Forms are essential for capturing data from prospects and customers and sending it into your Salesforce org. These could be web forms on your website, landing pages, portals such as Salesforce Community (Experience Cloud), or embedded on third-party applications.
Regardless of where you choose to locate them, web forms are prone to errors, which makes creating, updating, and troubleshooting forms stressful – pain points that best-in-class form builders have swooped in to prevent from happening.
FormAssembly is an easy-to-use, powerful web form platform. You can build web-to-anything forms and simple to complex workflows that streamline Salesforce data collection with this tool in your tech stack. This review will dig into how FormAssembly gives you the flexibility to achieve any data collection use case as a result.
While you can use FormAssembly as a standalone platform from Salesforce, you can also access the FormAssembly app from within Salesforce via the App Launcher. As you can see, the interface is very clear and easy to navigate.
FormAssembly’s full-fledged form building interface leaves nothing to be desired and trumps other form building tools I have used.
FormAssembly is more than just a form builder. FormAssembly is most advantageous when it comes to automation.
So first, let me show you the automation capabilities, then circle back to the form builder later.
FormAssembly Workflow: Overview
FormAssembly’s flagship feature helps you visualize and automate your data collection processes. Easily map out multiple steps, including forms, emails, integrations, and more.
The objective with Workflow was to bring everything an admin needs into one view. Previously, stitching together multiple forms and connectors involved visiting different sections of the platform, and knowing how to create complicated formulas to route form respondents in specific ways. With Workflow, creating processes is simple, intuitive, and requires no code.
If you’ve ever used Salesforce Flow Builder or built an email drip program (e.g. in Pardot Engagement Studio), you’ll know what a difference visualization makes!
The Workflow Map
The “Map”, just like a Salesforce canvas, is the space where Workflows are designed. Use the Map to connect up Steps and Paths, which are the building blocks.
A Workflow’s starting point is always a form – so let’s imagine we’ve created our form. From the form starting point, powerful automation and routing can take your data in multiple directions.
There are six types of Workflow actions:
- Form: Collect a form response.
- Connector: Exchange data between forms and third-party systems.
- Conditional Steps: Route data down different paths (according to criteria).
- Go to Step: Direct the Workflow to a previous/future Step (or to a Step on another Path).
- Redirect: Direct respondents to a Thank You page/external page.
- Email: Send emails to specific email addresses, or addresses collected in the Form Steps (featured in the video below).
You can also see I appreciated the undo/redo buttons!
For this review, I’m going to cover the two I found the most interesting – Conditional Steps and Connector Steps.
Workflow: Conditional Steps
These steps route data down different paths according to the criteria you set on each path. Criteria can be based on:
- Form fields, e.g. form field “Status” is “In Progress”.
- Dynamic formulas, e.g. “Title” is blank, or “Due date” is in the past.
The Formula Editor is worth highlighting. Although I am proficient with Salesforce formulas (read: not an expert!) I was able to create formulas rapidly with the dropdown field/form metadata/operator pickers:
At first, I assumed this would be two ‘yes’ and ‘no’ Paths (“if/else”) – then, I discovered multiple Paths can be added. Just like Salesforce Lead Assignment rules, the Step will first evaluate whether the form data matches Path 1, if not, then Path 2, and so on.
Workflow: Connector Steps
Connectors are pre-made integrations that have been developed and packaged up for your convenience. I am all too familiar with the pains involved with integrations between two systems, especially maintaining integrations following product updates or your own custom system configuration.
Workflow adds extra transparency over which integrated systems are receiving, processing, and sending data in relation to the data collection and Salesforce processes.
- Form open connectors, e.g. fetch subscription history from a third-party platform, and prefill the balance due.*
- Form submit connector, e.g. send data to a payment gateway, such as PayPal.*
*These are also referred to as the “Salesforce prefill connector” and “Salesforce submit connector”, respectively.
Yes, you can add as many ‘form open’ and ‘form submit’ connectors as you like – FormAssembly can send data to multiple systems simultaneously.
FormAssembly Connectors: Overview
The Connectors interface presents a clear way to see which user actions (when the form is opened, submitted, and after submission) trigger which data actions.
Connector Highlight: Salesforce Prefill Connector
Naturally, I was drawn to the Salesforce Prefill Connector. In short, this connector will prefill form fields using data stored in a Salesforce record. A basic example could prefill a contact’s job title when they view the form, based on the ‘title’ field on their record in Salesforce.
FormAssembly takes this concept much further.
