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Integrating Salesforce with QuickBooks Online

Posted by on 4:27 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of our clients asked us to research the best way to integrate Salesforce with QuickBooks Online, and we thought we’d publish what we found as a blog post. The challenge for Charities is that a fundraising charity often receives payments, sometimes directly and individually, sometimes aggregated through their credit card provider, and sometimes through direct debits. Sadly, there is no magic bullet for handling all of this. QuickBooks Online will not ‘know’ about individual donations when it reconciles a single bank transaction containing multiple donations. So a custom solution is often needed. For charities who run a social business or a business-esque branch (such as the Red Cross being paid to deliver First Aid courses in a business) and issue Invoices, the options are a lot brighter. Tons of businesses have grappled with the best way to get financial data back and forth between Salesforce and QuickBooks Online, and if a charity’s business model is similar to that of a business, the integration will be easy. Trigger-based Salesforce QuickBooks Online Integration Trigger-based means that an event in Salesforce fires off an event in QuickBooks Online, or vice versa. Trigger based integration includes the widely know Zapier, which syncs all manner of programs. Zapier is powerful in that it can connect to multiple data sources, but as a result the integration isn’t as tight. Need to specify a custom field in QBO based on a custom field in Salesforce? Either tricky or impossible. Workato is another trigger based integration that talks to multiple data sources. Workato is more Salesforce-focused than Zapier, so OneSaaS is more of a shopping cart focused app, but also integrates with QuickBooks Online and Salesforce. Challenges of Trigger Based Integration What happens if you later update an Invoice in QuickBooks Online? Or mark it paid, void, or change the due date? Frustratingly, most trigger based integration is only upon record creation. It saves you effort from copying and pasting, but it usually doesn’t save you the even more laborious task of constantly checking the original source (QuickBooks Online) to see the updated status. This why we prefer what we call deeper integrations.   Deep Integrations One app that is half trigger-based and half deeper-integration is Propelware’s Autofy. We like them because they have custom Salesforce field to QuickBooks Online field integration. However, they also work with a lot of products, which makes their entire integration more powerful but each specific integration a bit less flexible. The market leader in all this is DBSync. The main challenge here is that DBSync’s tool was designed for QuickBooks Desktop, and later re-provisioned to fit into QuickBooks Online. We’ve heard reports that this makes the QuickBooks Online side a bit flaky. We’re also looking forward to the release of Breadwinner for QuickBooks Online, which (based on their Salesforce to Xero Integration) might be the strongest of the bunch.  ...

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Email Providers that Integrate with Salesforce

Posted by on 2:22 pm in Salesforce | 0 comments

Email Providers that Integrate with Salesforce

Finding the right Email Service Provider (ESPs) for your organisation can be a stressful task. With so many to choose from and many providers offering very little information it is incredibly difficult to fully understand what the pros and cons of the providers actually are. Although Groundwire is no longer around, Sam Knox from the leading nonprofit organisation has provided a great in detail comparison report of Email providers that integrate with Salesforce. Covering everything from features to pricing. If you are in the market for an ESP or just browsing around this guide will provide the perfect overview of the many services available and just how they can help you integrate with your Salesforce smoothly. If you are interested, click the link below to download the PDF copy of the guide. Email Service Providers (January 2012,...

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Replacing Salesforce for Google Adwords

