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Marketing Cloud and Salesforce – The Guide to Implementation Success

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Phani Madhav Chegu,

January 11, 2022

Marketing Cloud and Salesforce – The Guide to Implementation Success

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It’s well-known that a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system plays a key role in the success of a modern business organization. A good CRM system enables a company to make the best use of business data to meet its customers’ expectations with a high degree of efficacy, thereby delighting them and paving the way for rapid growth.

Salesforce is the most widely used CRM system; according to a study by International Data Corporation, this popular IT platform is used by nearly 19.5% of the world’s businesses. The wide array of powerful features of Salesforce coupled with its high levels of user-friendliness make it the preferred choice of the corporate world. According to a report, users of Salesforce CRM are able to make decisions 38% faster, improve their revenues by 25% and enhance customer satisfaction levels by 35%.

One of the most powerful applications of Salesforce is Marketing Cloud. The powerful tool allows companies to understand, value, and help their constituents, thereby enhancing customer loyalty and enabling rapid growth.

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Marketing Cloud comes with a host of useful capabilities and is often implemented independently of other applications of the Salesforce CRM system. However, it is important to note that the decision about whether to go in for Marketing Cloud along with other Salesforce tools such as Sales Cloud and Service Cloud will have a major impact on technical strategies and generation of revenues.

Today, we’ll see how you can implement Marketing Cloud together with other Salesforce applications such as Sales Cloud and Service Cloud to ensure you have a comprehensive view of your business. But before we proceed, let us see why we need to connect Marketing Cloud with other Salesforce CRM applications.

Get the Decisive Competitive Edge with a Fully Integrated Marketing Cloud

One of the biggest challenges faced by marketers today is ensuring highly personalized customer experiences; the new-age customer expects businesses to perfectly tailor their communications (and actions) to suit their unique needs. This is possible only when companies can create a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) for customer data. By integrating Marketing Cloud with other constituents of the Salesforce system, companies can get a 360° view of their customers and personalize their interactions effectively.

Consider the following scenario.

Two users A and B visit the website of a company and fill in a form providing their contact information. This information is used by the company to communicate with the two users about its new product. A is already a customer of the company, while B is a new prospect. The organization tailors its communications accordingly, getting the desired response from both users.

In the absence of an SSOT, the company would not have been able to come up with the appropriate message for each of the two users, at the right time.

When data pertaining to various activities of your business flows seamlessly into Marketing Cloud, you can get the right insights that help you enhance experiences of your customers. For instance, one of our customers witnessed many of its newsletter subscribers suddenly opted out after the launch of its new client support chatbot. A comprehensive analysis of data revealed poor experiences with the chatbot frustrated the customers, resulting in their decision to unsubscribe to the newsletter. This allowed the company to take timely remedial measures to prevent further damage. The analysis would not have been possible without the integration of the company’s Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud.

Having seen the benefits of a connected Marketing Cloud, let us move on to examine Marketing Cloud Connect (MCC), a Salesforce solution that enables you to integrate Salesforce Marketing Cloud with various Salesforce applications.

Salesforce MCC – Facilitating Smooth Integration of Marketing Cloud

Salesforce MCC is an out-of-the-box solution available on Salesforce AppExchange. It marries the novel digital marketing features of Marketing Cloud with the data handling and campaign management applications offered by Salesforce. MCC helps you ensure unitary relationships with your clients. It allows you to have data-backed interactions with the clients, ensuring high levels of personalization.

You can use MCC to access Marketing Cloud data directly from Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. It facilitates high levels of consistency in your brand messaging efforts, enabling you to engage customers effectively in your interactions, and thereby, create more leads.

Apart from providing you the capabilities mentioned above, Salesforce MCC also helps you enjoy the following benefits.

Benefits of Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connect

Thus, we see MCC helps connect Marketing Cloud with other applications of Salesforce in a hassle-free manner. However, before you proceed to use MCC to integrate Marketing Cloud with Salesforce CRM, you must create a unique identifier (ID) for each customer. In the next section, we will see why you must create the identifier.

Unique Customer Identifier (ID) – Enabling Smooth Marketing Cloud Integration

One of the key issues in ensuring effective integration of disparate Salesforce applications with Marketing Cloud is mapping data in a proper manner. Different applications use different types of fields to store data. For instance, an address stored in Sales Cloud may include fields containing details pertaining to street, city, state, zip code, and so on, but Marketing Cloud may not use the same fields. In such a scenario, mapping data from a Salesforce CRM application to Marketing Cloud can be a very time-consuming task.

You can overcome this problem very effectively by using a unique ID for each customer. The ID helps unify various identifiers like e-mail addresses, mobile numbers, and so on. For example, if John Adams uses two mobile phones, the unique ID enables Marketing Cloud to analyze all data about John across multiple devices to send the right message to the right device at the right time.

The assignment of a unique ID to each customer also enables an organization to identify duplicate records when data is uploaded from an external non-Salesforce system. In many cases, especially mergers and acquisitions, companies face the problem of importing duplicate records into their Salesforce system. Consider the following scenario.

A manufacturer of tires imports rubber from two vendors viz. vendor A and vendor B. Vendor A uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud and has the details of the tire company stored in the application’s database. Likewise, vendor B too stores the same details of the tire manufacturing firm in its SAP CRM system. Vendor A acquires vendor B and imports the data stored in the latter’s system. This will create two identical records in vendor A’s Marketing Cloud, leading to data redundancy.

This problem can be resolved by using an external ID to indicate the data records imported into the Salesforce system. An external ID is a custom field that contains unique record identifiers, which enable the Salesforce system to recognize a data record imported from a non-Salesforce platform. Staying on with the above scenario, vendor A can use an external ID to distinguish the details of the tire manufacturer stored in vendor B’s SAP system from the same data stored in its Marketing Cloud.

