Challenges

Leveraging Salesforce data requires smooth integration between the application and your warehouse so that critical data can be accessed for analysis on demand. With growing analytics needs, many businesses require all facets of data daily in order to better understand their customers. Manually transporting data from Salesforce does not guarantee efficiency or data quality, delaying the decision-making process. 

There are a few common options including out-of-box connectors provided by Salesforce, integration services, and manual ETL, but there are trade-offs and challenges to each of the options: 

  • Inconvenient data exporting through Salesforce: Exporting through the Salesforce data export wizard or data loader can only be done once per week. Therefore, this tool is not feasible for users that need data from Salesforce on a custom schedule. This method relies on manual effort, so the exporting process cannot be automated. 
  • Limited connectors: Salesforce does provide connectors, but the destinations are limited to systems that are part of the Salesforce ecosystems and Tableau CRM. Users who would like to connect Salesforce to destinations that are not on the list cannot use these connectors. 
  • Writing ETL scripts requires extensive engineering resources and lacks automation: This method requires manual data transformations, constant engineering team support, and many lines of code. For users who need to fetch data in real-time, this method is not convenient since one can only capture batches of data. This is a significant limitation for powering real-time decision-making such as pricing and customized promotions. 
  • Selecting the right parts of data as the source: Most users have dozens of fields in Salesforce covering for example customer ID, email opening status, transaction history, persona, location, etc. When setting Salesforce as the source, it takes much effort to understand what fields are available and what each attribute entails. Creating queries to find the right slices of information from enormous tables in Salesforce is complicated and time-consuming.  
  • Customizing data flows and sync schedule: Most point-to-point connectors become cumbersome once the volume of data and the number of systems scale. Configuring data sync schedules and data transformations often requires writing code and implementing it in separate interfaces. 
  • Monitoring real-time data flows: Maintaining data quality in real-time is key to understanding customers. When raw data is fed into systems without validation or safeguard from an alert system, important processes such as pushing deals through pipelines could be seriously impaired. 
  • Collaborating with data users and engineers: Collaboration and data governance are taxing when technical fluency varies among data users and engineers. Most tools on the market do not provide an intuitive way to communicate the many facets of e-commerce data across functional teams, causing insufficient data sharing. 

To most users, the main challenges come down to maintaining reasonable spending and integration timelines. Building pipelines in-house maximizes integration flexibility, but it is extremely costly and time-consuming. Out-of-box tools, on the other hand, tend to be fragmented and difficult to scale. Businesses’ growth rates and sales volumes vary during different stages, so it is challenging to find a solution that is both cost-effective and flexible.

Solution

You can send data to any destination with Nexla, a one-stop shop for all data integrations. This means that you can get the right slice of data through a custom query from Salesforce and send it directly to all your data warehouse and analytics tools without additional effort. Your data will be available for storage, analysis, and collaboration as it is being generated. You can configure the attributes, formats, speed, and frequency of syncing data all within one interface without coding. Nexla’s automated, intelligent monitoring capabilities ensure data quality as it flows in real-time, powering a smooth and consistent customer experience.

Here is an example: 

1. Select the source and authenticate your Salesforce credential

First of all, go to “Flows” and click “Create New Source.” 

Search for Salesforce and add it as your data source. 

Input the credential name and authorize your credential. Once you have the credentials added, you can save or share them with your collaborators at any time. 

 

2. Set up the source template

Once your credentials are authenticated, you can configure the Salesforce source template that you want to draw data from. You can choose from a list of endpoints in a drop-down menu. There are built-in endpoints, but you can also select to check the metadata of each attribute, then specify the attribute names in the SOQL query. You can see an overview of the customer data once you test the endpoint on the right side.

There is also a one-time setup that makes it easy to fetch all fields for given objects. Choose “Get Fields of Object: API Proxy” in the endpoint dropdown menu. 

Hit “Create” on the upper right corner, and you will see the Nexsets that Nexla automatically detected.  

Click on the “Transform” icon and select the public transform provided by Nexla so a general query is created. This template creates an API proxy source, which you can reuse anytime as a general query for fetching all fields of the objects passed in the query. “Save & Close” the transformation, then click on “Activate” to get the data feed URL.

“Save & Close” the transformation, then click on “Activate” to get the data feed URL. 

3. Input SOQL query

After the setup is complete, you can add Salesforce as the source through the saved credential.

Under “Add a Data Source,” choose “Fetch Object Record: All Fields,” and select your object from the “Object Name” dropdown menu. In this example, let’s say we want to pull all the data about brand partners.

Then, put in your API proxy which will be queried the moment the source is triggered. Next, under the “Advanced Settings” on the right side, set how often you want to fetch data from the project depending on your work cadence. In this example, we set it to fetch data every day.

Alternatively, you can apply a custom SOQL to specify the parts of data you want. Simply put the SOQL line in the “SOQL to be Executed” box, then choose “Execute SOQL Query” from the endpoint dropdown menu. 

Click the “Create” button on the top right to be brought to the data flow interface, and you will see the Nexset that is automatically detected and generated by Nexla from your selected source.

4. Apply transformations

Click the “Transform” icon to start applying custom transformations to your Nexset

You can apply any of Nexla’s pre-built transformations or custom code your transformation in a few lines. In this example, a pre-built hashing transformation is applied to the column of partners’ addresses to protect sensitive data. 

The transformed column is then displayed on the right side. Custom transformations can also be easily shared and stored along with descriptions and examples. After all the selected columns are transformed, you can then apply custom validation rules so that Nexla ensures the quality of the data output as data is moving in real-time. Any data that does not meet the quality standard will be quarantined and a notification will be sent to you. 

5. Set up the destination

Now that the data is cleaned and transformed, you can send it to your data warehouse or any destination by repeating the steps where you select the source and add the credential info. Nexla’s universal connector architecture allows you to integrate and access data from anywhere.

You can see the complete data flow on your dashboard. Nexla’s intelligent monitoring capabilities will notify you when an error occurs and you will have a clear view of your data flow status and lineage in the dashboard.  Nexla’s copy & paste feature allows you to conveniently create similar data flow pipelines for all the objects. 

Why Nexla

Nexla provides both highly flexible configurability and simplicity. You can customize your field selection by creating advanced data flows. Basically, you can put in your own “WHERE” clause at the point of setting up the source. 

With Nexla, getting Salesforce data to anywhere is extremely simple and can be done in minutes with just a few clicks, meaning that any data user can self-service any time with little to no technical knowledge. This way, the sales manager, marketing analyst, procurement specialist, warehouse manager, or anyone that uses Salesforce can get data independently and apply it to their use cases. Our e-commerce/retail customers see a significant improvement in efficiency while enjoying the customizability. 

Request a demo and try it out for your organization today!

About Salesforce Data Integration

Salesforce is a leading CRM platform that provides softwares and applications including customer service, sales, marketing automation, and more. Salesforce provides cloud-based, out-of-box tools that host all aspects of commerce for businesses of all sizes, both online and offline. 

Despite the built-in analytics applications, Salesforce has many limitations in terms of providing business insights. Users only get a partial look into their business because the data Salesforce provides doesn’t cover every aspect of customer journeys. The way data is structured and reported in Salesforce does not allow much room for customization or advanced queries; thus, most users are required to import the data to their own warehouses or analytics systems. Many Salesforce users also use other products and need to combine data from multiple sources for more effective analytics. 

For example, a marketing analyst at an e-commerce company needs to analyze sales and customer data along with marketing data from applications such as Hubspot. The analyst would need to consolidate the data from Salesforce and Hubspot and transport it to the data warehouse, from which queries pull data during analysis.