3 Tips to Streamline the Marketo-Salesforce Sync Changes [On Demand Webinar]

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Marketo’s recent announcement of the Marketo-Salesforce Sync Change has left many marketers wondering, “How will these changes affect me?” In this on-demand webinar, you can find those answers without reading through pages of documentation. PLUS, Marketo’s Mike Reynolds joined us to address your questions and concerns.

In this post:

  • Overview of Changes and What it Means to You
  • On Demand Webinar – 45 minute “How to” including 20 minutes of FAQ with Mike
  • Other Great Resources

Overview of Changes and What it Means to You

Although setup is straightforward, there are a number of things to consider before making changes to your instance. Why? Because every business operates differently. For example, you may or may not even be using some of the fields that have changed.

In the webinar, we show you how to:

  • Assess the impact of the changes to your organization
  • Plan the migration timeframe
  • Make the appropriate changes in Salesforce
  • Avoid “gotchas”
  • Validate that data is flowing properly

…so you don’t hit any snags.

On Demand Webinar – 45 minute “How-To” including 20 minutes of FAQ with Mike

Click here to watch the recording

Marketo and Salesforce Sync Q&A

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Mike Reynolds from Marketo has written over 4,000 words on the Marketo-Salesforce Sync topic in the Marketo Community. Mike joined us for the webinar to answer some common (and not so common) questions.

Q. What happens if you miss your scheduled time frame for whatever reason? (You didn’t get the email or misplaced it, etc.)

A. Ideally, we want to keep everyone within the timeframe they are scheduled for. Now, it is possible to do this at any time; you could even kick this off after the cutoff of January 31 if you need to. As soon as you create the field – any time – that’s what will initiate the backfill process. We hope that everyone sticks to their scheduled time because then we can predict how much data is going to be transferring through from the Salesforce to Marketo servers, and that way we don’t get any bottlenecks in there.

It’s not going to be the end of the world if you do a different time. We would ask that you contact us first in order to be able to make sure that we have the bandwidth there. Ultimately, it’s not going to break; it will still happen. The data will cut off on the 31st to the original fields, but you can wait to do this even after that point if you don’t need current data beyond that point.

Q. What happens if the fields aren’t mapped properly?

A. The short version is, not much. If the fields haven’t been created with the correct API name, then the sync doesn’t pick up that they’ve been created. On the back side, in order to do this, what out engineers have done is during the sync cycle, it is actively scanning Salesforce for these API names that have been created when you’re recreating the new fields. As soon as you create the new fields, as long as it has the exact correct API name, it will pick up on it and automatically map it to the existing fields inside of Marketo.

There’s some confusion when you’re creating the field. Let’s say you’re recreating Lead Score. You have to use the exact API name that’s in the documentation  to make the mapping happen. Sometimes you can get confused if you have 2 fields in Salesforce labeled as “Lead Score,” so what I’ve seen people do is change the second one to something like “Lead Score 2” just for the name of the field. There’s a difference: there’s the field name (the friendly label that you see on your page layout) and the API name. You can create the field label as “Lead Score 2”, then after the backfill process is done and you have removed the original one, just change it back to “Lead Score.” As long as the API name is good, you could label it “Hamburgers.”

Q. Why can’t you update the API name of the existing Salesforce fields?

A. The configuration change is happening on the Salesforce side. For the fields that are already in existence, the data is going to be cut off from the Salesforce side going to those fields. We can still pass the data by recreating the fields like we’ve been talking about, but for the fields that were created by the MLM app exchange package (the original ones), the data is being cut off to them. The MLM package was just a prerequisite to installing the Sales Insight package, but the MLM package didn’t really do much other than creating these fields. Removing and deprecating that package isn’t really a loss and part of that configuration change means that the fields themselves are going to stop getting new data.

Q. What suggestions do you have for figuring out what in Salesforce is using these fields (workflows, views, etc.)? Is there a list for that somewhere?

