Strong customer relationships are more important than ever for successful businesses of any size and scope. You can have the best products or services in the world, but if you don’t treat your customers with the respect they deserve, they won’t buy from you.
Almost half (44%) of respondents of the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services 2022 say a lack of collaboration and siloed efforts are among the top impediments to successful customer engagement.
Simply put, if you want to improve your sales efficiency and increase revenue, you need to be good at building customer relationships regardless of industry. And since communication plays a big part in sales, it’s a must-have to apply integrated CRM and CRP tools to connect with customers. Thus, this article is a must-read for anyone who wants to get more out of business data.
If you want to know about Intercom and Salesforce integration, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll learn two ways to integrate Intercom with Salesforce to help you better manage your customer relationships: manual and automatic.
Table of Contents
- About Intercom
- About Salesforce
- Challenges of Intercom and Salesforce Integration
- Benefits of Intercom and Salesforce Integration
- Integration via Intercom manual connection
- Integration via Skyvia
Intercom is a leading provider of modern communication and customer engagement solutions for digital businesses. It’s an all-in-one customer communications platform trusted by sales, marketing, and support teams from 25k+ companies globally.
- Reducing response times and resolving issues immediately with powerful AI chatbots and/or custom bots.
- Resolving customer inquiries with a fast and efficient inbox.
- Saving team time by solving customers’ problems before they contact the business.
- Delivering conversational support seamlessly across various channels: messengers, emails, SMS, etc.
- Getting all of the tools, data, reporting, and apps working together.
Salesforce is a popular CRM platform for any sized business: from small startups to large enterprises. Because of its ability to add custom fields, it’s a great choice for any organization. This service gives a deep insight into every interaction between customers and businesses. Salesforce provides the full marketing stack to help companies manage their customers and marketing channels.
- Opportunity Management. Get a holistic picture of all key information for sale, including the stage, products, and other important details.
- Account management. The service tracks all customer interactions (via email, chat, and phone) for future reference.
- Easy-to-use interface. It has a drag-and-drop feature to automate business processes visually.
Challenges of Intercom and Salesforce Integration
Data integration can be an uphill battle. There are always new challenges to overcome; however, some are unchanged.
- Manual data entry processes. It’s important to have all the project/customer/account data unified and in one place. However, implementing the manual processes increases the chance of mistakes, complicates communication, and overall is time-consuming. Additionally, they lead to miss-placed orders, revenue discrepancies, and lengthy periods closed.
- Lack of data visibility between departments. If there’s poor data visibility between departments, its impact will be felt, leading to more missed orders, higher lost sales, and increased customer dissatisfaction. Whereas unified and transparent data helps with building a successful communication strategy, eliminating mistakes, and allowing the team to build trust and cohesion.
Benefits of Intercom and Salesforce Integration
The Salesforce Intercom integration helps companies meet their sales goals, customer service expectations and increases productivity by providing a powerful lead management solution. This integration allows you to access all the relevant financial and operational data faster, in one place, and without doubts about data quality. Overall, the end-users benefit from making informed business decisions and improving performance.
- Unifying business data. Many businesses have a huge amount of data that needs updating not from time to time but in almost real-time. Integrating Salesforce and Intercom allows for seamless communication and data transfer between the two platforms, reducing the need for manual data entry and minimizing errors. By combining data, businesses also gain a complete view of their customers’ insights, including their interactions with the company, purchase history, and support requests.
- Better tracking and reporting. With data from multiple sources, tracking and analyzing customer behavior and performance becomes much easier, allowing teams to make more informed decisions and improve their overall strategy.
Increased conversion rate, sales, and customer satisfaction. Using the combined data, sales and customer service teams can identify and prioritize the most valuable and risky cases, resolve customer issues faster, and improve customer satisfaction.
Integration via Intercom manual connection
Intercom offers native integration with Salesforce with the help of its built-in application. It can be found in the Intercom App store within the Sales category.
Note! This app cannot be installed from the Salesforce AppExchange.
Native integration allows:
- Keep your data in sync with regular updates in the direction you choose: Intercom to Salesforce or Salesforce to Intercom.
- Automatically assign conversations to the correct lead owner in Intercom.
- See the latest Salesforce data in your inbox and in contacts and use it to target and filter content.
- See basic live data from within Salesforce (separate to mapped attributes).
- Automatically log conversations, notes, and messages as Salesforce tasks, so you have a complete interaction history with each lead/contact.
- Create cases in Salesforce from Intercom conversations.
Before starting integration with Salesforce, the user needs to have the following accounts and permissions:
- Admin permissions for both services: Salesforce and Intercom.
