Salesforce Marketing Cloud is THE heart of many clients wanting to reach out to their prospects and customers, no matter which enterprise platform is used to store their contacts. The best use out of SFMC is known to benefit those who are also using Salesforce as their CRM due to various integration capabilities in sharing data. Salesforce offers multiple “cloud” flavors of their industry leading software e.g. Sales, Service, Community, Non-Profit, Education, Financial, Health etc. Apart from the “incredible” benefits provided by SFMC, one of the primary reason what makes Salesforce Marketing Cloud THE industry leading marketing platform is “Connector” which plugs-in to various clouds. Even though this is such an important piece of the puzzle, there is not much easy to understand documentation around this topic, so this blog piece is dedicated to addressing that.

Note: We will use Sales Cloud as an example here, but most of the information can be applied to other clouds as well.

What is Marketing Cloud Connector ?

It is a piece of software/app/managed package that you download from AppExchange in your Salesforce org that you would like to connect to Marketing Cloud (Note: You do NOT download anything in Marketing Cloud).

Whose job is it to configure Marketing Cloud Connector ?

Both Marketing Cloud admin & Sales Cloud admin work together to “connect the clouds” however, most of responsibilities need to be carried by CRM admin first, after which information gets passed on to Marketing Cloud admin to finish their end of setup and back. We will go over details.

Where do you get started ?

There are some prerequisites that need to be reviewed before getting started:

  • Licensing is available for Marketing Cloud & Sales cloud.
  • Contact your Account Executive to enable your instance for Marketing Cloud Connector.
  • Subscriber Key is required. (see note below)
  • Four custom tabs available in your Sales Cloud

What is Subscriber Key and Why is it required for SFMC connector ?

A little bit of history, Marketing Cloud is comprised of many existing/enhanced features and integrated apps/softwares acquired by Salesforce over the years. The most critical part of marketing cloud is Email Studio, which brings most of functionality from ExactTarget, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2013.

Back in the days, ExactTarget was “smaller” and would use “email address” as the primary key for any contacts in it’s database. As it’s platform grew, so did the marketing channels, consumer requirements and integration capabilities, especially after being part of Salesforce Ohana.

Many enterprise clients needed a way to pair multiple email addresses, phone number and other unique identifiers to be used with the same contact (for various reasons-out of scope here) and having a single email address was not enough to get a full view of a subscriber across various channels.

That’s when having another unique identifier was needed which could accommodate this requirement. That unique identifier, “Subscriber Key” essentially allows having a single identity for a subscriber who can be reached via multiple channels, multiple email addresses and/or phone number that can be utilized for SMS (Mobile Studio-a part of Marketing Cloud) in the same instance. The Subscriber Key is “Contact ID” from Sales Cloud in most instances of integration during SFMC connector.

What is the Marketing Cloud connect compatibility with Salesforce Lightening Experience ?

MC connect features only work in classic and those using Lightening will be redirected to classic when Marketing Cloud Connect tabs are clicked.

What is the latest version of Marketing Cloud connect managed package ?

This is one common area where many admins certainly made mistakes in the past as there were different versions, with different configurations, but thanks to SF, going forward, all packages will be automatically upgraded to the latest (currently version 219 as of May 2019), to ensure OAuth is used for authenticating, which is more secure & reliable way of managing access across clouds.

I hope this Q & A format provides basic information and context around Marketing Cloud Connector. We will cover setup & configurations in next series, so stay tuned …