most, your business will quickly flourish from competent to competitive. At the end of the day, efficiency is the key to success, so the faster you can relay relevant information to your team members, the better!

Not sure where to start? Enroll in our HubSpot Salesforce integration course.