A Lookup Step (part of the connector) defines how you would like the Prefill Connector to behave. As it works with any object in your org, I had a play around with one of our core custom objects.
At Salesforce Ben, we have a ‘Content’ custom object to track the progress of each piece of content on the blog – from draft through to publish. What if I wanted a guest poster to send the content for review? (That’s a status change from ‘Draft’ to ‘Team Review’).
As the record ID is a reliably unique reference to that piece of content, I will use that to locate the correct Salesforce record in order to prefill on the form fields.
A ‘query parameter’ enables you to add a snippet in the form’s URL. I will simply call this ‘ref’ (but you could choose anything):
I can now send my guest poster a link to the form, just by adding the record ID to the end of the form URL. That way, they can submit the form to tell me when they have finished their draft post. Notice the ‘ref’ in the URL:
Connector Highlight: Salesforce Submit Connector
That scratches the surface. This is where it gets really interesting – I could create/update records for multiple objects – in fact, any object with a relationship.
After working with integration tools such as Zapier, to integrate forms with Salesforce, this find/update logic is exhausting to nail down, and to prevent errors sneaking up.
I could extend the form to ask authors to check their bio details, which are stored on a bio record related to the contact object.
- You can add multiple conditions to match by, using AND/OR logic.
- There are multiple options to control if, when, and how prefill happens, such as: “If no matching record is found”, “If one matching record is found”, “If more than one records are found”, e.g. Pick the most recent record, Skip and log an error.
- You can map objects related via lookup separately. What I love is that it’s so easy to always reference the starting record in these flows:
Salesforce Picklist fields can cause trouble when a change is made to the picklist values in Salesforce setup, but those updated values aren’t reflected on web forms. Try to update a Salesforce record, and you can expect endless errors.
With FormAssembly’s Dynamic Picklists, drop-down or multiple-choice fields will always pull in the most current Salesforce values. Here’s a simple example:
It doesn’t end there! You are not restricted to the object your form is targeting – you can fetch picklist values from a related Salesforce object – for example, a form that is creating contact records could have a drop-down field that references values from the account.
Finally, the form builder. I’ll keep this short and sweet, highlighting the following:
- Drag & drop: adjust column width, move questions up, down, side to side!
- Real-time preview: all changes are mobile-responsive, and can be checked in real-time in preview mode.
- Conditional questions and sections: dynamically show/hide questions or full sections depending on what the user responds with as they fill out the form.
- Predefined content: enables you to reuse value sets across multiple forms, for ease and data consistency, e.g. Countries or US States.
Engage Attendees, Seamless Event Organization
Email event invitation → Event registration form (Salesforce prefill connector) → Add as Salesforce campaign member/s (Salesforce submit connector) → Email confirmation to registrants → Submit further requirements (Salesforce prefill connector) → Notify Salesforce internal team.
Promoting multiple events in your marketing calendar can become a chore if the communication with registrants has to be created, from scratch, each time. Why not give prospects the option to register for multiple events, displaying all relevant events to their job role, geographic location, or other factors?
- An email is sent to a list of prospects, which contains a link to a form. The Salesforce lead/contact record ID is embedded in the URL.
- The Salesforce prefill connector will pull in Salesforce campaigns. This is where the Workflow starts. When opened, the form will display the list of events, thanks to a Workflow lookup step. You can get more sophisticated by defining filters on the connector to only display events where the prospect isn’t already registered, or only events starting in a specific timeframe (e.g. this quarter).
- The prospect selects the events they would like to attend. When the form is submitted, the Salesforce submit connector (a Connector step) will use the record ID embedded in the URL to add these leads/contacts as campaign members (Salesforce campaigns). This is an example of how the connector can create multiple related records from one record (one-to-many, contact to campaign members).
- Workflow sends an email confirmation to registrants, which also contains a form to collect further information, such as dietary requirements.
- These additional requirements can be synced back to the campaign member record (thanks to another Connector step), and notify the event organization team if they need to take action.
Validate Identity, Tap Into Salesforce Objects
Prefill connector → Form user validation → Salesforce Internal Users → Email confirmation.
While this use case appears to be for the education sector, replace the terminology with your industry’s own – you may find a critical gap you could fill.
I worked at an education organization, who have a powerful, highly customized Salesforce org. I can see how a form interface for students could streamline their operations (in other words, reduce some of the legwork from student advisors).
Imagine that you could enable students to log into your organization’s portal. From there, they can select and register for next semester’s modules.
