Unleash the full potential of your business intelligence by leveraging Salesforce SQL to enrich your data on the robust Salesforce CRM platform. This article provides a detailed review of Salesforce's unique query language (SOQL), demonstrates its usage through an example, and showcases how Integrate.io can simplify this process for you

Our key takeaways: 

  • Salesforce employs a unique version of SQL, known as SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language). While it shares many standard SQL functions, SOQL is designed to be simpler and only utilizes SELECT statements, with no equivalents for INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE commands in standard SQL.
  • Despite differences between SQL and SOQL, Salesforce data can still be used effectively with third-party tools and software, providing potential for greater data utilization and easy platform integration.
  • SOQL queries come in various forms and require SELECT and FROM clauses. Unlike SQL's tables and rows, Salesforce uses 'objects' to store data, which can influence how you communicate with your Salesforce database.

In this article, we discuss how companies can use Salesforce SQL to extend the data on Salesforce’s powerful CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform. The business intelligence possibilities are immense with this capability, specifically through an in-depth understanding of your pipelines and data flow. 

Before diving into the best ways to harness and utilize this data, we cover some preliminary technical points. Specifically, we review a few basics of the Salesforce object query language (SOQL) and provide an example of this code. 

You will also learn how to use SOQL queries within an Integrate.io Salesforce integration to make this process a bit easier and extend your CRM data's capabilities. Finally, we describe how Integrate.io’s cloud-based ETL makes the job of polishing, processing, integrating, and preparing your data with powerful code-free integration tools smoother.

Table of Contents

  1. How Salesforce Uses SQL
  2. Intro to Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL)
  3. Types of SOQL Queries
  4. Execution of SOQL Queries
  5. How Integrate.io Assists in Salesforce SQL Processes

Understanding Salesforce SQL

Let's start by unraveling what SQL is and its benefits when used with Salesforce CRM data. SQL, an abbreviation for Structured Query Language, is a language designed for communicating with databases. This powerful tool allows you to access and manipulate your data, with compatibility extending to popular database solutions like Azure SQL Database and Redshift.

For more information on our native SQL connectors, visit our Integrations page.

Salesforce, however, introduces a unique variation to SQL, known as SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language). While SOQL mirrors most functions of standard SQL, its design focuses on simplicity. To optimize the data management capabilities in Salesforce, a clear understanding of how SOQL contrasts with standard SQL is critical.

The key difference to highlight is SOQL's limitation to only SELECT statements. This means there are no equivalent commands for INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statements as in standard SQL. This distinction is especially important when trying to manipulate or retrieve data using SQL-formatted queries in Salesforce.

For more information on our native Salesforce connector, visit our Integration page.

Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) Explained

This disparity between SOQL and SQL doesn't always pose an obstacle. For instance, SOQL queries can easily conform to SQL queries, facilitating the usage of Salesforce data with third-party tools and software. This compatibility helps you to maximize your Salesforce data and seamlessly integrate with other platforms.

Working with Salesforce in this capacity allows companies to further their analysis. The precursor to business intelligence and in-depth understanding of the data is the effective transformation of that data, through effective queries at the extraction stage. 

You can begin this process by creating a SOQL query in Salesforce. Integrate.io's ETL tools make this task seamless and code-free. You will need a Salesforce Developer account to use this tool to test out running SOQL queries to further discover the level of efficiency you can obtain.

Types of SOQL Queries

There are several types of SOQL queries, including those that order data, retrieve records, and aggregate records. In these queries, two clauses are required. Those statements are the SELECT and FROM clauses. Here Salesforce data storage is a bit different than how how data is stored in a SQL database. In Salesforce, objects are used to store data. By contrast, SQL uses tables and rows to store data. 

This has immediate implications. Because SOQL uses objects, instead of the tables and rows that are in standard SQL, SOQL query types are limited. That results in different ways you need to communicate with your Salesforce database.

There are some other options in your SOQL toolkit, however. SOQL queries can be filtered using the WHERE clause. Some wildcard use is permitted, although not the use of * wildcards. When using the WHERE query statement, it is also possible to sort your data with the ASC and DESC operators.

To see how this works in practice, let’s have a look at the code. 

Execution of SOQL Queries

Let's take a look at a simple Salesforce SOQL statement that will allow us to pull a list of leads from Salesforce that are not yet closed.

SELECT Id, Email, FirstName, LastName, Company, Status


WHERE Status NOT LIKE 'Closed%';

This SOQL is different from an SQL query that would accomplish the same task. In this example, the “%” is the wildcard, unlike the “*” which is normal practice in SQL. Also, SOQL uses single quotes around a term instead of double-quotes. Finally, whereas in SQL one would use the word “contains” to refine search results, SOQL uses the word “like.” 

These are notable differences for the simple fact that, when you are writing code from scratch, you need the right syntax to make these queries run properly. Coders have to remember they are working within SOQL and not SQL when developing pipelines, which means they have to adhere to a different set of best practices. 

That’s why Integrate.io’s code-free platform is so simple to use for experienced programmers and novices alike. Integrate.io can solve many of the complexities of using Salesforce SOQL to harness data. It was developed to simplify data flows and enhance connections between databases and warehouses. Here’s what that means for Salesforce SOQL. 

Simplifying Salesforce SQL Processes with Integrate.io

Integrate.io's cloud-based ETL dashboard can streamline your dataflow to Salesforce using SOQL. It allows you to establish a codeless connection to your Salesforce CRM data. Our step-by-step video guide showcases how to extract Salesforce Data and load it into Amazon Redshift seamlessly.

Setting up a connection with Salesforce is straightforward. With a single click, you can authenticate with Salesforce and begin creating a visual data flow schema. Once your connections to Salesforce and Redshift are established, all you need to do is select the required data fields in Salesforce to complete your data pipeline.

Following this, the data flow package is assembled. You can easily identify your source data from the array of options displayed on your dashboard by the Integrate.io Salesforce connector. From there, you can begin transforming your data for integration or further processing. For instance, you can combine the first and last name fields into a single full name field.

The opportunities are limitless with Integrate.io, making the distinction between SOQL and SQL less daunting. To experience the power of Integrate.io, contact us to schedule a demo or pilot.