Salesforce is the most popular CRM (customer relationship management) platform in the world. As last count, the Salesforce CRM enjoyed a 20 percent market share, with more than 150,000 companies among its customers.

One of Salesforce’s best features is its ability to run business intelligence (BI) and analytics workloads to identify hidden trends and insights and make smarter decisions for your sales, marketing, and customer support teams. In many cases, you might wish to perform these analyses within Salesforce itself, supplemented with information from your data warehouse—a process known as reverse ETL.

So how can you actually go about accomplishing Salesforce reverse ETL? Below, we’ll offer 5 tips and best practices, from the data you choose to the best ETL tool for the job.

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Table of Contents

1. Select Your Data

As a CRM platform, Salesforce is intended to give businesses a customer 360 view of their audience—everything from a customer’s demographic information to their most recent purchase or visit. Even this all-encompassing view, however, can still be enhanced by data from your other systems and software.

For example, you can extract data from your ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to better understand how customers’ buying behavior intersects with your company’s logistics and inventory management. From finance and accounting to IT and human resources, many departments in your organization may hold data that is invaluable to unlocking better data-driven decisions.

2. Select Your Salesforce Reverse ETL Target

After selecting the right data from your warehouse, the next step is to understand where you plan to send it within Salesforce. Of course, Salesforce itself is equipped with cutting-edge BI and analytics functionality, helping you slice, dice, and break down your data in any way you see fit. (This is in large part thanks to Salesforce’s 2019 acquisition of Tableau, a data visualization and dashboarding tool.)

If that’s not enough for you, there’s also the Salesforce AppExchange, where you can choose from dozens of analytics plugins and integrations. For example, the InsightSquared plugin for Salesforce helps your sales professionals understand historical performance, make more accurate forecasts, and reach their monthly or annual goals.

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3. Select Your Reverse ETL Transformations

The “E” and “L” (extraction and loading) of reverse ETL have been covered in the two steps above—but what about the “T” (transformation)? At minimum, the data from your warehouse needs to be transformed to ensure that it fits the target schema of the Salesforce database where it will be stored.

Of course, fancier data transformations are possible as well. For example, “data summarization” creates new data points by performing calculations on existing information, while “data joining” connects two or more tables based on a commonly shared column. Data cleansing is also a good idea, since much of the data in your CRM becomes obsolete or out of date over time.

Related Reading :Data Transformation: Explained

4. Select Your Queries

By now, the data from your warehouse should be safe and sound within your choice of Salesforce destination. The question now becomes: how are you going to query and analyze it?

The ultimate purpose of reverse ETL is to operationalize your enterprise data, getting it in front of the people who need it and use it from day to day (rather than locked up inside the data warehouse). Think about how you can use your queries to facilitate smarter actionable insights and better inform key decision-makers through incisive reports and dashboards that cut to the heart of what they need to know.

5. Select Your Salesforce Reverse ETL Tool

While it’s theoretically possible to custom-code your own Salesforce reverse ETL pipeline, you’ll save a lot of time, money, and effort by going with a pre-built ETL tool that integrates well with your existing tech stack.

First and foremost, this means choosing a reverse ETL tool with a Salesforce connector, so you can link Salesforce with your data warehouse in just a few clicks. Since reverse ETL is all about operationalizing and democratizing your enterprise data, you should also look for an ETL tool that’s easy to use regardless of technical skill, so that non-technical employees can use it to empower themselves.

Related Reading:10 Best Salesforce ETL Tools

How Xplenty Can Help with Salesforce Reverse ETL

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Choosing the right Salesforce reverse ETL tool is a make-or-break difference for your data integration workflow. The final question to answer is: which reverse ETL tool is best for Salesforce?

If you’re looking for a powerful, feature-rich ETL and reverse ETL tool, give Xplenty a try. Xplenty is an ETL and data integration platform that makes it easy to build automated pipelines from your data sources to your cloud data warehouse (and in the opposite direction). The Xplenty platform includes more than 100 popular connectors and integrations—including Salesforce—and can be used by people of any technical skill level, thanks to its simple no-code drag-and-drop interface.

Related Reading: Pushing Data from a Data Warehouse to Salesforce

Ready to learn more about how Xplenty can help with Salesforce reverse ETL? Get in touch with our team of data experts today for a chat about your business needs and objectives, or to start your 14-day pilot of the Xplenty platform.