Posted by on 6:19 pm in Salesforce | 2 comments

Replacing Salesforce for Google Adwords

Salesforce for Google Adwords retires on May 1st, which means a few thousand people are going to need an alternative. Here are a list of replacements for Salesforce for Google Adwords,  what they have in common, and what sets them apart. Common to All Replacements for Salesforce for Google Adwords For every Salesforce for Google Adwords replacement we looked at, there were some things in common. As far as we can see, all solutions require you to manually tag your incoming links. So Google Adwords URL’s will have to be rewritten, and query strings like utm_source=google added to all of them. Most / all solutions use the format suggested by Google URL Builder. Salesforce for Google Adwords didn’t require manual tagging and was able to use auto-tagging, but none of the replacements have this feature. The upshot is that you don’t need to open up Google Adwords API access. Also, all solutions also require you to put a few hidden fields in your Salesforce Web-to-Lead form, to track either the utm variables or other items. So you’ll have to tweak your Web-to-Lead forms, possibly with some additional javascript. And finally, you’ll have to put a tracking cookie on every page of your website – just like you had to with Salesforce for Google Adwords, or as you do for any web analytics program  such as Google Analytics. None of them, however, record the exact text of the ad – something Salesforce for Google Adwords recorded in the Task attached to the Lead. You can use utm_content to identify your ad, but that’s not going to give you the text, unless you want to have a very long query string. Alternatively, you could use ValueTrack variable, {creative} but that will give you the ad number, meaning you have to find the ad manually and match them. Daddy Analytics Daddy Analytics is our favorite replacement to Salesforce for Google Adwords, because it has a few nifty features above and beyond the rest, such as estimated GeoLocation and ISP/Company, and Daddy Analytics gives you the visitor’s Browser and Operating System. It also works with multiple forms per web page, and multiple websites. Price is $20 per user per month, with a minimum of three users. User licenses are only required for marketing users who need to see Daddy Analytics data, not for all users. Not-for-Profits get a 50% discount. Why you might not want to use it: If you have a lot of Marketing users, other solutions will be cheaper. Leads are updated with Daddy Analytics info only every 15 minutes, so if your Sales team is an agressive bunch, they won’t see the Google Adwords info. That said, they can click a button for instant update if they are impatient. Campaign Tracker Campaign Tracker is focusing on the basics – collect the five fields from the five possible utm_ variables, and insert them in Salesforce. The main reason to use campaign tracker is the low pricing – $50 per month, unlimited leads and users. Not-for-Profits get a 50% discount. It’s likely the cheapest replacement for Salesforce for Google Adwords. It looks like Campaign Tracker will work with multiple web-to-lead forms per page and multiple websites (we have not tested this feature). Why you might not want to use it: It doesn’t offer...

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Virgin Money Giving and Salesforce at London Hackathon Event in Tower 42

Posted by on 10:13 pm in Salesforce, Sync | 4 comments

Virgin Money Giving and Salesforce at London Hackathon Event in Tower 42

I had the geeky pleasure of spending part of Saturday in Tower 42, in Salesforce’s offices for a hackathon. For those not aware of this geekfest, it’s when people get together to program for the fun of it. What made this day particularly interesting is that we started working on a connector for Virgin Money Giving and Salesforce. It’s in it’s early stages, and doesn’t even work yet (you can only do so much in an afternoon) but it’s the beginnings of what could hopefully be a wonderful app to save charities tremendous amounts of time and frustration. James Melville of Tquila (who had previously constructed a similar tool for JustGiving) and Prathaban Palani of News International did the majority of the work while I tried not to get in the way. If you want to improve on the app, it’s up at Github at https://github.com/stony-tsit/UK-Fundraising-Salesforce-App/ as a public app. It’s currently GPL2, with the idea of having an open-source freely available version on GitHuB, as well as a managed package with paid...

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Understanding Agile and Salesforce Implementations – from Idealist Consulting

Posted by on 2:56 pm in Salesforce | 0 comments

Understanding Agile and Salesforce Implementations – from Idealist Consulting

Idealist Consulting, a B-Corp located in Oregon, USA, specialises in Salesforce Implementations for Non-profits. As we’re in the same space, we chat occasionally, and I wanted to highlight their recent blog post. Idealist discusses the three types of implementation methodologies, Waterfall, Agile, and Scrum, and like us, they’ve found Agile to be the best. They write: We have used each style, but the truth is roughly 80% of all projects can be facilitated in an Agile fashion and it is even more likely Agile project management will be utilized when deploying solutions in the cloud. Idealist go on to offer some great tips about how to use Agile methodology and Salesforce, I suggest you read their blog post for more great...