- API access for the Salesforce account (for this, you need either Enterprise or Unlimited edition).
Intercom also requires access to the next Salesforce objects and their fields:
- Lead (Email, LastName, FirstName, Company, Phone, Status (aka Lead Status), LeadSource, OwnerId).
- Contact (Email).
- Account (OwnerId).
- Task (Description (aka Comments), CreatedById (aka Created By), ActivityDate (aka Due Date), Subject, Type, Status, Priority, OwnerId (aka Assigned to)).
- Install the app from the App store and authorize it into your Salesforce account.
Note! You can test the integration by installing the app into the test workspace and the Salesforce Sandbox environment. However, it’s only available on certain Intercom pricing plans.
- Though after installing, the data is mapped by default and is ready for synchronizing, it’s better to configure data mapping preferences manually. That’s how you can avoid errors and discrepancies in the data flow.
The app also allows to define the direction of the sync process (from Intercom to Salesforce or Salesforce to Intercom).
Note! Before data mapping, you need to read How is data synced between Intercom and Salesforce to be aware of any important details.
Important! In case of duplicated objects, Intercom Users will be prioritized over Intercom Leads. In Salesforce, Contacts will be prioritized over Leads. When there are two matching users or two matching leads, the last updated one will be matched.
- When you’ve finished the mapping process, the application starts data synchronization. However, this process requires time; a delay may take up to 5 minutes.
Though this native integration method is easy to install as it’s a part of the Intercom service, it has its limits. Among the problems you may encounter are the following:
- The relationship between Lead/User and Company in Intercom and the relationship between Leads/Contact and Accounts in Salesforce doesn’t sync. This relationship needs to be managed on the respective platforms separately.
- Intercom (via native integration app) handles updating Salesforce tasks for Intercom conversations in two ways: automatically or manually. When doing this automatically, the task is updated with the conversation when the conversation is first created and when it’s closed. When doing it manually, Intercom only sends a snippet of the conversation in the task and includes the conversation link if you want to read more. If you want to have the full conversation in Salesforce when using the manual method, this isn’t possible.
Integration via Skyvia
Skyvia makes your data work for you by offering a wide variety of data solutions that are easy to use. The service is a cloud-based platform that connects to local and cloud-based applications, so you can create ETL, ELT, and reverse ETL solutions. However, it’s more than that, as it helps to analyze, process, and visualize data. Skyvia’s cloud-based solution provides seamless integration and maintenance and helps you to manage and scale data at any load.
Key Skyvia advantages
- The platform provides rich functionality and wide opportunities to implement complex integrations. The service implements complex logic, applying parallel processing, error interception, etc.
- No deployment and installation are needed as the service is cloud-based and browser-based.
- The interface is user-friendly and convenient. Business users can configure data flows visually as there’s a no-code wizard available.
- Skyvia’s approach has an advantage when it comes to debugging workflows. With its Data Flow and Control Flow features, users can observe the execution of the task in real time, monitor the data count, and have detailed information about the errors.
In this article, we show how to easily and quickly configure automated data integration (as a periodic update) between Salesforce and Intercom with the help of Skyvia. Since the Skyvia platform is very flexible and has many capabilities, we demonstrate three possible scenarios for data integration.
Business case description
Sales and customer support alignment: By integrating Salesforce and Intercom, sales and customer support teams can easily access and share customer information, leading to more efficient and effective communication and collaboration. The sales and support team will have an up-to-date unified data source:
- It’s a cost-effective practice that reduces the need for searching and cleaning data about Leads, Users/Contacts, and Companies/Accounts.
- Creation of Salesforce Tasks/Cases from Intercom Conversations. Sending conversations automatically makes it easy to keep track of your customers’ activity.
Data analysis and reporting: Integrating Salesforce and Intercom enables businesses to analyze and report on customer interactions and data, helping them to identify trends, improve processes, and make data-driven decisions.
Before implementing integration scenarios: establish connections between the two services and Skyvia.
Note! You must create a Skyvia account if you don’t have one yet. You can also try Skyvia with a free trial version.
First, you need to create connections between Intercom and Skyvia as well as between Salesforce and Skyvia. Sign in with Skyvia and click +NEW in the top menu, then click the Connection button on the left menu.
In the opened window, select the service you want to connect. In this case, it’s either Salesforce or Intercom. Sign in with the chosen service, enter credentials for your account, and create a connection.
Note! Always choose a unique name for your new connection since the default one always states Untitled.
Note! More details on setting up Salesforce and Intercom connections can be found within Skyvia documentation.
