3 Ways To Insert Data into Salesforce Marketing Cloud

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To maximize Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you need to add your data to the platform, and it’s with this aspect of SFMC that many marketers struggle with.

You see, it’s not that easy for a marketer to understand how to insert data into Marketing Cloud. Some companies have pre-built mechanisms for managing the integrations, while others are overwhelmed by the array of technical options available.

This guide will illustrate three data integration options that marketers can use to get their data inside the system – discussing both the positives and the negatives of each option.

1. Marketing Cloud Connect

Marketing Cloud Connect is a trusted method of getting your data from Salesforce CRM into Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It’s a useful, no-code solution that helps users get their data into SFMC to create marketing campaigns.

When using Marketing Cloud Connect, it’s good to ensure that Marketing Cloud Admins handle the initial integration. It’s somewhat of a time-consuming task to build a connection, and it’s up to Admins to decide which Salesforce users will have access to sending campaigns, and how marketers can use the data coming from Salesforce.

Another point to be mindful about is that the specific integration points are Sales or Service Cloud, not Marketing Cloud. So, if you have a mind to create campaigns with data from sources different to Sales or Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud Connect might not be entirely sufficient.

Lastly, it’s important to note that the data sync doesn’t happen in real-time but every 10 minutes, meaning it might not be ideal for specific campaigns requiring an immediate response.

2. FTP in Automation Studio

FTP stands for File Drop Automation (previously called ‘triggered automation’). FTP in Automation Studio starts when a file is added to a designated folder on your Enhanced FTP location.

If you need to bring in data from an external location not posted on a reliable schedule, it’s an excellent option. Likewise, it’s appropriate when you use other processes that involve updating files to an FTP folder. You want to create an automation that starts when activity occurs in that folder as file drop automations begin automatically when a file is dropped into a designated Enhanced FTP folder rather than on a schedule.

FTP offers an easy setup that digests large data volumes and is a proven method to get your data into Salesforce Marketing Cloud through Automation Studio. In this video, you can learn how to use Automation Studio and the FTP activity for Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

However, in this era of stricter privacy concerns, a method requiring the addition of big batches of files to the platform can be risky. Moreover, if you choose to create scheduled automation, you’re still limited to syncing in batches (which generally happen hourly). For this reason, many do not consider FTP to be a best practice for such work.

Lastly, if you’re not a technical expert, the lack of informative error notifications and time spent debugging the issues can be unnecessarily frustrating and time-consuming.

READ MORE: Maximise your Marketing Cloud Data with Automation Studio

3. DESelect Connect

If your goal is to easily insert data into Salesforce Marketing Cloud for further manipulation within the platform, take a look at the add-on options, as the built-in solutions require much more support and effort than expected.

An app like DESelect Connect allows you to easily insert data into the platform using a webhook method, enabling you to get data from nearly any third-party instance, and requiring limited technical expertise. Using this app, you get the data added to the data extensions already available for marketing purposes.

The difference in using a third-party add-on like DESelect Connect is that the data sync happens in real-time, making it a more reliable method for data integration if you have campaigns relying on real-time events.

However, since the app isn’t native to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you have to consider implementation time and training for your team. DESelect offers this so that all team members feel more comfortable around the app and their data.


To conclude, different use cases require different methods of inserting data into Salesforce Marketing Cloud – it all depends on what sources you want to inject into your SFMC instance.

Suppose your goal is not only to add data but also to centralize it, creating a 360-degree view of each user. In that case, you might need to look at the direction of CDPs. Many on the market can help centralize data in one system and beyond, although that’s rather a more extensive project to consider along your Salesforce Marketing Cloud journey.

2 thoughts on “3 Ways To Insert Data into Salesforce Marketing Cloud

  1. A minor point but… “FTP stands for File Drop Automation”…

    …Surely FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol?

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