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Your Requirements are Rubbish – Why Requirement Gathering is a Flawed Approach

Posted by on 3:46 pm in Cloud Computing, Seminar | 0 comments

Your Requirements are Rubbish – Why Requirement Gathering is a Flawed Approach

I get more requirements documents for CRM’s than a sane man would want. This process of gathering and listing requirements is a legacy of a bygone day, when products were built from scratch, and you really could start with a blank sheet and write down everything you might want in a CRM or other software package. I’m preparing a possible speech on Cloud Computing at the Chase Exhibition for Charities, and trying to figure out how to express this. The best thing I’ve come up with is an analogy to the real world we’re already familiar with, and I’m going to write the rest of this as if it was my speech. Let’s write a requirements document for a car. But, more specifically, and to save time, let’s write the requirements limited to the windows, and further limited to the electric window mechanism, and further limited to the controls for the electric windows, and finally limited to the security model for the controls to the electric windows. Go ahead and take a minute or two to list the requirements for the security model for the electric window controls, either on paper or in your head. Proceed to the next line when you’re ready. First, a couple questions. Could you even think of a reason for a security model, or doubt that a security model exists in the cars you own? Do you think it’s likely your list is complete? How many requirements are on your list? And, what is your confidence that if someone delivered a car with your requirements for the window security model, you would actually want it and not slap your head realizing your requirements fell woefully short. OK, armed with that, let’s start with some questions to test how robust your security model is: Can the controls be operated with the key out of the ignition? (if so, any robber merely needs to press the controls with a coat hanger through the window to lower the window for easy access) Can the driver control their windows and the rest of the windows in the car? (this also requires the driver to have four physical controls within reach) Can the passengers control the driver’s window, or other passengers’ windows? (hopefully not) Can the driver optionally disable the controls of the backseat passengers, to prevent them from controlling their own windows? (this also requires a physical lock button within the driver’s reach, and out of reach of the backseat. It’s useful with children, and currently standard on many cars) What happens if the driver is trying to control another window, and the passenger is also trying to control that same window. Does it still work if they are both trying to adjust the window in the same direction? And what happens if trying to control it in the opposite direction? (the driver’s controls could supersede the backseat passengers’ control if there is a conflict of instructions) It’s a rare, rare person who can anticipate the above issues, and there are most certainly more examples than I haven’t thought about. Luckily we don’t need to. Decades of trial and error have already presented us with a near-optimal system, and all we have to do is test drive a car and voila, all of the above have been included, and are available for you to...

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Migrating Data from SQL Server to Salesforce.com using Talend – Part 1

