Tag Archives: salesforce

Improving email broadcasting integration with Salesforce

My colleagues at Groundwire and I spend a lot of time and energy thinking about integration.  How to connect various software stacks into seamless systems that solve complex problems for our clients.   It’s been really great to see the emergence of lots of great integrations enabled by the widespread adoption of web services APIs.  But lately, we’ve been realizing that, as in so many things, the details really matter.  How you design your integration is just as important as whether you integrate.

It’s in that spirit that my colleague Sam Knox has been doing some thinking about how email broadcasting platforms integrate with Salesforce.com and report their results back.  Short version: right now, most vendors’ integrations are extremely inefficient with scarce Salesforce storage space.  He thinks they can do a lot better, and has written an important blog post that describes (exactly) how.   If you use Salesforce integrated email broadcasting services such as VerticalResponse, ExactTarget or MailChimp or are an email broadcasting vendor that designs your integration, I urge you to give it a read and share your thoughts.

MailChimp and Salesforce integration: not even close to ready for prime-time

In the ongoing quest for solid, low-cost email broadcasting that has strong integration with Salesforce.com, I have had an eye on MailChimp, which offers a really slick, low-cost email blasting service that we had hoped could become a low-end replacement for Vertical Response, which has somewhat limited capabilities in its Salesforce integration.

MailChimp has a very slick email broadcasting system, and a very aggressive price point.  They claim to have a Salesforce integration, and so I logged in today and played around with a bit.

While much of the tool is really solid, the Salesforce integration is so rudimentary that it is actually completely, totally useless to us and our clients. :-(

MailChimp can only import ALL of the contacts from your Salesforce account — no support for campaigns, reports, or getting any kind of targeted subset of your contacts. That’s bad, but I had somewhat expected it.

What’s worse is that MailChimp can ONLY import the following fields from Salesforce:

  • first
  • last
  • email
  • salesforce ID
  • city/state/zip

That’s it. No custom fields. Zilch. I confirmed this with their tech support, who were very helpful.

Unfortunately, a Salesforce integration this limited is essentially useless for any serious organizational use.  Very disappointing.

The only glimmer of hope is that the tech support person told me the Salesforce integration is scheduled for an overhaul in early 2010, but didn’t have any details on the substance. So we will have to keep on waiting.

Bottom line: I had been hoping that we could recommend MailChimp as a solid, low-end, integrated-with-Salesforce email broadcasting solution.  But unfortunately the answer is, “Nope, not yet.”

I have had an eye on http://MailChimp.com, which offers a really slick, low-cost email blasting service that we had hoped could become a low-end replacement for Vertical Response.

They claim to have a Salesforce integration, and so at Drew’s suggestion, I logged in today and played around with a bit today.

While much of the tool is really slick, the Salesforce integration is so rudimentary that it is actually completely, totally useless to us and our clients. :-(

The details…

MailChimp can only import ALL of the contacts from your Salesforce account — no support for campaigns, reports, or getting any kind of targeted subset of your contacts. That’s bad, but I had somewhat expected it.

What’s worse is that MailChimp can ONLY import the following fields from Salesforce:

- first

- last

- email

- salesforce ID

- city/state/zip

That’s it. No custom fields. Zilch. I confirmed this with their tech support.

This renders the Salesforce integration completely and utterly useless. Very disappointing.

The only glimmer of hope is that the tech support person told me the Salesforce integration is scheduled for an overhaul in early 2010, but didn’t have any details on the substance. So we will have to keep on waiting.

Bottom line: if you were hoping we could recommend MailChimp as a solid, low-end, integrated-with-Salesforce alternative to Vertical Response, then I’m sorry to report that the answer is “Nope, not at this time.”

Come with work with us at ONE/Northwest!

My imminent return from sabbatical is not the only HR news at ONE/Northwest… we’re also hiring in our CRM consulting team!  If you’re an experienced CRM database consultant who’s looking for a great opportunity to help organizations make transformational social change, then we want you as our new CRM Consultant.

ONE/Northwest is a pretty incredible place to work.  We have a nationally-reknown team of smart, fun, passionate people.  We have amazing, world-changing clients and we do great work for them.   Come join us, or spread the word to the great people you know who should!