A. That, unfortunately, is a little bit of a grey area for us on the Marketo side since that’s within Salesforce. We have the Marketo side covered, but for workflows or other app exchange packages, it is really difficult for us to see inside of the Salesforce side just because it’s not our product.

Q. Our score points to Salesforce custom fields “__C.” Does that suggest we mapped them separately from the beginning?

A. The “_C” is appended to the Salesforce fields when they are created, so any time you create a custom field inside the Salesforce side, it will append “_C” to the end of that, even on the API name. So that is to be expected. If it’s the one that was installed through the MLM package, then it would still have that “_C” and still be the same corresponding field.

Q. Who is the sync user? Is it the same user that uses Marketo and Salesforce? Can you explain the sync user a little bit?

A. The sync user is the integration user. Whenever Marketo needs to talk to Salesforce (or vice versa), that is the user credentials that were set up to create the initial sync between Marketo and Salesforce. If you go into Admin and then Salesforce, right in the middle of the page, you’ll have your sync user identified there, and you can use that ID to find out if you have anything like visibility rules that are going to cause you trouble.

I think we talked in some of the documentation about visibility rules, like if you have your sync user not able to access certain leads and contacts then they wouldn’t be able to up them during the backfill process. One little trick is to use the sync user credentials that you can find under “Admin > Salesforce” log into Salesforce with them and try to check those leads, and it’s a good way to make sure you have full visibility there.

Q. We’ve had people want to test this out in the sandbox area to make sure everything is working before you go live with it; is that something that’s possible?

A. Absolutely. Your sandbox is going to be able to work the same as your production instance with the integration. If you did this through your sandbox with a sandbox Salesforce integration, then it should still operate the exact same way. You can test it out there and make sure everything is working OK.

A good tip to make sure you have it set up properly is after you’ve created the new fields on the Salesforce side, on the very next sync cycle, Marketo should automatically pick that up and re-map to the existing lead score or other corresponding fields. You can actually see that to make sure that it’s worked by going into “Admin” and “Field Management,” then you find the “Lead Score” field and highlight it. Then, right in the middle of the page, you’ll see a section called “CRM Mapping,” and that will show you the API name of the field in Salesforce that it’s mapped to. If it starts with “MKTO71,” that’s the new API name for the new field and you know that it will have worked correctly because it will only re-map that field if the API name is correct. You can do that in your stage and watch for that and make sure that it’s working properly and check it from there, and it’s a good way to test in staging before committing to production.

Q. What if our Salesforce admin only creates the Lead field but not the Contact field? What happens if they create the mapped Contact field the next day?

A. No big loss there really. Ideally, you would want to create it on the Lead and Contact Object both at the same time, that would be best-case scenario. If you did Lead Object one day and Contact Object the next day, it would re-initiate the backfill process because any Salesforce contacts that are synced to a Marketo lead, it would still need to pull the data for that field over through the backfill process.

You would start over with the new backfill process, to sync that over to the Contact Object, but ultimately it’s going to do the same thing, it may just prolong the process before it finishes passing data, it will still work, though.

Q. What about custom lead scores? Are those affected at all by this?

A. No, other fields that were not created by the MLM package are not affected. There’s only 16 fields that are affected by this. Any other custom lead score or any other fields other than these specific 16 are not affected at all.

Q. What then happens with the old fields in Salesforce? What do you do with those (hide them, delete them, let them hang out)?

A. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to have a bunch of old fields that aren’t used in your page layouts and other places. Once the backfill has completed, or even right away, you can uninstall the MLM package and the uninstallation of that package will remove those fields that were created by it. When you first installed the MLM package, it created these 16 fields. And by uninstalling the package, it will automatically remove all of the fields, and any of the dependencies that were created by it.