Posted by on 2:01 pm in Cloud Computing, Data Migration, Salesforce | 4 comments

At Third Sector IT we’re often asked to migrate data from a client’s existing system to a new Salesforce.com org. Sometimes this is because they are changing databases, and need all of their old data in Salesforce. Other times, they are considering adopting Salesforce and want to use the system with their own data in it. Sometimes customers have a second databases or web service, and want a daily or near-live synchronisation between the two. If the source is something simple like an Excel spread this can often be achieved using spreadsheets, the Salesforce Data Loader and a lot of patience! When migrating from a more complex source with multiple relational tables such as Access, MySQL, or MS SQL Server, using data loader can be time consuming and error prone. This is where Talend comes to the rescue! At Third Sector IT we love Talend and use it for virtually all of our complex data migration work both in house and for clients. Here are just a few of its many advantages for this type of work: Once a Talend job is set-up you can run it as many times as you like and each run takes a matter of minutes. This allows an iterative and flexible approach to data migration projects. Talend comes with built-in connectors for pretty much any data source you can think of (including SQL Server.) Talend natively supports the Salesforce.com Bulk Data API. Talend is open source and completely free! To expand on the first bullet point, sometimes a ‘single’ migration will take dozens of migrations. A recent project we did involving an off-the-shelf database had over 50 tables and dirty data within it. After each migration, we would check with the client, ask them to clean the data based on errors, and add a few more tables and fields to the migration. Jeff Douglas wrote a great blog post on the basics of migrating data from a .csv file to Salesforce. Jeff’s post really helped me and it’s a great place to start if you’re new to Talend. My blog post today is the first in a series I’ll be writing on using Talend to migrate data to Salesforce from SQL Server. This method has a couple of advantages over using .csv files: You won’t have to prepare a new .csv file every time you want to do an upload of data. Talend will pull data directly from your SQL tables and views. You can automate the upload, so it runs nightly or even hourly Talend can retrieve schemas for objects in your SQL database and keep them in sync with your Talend job. When the series is finished your Talend job will look something like the one below (click to enlarge images). In this post I’ll cover the first section highlighted in red, creating a connection and retrieving the schema of a SQL Server data source.           Connecting to SQL Server Create a new Talend job and expand the Metada menu in the left sidebar. Right-click Db Connections and select Create connection.         Give your connection a helpful name, fill in your SQL Server credentials and hit Check. If everything’s ok click finish to create your database connection.             Retrieving...

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Salesforce Discounts for Community Interest Companies (CIC) Social Enterprises

Posted by on 11:22 am in Salesforce, Social Enterprise | 2 comments

Salesforce has always provided donated licenses and steep discounts on its software to Charities, but it has recently clarified its stance on Social Enterprises such as Community Interest Corporations (CIC), who might make a profit for their shareholders. Salesforce will provide discounted licenses to CIC’s, meaning that Salesforce’s Enterprise Licenses, which normally cost in the region of £1000 per person per annum, are discounted to approximately £250. I some cases, Salesforce might even donate the first 10 licenses to the organisation, and then discount the 11th license and onwards. While Salesforce is a compelling option for just about any organisation, the focus on lead generation, marketing, sales, and customer service is exactly the tools a CIC or Social Enterprise needs to increase it’s sales and satisfy its existing customers. To find out how to apply for discounted licenses as a Social Enterprise / CIC, or how we can help you generate more revenue and increase profits, contact us.   Fill in your details, and we’ll contact you First Name Last Name Email Phone/Mobile Organisation Interested In: Licenses for a Social EnterpriseIncreasing my CIC’s...

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Comparing Cirrus Insights vs Appirio Cloudfactor – A Review

Posted by on 2:07 pm in Cloud Computing, Google Apps, Salesforce, Sync | 0 comments

