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August 31 2010

Review: ConstantContact Salesforce Integration

ConstantContact recently announced a new Salesforce integration and here is our assessment. While the integration is easy to setup and use it falls short in a few key areas. Bottom line: a bunt, not a grand slam

ConstantContact is a popular Email Service Provider which has been offering an excellent email marketing platform to retailers and non-profits alike for many years. In August 2010, they announced the release of a new Salesforce integration. While the integration is easy to setup and use, it falls short in a few key areas. Here's our review and analysis.

Watch a demo of the ConstantContact-Salesforce integration

Core Features

  • Contacts and Leads can be synced to lists in ConstantContact
  • Email opt out can be synced between both systems
  • Email campaign history can be viewed on each Contact record

Contact and Lead Sync

There are three steps required to sync your Salesforce data with ConstantContact.

  1. Contacts and Leads are mapped to fields in ConstantContact through a data mapping wizard
  2. Contact and Lead subscribers are selected in Salesforce from a list view—no more than 200 records can be selected at a time.  If your list is large (5,000+), this step would be onerous and you would repeat this step for each new list.
  3. You must then create a list in CC or add to an existing list

While technically quite easy, this design is seriously flawed because large lists would take a lot of time to move over. You can only select up to 200 Contacts per page in this type of list, meaning a list of 5,000 contacts would take at least 25 mouse-clicks to fully select!  This alone makes the ConstantContact-Salesforce integration unsuitable for use by groups with even moderately large lists.

cc-upload-screen.jpg


Viewing Campaign History

Metrics about opens, clicks, etc. is displayed on the Contact page layout in a Visualforce pagelet.  The underlying email metrics data doesn't actually exist in Salesforce but is piped in through the ConstantContact API when a Contact record is viewed. There also isn't any aggregated information about the send itself. The problem is you cannot run reports in Salesforce to tally up your email stats nor can you segment your Contacts based on opens or click-throughs.

cc-contact-detail.jpg

You certainly could perform reporting and segmentation in ConstantContact but most often your database of record will be Salesforce and it would be more helpful to slice and dice your lists with vital information from your CRM.  That's not possible with this integration.


Syncing Opt-outs

Email opt-out (unsubscribes) syncing can be scheduled, and opt-out data can go both from Salesforce to ConstantContact and vice-versa.

cc-sync.jpg

However, the only thing that appears to be synced is the Email Opt Out field (on Leads or Contacts), which means that global opt-outs would be synced, but for organizations with multiple lists/subscriptions or other profile management information, you're out of luck.


The Bottom Line

In general, we feel that this integration falls short of Groundwire's standards for a solid Salesforce/email platform integration.

In addition to a glaring UI flaw for Contact & Lead Sync, ConstantContact's Salesforce integration is missing two important elements: a way to see email metrics in Salesforce and use of Campaigns and Campaign Members. More successful integrations (e.g., ExactTarget, VerticalResponse, iContact and PredictiveResponse) will write email metrics to Campaign Members or at least roll up an activity score so that Contacts and Leads can be segmented in Salesforce. We also feel that the best point of integration is the Campaign record.

While we applaud ConstantContact's recognition that Salesforce integration is an important feature, we're sorry to report that the implemenation leaves much to be desired.  We hope to be able to report back on improvements in the near future!

HThis was in August... have you seen any improvement since then, or gotten a response from Constant Contact?
This review is terrific -- very helpful. Which email marketing program do you recommend for integration with Salesforce NPSP?
Thanks! You should take a look at a report we wrote last year which compares many service providers including several which integrate with Salesforce:

http://groundwire.org/suppo[…]vice%20Providers%202010.pdf

Which one you choose depends on your email volume, feature requirements, and budget.
Hi,

As per my exploration, we can upload the lead and contacts from salesforce to constant contact. But we don't have feature to upload constant contact mails to the salesforce. I know its possible through api programming. Can we know which API is suitable to work on it?
Thanks...
This is a fantastic review on the connector. While working with the connector, a number of things bugged me. First of all, not being able to upload >200 contacts at the time is painful, when the main reason you would use the connector is to get around the Salesforce mass emailing limitations. Secondly, if you want to use stats from constant contact for mass emailing campaigns, it makes no sense to have to click into individual lead/contact records to find out if the email was opened/clicked/forwarded. A little effort here from CC would go along way I feel.
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