We have so far looked at the benefits of connecting Marketing Cloud with other Salesforce CRM tools such as Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. We also saw how Salesforce MCC helps integrate Marketing Cloud with other Salesforce applications and why it is essential to assign a unique ID to each customer. Let us now examine different scenarios a company might encounter when it integrates Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Implementation of Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud – A Few Common Scenarios

Scenario 1 – Implementing Salesforce CRM First and Marketing Cloud Later

This is the most ideal scenario for implementing Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud. When companies implement Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud first and then implement Marketing Cloud and Salesforce MCC, all leads and contacts are seamlessly synchronized from the Salesforce CRM applications to Marketing Cloud.

In this scenario, all contacts come from Salesforce CRM and these include new contacts that have been created manually, using lists imported into the CRM system. The major advantage of this approach is marketers can send the right updates to the right audiences, using real-time CRM data. Marketers can also track the interactions with audiences effectively and get valuable insights into customer needs and preferences.

Scenario 2 – Implementing Marketing Cloud First and Salesforce CRM Later

Many a time, companies choose to initially implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and then, use Salesforce CRM. However, adopting this approach could lead to significant re-work and increased costs, leading to a lower ROI.

We suggest you focus on the following, if you intend to implement Marketing Cloud before Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud.

  • Make sure you stand-up your Salesforce CRM system, even though you may not be using it immediately. You will have all the groundwork completed and the right elements in place, when you begin using the CRM system.
  • Ensure the Contact object in Salesforce CRM system has the minimum number of fields to facilitate effective synchronization with Marketing Cloud. For instance, you need to see the CRM applications have the field E-mail Address configured.
  • Use Data Loader to transfer data in flat files into Salesforce CRM tools, instead of transferring the data into Marketing Cloud; repeat this process at regular intervals, and the data in the CRM system will be replicated in Marketing Cloud by default.
  • You may export details of e-mails sent, clicked and opened from Marketing Cloud and to Salesforce CRM on the relevant Contact record
  • Review all your current marketing campaigns and automations. Formulate a plan to rework automation or modify SQL queries to use freshly created synchronized data extensions instead of the old flat files

Scenario 3 – Standing Up Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud Separately

Some companies use both Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud but load data lists directly into the latter. These companies don’t use Salesforce MCC. This leads to some of the contacts existing in both applications. However, the data in the two systems is not synchronized. This will impede the creation of fully integrated buyer journeys as marketers cannot harness the real-time data in the CRM system. Likewise, CRM system users have no idea of how their contacts are getting engaged by the campaigns run by the marketing team.

To overcome this problem, you can go in with one of the three options viz.

  • Extraction and Deletion of Data in the Marketing Cloud
  • Migration of Subscriber Records Using Salesforce Contact/Lead Identifier
  • Use of Salesforce MCC and Link Records Using a Data Extension

We will now explore each of these options, in detail.

Extraction and Deletion of Data in the Marketing Cloud

This approach involves the following steps.

  • Extraction of existing contacts in Marketing Cloud into a flat file
  • Import of the file into Salesforce Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud
  • Merger of all duplicate records and deletion of all contacts in Marketing Cloud
  • Enablement of contact data back into Marketing Clod, using Salesforce MCC

This approach will enable you to adhere to the recommended architecture and integrate all your contacts with high efficacy. On the flip side, there is a danger of you losing customer engagement history from Marketing Cloud unless information pertaining to tracking of customer interactions is downloaded and inserted in the CRM.

Migration of Subscriber Records Using Salesforce Contact/Lead Identifier

In this approach, your Salesforce Marketing Cloud services team merges your existing subscriber data with the new subscriber information using Salesforce contact/lead identifier.

The approach will help you implement the recommended architecture and integrate all contacts and retain your historical data pertaining to customer engagement. Another key benefit is Salesforce services team will execute all tasks involved in the migration process. However, you must remember the service is available only on payment and it may take many weeks to be completed.

Use of Salesforce MCC and Link Records Using a Data Extension

The third approach involves the following two steps.

  1. Configuring Salesforce MCC and enabling duplicate contacts to get created in Marketing Cloud
  2. Utilizing queries to connect contact and subscriber records through data extensions

A major benefit of adopting this approach is that no data migrations are needed, and as a result, the quantum of effort required is quite low. But, you may incur high costs as more contact records need to be dealt with. You also need to write queries to connect the records, and this requires technical expertise.


As you can see, integrating Marketing Cloud with Salesforce CRM goes a long way in helping you get the big picture of your business. By using robust tools such as Salesforce MCC, you can ensure hassle-free synchronization of data between the two systems. It is important to adopt the right implementation approach to get the best results from a fully connected Marketing Cloud.

At Solunus, we can help you succeed, no matter where you are in your Marketing Cloud journey. Our rich experience helping several companies in diverse industrial sectors make the best use of this Salesforce product coupled with our solid focus on comprehending your unique business needs enables us to create the best value.

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Why Choose Solunus’ Salesforce Marketing Cloud Services?

  • We implement proven best practices of your industry to provide the highest ROI
  • Our specialists ensure complete transparency to provide real-time visibility of the project
  • Our customized approach to developing solutions enables seamless architectural changes with minimal expenditure
  • We provide various innovative proprietary solutions, which can be used to support the project
  • Our team has served many organizations, in different countries, across the industry spectrum
  • We are very agile and can swiftly respond to dynamic needs of our customers

About Solunus

Solunus is a dedicated Salesforce partner organization, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Our unrelenting focus on comprehending the unique needs of our clients coupled with our unrivaled expertise of the Salesforce platform enables us to deliver the perfect solutions that create the best value for IT and business analytics firms.