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There are countless advantages to integrating your marketing automation tools with Salesforce. The biggest advantage is that it allows you to centralize your approach to customer relationship management.

However, with all of your customer data now in two places tied together by integration, accidental deletion or overwrites caused by end users or admins of the marketing automation tool can have unintended, even devastating consequences.

How exactly could marketing automation tools impact Salesforce data?

A few common examples we’ve heard from Salesforce admins include:

  • Setting update integration rules incorrectly, which could cause the wrong information to pass between the marketing automation tool and Salesforce.

  • Running a bulk import incorrectly, which could cause good data to be overwritten with bad data.

  • Establishing incorrect sync-list criteria, which could prevent data from syncing from the marketing automation tool to Salesforce or visa versa.


One admin we talked to learned this lesson the hard way when a bad picklist value was set up. Here’s what happened...

  1. Several hundred leads filled out a form created by a marketing automation tool to register for a webinar.

  2. After each lead filled out the form, an activity associated with a campaign was created within the marketing automation tool to follow up with each lead who filled out the form.

  3. An activity to call the leads synced to Salesforce from the marketing automation tool.

  4. Once the sales team followed up with the leads who had registered, they closed the activity in Salesforce.

  5. However, the closed activity did not sync back to the marketing automation tool due to a validation rule - a bad picklist value. And because it was a bidirectional sync, this caused the activity to reopen in Salesforce.

What did this mean for the sales team? Since the activity was reopened, they were receiving hundreds of open activities in Salesforce, which caused confusion about which leads they had already followed up with. Furthermore, the team wasted valuable time by duplicating efforts when they could’ve been chasing down new leads. Not to mention hundreds of annoyed customers who now think that everyone at the company who keeps calling them about the same webinar is incompetent.

What would a Salesforce admin’s options be in this scenario?

The first is to do nothing. Why? Because without a solution that proactively alerts them when changes to their Salesforce data occur, the admin may not even know about the issue created by the marketing automation tool in the first place. Pretty scary, right?

Next, let’s say the admin gets lucky (or maybe that’s unlucky) and some of the sales people notice the corrupted data a couple of weeks later. Even if the admin exports and stores their .CSV files weekly, he or she wouldn’t be able to completely return all of the activities to their correct statuses. Why is that? Because the Weekly Export only allows the admin to back up data once a week. Therefore, any data that was altered since the last backup, such as these activity statuses, would be permanently lost.

The only way to ensure the admin gets every one of them back would be to manually change each of the hundreds of activity statuses back to their previous values.

If the admin was ok with a partial restore and potentially losing any of the activity statuses that were updated after his or her last backup (about 1 week ago), he or she could manually restore the overwritten data back to its previous values by uploading the .CSV files with just the activity status data to the campaign. The process to recover lost data using the Weekly Export can be complicated, time-consuming, and often incomplete.

Social Image for Marketing Automation Blog Post_2-2A significantly faster and more convenient option is a third-party backup and recovery solution like OwnBackup. In the scenario above, OwnBackup’s Smart Alerts would have notified the admin of the issue the morning after the spike in activity changes occurred, and most likely before any salespeople discovered the statuses were changed. Using the Compare feature, the admin could easily review the data from the previous day’s backup with the latest backup from today side-by-side to see which statuses were changed by the bad sync. In just one click, the admin could easily return the values back to their previous settings directly from the Compare page. After restoring the changed statuses, the admin would then investigate and correct the bad picklist value that caused this problem in the first place.

Don't Learn Your Lesson The Hard Way

Salesforce recommends using a partner backup solution that can be found on the AppExchange. Salesforce emphasized this recommendation further when they recently announced that they are retiring their data recovery service later this year.

Some partner services provide a form of backup and recovery for Salesforce data. However, what makes a solution comprehensive like OwnBackup is one that has proactive Smart Alerts, intuitive data identification tools, and fast recovery times in a data loss scenario. You should also be sure that the solution meets your company’s security and compliance requirements, and provides accessible, reliable backups of all of your Salesforce data, metadata, AND attachments.

Request a Demo

You can read more here about the five things to consider when it comes to a comprehensive backup AND recovery solution. But in the meantime, just remember this: when it comes to your customer’s data—it’s always a good idea to get sales and marketing at the table together. Just make sure you save a seat for the Salesforce Admin and their Salesforce data protection expertise.