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What’s the Best Way to Get Event Data Into Salesforce?

By November 6, 2014CRM & Salesforce
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If you’re involved with a nonprofit organization in any way, you know that event management is one of the key day-to-day processes. There absolutely has to be an efficient and uniform way to contextualize and manage the data that is inevitably attached to whatever event you are putting on. For our clients, they need a way to get this data into Salesforce in a seamless and accurate way, and they often need it to happen with few manual steps.

There are dozens of ways to push this data to Salesforce and, in general, they depend on the technical sophistication of the organization. When weighing these options, there are a few questions that must be asked, whether by the organization itself or by an outside consultant like 501Partners. First, does the organization have a technical staff? Do they outsource? The two technical constraints that need to be understood by both the organization itself and any outside consultants are the budget and the internal capacity for maintenance. Without knowing these factors, it is hard to make a recommendation.

The most common way to get data into Salesforce is through forms, and this is no different when considering events management. For those who are unfamiliar with the underlying structure of web forms, here is a quick overview:

  • Every web form has several parts…
    • HTML “Face” – This is the slick, branded part that faces outward. However, it means nothing without the…
    • Back-end Processing Engine – This can be anything, including FormAssembly and Gravity Forms.
    • Business Logic – When you are integrating with Salesforce, there needs to be a way to account for business logic. For example, “If contact exists, then update. If X contact doesn’t exist, get the ID back and use it to connect the contact to campaign. Then create opportunity record to record the payment.” This type of business logic requirement has to happen either on the web (forms) side, or on the Salesforce side.
      • Often, if this is in the code, it requires ongoing maintenance and can be an unnecessary hassle.

Some of our larger nonprofit clients prefer to outsource these types of event registration and management tasks. These solutions can be very pricey and might not be worth the investment, no matter how slick they look in their connections to Salesforce. And, even with this high end solution, there are still APEX code changes to be made when business processes change.

At 501Partners, we recommend putting the business logic information in a user-accessible place. This is an area at which FormAssembly excels. This does require someone who can understand the web very well and/or who can take instructions very well in order to implement the solution. However, going this route saves a lot of development time for our larger clients.

For small and medium sized nonprofits who are looking to simply track registration and payment information for their events, FormAssembly is still recommended (even if you already have web forms set up that can do this). The advantage here lies in using FormAssembly’s back-end tools to avoid custom programming on the Salesforce side of this equation, and thus your organization can cope gracefully with any changes that may arise in business process.

Allan Huntley

Author Allan Huntley

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