Combine the power of Salesforce and ActiveCampaign

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May 17, 2019


Everyone likes to work with the best apps. For example, marketing teams want to use ActiveCampaign and sales teams love Salesforce. Each app has their specific qualities that work well for those teams. Even though both platforms share CRM capabilities, ActiveCampaign provides complete marketing automation at a reasonable cost, while Salesforce’s overal CRM capabilities are undisputed. PieSync can integrate these apps so that together they form a killer lead gen stack.

If you haven’t done so already, setting up a new PieSync account is super easy. After you’ve authorized both Salesforce and ActiveCampaign, you’ll be greeted by sync rules.

Rules and mappings for Salesforce and ActiveCampaign

Every sync in PieSync is a combination of rules and a series of mappings. They both control the dynamics of the sync.

  • Rules let you define how you want your two databases to talk to one another.
  • Mappings show how the information flows across.

In this article, we will show a couple of ways to craft rules and mappings to let ActiveCampaign and Salesforce truly work in tandem.


Sending new ActiveCampaign subscribers into Salesforce

Contacts that are subscribed in ActiveCampaign will seamlessly sync with your Salesforce database. Not only will contacts be created or kept in sync with existing data in Salesforce, but it will also update a critical attribute on those contacts inside Salesforce: the opt-in/opt-out switch. This registers whether or not your contact opted in for marketing.

If you don’t want to create new contacts, but only want to update existing contacts, check out this article.

Since you’re using ActiveCampaign to register opt-in/opt-out, you are probably not even using the “Email opt out” value in Salesforce. But through PieSync, you can easily have ActiveCampaign control that toggle. No more excuses. You cannot exclusively store marketing preferences in your ActiveCampaign silo, they need to sync to Salesforce too. Here’s the rule you need:

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This rule would also work if it’s not the default opt-out field you are using, but rather a custom field in Salesforce.

Sync more than just contact information

How the data will be exchanged between Salesforce and ActiveCampaign is nothing to worry about: PieSync ensures that no data gets lost in the sync. On the contrary, most of the default contact data is mutually enriched, leaving you in full control with custom mappings.

Mapping Salesforce fields to ActiveCampaign fields will allow you to leverage live CRM data in your ActiveCampaign mailings. In addition, data you are capturing through ActiveCampaign landing pages can now be sent directly into existing or newly created custom fields in your CRM.

Consider the following example, where not only the standard contact fields are being exchanged, but several proprietary ActiveCampaign fields are being mapped with Salesforce fields:


Once the sync runs, it will keep up with changes on both sides every 5 minutes.

Did you know? You can run a test sync on a limited set of contacts.

Sync these two apps

Leads converting into contacts

If you are using Salesforce to its full potential, your sales flow sees leads convert into opportunities and sales contacts.

This process is important to keep in mind while you are setting up your sync with ActiveCampaign. Salesforce has two separate databases: one for leads and one for contacts. In contrast, ActiveCampaign just has one single contacts database that would store leads as well as contacts.

It’s likely that you want both Salesforce databases to stay in sync with ActiveCampaign. To do this you need to set up two syncs that stay out of each other’s way. Not setting up these rules correctly would cause already converted contacts to be recreated as leads in Salesforce.

How this will exactly play out is going to be different for each business, but the following two examples of a leads sync and a contact sync illustrate the logic.

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Leads only sync when they are tagged “Lead”. This tag can be applied automatically in an automation. When leads are added in Salesforce directly, they sync into ActiveCampaign but not without attaching the same “Lead” tag.

The active undo-toggle will automatically take away the tag as soon as the leads are converted to a sales opportunity, preventing the leads from syncing back into Salesforce.

In short, ActiveCampaign now knows how to distinguish “Leads” from converted “Contacts”.

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Contacts sync from Salesforce into ActiveCampaign, but with a rule to ensure that contacts are tagged accordingly in ActiveCampaign. This also prevents contacts from leaking back into Salesforce as leads.

A contact in Salesforce should no longer be labeled as a “Lead” in ActiveCampaign, so this rule makes sure that this doesn’t happen.

These two examples show contacts carrying “Lead” and “Contact” tags in ActiveCampaign, but you can also set up these syncs based on lists or even custom fields that you set up in ActiveCampaign.

Clever filters to keep the contact count down

Filters can keep your contact count down. If what you want from a sync is to get leads to be called in Salesforce, maybe you don’t need to sync all contacts, but only those that have an actual phone number filled out in ActiveCampaign. This example rule shows how to only sync the contacts whose phone number is filled in.


If you want to be careful not to inadvertently create leads or contacts in Salesforce, make sure to include a filter that blocks contacts from being created altogether. In the following rule, the opt-out toggle will only be changed for contacts that already existed.

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Personalize emails by including sales contacts

In Salesforce, each contact would come with its respective owner. From a customer’s perspective, that could be their trusty sales contact. In ActiveCampaign, there is no such notion of an owner. With Piesync, it is a piece of cake to send the owner across to ActiveCampaign. The field “contact owner” in the example below is a custom text field that was created to store exactly this piece of information.

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Enriched UTM tracking

Attribution is an ActiveCampaign feature that allows you to measure conversions and the touchpoints leading up to a conversion. If you have this option activated, you unlock some extra fields in your contacts database. Using the field mapping inside PieSync, you can easily have this synced across to Salesforce.

You can add field mappings that cater to your own needs. The only thing you need to do in advance is to make custom fields in your Salesforce account to store these respective UTMs. This is a perfect use case for a two-way sync, since it may well be possible to now directly populate the UTM values within Salesforce too, since those leads that aren’t necessarily active in ActiveCampaign’s tracking. Two-way enrichment of these values is a solution to this.

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GDPR compliance

GDPR makes a lot of sense, but it’s hard to stay compliant if your customer data is all over the place. Using PieSync is actually perfect to ensure GDPR compliance:

  • With PieSync, you treat your customer’s contact data with respect. You are keeping the customer’s details consistent regardless of the app it is in. When a customer says he wants to receive X & Y newsletters, but not Z, PieSync will make sure every app knows.
  • Under GDPR, your customers have the right to change their own contact information at any time. And they actually can! On an ActiveCampaign landing page you can include a form to allow customers to change their contact information. With PieSync, those changes will be reflected in Salesforce too.
  • When customers want to get out, let them get out. Storing marketing opt-in preferences makes sense on the CRM level. Here’s one rule which creates an easy way to immediately unsubscribe any contact from any future correspondence.

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Learn more about syncing Salesforce and ActiveCampaign. If you still have questions, let us know!

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About Frans Leys

Frans helps various companies set up their data syncs, collecting all kinds of customer feedback to drive the PieSync platform forward. He started his career in corporate finance and switched four years ago to work with exciting software startups as a solutions engineer for SMEs.