Sitecore Integration

Sitecore Integration
19th February 2020
News and Insights

Install pre-packaged Sitecore integration products with Sitecore Connectors

Sitecore Integration helps you effectively ‘plug’ additional services into your Sitecore platform. In other words, extending your Sitecore website to utilise additional services provided by other software vendors and licensed to Sitecore.

Sitecore Experience Platform provides a rich interface for easily managing content for your website. It also allows third-party services to be integrated into Sitecore via Sitecore connectors. This means that data and content can be managed in one place and can seamlessly be transferred between different business platforms.  This can be useful to track leads from a website through to a separate CRM.

There are a number of Sitecore connectors available for use and are licensed from Sitecore. It’s also possible to integrate custom third-party Sitecore connectors into the CMS, as Sitecore is infinitely flexible and developers have the ability to implement any custom API connector they choose.

Sitecore connectors

Sitecore connectors are packaged installers that can be downloaded from the Sitecore Downloads Centre. Connectors contain everything a developer needs to install, configure and connect to a specific third party service.  There are many different types of Sitecore connectors available from the Sitecore Downloads Centre at a cost, depending on the module that needs to downloaded.

Sitecore Commerce Connect

Sitecore Commerce Connect integrates the Sitecore Experience Platform with a choice of third-party back end e-commerce solutions. It’s designed to manage stock, payments and order fulfillment with the connector acting as an integration layer between the website and back end e-commerce system.  There are a number of offerings from various providers that can be plugged into Sitecore, these allow seamless management of stock and online payments. However, Sitecore Commerce Connect has been specifically designed to work within the Sitecore Experience Platform and consists of two components:

  • Connect Core Framework, which contains a number of services for tracking events and goals
  • Connect Connectors, which allow developers to create pipelines to integrate with external commerce systems. All of which take some configuration behind the scenes, but once set up these give the Sitecore developers and editors responsible for your organisation’s website, the ability to easily create a fully immersive shopping and order fulfillment experience

Sitecore Connector is licensed as a module of the Sitecore Experience Platform and can be installed following the purchase of a license key from Sitecore Sales.

Sitecore Connect for Salesforce

The Sitecore Connect for Salesforce allows you to connect Sitecore with Salesforce CRM or Salesforce Marketing Cloud.  This can sync data between Sitecore and Salesforce and can be used to track leads and contact information.  Creating a joined up experience for website visitors.

Sitecore already does a great job of visitor tracking through Sitecore xDB and Experience Analytics, but Sitecore Connect for Salesforce can be used to maintain data between your back office systems and the website.

Sitecore Connect for Salesforce Marketing Cloud – Digital Asset Management is another example of an off the shelf connector that’s available from Sitecore. Similar to Sitecore DAM, this allows you to store and retrieve digital assets from multiple sources in a central repository. Making it easy to upload and reuse images and documents across your business and more crucially make it much easier to find that perfect image for content within your website.

Sitecore Connect for Salesforce makes it possible to unify customer data between different systems. Joining forces with a Sitecore specialist agency that has lots of experience of doing this can be helpful for organisations that don’t have the resource or expertise in-house.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail and Sales

Sitecore offers a connector to allow the integration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for retail and sales purposes.  Customer data stored in Microsoft Dynamics can be read and written to from within Sitecore.  This allows for marketing data to be created or updated from a visitor’s browser behavior and makes it possible to capture additional marketing data from within the website. This allows specific marketing content to be shown to the visitor and to be utilised within the CRM.  Much like Sitecore Connect for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 connector allows complete integration between website and CRM.

Sitecore’s integration with Microsoft 365 for retail makes it possible to use gift cards, loyalty programs and order management. This enables retailers to customise the user journey map by personalising content, offers and products. Sitecore provides a number of out of the box connectors which can be installed and configured by the website developers.  The trick to capturing relevant information and providing a seamless user journey comes from experience.

Custom Sitecore connectors for seamless integration

Sitecore provide a number of connectors for integrating with the most popular and widely used CRM’s and e-commerce systems, but sometimes it’s necessary to integrate with other third-party systems not available from the Sitecore Downloads Centre and this is where custom Sitecore connectors need to be developed.

Setting up a Sitecore connector

Each Sitecore connector has various steps that need to be followed and different licensing costs associated to the software. The steps below outline what needs to be done to integrate Salesforce Marketing Cloud into an existing website running on Sitecore 9.

  • Create an account for Salesforce Marketing Cloud through your Sitecore account manager where you can then configure and create an installer package
  • Download the Sitecore Connect for Salesforce Marketing Cloud package from Sitecore development centre.
  • Install the package from the Sitecore Control Panel on the Content Management server.
  • The wizard will guide you through the steps and install the necessary Sitecore items and binaries needed to run the service.
  • Add an API integration package, this will require some developer input from both the website provider and IT support for the back office CRM to configure the API points which will then be used to seamlessly integrate the website with the back office CRM.
  • Add a SFMC Connection string to Sitecore to allow the website to communicate with Salesforce. The details created during the previous step will be needed to generate the connection string.  The website developer would simply include this within a patch file on the web server.
  • The final step is to configure the capturing of form data to transfer to Salesforce. Fortunately, Sitecore provides an easy to use interface allowing Sitecore administrators the ability to easily configure the transfer of data captured from a web form to Salesforce.  An example can be seen below.

How to configure a Sitecore form to capture CRM data

Once the connection to Salesforce CRM, Dynamics or third-party system has been set up, you will just need to add an additional custom save action in either Sitecore Forms or WFFM to push data to the CRM.  Opening up the form editor interface will show additional save actions including creating CRM accounts, contact or entity types.

Sitecore Integration

These can then be configured to map the relevant fields in the Sitecore form to the corresponding fields in Salesforce. Fortunately, this is simple, as can be seen in the following example.

Sitecore Integration

This shows that firstly the submit action will create an entity of type “Lead” in Salesforce. All the available fields to map in Salesforce are shown in the left hand column and clicking on each will allow the editor to map that field to a corresponding field in the Sitecore form from the dropdown list on the right hand column.  It’s that simple to manage.

If any further fields are added within Salesforce they will become available to add whenever the editor chooses by clicking on the ‘Add’ button on the left column.

A powerful module for seamless installation

Sitecore connectors are extremely powerful modules that can extend your Sitecore web platform and are available for download once licensed. if you can’t find a suitable connector from the Sitecore Download Centre, partnering with a specialist Sitecore agency that have a lot of experience in installing, configuring and creating custom third-party connectors will ensure to meet your needs.

Your organisation’s digital strategy and Sitecore integration

We are Kagool, a long standing Sitecore Platinum Partner with over 20 years’ experience in helping enterprise organisations achieve their digital transformation strategy goals.

We have more Technology Sitecore MVPs than any other UK agency, making us one of the most qualified digital agencies to advise and work on your Sitecore project. Having worked on hundreds of Sitecore integration projects that integrate the platform with separate CRM’s and e-commerce systems, including utilising Sitecore connectors and developing our own custom connectors to communicate with multiple systems. We are ready to find smart solutions to your complex Sitecore challenges.

To learn how to get more from your investment, contact us today. Alternatively, if your organisation’s not currently using Sitecore, why not book a demo or get in touch to learn how Sitecore can benefit you.