Marketers / Sales

Connect Marketing Cloud and Salesforce to Send Sales Team Notifications

By Tim Ziter

The speed at which your sales team responds to an interested prospect is crucial for proper sales acceleration. The research department of the company has found that 50% of the deals go to the company which is first to engage a prospect who is entering an active purchase decision phase. 

‘Speed-to-lead’ is therefore essential to stay competitive in an increasingly digital world. Salesforce Marketing Cloud lacks out-of-the-box B2B focused functionality to address this issue fully. To remedy this, marketing operations teams can turn to the Salesforce AppExchange for Marketing Cloud ISV solutions which provide a thorough lead qualification system, allowing them to align with sales teams and engage at the right moment. 

In this walkthrough we’ll cover at a high-level an overview of SalesWings, a B2B add-on for the Salesforce platform, and walk-through the end-to-end development of two sales notification examples created in Marketing Cloud.

Notification Trigger Events 

Prominent Use Cases 

Identifying the right moment to trigger an alert to a sales rep, team, or even support managers is crucial. 

By leveraging a combination of data points such as profile data and behavioral data (i.e. website or helpdesk activity), marketing operations managers are able to filter out leads and contacts that require attention from the team.

Examples of use cases are: 

  • Notifying a sales rep when a Lead or Account turns sales-ready.
  • Notifying a support rep when a Lead visits a support, cancellation, or complaint handling page.
  • Notifying an account manager when a high-profile customer shows intent in services that are related, representing an up-selling Opportunity.

For this article, we are focusing on tactical sales alerts, where we are looking to reduce the response time from sales reps to sales-ready leads. Having a professional lead scoring and lead grading solution in place, is key to measuring the quality and sales-readiness of such Leads.

Introduction to Lead Scoring 

Engaging with a Lead at the right moment can be difficult without any visibility into their behavior. And engaging with a Lead prematurely could cause them to deny any future communications – ruining any prospects of the Lead converting. So how can you ensure that you’re making contact when it matters most? Lead scoring is the answer. 

Using Lead scoring, marketers and BDRs can nurture Leads. Once a Lead score threshold is met, a sales rep can reach out to close the deal. Lead scores can be configured with a variety of variables. There are two types of lead scoring: profile-based and behavioral lead scoring.

Profile-Based Lead Scoring 

Profile-based Lead scoring involves assigning points to Leads based on their demographic and firmographic characteristics, such as their job title, industry, company size, and location. This type of Lead scoring is useful for identifying leads that are a good fit for the business’s products or services. 

Behavioral Lead Scoring 

Behavioral Lead scoring, on the other hand, involves assigning points to Leads based on their actions and interactions with the company. This can include things like visiting the company’s website, downloading a whitepaper, attending a webinar, or filling out a form. Behavioral Lead scoring helps to identify leads that are actively engaged with the company and may be more likely to make a purchase. 

Both profile-based and behavioral lead scoring can be useful tools for identifying and prioritizing leads. These scores can be tallied in a more ‘traditional’ manner using a point-based system or automatically using historical data and algorithms with predictive scoring.

Point-Based Lead Scoring 

Point-based Lead scoring involves assigning points to Leads based on certain characteristics or behaviors that are known to be associated with high-quality Leads. The points are used to rank and prioritize, with higher scores indicating a higher likelihood of becoming a customer. 

Point-based Lead scoring can be done manually, by assigning points to certain characteristics or behaviors, or it can be automated using software or other tools.

Predictive Lead Scoring 

Predictive Lead scoring involves using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyze a Lead’s online behavior and predict their likelihood to become a customer. This type of Lead scoring can be particularly useful for identifying Leads that may not have obvious characteristics or behaviors that would make them a good fit for the business’s products or services.

Salesforce Certified Lead Scoring Solutions 

Salesforce’s ISV program sources, evaluates, and certifies professional vendors that it deems add value to their customers and platforms. These solutions are commonly available on the Salesforce AppExchange.

SalesWings is a 3 x certified Salesforce Marketing Cloud ISV partner, providing intuitive no-code Lead scoring and grading, to reliably qualify and profile Leads, Contacts, and Accounts for marketing and sales operations teams. 

The SalesWings’ product combines a predictive engagement score with point-based Lead scoring and grading, to achieve a high accuracy when it comes to filter out sales-ready Leads. Combined with automated behavioral data collection, a native Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud integration, it serves the purpose brilliantly when it comes to triggering highly timed sales alerts from Marketing Cloud to sales reps. 

In our article, we are focusing on sales alerts in the context of sales where sales rep engagement is highly time sensitive, so we’ll be leveraging the SalesWings predictive score.

READ MORE: Lead Scoring In Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Sales Notifications 

Setting a Customized Task for Sales Reps 

There are many different options to create customized, highly personalized notifications in Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud. Our first notification walk through is the creation of a personalized task for sales reps in Salesforce CRM right from Marketing Cloud Journey Builder

Before we start building the task creation functionality in Marketing Cloud, we’ll want to take a peek into Salesforce CRM via the “Object Manager” settings to understand the required fields to create Leads/Tasks. 