Setting up Skyvia Import scenario for data integration
This simple scenario is created for data integrations between two data sources. For example, in this case, we import Leads and Contacts from Salesforce to Intercom and back.
- Click +NEW in the top menu and select Import scenario in the Integration category. In the opened window, you can find the detailed instructions on the right and the workspace with Source and Target data flows on the left.
- Select the data connections (those created in the step above).
- Define the Source Type and apply additional options if needed.
4. Use the Add new button on the right to create a new data import task.
5. Specify Source settings. Select a source file, cloud app object, or database table/view to import data from, and, if necessary, configure data filtering. Alternatively, you can select the Execute Command or Execute Query action to query data (in advanced mode).
6. Specify Target settings. Select the target object (table) or multiple objects (tables) to import data to and the operation to apply when loading data.
7. Configure mapping of target columns to source columns, expressions, constants, lookups, etc.
8. Schedule the Import package for automatic execution by clicking Schedule on the top left menu.
9. Once you’ve finished setting your Import package, click Create to continue. Now you can run this package and get your data integrated.
Important! In the mapping table, there is a required field, LastName, that has no corresponding field in the Intercom object Lead. The solution is using Skyvia’s mapping by expression.
Advantages of the Import integration scenario
The Import integration scenario works best for companies that don’t need to update data very often and when it’s possible to select the required amount of data for migration using filters. However, updating data is impossible as it’s a simple downloading process, and with each subsequent download, the old data will be overwritten.
If this integration scenario isn’t enough, Skyvia has Data Flow and Control Flow packages for more advanced integrations.
Setting up Skyvia Data Flow scenario for data integration
This complex integration scenario is created to help businesses of any size integrate with multiple data sources. Data Flow is a powerful, easy-to-use solution that helps manage all data transformations in a single unified location. It can synchronize information about Leads, Users/Contacts, Companies/Accounts, creation of Salesforce Tasks/Cases from Intercom Conversations, and other scenarios with more complex logic.
Note! When you open Data Flow for the first time, it will offer you the Fast Guide to the main features, which is very useful for newcomers.
In this case, we show how to update Salesforce data (Lead table) by enriching it with data from Intercom (Lead table).
- Add the first component to the diagram: Source. (All the components can be added to your data flow by dragging them from the components list on the left-side menu).
2. Configure the Source details: select an Intercom connection to get data from, select and configure the action to perform to obtain data, and map its parameters if needed.
3. Add the Lookup block to match input records with records from another data source and add columns of the matched records to the scope. Specify the Behavior, Scope, and Property fields and select a Salesforce connection to get data from.
4. Add a destination point for your updated data: Target block. It stores input records in a data source and writes data to logs. It should be configured the same way as the Source component (connection to load data, actions to perform, parameters if needed).
5. Add the Row Count components to the data flow for counting the input rows and writing the result to a data flow variable.
6. Click on the top menu and add Variables to put the number of the rows and select the relevant variable in each Row Count block.
7. Add the Target block again to write data to a log. Connect the necessary component output to it and select Log as its Connection. The only action available for the Log connection is Write, so select it in the Action list.
8. Select the log Table to write data and map its columns to the input columns using the Mapping Editor.
Note! You can download the logs by opening the run details on the data flow Monitor or Log tab, selecting the necessary run, and using the Download link near the corresponding log name in History Details.
9. Schedule the package for automatic execution by clicking Schedule on the top left menu.
10. Once you’ve finished setting your Data Flow package, click Save to continue. Now you can run this package and get your data integrated.
Advantages of the Data Flow scenario
The Data Flow integration scenario is well-suited for companies that need constant and regular data updates. In conjunction with Control Flow, it allows complex automation of business processes using many tools/platforms. Using Data Flow, you can customize the load Lead/User/Contact/Account data depending on different parameters and use multiple final destinations for data such as CRM/marketing tools and many others simultaneously.
With the growth in internet sales, there have been tremendous opportunities for businesses to develop strong customer connections online. However, the scale and nature of online business, combined with rising customer expectations, make it very difficult to build and maintain those relationships.
Businesses need to be able to track the performance of every marketing, sales, and support activity. It allows companies to optimize their marketing efforts, increase the level of customer satisfaction, and make better sales decisions. Salesforce and Intercom are tools that allow you to collect valuable data about your clients and then use that information to increase your sales and market share.
This Intercom Salesforce integration guide covers the following: native integration and seamless integration by Skyvia. We also demonstrate a real-life example of solving business cases using Skyvia’s integration scenarios.
You can try out Skyvia to connect your business data from anywhere right now!