Five Tips for Tech Companies to Painlessly Integrate Salesforce with HubSpot

Let’s set the scene: your tech company made the decision to implement HubSpot to drive marketing initiatives, but you’re still using Salesforce as your CRM. And you’re understandably daunted by the prospect of integrating the two platforms. 

DON’T PANIC. This blog will outline the top five things you need to do to integrate Salesforce and HubSpot to get your CRM and marketing platforms sharing information back and forth seamlessly.

1. Start with a data cleanse

We see this scenario all the time. Tech companies choose to turn on a bidirectional sync of all properties between Salesforce and HubSpot only to see their HubSpot platform instantly cluttered with irrelevant records. Ugh. 

The last thing you want for your marketing team is to have to waste time digging through tons of contacts to get to the relevant leads they should actually be nurturing.

A data cleanse isn’t just good for your stressed-out marketing team: it’s also a great way to save money. 

Since in HubSpot you pay extra per month for every additional 1,000 contacts you add into the database above your contracted HubSpot contact tier, it’s better to start with a clean list than to waste money on bad contacts. 

We always recommend that clients perform a good data cleanse to weed out old records before setting up an integration between Salesforce and HubSpot.

Pro-tip: If you’re going to use HubSpot and Salesforce together, it may be helpful to think of HubSpot as the top of the funnel (TOFU) lead-generating machine that handles contacts until they’re ready to be passed to sales. Think of Salesforce—on the other hand—as the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) engine, helping sales reps to guide those leads over the finish line. Think carefully about which contacts are in the top half of your funnel and need to be nurtured and only pull those into HubSpot.

2. Understand confusing terminology

It can be confusing for Salesforce evangelists to integrate with HubSpot because although both platforms use the terms lead, contacts and accounts, they mean different things in each platform.

To ensure everything is set up correctly, keep these naming conventions in mind before you begin mapping.

Leads and Contacts (and Contacts)

In Salesforce, Leads and Contacts are different objects, which means they have different fields and behave differently. A Lead is a stand-alone, unqualified record in your database, while a Contact is a qualified individual that is also tied to an Account record. 

In HubSpot, a person is considered a Contact regardless of whether they are qualified or not or whether they are associated with an Account (Company) or not. Therefore, Salesforce Leads and Contacts are both treated as Contacts in HubSpot with no distinction between the two. 

Accounts and Companies

Accounts and Companies are very similar—they are the organizations with which you do business. In Salesforce, an Account can have multiple Contacts belonging to it and in HubSpot, Organizations can be associated with Contacts.  

Opportunities and Deals

Salesforce Opportunities and HubSpot Deals are both business deals in progress. 

In Hubspot, Deals can have Contacts and/or Companies associated with them. When a contact record is associated with a deal in HubSpot, the contact’s lifecycle stage will automatically update to opportunity. If the Deal is marked as Closed Won, the lifecycle stage is updated to Customer.

It’s a good idea to spend some time here and really think through how you are, or will be, using Leads and Contacts in Salesforce to ensure that you set up your HubSpot integration to work with your lead flow. 

For example, you can have HubSpot create a new Lead or Contact in Salesforce when a new contact record is created in HubSpot. However, you can only choose one or the other, so it’ll either always create new Leads, or always create new Contacts.

Similarly, it’s important to think through your contact-to-deal association as failing to do so can create a misalignment in your messaging because your marketing team will be communicating with customers as if they’re prospects.

3. Get a crystal clear understanding of your sales process

In order to determine what information you should be capturing in HubSpot—and ultimately transferring into Salesforce—you need to understand your entire sales process.

Here are a few questions your sales and marketing departments should outline prior to integrating Salesforce with HubSpot to ensure the two platforms are working as a nurturing lead machine:

  • What does your sales team need to know about a prospect in order to determine if they are qualified? Think about the 3-5 questions that are most often asked on discovery calls. Include those questions on your forms if possible.
  • What position or company size does a prospect need to have in order to be considered a sales qualified lead (SQL)?
  • Is location an important factor in determining if a lead is an SQL?
  • What 3-5 questions does your sales team often ask on a discovery call in order to determine if a lead is qualified? Should those questions be implemented into forms?
  • Are there certain behaviors a contact could perform that would automatically turn that contact from a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) into an SQL (e.g. filling out a form to request a product demo, downloading a premium piece of content, etc.)?
  • What is your follow up process going to be once a lead has become a SQL?

Dig deep to ensure your company is setting up the proper fields in the integration in order to make sure that your marketing and sales hand-off is as quick and efficient as possible. 

By having a clear understanding of the difference between a MQL and a SQL, we can better determine when leads fit that criteria through our marketing efforts in HubSpot and assign automatic lead scoring. 

That way, your Salesforce CRM is capturing the necessary information and notifying your sales team of SQLs so that they can sell smarter, not harder.

4. Double check your sync rules

One common problem we see all the time is sync rules that are set up incorrectly…in other words, the rules that define where data from Salesforce maps to in HubSpot (and vice versa).

You can easily fix this by going into your HubSpot integration settings, where you can control when and where HubSpot data should be updating the corresponding Salesforce field. There you can select from one of the following criteria:

“Prefer Salesforce unless blank”

Using this setting…

  • HubSpot will only pass a value to Salesforce if there is currently no value in Salesforce.
  • If a value exists in Salesforce, this value will always overwrite the existing value in HubSpot.
    If you delete the value in Salesforce, the value will also be deleted in HubSpot.

“Always use Salesforce”

If you check this setting…

  • HubSpot will never pass data to Salesforce, even if there is no value in Salesforce
  • If there is a value in Salesforce, the value will always overwrite the existing value in HubSpot
  • If you delete the value in Salesforce, the value will also be deleted in HubSpot

“Two-way”

If you select this setting…

  • The most recent value will always overwrite any existing values
  • If the value is deleted in HubSpot, it will also be deleted in Salesforce, and vice versa

“Don't sync”

If you pick this one…

  • Data will never pass between HubSpot and Salesforce.
  • If the value is deleted in HubSpot, it will not be deleted in Salesforce, and vice versa.

PS: Within your sync settings, you can also limit which contacts sync by using an inclusion list. An inclusion list is an active list of contacts with a defined set of criteria that must be met before a contact can sync to Salesforce. 

This strategy echos back to point #2 of understanding the sales process and at what specific point in time a contact is considered an SQL. 

5. Understand the fundamental differences between campaigns

While both HubSpot and Salesforce have campaigns, it is important to note that the two objects do not correspond to each other. 

  • HubSpot campaigns are marketing assets and content, grouped as a certain marketing campaign. Associating marketing assets and content in HubSpot to a campaign allows you to measure the effectiveness of your collective marketing efforts.
  • Salesforce campaigns, on the other hand, allow you to collect leads and contacts that are relevant to whatever marketing activity or event the campaign is for and also allow you to associate expenses and revenue with that activity so you can report on ROI and other KPIs.

Note: Since Campaigns in the two systems are so different, there is no data sync offered between HubSpot campaigns and Salesforce campaigns, but you can use HubSpot forms and workflows to add contacts to a Salesforce campaign and also change the status/stage of a campaign participant.

The powerful bi-directional sync can automatically sync new records from HubSpot into your Salesforce on your terms and give your team valuable insights such as email opens, form submissions, website activity and more. 

Plus, with the integration, you can set up lead scoring from HubSpot to Salesforce to better assist your sales team in prioritizing their outreach efforts…Nice!

By integrating Salesforce with HubSpot, your sales team will be empowered with richer lead intelligence and revenue reporting. So what are you waiting for? Get started!

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