Obviously, there is a level of validation required – most modules may be compulsory, and some compatible as electives to their course. If these courses and modules (mandatory or elective) are mandated as the Salesforce data model, this is how the Workflow could run:
- Validate a form user’s identity: we’ve already seen FormAssembly’s ability to do some complex lookups to Salesforce. You can use two pieces of information to check the student is who they say they are. In our example, the form first requests the student’s full name, followed by an ID (Student ID).
- In the backend, this checks the user record in Salesforce using a formula to match the form input. You can see the magic, where a hidden field on the form is populated with the Salesforce record ID.
- The student lands on a second form that lists the modules they are eligible for. They select their desired modules.
- Once the student has submitted the form, the student admissions team has visibility.
- Automation kicks in. In the education data model that I’m familiar with (note not EDA, but similar), there are multiple objects and junction objects working together. Once the student selects the modules they wish to take, this selection needs to create a record that signifies their module enrollment (junction object: module + student + semester).
- If your organization requires the human touch, then once the module registration request has been submitted, an internal user (e.g. student advisor) gets notified to take the next onboarding steps.
FormAssembly provides a platform that allows organizations in multiple industries to create forms for use cases unique to their data collection processes, security requirements, and Salesforce data model. Here are a few examples of what’s possible with FormAssembly…
- Higher education: Applications for prospective students, grant and scholarship applications, student surveys.
- Healthcare: HIPAA-compliant forms (FormAssembly’s Compliance Cloud offering includes HIPAA compliance).
- Nonprofit: Donation forms, organization onboarding, event management forms.
- Financial Services: New account applications, loan applications – anything to enable data collection for KYC (Know Your Customer).
- Government and Public Service: Public-facing forms to gather program signups and enable secure document upload.
We’ve seen the ways FormAssembly can be applied practically around the organization – now it’s time to see which benefits FormAssembly delivers, in the longer term.
- Organizational efficiency: Collect data from multiple different parties, in multiple different forms, and over multiple days. Direct data to where it will be the most useful to inform people and process.
- Troubleshooting and auditing: With all steps in one place, Workflows make it simple for the team to update paths, fix errors, and audit how automation is processing data.
- Self-sufficient marketing team: No form styling (CSS) knowledge? No problem! FormAssembly can prevent your organization from paying an external agency to achieve the correct look and feel.
- Data quality: Advanced validation capabilities ensure that data submitted through forms is in the correct format for your Salesforce org to accept. Don’t forget how Dynamic Picklists are a huge win!
- Updated data and self-service: Opening up forms to customers, prospects, and even employees helps keep information up to date and refresh stale data.
- Cleaner Salesforce orgs: Other form builders on the market work only with specific objects (contact/lead), which means that it’s down to the Admin to build out excessive automation to ‘shoehorn’ field data into the correct related objects. With FormAssembly’s object lookup, data can be sent to the correct object directly.
- Security and Compliance: All plans are compliant with GDPR, CCPA, FERPA, and PCI DSS Level 1, and all plans include encryption at rest. HIPAA compliance, GLBA compliance, and advanced sensitive data controls are available with the Compliance Cloud plan.
FormAssembly setup was a breeze! The in-app guidance kicks in as soon as you launch FormAssembly, which is both comprehensive and user-friendly.
Connecting FormAssembly to our Salesforce instance took less than 30 seconds. Following that you should set aside time to explore FormAssembly’s features, especially how ‘deep’ you can take Workflow and the connectors.
What happens to your configuration at the form-level, such as “Thank You” messages or notification emails settings, when you add a Form Step to a Workflow? Don’t worry – there’s no need to recreate those steps; FormAssembly will automatically import the existing Page Redirect settings by adding a new Page Redirect Step, and any notification email as an Email Step. This will make converting to Workflow smoother.
FormAssembly’s pricing can be found on their AppExchange Listing.
It’s worth emphasizing that FormAssembly can cater to a (seemingly limitless) number of use cases around the organization, therefore, investing in FormAssembly could eliminate multiple other tools that have feature parity (e.g. survey tools).
FormAssembly Workflow is available on the Enterprise and Compliance Cloud plans.
FormAssembly is an easy-to-use, powerful web form platform, which enables anyone in your organization to build forms for seemingly limitless use cases – in other words, true ‘web-to-anything’.
Looking back on my time as a Salesforce marketing automation consultant, I realized how valuable a tool like FormAssembly would have been to cater to client needs. As Salesforce org data models become increasingly sophisticated, it’s time we all took an honest look at how our traditional data capture could be limiting our data’s potential.
To wrap up here, I highly recommend you further explore FormAssembly Workflow, and its seemingly limitless use cases.