That’s one key distinction, the dependencies are things like the other parts of Salesforce that are referencing these fields. The ones that were created by the MLM package will automatically be removed, but if you have other dependencies, like a report that’s referencing lead score or a workflow that is triggering off of lead score in Salesforce, you will have to remove those dependencies before you’ll be able to uninstall the MLM package. You can remove it all and delete the fields, but you’ll have to watch for those other things, like in reports and other stuff, because if you try to do it before removing them, you’ll get an error from Salesforce.

Q. Once the fields are added, do you need to refresh the schema at all?

A. You can and it will help but it is not necessary. The next sync cycle will pick it up and will kick it off anyway. Refreshing the schema essentially just forces it. If I’m not mistaken, in order to refresh the schema, you first disable the sync then refresh schema then re-enable it. Essentially what refreshing the schema does is, it pulls all available fields that the sync user has access to and pulls that over into Marketo. You can do that or it will happen automatically on the next sync cycle.

Q. When and how often do these sync cycles occur?

A. It is every 5 minutes after the last sync finishes. Let’s say you have a sync between Marketo and Salesforce and it takes 15 minutes to pass all data back and forth. Then it completes, it stops for 5 minutes, and then right at 5 minutes after the previous one completed, it starts a new one. And that next sync cycle could take 5 minutes, it could take an hour and 5 minutes, however much data needs to pass through one sync cycle, and as soon as it finishes, it waits 5 minutes then kicks off a new one automatically.

Q. Are there any other Salesforce changes coming that we should keep an eye out for in regards to our Marketo instances or just in general?

A. From the Salesforce side, that’s a difficult one to answer because I can’t say what they’re going to do. A lot of times with software and technology, it’s an evolving landscape. Changes happen from the development of new processes or new features that we want to add into the product. In Marketo, we wanted to add Facebook lead ads so we developed that and we created it. For this one, the change happened on the Salesforce side and we had to respond to it, not develop a new one. So that’s usually the 2 ballparks that you fit into when changes actually occur.

I can tell you that there is stuff coming on the Marketo road map, not major architectural changes such as this. When we have a change like this that requires a big configuration thing, it’s almost always going to be an external change that we need to respond to. It’s hard to predict what other companies are going to do, but we will obviously keep up with it and try to accommodate it as well as we can. We have this one staggered out over half a year so that we can have plenty of time for people to adjust and make the changes as needed.

Q. What happens if we’re doing this and we get a Salesforce timeout or too many SQL queries? Will it keep retrying or will it give up and send a notification in Marketo?

A. If you’ve recreated the fields in Salesforce, then those fields will be picked up on the next sync cycle. If there is a failure during the sync cycle, then that’s a separate thing but would still affect this. Anything that would have gone through the sync, if there is a failure in the sync, it will retry the next time. If it doesn’t, open up a case of support, we can troubleshoot the sync itself to see what caused the error and we can dig into it in more detail.

Let’s say it was going to sync a bunch of leads in these new fields, but something happened to stop the sync, assuming the next sync cycle picks up without any trouble, it will just pick up where it left off and no problem there.

Q. Does this have anything to do with Marketo Sales Insight and if so, how is that impacted?

A. It does in that the MLM package was previously required in order to then install the Sales Insight package but nothing is actually changing with Sales Insight itself. The two are related, but Sales Insight itself is not affected. You’ll still always have Lead Score available in Sales Insight, whether you recreate these fields or not, that is still going to function exactly as it has. Before this even happened, there was a connection directly between the fields from MLM to MSI, we sent out a patch to remove that in preparation for this.

There’s not going to be any effect on the Sales Insight package itself, historically it was previously required before you could then install Sales Insight.

Need to update your friends, but don’t want to do it alone?

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Jenn DiMaria
Jenn DiMaria
A Marketo Certified Expert and two-time Marketo Champion, Jenn has over 10 years of marketing experience and holds an MBA in Marketing from DeSales University. She comes to RevEngine from a national Director of Marketing role and looks forward to focusing on her talents for strategy and scalability. In her free time, she knits, reads, and co-hosts the bi-weekly #KREWECHATS podcast, where she and fellow champs discuss all things Marketo.

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