To find required fields, select Task/Lead in Setup > Object Manager. Then select Page Layouts (the fields marked with a red star are required). A Task/Lead will not be generated unless all required fields are populated with a value in the Object Activity.

Create a list of those required and optional fields, capturing both their regular and API names. Watch out for custom or lookup field types as they can cause complications on the data synchronization end between both platforms. 

In Marketing Cloud, the first place to check/confirm is that there is an active connector set up between both platforms. A good setup will guarantee data can flow back and forth between both platforms. 

Once the connector has been set up, synchronize the Task and Lead objects including all the fields needed to be populated when creating each notification. Watch out when synching over Contacts and Lead objects as it may impact billing – Salesforce will charge for each Contact/Lead that gets synched. To find synched DEs go to Audience Builder > Contact Builder > Data Sources > Synchronized DEs.

While in Contact Builder set up any custom attributes in Data Designer to allow Journey Builder to utilize Just-in-Time updates. There should be a universal attribute created allowing the user to follow the path through either the Lead, Contact, or User to the appropriate Synchronized Data extensions.

For email notifications being sent by a custom from address, set up a dynamic sender profile in Email Studio > Admin > Sender Profiles. Utilize custom scripts to personalize the from name and cc functionality to the specific use case.

Journey Builder Object Activity Walkthrough 

Here is an overview of the Lead nurture journey architecture that we’ll be breaking down and diving into the key activities.

The Object Activity creates and updates objects in the Salesforce CRM environment. This walkthrough will go over how to set up the activity to create Task objects.

Select the Object Activity and select the Task.

(1) Type “Task” in the search and (2) select Task. You’ll want to “Create New” Task.

Then (1) fill in all required fields and utilize the data binding functionality to personalized fields where necessary. 

For a higher complexity of field personalization (2) utilize what is called “data binding” in the Journey Builder UI to personalize each task and pull in the SalesWings Predictive score. To grab these “data bindings” for any variable to personalize follow these steps:

1. Create your subject line defining the variables that will be brought in to personalize: “Attention! you have a HOT Rank lead for Company: XYZ”.

2. In a separate document (like a notepad), create a template for the subject line identifying each of the variables needed to populate in your variable code.

3. Select the Subject field in the Task. 

4. To create the handle bar “data binding” code for the SalesWings Predictive Score variable (1) Select the Journey Data dropdown, (2) select the variable, and then (3) the handle bar code will appear in the subject.

5. Copy the code and paste it into your notepad. Repeat the process for the Company and anyother variables to be personalized. The syntax in the notepad should look like the following:

6. Copy this line of code and paste it into the Subject Line space and Save.

When you generate a task it should look something like this:

7. Paste this syntax into the subject field to populate a custom 1-to-1 subject that will help the sales team cut through the clutter in all their tasks. Here’s an example of documentation on “data bindings”.

Sales Notifications: Customized “Hot Lead” Email

A second example of a popular sales notification is delivering an email to the Lead owner alerting them of a “Hot Lead”.

(1) Populate all the relevant information about the lead: their name, company, phone number, etc. 

(2) Feature the SalesWings Predictive Score to further alert sales of the ranking and priority of this lead. 

(3) Include a clickable link to the Lead object in Salesforce. The user just clicks and it takes them right into the Lead record to capture the necessary follow up.

How to Build It:

A “Hot Lead” notification will require a separate journey outside of a typical Lead nurture journey. For just-in-time “Hot Lead” alerts to sales, the best path forward would be to set up a Salesforce Data Entry Event driven Journey triggered by either a Lead being created or updated in the Salesforce CRM environment. 

To start, let’s create a custom field on the lead object in Salesforce CRM called “Hot Lead”.

To trigger a hot lead notification journey, this field will need to be populated with text “Sent Hot Lead Email”. To update this field in Marketing Cloud use the same Object Activity in Journey Builder outlined above, but instead of creating a Task, we’ll be looking to update the “Hot Lead” field in the Lead object.

In the Find & Update settings (1) select the Lead ID and (2) find the corresponding data point in your entry data extension, in this case the SubscriberKey is the field that represents the Lead ID.

Then (1) select the “Hot Lead” field that was recently created in Salesforce CRM and (2) hard code the value “Sent Hot Lead Email”. 

Add this activity at the appropriate stage of the Journey that would indicate that the Lead is ready to talk or take the next step. For instance, you could add the activity to a path based on if the lead clicked on a call-to-action button of an email indicating they were ready to talk.

Hot Lead Notification Journey Setup 

A Hot Lead journey is pretty simple from a flow standpoint; the majority of the effort is in the setup of the entry event.

