WhatsApp Salesforce Integration: Guide to 7 Options

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WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile messaging apps globally, with 2 billion+ monthly active users sending upwards of 100 billion messages each day (almost double the number on record for 2018). 

When looking for more effective, instant communication with prospects and customers, the main appeal to an organization is WhatsApp’s international reach. Over the past decade, the app has spread like wildfire, defying the geographic borders that posed roadblocks. In the past, your organization would need to tap into local telco providers for each country. For International sales teams that don’t have a local presence, WhatsApp can enable them to reach new leads, nurture prospects, and close sales worldwide.

Consumer demand for WhatsApp continues to grow exponentially. As a result, the need for services to cater to organizations (who need to connect WhatsApp with their business-critical systems, such as Salesforce) has led the way for platforms that are specialized for certain use cases. Some are geared towards lead generation, and some for customer service, while other providers (so well connected to the Salesforce platform) can cater to both.

WhatsApp Integration with Salesforce?

WhatsApp integration is not offered as standard with Salesforce, so it’s no surprise that looking for a third-party tool is the best way to elevate your customer communications.

The first place to look is the Salesforce AppExchange. Searching “WhatsApp” will leave you more confused than when you started. 

This guide showcases the top WhatsApp messaging providers for Salesforce and some differentiators between each. So, if you’re looking into the best way to integrate WhatsApp with Salesforce, look no further.

WhatsApp and Salesforce: Questions to Ask

Guiding you towards outlining your requirements is one of my goals here. As the Salesforce Admin, or someone working to improve Salesforce, you approach a WhatsApp messaging vendor with a set of requirements, and you may only scratch the surface of what’s possible; as a Salesforce customer, you could tap into more than those using the average CRM. Here is some additional detail:

  • SMS combined service: are you looking for both WhatsApp and SMS for your Salesforce org? If yes, stick with the same provider, as your users will be able to move fluidly between the two.
  • Salesforce native or connected: does the tool need to be Salesforce native, so that data doesn’t leave the Salesforce platform? This is a compliance concern, especially in high-security industries. 
  • Budget: do you want to pay an ongoing subscription to an integration service, or spend a one-off cost to build a custom integration? It’s worth noting that the length of time this will remain functioning is unpredictable as both platforms adapt frequently, at risk of breaking your integration. 
  • Billing structure: available per user/month, per org/month, or pay as you go.  
  • Skill sets required for implementation: do you have technical team members to call on? This is a major consideration if you go down the custom integration route.
  • Resources: do you have the internal resources to support the constant build and optimization of the tool, or are you looking for a vendor that will provide support as an extension of your team?
  • Use cases: outline these from the outset to ensure the provider can fulfill your use cases. For example, if you want to process payments – or, if you need to use it for marketing, does the tool connect well to the Salesforce Campaign object?  
  • Templates: how are approved templates* created and managed? You may benefit from an intuitive user interface, and functionality such as approvals, too. Templates are especially important for multilingual sales and service.
  • Reporting and analytics: who, within your team, will be responsible for measuring and communicating success?

*“Approved templates” is a WhatsApp term. When WhatsApp approves your template, they have verified it doesn’t contain promotional content.

Integrated Salesforce to WhatsApp Types

When it comes to integrating WhatsApp with Salesforce, the immediate question to ask is ‘how?’ The options for integration can be categorized as follows: 

  • Salesforce’s own products (not suited for all use cases).
  • Third-party vendors listed on the AppExchange, with direct connection to Salesforce objects (consider which objects, as this will determine which use cases fit well).
  • Other third-party vendors (not vetted by the AppExchange security review, required to list on this online marketplace). You would most likely need to build a custom integration using the Salesforce API and WhatsApp API.

This guide covers the following products:

  • Salesforce Digital Engagement
  • WhatsApp Chat Messaging (for Marketing Cloud)
  • Mogli
  • Avochato
  • 360 SMS App for Salesforce
  • SMS Magic
  • Build Your Own

So, let’s dive in.

Salesforce Digital Engagement

  • Best suited for: customer service.
  • Salesforce compatible with: Service Cloud (as an add-on).

The Digital Engagement offering for Service Cloud “provides personalized, connected service across all digital channels”. WhatsApp messaging is included as part of the package with unlimited inbound messages and paid outbound. 

According to Inspire Planner’s guide, WhatsApp messages that can be sent from Salesforce fall into two categories:

  1. Customer service interactions: “where a customer will reach out to business via WhatsApp to get their needs/issues addressed. The requests sent by customers are then assigned to relevant agents in the Service Cloud console. Businesses can further benefit from automating the response using Salesforce Einstein.” 
  2. Approved notifications: “where companies have consent from customers to initiate WhatsApp messaging for transactional content like payment confirmation, order status, business updates, order cancellation updates, etc.”

Users must already have a Service Cloud user license, and can only utilize the WhatsApp messaging using the Service Cloud console. Check out the datasheet here. You can learn more by watching the Digital Engagement: Messaging for Whatsapp video.

