To synchronize information such as leads, contacts, campaigns, and activities with Salesforce CRM, Eloqua offers a native out-of-the-box integration. Most of the issues have origin in the preparation phase of the integration, so here are some tips and tricks for the setup.
To synchronize information such as leads, contacts, campaigns, and activities with Salesforce CRM, Eloqua offers a native out-of-the-box integration. Although the connection is pre-built, it provides a high degree of flexibility: the wizard allows users to quickly configure field mappings and integration rules without writing any code. A drag and drop interface lets users visually manage both business logic and field mappings through easily configurable interfaces, rather than complex scripting environments.
I have been integrating Eloqua with Salesforce many times and I have noticed that the setup of the integration itself is not technically difficult. If the final testing is correctly executed, all technical errors can be fixed and the integration will work fine.
Most of the issues have origin in the preparation phase of the integration: as Eloqua offers a lot of flexibility on how to setup the synchronization, companies must take important decisions and define the requirements. If these requirements and needs are not well identified and reflected in the integration, the Salesforce and Eloqua integration will not work as expected.
Important decisions: “Point of Interest” and “Create Unique”
During the preparation process, one of the first important decisions to take is how to update leads and contacts in Salesforce. I want to mention this point in first place, as I think this is not easy to understand, especially the results of the configuration.
The pre-defined programs to update Salesforce are called “Create Unique“ and „Point of interest”:
- Create Unique: A new lead record is created ONLY IF there is no contact record or lead record with the same email address. In this case, minimal manual effort is required from the sales person. Merging of duplicates and leads is not required.
- Point of Interest: A new lead record is created IF a lead record with the same email address does not currently exist in SFDC (even if there is existing contact record with the same email address) – Typically used if you have a sales qualification function (telemarketing, inside sales, etc.) for leads before handing them to field sales.
As an Eloqua customer, some years ago, I opted for the program “Point of Interest”: the company had different products, and the sales cycle was based on the leads, so that every new free trial started by an existing customer, was considered a new request that means a new lead.
The first time I heard about “Create Unique” and “Point of Interest” I didn´t really understand the difference, and it was hard for me and the team to take the decision. After some time our internal processes and the strategy changed, and we had to adapt the program to meet the new requirements. Technically it was not hard to achieve, but the most difficult part was the requirements definition.
A Common Issue: Leads are in Eloqua but not in Salesforce
This is a problem I had some time ago when I started using Eloqua and immediately after the integration with Salesforce: I was not aware on how the lead synchronization worked and I had to ask help to the support team to identify the “issue”. I finally realized it was not due to an error in the integration, but to a wrong internal decision.
The Salesforce & Eloqua integration is the setup of a connection between the 2 systems, but then there is a separate decision to take: “What leads do we want to send to Salesforce?”.
This can be setup by the Eloqua administrator, but it requires first to define the criteria: for instance, only leads with a certain scoring will be created in Salesforce and assigned to the sales team. In this case, which is a best practice, the Eloqua Admin needs to define a lead scoring model and setup in the CRM update program a shared filter to automatically send leads to Salesforce everyday.
There are other different ways and criteria a company can opt for to send Leads from Eloqua to Salesforce, and most of them can be easily setup up by the Eloqua Admin.
Eloqua and Salesforce key users: communication and collaboration
Before starting with the setup, the Salesforce administrator needs to be involved in the preparation process: if a field or an object is not well synchronized, the CRM administrator will be able to see the issue and report it to the Eloqua Administrator, or viceversa. Furthermore the SFDC Administrator is usually aware of how the internal sales process are, and can give a good support during and after the integration. Wrong or poor communication between the key administrators of Salesforce and Eloqua can affect the success of the integration.
Tips and Best Practices
- Make sure you understand all Eloqua requirements and the setup: if you are not sure about what are the “Point of interest” and “Unique Lead” programs, ask for an example or a demo.
- Ensure the right people are involved in the preparation phase of the integration, like the CRM administrator.
- Document your sales process with all details: the Eloqua & CRM integration experts needs to deeply understand it.
- Clean your database before activating the integration
- Organize a plan on what you need to achieve each week, starting from the 1st day.
- Test test test: do some tests after the integration; as soon as you solve your doubts, you will avoid confusion or misunderstandings.
- Attend the online Eloqua training organized by Oracle: if a third party have setup the integration, ensure you understand how it works and the meaning of error notification messages.
- Execute an „Integration Health Check“: review mappings, run tests, review autosynchs in Eloqua.
- Decide what leads you want to send to Salesforce before the integration is activated. The experts will be able to give you some advices and the Eloqua Administrator can proceed with the setup. As soon as the synchronization starts, only the right leads will be assigned to the sales team.
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