Web Forms to Salesforce.com

If you've been a subscriber to Salesforce.com for a while, you've probably got your web-to-lead form all setup and working, and that is great - but what about when you want to feed data from a web form to some other object in Salesforce.com?


A very common request we get at Snapptraffic Consulting is the need to feed information from a web form to another object besides Leads (or Cases) which both come with built in mechanisms in Salesforce. Let's say you have a weekly webinar and you want to have a form on your website where people can sign up for that webinar, but you don't want the form submissions to come into the Salesforce.com as a new lead, but instead into a custom object you have called "Webinar Registrations". It would be incredibly helpful to be able to allow those form submissions to automatically come into salesforce.com and create a new Webinar Registration. 

A typical web-form

Common Approaches

There are a few common approaches to solving "Web Form to Anything in Salesforce.com". Pretty much all of them require a web service that can receive the data from that form, process it, connect to Salesforce.com and submit that data. One third party service that I use for my clients is FormAssembly. It does a nice job by giving you the tools to build any form you need, validate the inputs, and pass that data into Salesforce. It's cheap too - about $34 a month for unlimited forms. Their are cheaper versions of their system, but those do not include the connector to Salesforce.com.

Prefill Web Forms With Salesforce Data

Another common business requirement is the need to request information from a customer in an email and have that person click a link within that email which takes them to an online form where they can provide the information asked for in the email. Generally, you want to provide some mechanism to tie the form submission back to the salesforce record from which the email was sent.

An Example: Post Sale Survey

So lets say that a few weeks after you win an opportunity with a client, you want to ask the client for a survey. You could create a button on the opportunity that sends an email to the client (or do this automatically with a workflow rule). Included in the email is a link that takes the recipient to your online form. Imbedded in the link to the form are references to the opportunity ID and any other form fields that you want pre-filled.

FormAssembly is nice because it can parse the URL and pull from it any data that you want to pass into the form. The OpportunityID passes into a hidden field so that it will not be displayed on the form.

When the customer fills out the questions on the survey and submits their results. FormAssembly will receive those results, process them, login to Salesforce via your login and create a new record in Salesforce with the results. Obviously you need a place in Salesforce to pass those results, which in most cases would be a custom object.

Due to the fact that the opportunity ID has been passed through the email to the form, the results of the survey can be tied back to the originating opportunity. Once that form submission has been received, workflow rules can be triggered to notify someone at your company that a form has been submitted.

Setting up this process is fairly straightforward, but there are quite a few steps to getting it setup properly, but none of them are cost prohibitive or terribly technically challenging. If you want a little hand-holding though, feel free to contact us (www.snapptraffic.com).

Salesforce.com Excel Connector

I was working with a client who was trying to get data imported into Salesforce.com from the Professional edition. They were hoping to be able to use the Apex Data Loader. They were surprised to learn that the data loader cannot be used by Professional Edition. That version doesn't have API access and that access is required for the Apex Data Loader.

So what do you do? The Salesforce.com Excel Connector. There might be other free ways to import data into Professional Edition, but if so, I haven't found them. The Excel Connector works great, but it is a serious challenge for the uninitiated to get figured out. I have frequently told clients where to find the excel connector, but they usually need a little assistance getting it installed properly and figuring out how to use it.

There are a couple things I really like about the Excel Connector for Salesforce. One is that it lets you import or update records to any object in Salesforce, even in Professional Edition. It is much more powerful than the import wizards provided by Salesforce. But even better than that, when you do insert a new record, the Excel Connector for Salesforce returns into the excel file the ID of the records you just inserted. Even the Apex Data Loader doesn't do that. And for that reason, I frequently use the Excel Connector rather than the Apex Data Loader.

Its main serious short coming is that it isn't available for the mac. For a long time it wasn't supported in Vista or Excel 2007, but I think that is resolved now. 

Anyway, the Excel Connector for Salesforce.com is an awesome, free way to get any data you need imported, deleted, or updated.

If you need help with any kind of import work, in any edition of Salesforce for any kind of data, feel free to contact us through our website: www.snapptraffic.com. We'd be glad to help.