WhatsApp Chat Messaging (for Marketing Cloud)

  • Best suited for: B2C marketing.
  • Salesforce compatible with: Marketing Cloud (as an add-on).

New in 2021, you can now set up your WhatsApp account, channels, and message templates via Marketing Cloud (partnered with Sinch who provides the underlying infrastructure).

WhatsApp messages that can be sent from Marketing Cloud fall into two categories:

  1. Template messages: transactional, eg. shipment notifications, abandoned cart reminders.
  2. Session messages: user-initiated conversations.

You can create WhatsApp Template messages and manage the approvals in the Chat Messaging Setup app. Approved templates will then appear in the Marketing Cloud Content Builder.

Once installed from the AppExchange, you can access WhatsApp messaging as an activity within Journey Builder. Check out the Whatsapp Chat Messaging video for further insight.

Mogli

  • Best suited for: sales teams, inbound/outbound marketing, service, recruiting, higher education
  • Salesforce compatible with: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Financial Services Cloud, EDA, NPSP, and more. 
  • Salesforce native
  • Unlimited user license (site license)

Here, we move into the next section of WhatsApp options: the AppExchange. These are the most exciting options, with independent and healthy competition keeping innovation flowing.

With a user-friendly, robust, and intuitive user interface working natively in Salesforce, Mogli’s text messaging/WhatsApp solution allows users to “move fluidly between SMS & WhatsApp campaigns within the same interface”. 

Mogli highlights include:

  1. Simple to use with an intuitive UI that allows clients to add text messaging and WhatsApp to any object.  Mogli uses a custom object to track inbound/outbound messages, allowing for easier reporting and automations.  It even takes the guesswork out of knowing when to send a template message vs. a session message.
  2. Inbound/outbound surveys and chatbot: “Mogli guides the conversation based on participant responses. Text message/WhatsApp replies can be used to qualify leads, auto-create or update records, get feedback with branching surveys, or start a 1 on 1 conversation.”
  3. Text to Voice and File to Voice Features: “Auto-dial your contacts to provide them with important reminders and notifications. Along with SMS and WhatsApp, you’ll be sure your contacts have the information they need, when they need it, with Mogli Voice.”
  4. MogliPay: collect payments through WhatsApp, track them through Salesforce. 
  5. Pardot Connector: have a separate package that provides a Salesforce Flow to connect Pardot’s Engagement Studio to Mogli SMS.

From demos to test drives, there are many ways to explore the app and learn about the top WhatsApp features.

Avochato

  • Best suited for: sales teams, outbound/inbound marketing, service. 
  • Salesforce compatible with: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud (get a taste of the data model).
  • Salesforce-connected.

With Avochato, you can manage WhatsApp conversations alongside those on SMS, live chat, and phone from one place.

Avochato highlights include:

  1. No more unanswered calls: “88% of customers ignore phone calls from businesses and unknown numbers. Establish more personal connections and build trust via SMS, without sharing your personal number.”
  2. Increased sales efficiency: “Automatically log all messages as activity in Salesforce for easy tracking and reporting. Create cadences of automated and personalized messages based on Salesforce triggers and rules.”
  3. Interface: Avochato’s dashboard is accessed via a Salesforce tab. Lightning components can be embedded to offer a “complete and contextual Avochato experience within Salesforce, and you can message clients directly from there.”

Avochato allows customers to choose their preferred method of communication, with all activities managed within a single platform. You can read more about Avochato’s features in our [in-depth review]

360 SMS App for Salesforce

  • Best suited for: sales teams, service.
  • Salesforce compatible with: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud
  • Salesforce native
  • AppExchange listing

SMS Magic

  • Best suited for: sales teams, service. 
  • Salesforce compatible with: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud
  • AppExchange listing

Build Your Own Salesforce to WhatsApp Integration

  • Best suited for: multiple use cases. 
  • Salesforce compatible with: whatever your developers can magic up!

“Using WhatsApp Business API providers, you can directly integrate with SOAP or REST APIs.  All the transactions happen through API calls between WhatsApp and Salesforce.”

Sfdcfanboy

“Buy versus build” – a common tradeoff businesses make when deciding to pay a one-off cost to develop and integrate, or pay an ongoing subscription to a third-party app provider.

This option does offer flexibility, to make the integration do exactly what you want – such as molding to a very custom data model. 

Safe to say that this is the riskiest option. You need access to a team of developers, and you need to factor in ongoing maintenance as a future cost. Changes in your data model, fields, automated processes – and even Salesforce releases – could break your integration.  

Check out Sfdcfanboy’s article for more details.  

Summary

This guide aimed to help uncover the best ways to utilize one of the most popular messaging apps in the world. As you can see, there are a variety of WhatsApp-friendly options out there, all offering similar customer-focused features. Whilst this means you can’t go too far wrong, it’s still important to identify the best features for your business before you commit to one tool over another. 

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