Salesforce has become synonymous with customer relationship management (CRM) by this point. It's the planet's most-used, most talked-about, and most lucrative CRM platform, generating an eye-watering $21.25 billion in the 2021 fiscal year alone. That's higher than the GDP of some countries. With a massive 19.8 percent share of the CRM market, Salesforce is the go-to platform for many data-driven organizations that want to track and engage customers. 

But Salesforce doesn't do everything.

There will be times you need to sync Salesforce data with a third-party app. Perhaps to run data through a business intelligence (BI) tool like Looker or Tableau and generate deeper data insights than Salesforce provides. Or, combine Salesforce and Outlook data so you can send targeted emails to customers.

That's when you'll need to integrate Salesforce somehow. 

There are various Salesforce integration methods out there. Unfortunately, most require lots and lots of coding knowledge and hours and hours of programming. That's fine if you have a large team of data engineers, but it's not so great if you're a small- or medium-sized business on a tight budget. 

Is there an easier way?

In this guide, learn about various Salesforce integration methods and discover the fastest and easiest way to sync Salesforce data with databases, data warehouses, BI apps, software, email platforms, and even other CRMs.

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Table of Contents

  • Benefits of Salesforce Integration
  • Method 1: Manual ETL
  • Method 2: Manual ELT
  • Method 3: Use an ETL/ELT Tool
  • How Integrate.io Can Help With Salesforce Integration

Integrate.io is your all-in-one data management solution for Salesforce integration. Sync Salesforce data with an incredible range of sources and generate the data insights you deserve. Book a demo here. 

Related reading: Salesforce SecurETL to Your Data Warehouse

Benefits of Salesforce Integration

While Salesforce provides users with some data insights, successful enterprises require deeper metrics to identify trends and provide enhanced customer experiences.

That's where Salesforce integration comes in. 

Migrating Salesforce data to a third-party application provides users with a broader range of metrics for sales, marketing, and customer service. These insightful reports can generate more sales and growth opportunities for a company that uses Salesforce. 

There are other reasons to invest in Salesforce integration:

  • Improve productivity
  • Enhance marketing/communication by syncing Salesforce data with a marketing or email platform
  • Centralize CRM data in a single data store like a warehouse for consistency and standardization

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Method 1: Manual ETL

Many organizations move Salesforce data to another location via a process called extract, transform and load (ETL). It goes something like this:

  • Data engineers extract data from Salesforce by building data pipelines using lots of code. This process can take several days or weeks and involves advanced programming knowledge.
  • Data engineers then transform that data into the correct format so it's ready for its intended purpose. For example, analytics. Data transformation might involve engineers cleansing the Salesforce data or removing inaccuracies. 
  • Engineers then load the transformed data to a data store like a data warehouse or lake. Again, this involves lots of coding and programming—skills many small businesses lack.  

From here, engineers can run the Salesforce data through an analytics app and generate insights about that data. Or keep it in the data warehouse for better data standardization. 

Aside from the time and technical skills required for manual ETL, engineers also need to consider data governance principles like GDPR and CCPA when moving data from Salesforce to another location. Organizations can now receive harsh financial penalties if they transfer sensitive customer data to places they shouldn't, making manual ETL a legal minefield for many companies. 

Method 2: Manual ELT

Extract, load and transfer (ELT), sometimes called reverse ETL, is another method for Salesforce integration. It's like ETL, but data engineers switch the 'transfer' and 'load' parts of the process. It works like this:

  • Engineers extract data from Salesforce with data pipelines. Again, lots of code, programming, and time.  
  • Engineers load that data to a data store like a warehouse or lake.
  • Then engineers transform the data into the correct format so it's ready for its intended purpose, typically analytics. For example, engineers might transform Salesforce data into the proper format for a BI tool like Looker

ELT, like ETL, requires manual pipeline building. Engineers need to create complex models for data extraction and move Salesforce data to its target destination using programming languages like Java or Python. They also need to test the architecture of a destination like a warehouse and run performance checks. Manual ELT also presents the same data governance issues as manual ETL. 

Is there an alternative?

Related reading: What is ELT vs. ETL?

Method 3: Use an ETL/ELT Tool

These tools automate much of the ETL/ELT process, requiring little code. Or no code at all. Organizations that invest in an ETL/ELT platform can move Salesforce data to a second location and sync that data with third-party software and apps for data analysis, better workflow management, improved customer service, and other outcomes.

ETL/ELT tools provide organizations with many benefits compared to manual pipeline-building:

Low Code/No Code

These tools require little or no code, so you can integrate Salesforce data even if you have no programming knowledge. The best ETL/ELT platforms come with native connectors that sync data between Salesforce and other locations automatically

Cost Savings

The average data engineer salary in the United States in 2021 totals $92,632, an expense many organizations can't afford. If you have large-scale data management projects, you might need two or three engineers to move data from Salesforce to another location.

Most ETL/ELT tools charge you a fee for transferring Salesforce information, but this could work out less expensive than hiring a data engineer. 

Tip: For even more cost savings, look for a tool that charges you for the number of native connectors you use rather than the amount of data you consume. 

Data Governance

You can avoid expensive penalties for non-compliance with data governance frameworks like HIPAA and GDPR when you use an ETL/ELT tool. The best platforms encrypt and decrypt sensitive data and prevent cybercriminals from accessing that information. 

There are other benefits of investing in one of these tools:

  • It's easier to scale Salesforce data when you use an ETL/ELT tool.
  • You benefit from enhanced security when transferring sensitive customer information from Salesforce
  • You can focus on other business tasks instead of worrying about pipeline-building.

How Integrate.io Can Help With Salesforce Integration

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Integrate.io serves as an ETL and ELT tool, helping you move Salesforce data to your chosen location. You can sync Salesforce data with Amazon Redshift. Or Google BigQuery. Or Snowflake. Or MySQL. Then you can run that data through a BI tool for unparalleled data insights. This process requires no code, so you can perform Salesforce integration without breaking a sweat. 

Integrate.io is one of the few data management platforms with a Salesforce-to-Salesforce connector so you can move Salesforce data to another location and then move it back again. Again, no code, no fuss. 

Here are some other benefits of Integrate.io for integrating Salesforce:

  • World-class customer service.
  • A pricing model that charges users for the number of connectors they use. 
  • A dynamic REST API.
  • Over 100 other out-of-the-box connectors move data from one location to another without coding anything.

Did you know... Salesforce itself uses Integrate.io to move data between locations? 

Integrate.io is the ultimate data management solution for Salesforce integration. It syncs Salesforce data via ETL or ELT with various databases, data warehouses, SaaS apps, and more. Schedule a demo here.