How simple is it to integrate HubSpot and Salesforce? Truth is, not that simple.

How simple is it to integrate HubSpot and Salesforce? Truth is, not that simple.

When it comes to the sales and marketing world, HubSpot and Salesforce are definitely fan favorites across the board. They are indeed great platforms, and I think it’s fair to say that all revenue operations leaders are familiar with them and know their respective advantages.

When it comes to their CRM product, it is common that companies will use one system or the other, depending on their preference. There used to be a common belief that HubSpot was excellent until a company reached a certain level of scale where its capabilities could be limited to what those companies needed. This belief is rapidly changing, and large companies are staying with HubSpot as their main CRM.

That said, there are still a vast number of companies using both systems, especially in the enterprise. In the majority of cases, companies will be using Salesforce as their CRM but will be using HubSpot as an MAP (Marketing Automation Platform). Here, companies are joining two great powers, Salesforce’s capabilities in keeping track of your pipeline and information and HubSpot’s flexibility to create wonderful campaigns and content.

People have been using these two tools together for years now. However, a common complaint in the RevOps world is that it’s not as easy as it seems to make the two systems run together well. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the use cases RevOps agencies and consultants take on the most, due to the complexity it can entail.

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Here, we will unpack three different reasons why doing this integration is not as easy as it looks like. We’ll also provide a couple of resources at the end for you to make this integration work better for your needs.

The Naming Conventions

If you’ve used HubSpot and Salesforce, you’ve probably heard or read the word “Object.”. Marketers and other CRM experts like to overcomplicate stuff (mea culpa!) but objects are essentially tables. If you had Salesforce or HubSpot in a spreadsheet or a database of some sort, it is likely that you will separate contacts, accounts, companies, etc in different tables, right? Well, that’s basically it, they are the names of these different data segments, which contain specific information about them, given in fields.

Now that we’re clear on what an object is, let’s think about the issue behind this when doing the integration. Essentially, the naming of these objects is different in the two systems. It doesn’t seem like a huge deal, does it? But think about it, when you’re doing automations, mapping dozens of different fields from one system to another and sales processes have to be crystal clear, this can be quite an issue.

The most common example of this problem lies in contacts and leads. These two objects don’t necessarily mean the same thing in both tools. In Salesforce, leads are prospects that might be interested in your product or service. You can get leads through ads, a form, or even from a list in a sales engagement tool.

On the other hand, Contacts refer to qualified leads. A gray area, we know. You might be wondering what is a qualified lead? Sorry, to disappoint you, but the answer is a marketer’s favorite response, “it depends.” Truth is, there is not a one-size fits all. This is something your team has to agree on, Anyways, in Salesforce there are these two distinct objects. Now let’s get to what they mean in HubSpot.

HubSpot is way cooler in this aspect. Everyone is simply a Contact. No need to worry about leads at this point. That said, this creates a problem when leads and contacts have to jump between systems.

For instance, if you create a HubSpot contact using a HubSpot chat, how should it be passed to Salesforce, as a lead or as a contact? Another common question is if you should really be creating leads in Salesforce from HubSpot contacts? Maybe you don’t want to fill up your Salesforce CRM with top of the funnel leads, but it’s really up to you. As a matter of fact, there are no rules set in stone, and that’s exactly the hard part. You must customize the integration to fulfill your needs.

Campaigns are also an object where the Salesforce and HubSpot are referring to completely different things. In HubSpot, a campaign refers to a collection of assets such as blogs, emails. landing pages and others. It’s a more marketing-focused term. On the other hand, in Salesforce, a campaign is essentially a list of contacts. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but that’s how they call it.

Activity Level Data

If you have leads or contacts in a CRM, you’re probably going to send them emails, connect with them on LinkedIn and call them on the phone. This is what is called activity data, essentially, activity that occurs with your prospects and customers. Well, there is something you must know about this. If you wish to get activity data from Salesforce to HubSpot, you’re not going to be able to get it easily.

Things like emails, meetings and calls cannot be logged easily from one tool to the other. It is actually a limitation lots of users complain about. Thankfully, there are workarounds to solve this problem, which involve using third party systems. One of these solutions is to use a trigger based system like Zapier to log a call/meeting/email to HubSpot, every time something occurs in Salesforce. However, that is not very efficient, both from an operational and cost perspective.

To do this, we would actually recommend using a tool like HelloGuru (shameless plug) and create daily or weekly syncs using the raw data model. What you can do is simply create a recurring sync between the two systems that upserts activities into HubSpot.

Doing a Selective Sync

If you’re only using HubSpot for marketing purposes, it is likely that you’ll only want to use HubSpot for a selective cohort of your Salesforce database. Yikes. How do we do that?

The biggest thing we’ve got to understand here is what Salesforce calls an Integrations User. This is basically a user, like you and me, that has the required permissions to do the HubSpot syncs. The caveat here is that this integration user needs to have exactly the right permissions to do the selective sync we’d like to do, so we’ve got to intentionally limit certain objects that this user cannot access.

In addition to setting up the integration user, you’ll need to set up a sharing criteria. The integration user basically states what objects that user can specifically, read and modify, but the criteria establish more acute rules to what can be shared to HubSpot. For example ,if you only want to share leads when a certain field is marked as true.

We know this sounds complicated, and that’s why doing this integration is not as easy as it seems. However, here is a great knowledge article from HubSpot that outlines the step by step of this process.

Are there any resources for me to seek help with this integration?

Absolutely. The great thing about HubSpot and Salesforce is that they are widely used platforms. As a result there are plenty of resources available to learn and master this integration. Here are three things we would recommend:

Specialized Courses

HubSpot Academy - HubSpot Academy is fantastic overall, and there is actually a whole course to help you with this integration that you can find using this link.

Coastal Consulting Course - If you’d like to take a much deeper dive into this integration for consulting purposes, or to master it in your own organization, Coastal Consulting has a fantastic course for you which you can find here.

Reverse ETL tools

If you’re the kind of person who likes to get their hands dirty and dive deep into the tools themselves, a great way to learn is use a Reverse ETL tool like HelloGuru.Through one of these tools you can get inside the data model and customize your integration any way you want.

Why should RevOps leaders implement Reverse-ETL this quarter?
October is here and with that comes the fourth and last quarter of the year. It’s an exciting but stressful time- How can reverse-ETL help?

Knowledge Libraries

Another great option is to simply go back to the basics. As mentioned before, Salesforce and HubSpot have achieved great success and popularity. In consequence, they must be sure that users and customers are successful, which has led them to create truly remarkable knowledge libraries where you can search literally for anything. You can find the Salesforce and HubSpot knowledge libraries here.

Any other resources you would like to add to this list or any tips about the Salesforce and HubSpot integration you’d like to share? Feel free to write to us at support@helloguru with your suggestions. We’d love to hear from you!