Salesforce.com was kind enough to provide a very simple system for Web-2-Lead (or Web-To-Lead - whatever you prefer to call it). They also have a system for web2case. These are great if you need a really simple method for adding a form to your website which allows you to pass details from forms on your website directly into salesforce.com leads or cases.
But what do you do if you want to do web2opportunity, or web2contact, or web2custom object. There are a few third party form providers which may be able to assist, but what I find works best is a salesforce.com sites page.
Salesforce.com Sites Pages
A sites page is a web page, hosted by salesforce.com (or force.com more precisely) that interacts with your salesforce.com instance. You can use it to display information contained in your salesforce.com data base (the classic example, used by salesforce.com frequently, being a list of job openings at your company for which you want to allow people to apply).
The domain of one of your sites pages would be yourcompany.force.com/yourpagename. You can get one domain, but as many pages as you need.
Showing Salesforce.com Data on the Web
The idea here is that you use a sites page to show salesforce.com data to third parties. Another approach that I've used recently is to make customer quotes from an opportunity available to prospects via a sites page - this technique allows your users to send an e-mail with a link to their quote rather than by setting the quote itself. The quote is simply presented on the salesforce.com sites page - the system finds the correct quote by details contained in the link.
Receiving Data from a form into Salesforce.com
But what about when you want to gather information FROM an individual? We can use Salesforce.com Sites there as well. We've done dozens of variations of this, but one interesting application permitted our clients to gather information from the client in preparation for sending a proposal. In that situation, an opportunity was already created, then at an early stage in the process, an email goes out to the client (automatically sent by a salesforce.com workflow rule). That email asks the client to click a link so that they can answer some questions online so that their rep can complete their proposal. The prospect fills out the form, which then submits against their opportunity in salesforce. The link in the email contained the details necessary to "connect" the prospect to the correct form and then the correct opportunity. Another workflow rule notifies that sales rep that the data has been received.
This kind of salesforce.com sites page can be used to gather nearly any kind of data that you care to collect from your prospects and get it into salesforce.com. So essentially, they have provided you with a web-2-anything capability. It isn't quite as convenient as the build in web-2-lead, requiring some development - but it immensely more capable.
If you have a need for a salesforce.com sites page, or any apex or visualforce development, please reach out to us atwww.snapptraffic.com - we'd be glad to discuss your salesforce.com sites or development project, quote it, and get it built for you.