Integrating Salesforce and Google Adwords combines two of the most effective tools on the market for generating and managing leads for your business. Unfortunately for sales teams everywhere, Salesforce and Google ended their official integration earlier this year by retiring their Salesforce for Google Analytics (SFGA) product. In their announcement, Salesforce recommended a number of partners that offer third party solutions for integrating the two. Here's a closer look at why the integration of Salesforce and Google Adwords matters, and what to do if your business was affected by this change.
What was SFGA?
Salesforce is a major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. One of the hallmarks of the system is its ability to integrate with other programs and pull their data into its reporting. For example, Salesforce integrates with social media programs which allows companies to track the impact of social media marketing on their bottom line. With SFGA, users were able to see the relationship between Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and lead generation.
This informed campaign performance and development. What are your top keywords? What's your best copy? What targeting specs brought in your best customers? It also helped round out your profile of specific leads so you are able to find out what source brought them to you, information got them to take action, and the lead's complete browsing history. Not only did this integration allow for continuous refinement of campaigns for higher conversions, but it personalized and improved 1:1 selling as well.
What you need to know about SFGA retirement
Salesforce for Google Adwords (SFGA) was officially retired in May 2013. As to the "why," here's what Salesforce said in their official statement:
"Unmatched pace of innovation is one of the hallmark benefits to salesforce.com customers, and in order to continue to deliver more breakthroughs around Google AdWords, we're turning to our vibrant ecosystem of partners. We're focusing our innovation efforts around making the Salesforce CRM you love even better which is why we have decided to retire Salesforce for Google AdWords. Our AppExchange partners will provide similar offerings with additional capabilities so you can continue to realize success with Google AdWords."
As part of their announcement, Salesforce mentions that many of their app development partners will offer solutions that are designed to offer similar AdWords integration services.
What if I used the SFGA product?
If you used the SFGA product and are now trying to figure out how you've been impacted, here's a quick overview the features that were lost as a result of the product retiring.
- All ongoing lead collection data, as well as current AdWords modification, is suspended.
- Historical data is preserved: Information that's currently stored in your dashboard and reports is still available up to May 1, 2013.
- When URLs were added to SFGA, the URLs would repopulate to allow the tracking code to be added. As of right now, this has not been changed because resetting the URLs may lead to a temporary (~24 hour) reduction in ad performance.
- The scripts for Lead to Form are still functioning, but will no longer be supported.
In essence, the retirement ceased current activity but is allowing a fairly generous grace period for companies to migrate their activities in a new direction. It's unclear how long some of these factors will continue to be in place, so it's important that you find a solution that meets your company's needs and finish the migration before changes become more difficult.
Evaluating New Solutions: how to choose what's right for you
There's no single solution on the market that is the perfect replacement for SFGA. But there are a range of options that target campaigns of different sizes, specific business types, and budget levels. When considering replacement solutions, here are some factors to look at:
- Overall level of integration with Google AdWords: Is this a specialized solution or does it include Adwords integration as one feature of a bigger package? Does the level offer you enough support, or conversely are you buying a Mercedes when you'd be happy with a Ford?
- Reporting support: Does the solution allow you to run the full suite of Salesforce reports? Does it allow custom reporting? Do they offer a service to build custom reports for you if you need programming capability to support your own in-house analytics?
- Integration: Does the solution integrate seamlessly between your forms, your website, and your Salesforce account?
- Multi-channel monitoring: Does the solution allow you to monitor leads from multiple sources? How deep does the data go and how advanced are the segmentation capabilities?
- Deeper lead profiles: At what level does the solution allow you to integrate lead information and develop rich profiles? Can your sales team access historical data? What's the level of tracking that occurs prior to a registration or other conversion?
- Data migration: How easy is it to connect this solution to Salesforce and other programs/platforms you want to measure? Is there a cost or timeline to the migration? What kind of technical support do they offer?
- AdWords Improvements: Are you able to batch data to get more information about keyword, ad group, and other performance? How easy is it to reverse engineer your historical data to inform your campaign development?
- Closed Loop Analytics: Does the system you're considering offer closed loop analytics that allow you to see the systemic effects of your AdWords activities? How easy is it to track PPC lead gen to your overall marketing ROI and bottom line?
- Security: What steps has the vendor taken to protect the security of your data? What technical architecture and staff policies are in place?
- Technical support: What levels of tech support does the provider offer? What are their hours, costs, and methods of contact?
New Solutions on the Market
Let's take a closer look at the companies that Salesforce recommended in their release, what they cost (where known), and who these solutions might be right for. Our goal isn't to be comprehensive, but rather to give you enough information to get you started on the evaluation process.
It's important to note that Salesforce didn't endorse these partners: "Partner references are provided for customer's convenience purposes only. Salesforce is not affiliated with these partners, does not endorse these partners, does not guarantee the work performed by these partners, is not a party to any transaction between the customer and the partner and has no responsibility or liability for any action or inaction by the partner." Still, I feel this group represents a worthwhile selection of options to consider.
- Bizible offers a set of marketing analytics that integrates with Salesforce. The capabilities include features that provide similar insights to SFGA. Ease of use is a big selling point for this product, and it's very affordable. A range of packages are available for under $199 per month.
- Pardot is a marketing automation solution that integrates with Google Adwords natively via the Google AdWords API. It also integrates with a number of different CRM systems, including Salesforce. If you're interested in detailed Lead Reporting and ROI metrics, this can be a good solution for you. As you research, pay specific attention to the "AdWords Connector" feature. Pardot packages range from $1,000 - $3,000 per month. Add on features can drive up the price.
- Marketo is a very high end marketing automation program that is specifically designed for B2B companies. The system integrates analytics, marketing automation, content monitoring, and email marketing into a single package. One feature of the system is integration with Salesforce, helping to manage PPC campaigns and deepen lead profiles. Marketo offers packages geared toward small businesses and global enterprise scale packages. The cost ranges up to $12,000 per month and higher, depending on the specifics of the package and the number of leads being run through the system monthly.
- Hubspot is a marketing automation software solution that's geared toward small businesses. The system allows users to develop, deploy, and measure content performance through a single interface. Hubspot's major selling point is the depth of the analytics relative to the level of tech savvy required to operate it, which is quite low. One feature of Hubspot is integration with PPC campaigns and CRMs. Anecdotally, it's not as robust as the SFGA solution but can be a great choice for a more basic user. Packages start at $200 per month and range up from there.
There are a number of different solutions on the market, and each is uniquely positioned. Take the time to evaluate what your Salesforce priorities are and how your decision can support your sales team in the field. If you were impacted by the SFGA retirement, what solution are you implementing for your Google AdWords programs? Let me know how you're handling the change in the comments below!
July 2, 2013