Users of Gmail and Google Apps have always needed better integration between their email and Salesforce, but unlike Outlook & Exchange users, Salesforce hasn’t built an app to facilitate connection. And we do need a tool to make the following things easier: View a contact’s Salesforce details quickly and easily, even when in the Gmail window. Create a new Salesforce Lead or Contact based on an incoming email When sending an email, create a task that associates that email with the Contact/Lead AND the relevant Case/Opportunity/Account. Luckily, two different third-party apps bring Salesforce information into the browser, allowing us to see context-relevant records all within the gmail window, without having to look someone up in Salesforce. It’s not just that the apps save time, they allow you to see information you wouldn’t have bothered to look for. We tried both, giving different users in our office one of the two integration tools. The clear winner was Cirrus Insights, and all users on Appirio requested to move over to Cirrus. For a one line summary, Cirrus is better because it’s on the sidebar and also loads faster. For further details, read on. Or, go ahead and give Cirrus Insights a try, they have 30 day full evaluation, after which you either revert to the free (but limited) version, or pay USD $9 a month. To get 20% off if you do buy, use the coupon code thirdsectorbiz http://www.cirrusinsight.com?ref=thirdsectorbiz Similarities Both apps have the same idea. For instance, if you get an email from Joe Bloggs, and Joe’s email isn’t in Salesforce, you can create Joe as a Lead or a Contact with just a few clicks. If Joe is in Salesforce, the app shows you all of Joe’s details, as well as details on Joe’s company (Account) and any Opportunities, Cases, tasks, etc. related to Joe. Finally, when you send Joe an email, you can associate that email with Joe and additionally an Account, Opportunity, etc. The apps don’t do anything magic other than save you 15-20 seconds every email, which is how long the extra clicking and copying and pasting you would have to do if you didn’t have the apps. After 100 emails, you realise the apps are doing something magic – saving you a lot of time. Appirio Cloudfactor One major difference between the two apps lies in the implementation. Appirio requires your admin to add some code to Google Apps itself, and in theory will be easier to roll out across a large number of users, as it is truly a cloud app. There’s a youtube video covering Appirio Cloudfactor Setup. We didn’t exhaustively test this on all browsers, but it worked on what we tried. It does not, sadly, work on the iPad. Appirio places the Salesforce content in the middle of the gmail window, below the incoming message, and above any reply you might write. While this is a decent placement in theory, this led our users to significant frustration. Checking Salesforce info required having to scroll up and down, whether reading an email or writing one. Cloudfactor reduces the all important vertical real-estate on your browser, which is one of the major reasons we aren’t using it. This sounds minor, but it turns out to be a huge use issue, if only because...

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Salesforce Administration and Staff Turnover at a Small Charity

Posted by on 12:11 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This blog post is from a Q&A I had with a Salesforce administrator at a small charity. She is currently the project owner, champion, and administrator, though is largely self taught in Salesforce. She asks about the pros and cons of her taking the discounted ADM 201 with Salesforce, or whether her successor should. Rachel READ Hi Stony, I was wondering if I could get some advice? I’m currently about to work on implementing our Salesforce database pretty much full time, but only until the end of December. In order to focus this time, I’m trying to get advice on how useful it would be for the organisation, both for the next few months and into the future, if I attended the the ADM course. I’ve also been asked to make some recommendations about next steps for READ after I leave; do you perhaps have any examples from organisations you have worked with about how to hand over the work I’ve done and ensure the database is as sustainable as possible? I suppose we’re looking to understand whether someone internal can pick it up or whether we might need to consider budgeting for some consultancy work going forwards. If you have any pearls of wisdom to share on the above, I’d love to hear them! Many thanks in advance, Rachel. And my answer: Stony Grunow Third Sector IT Hi Rachel I’ll answer your question on a couple different levels. In terms of pricing, Salesforce is expensive to work on, so in theory one should always think of the end benefit. Working towards increasing your book donations, or saving admin time, or increasing the number of major grants definitely has a cash-positive benefit. Spending £5k to increase revenue by £20k is an obvious win, and changes the question from one one expense to one of investment. As for what organisations need, the most important thing is having an organisation where every user likes, uses, and understands Salesforce. If just a few people don’t bother using, that bottleneck can be destructive to the others’ organisation. Along those lines, the most important thing you can do is to ensure from day one that you have a champion power user / admin who can do all the needed one-on-one mini tutoring sessions, and build reports, and help de-dupe the data. Users who get frustrated by a simple task and have no-one to ask start resenting the system. Users who are shown how to solve their problems start to like the system and their fellow power user. Not to belittle the point, but happy users and happy CRM’s go together (as do unhappy users and unhappy systems). So what your organsation needs is a power user / admin who can build reports, answer questions, and basically be there every time someone is unhappy, confused, or stuck. You can of course pay a consultant to do this, but there are two major downsides of this. First, the consultant is expensive for five minute questions – it’s just not feasible to hire them for three questions totaling 18 minutes over the day. And because of that, people will simply struggle with their problem rather than hire a consultant for a quick question, where they will happily turn to their power-user neighbor or in-house admin. Second, the consultant doesn’t know the organisation...

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