We’ll walk through (1) the setup of the Salesforce Data Entry Event, and (2) how to align the data points from the journey to render the personalization in the email to the Lead owner. 

Select the Salesforce Data Entry Source icon, drag it over, and click into the event.

Select the (1) Salesforce Data entry source. If you need to set up a campaign driven Journey, we’ve found better success not using (2) the Salesforce Campaign entry source. Stick with the Salesforce Data for all use cases.

(1) Search for the “Lead” object and select the appropriate (2) Lead object in the menu.

Select the (1) Owner ID (User) as this is the subscriber that will be receiving the email. If you were creating a Journey sending to the Lead itself you’d choose (2) the Lead ID (Lead).

This next step is simple but can have downstream effects. When creating user journeys, it’s important to be consistent here selecting either the User or Contact ID. You are defining the subscriber key that will be driving the journey. 

If you aren’t consistent, you’ll have multiple subscriber keys for each user, a user ID and a contact ID subscriber key. This will double the number of subscribers for each user in Marketing Cloud which can, in turn,  impact subscriber governance and double costs as Salesforce charges per subscriber.

We recommend going with (1) User ID over Contact ID.

Next up is defining the filters on the Lead object.

We typically always select (1) “Is Created” and (2) “Is Updated” – unless that object can’t qualify after it’s created, then only select “Is Created”. 

To add a filter, scroll down through the Lead fields (3) and find that “Hot Lead” field we created earlier. Drag it over and set the criteria for the filter (4) to equal “Sent Hot Led Email” (5). Note that lookup and some custom fields can be inconsistent when used as a filter so pay close attention to the field types of each filter. 

Once all filters have been added select (6) “Next”. 

The next tab covers adding additional filters from associated objects.

If there are fields in other objects that are required for entry add them here. Remember these fields can’t trigger an entry if they are created/updated unless the primary object (Lead) is created/updated as well. If you have a multiple object field schema it may be best to use a query-based solution that populates a Data Extension entry event. 

For the last section, select the fields to populate in the Journey Data Extension to be used to either personalize the content or log key data points.

The UI makes it easy, just scroll down and click boxes, here we are selecting the (1) SalesWings “Predictive Score” which we’ll want to populate in the email for the Lead owner. On the right (2) each field appears as it’s selected. Add in those basic contact information fields (3) but don’t worry about the basic fields to send the email like subscriber key and email address (4) as the UI populates those right out of the box. 

The summary tab helps validate the correct setting have been selected.

To recap we are looking to pull in: (1) Leads from the Salesforce Lead object. We are sending the email to (2) the owner of the lead. The action details are that when a Lead is either (3) created or updated that has the filter fields of (4) “Hot Lead” field equals “Sent Hot Lead Email.” And the fields that will be passed along(5). 

Now that we’ve set up the entry event for the Journey all you need to add is the email activity with the Hot Lead email content selected. Let’s dive into a few quick areas on how to set up the email content to render these fields.

Hot Lead Content Set Up

Let’s dig into how to execute the personalization based on the fields that were just created in the Salesforce Data entry event Journey. We’ll walk through a basic use case populating the SalesWings Predictive Score of Hot, Warm, or Cold. And a little more complicated use case of rendering the Salesforce Lead ID that when clicked takes the user directly into the Lead in Salesforce CRM.

As noted above in the Journey settings the field syntax for the Saleswings Predictive Score was the following:

In the HTML of the table in the content block add the field syntax %%Lead:Predictive_Score__c%% to render this variable from the Journey.

To render a clickable URL, first you’ll want to find the URL syntax from the Salesforce instance. To do this click on any contact in the Salesforce instance:

Create a code snippet content block adding it to your email with the following code:

(1) Pulling the Lead ID variable from the Journey entry settings and setting it to the @LeadID variable which you’ll add in the next step. 

Use the Concat function to split the Salesforce URL into three parts: (2) the url string right before the contact ID,(3) The @LeadID variable set above will render the contact ID for each subscriber, and (4) the end of the url string after the contact ID. This will all be set to the @url variable which will be used in the content in the next section.

In the HTML create an <a tag and use the RedirectTo function to send the clicker to the URL that you have set in the @url variable section. Use the Lead:ID syntax surrounded by %% to render the Lead ID for the recipient of the email.

Final Thoughts

This walkthrough has shown two options to send highly personalized notifications to sales that will help with adoption and conversion. Since SalesWings is natively built into Salesforce, it’s incredibly easy to have the insightful lead scoring carry through all communications with sales. 

For more information on SalesWings and their comprehensive lead insights software click here.

Co-Author: Philip Schweizer is a Co-founder & CEO at SalesWings, a Lead Data Platform for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Philip is an expert in combining marketing technology, data, and process strategy to enhance the results of sales and marketing operations teams.

The Author

Tim Ziter

Tim is Manager at Cervello, a dynamic consulting company enabling smarter decisions through advanced analytics, planning, and social collaboration.

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