Integrating Salesforce CRM and WordPress CMS

By | May 30, 2013 | , , , | Products and Services, User Tips and Tricks, Web Integration

molly2Imagine connecting one of the world’s most popular CMS to the world’s most popular CRM.  Turns out you can have your cake and eat it, too. We’re here to tell you about some options to harness the power of these two systems and transfer data from WordPress to Salesforce. Organizations can choose from a variety of options from free options with basic functionality to paid options with more customizability.


Free/Low-Cost Integration Products

The WordPress community is known for its talented developers willing to share their innovations including the free WordPress to Lead app and Gravity Forms to Salesforce; available in the WordPress Plug In Directory.  The applications are easy to install, easy to add to your WordPress environment and offer organizations the ability to use multiple forms on their site.  These forms don’t offer much in the way of customizability beyond choosing which fields are included and which are required, but their basic functionality works well for most organizations.  To see how this works, check out:


These apps are great for organizations looking to push simple customer data from WordPress to Salesforce as a lead. Organizations have used this to track:

  • New e-newsletter subscribers
  • Event attendees
  • Volunteer recruits

Use Case: Heartland Health Centers

Heartland Health Centers needed to track both volunteer recruits and new e-newsletter subscribers. Using the WordPress-to-Lead app, HHC transfers this information automatically. New leads are added to Salesforce, and the HHC team follows up with the leads as appropriate.

Paid Integration

Paid options such as Zapier, Snap Logic, and Click & Pledge FaaS offer much more customizability than the free options. These apps give organizations the functionality to do more than just fill out a form to enter information into Salesforce. Webhooks (basically any interactions on your website) can add information to Salesforce Leads, Contacts, Cases, Opportunities, etc. If your organization needs to import data into something other than “Leads”, a paid option is your best bet.

If your organization needs to get more specific, there are still other options for deeper integration. Organizations can use the Web services Salesforce API as well as Visualforce pages. This gives organizations the most flexibility for importing information from WordPress into Salesforce.

Paid options often require more advanced setup, so a member of your data team or an experienced consultant may need to install it.  You will also likely be able to customize the look and feel of all forms offered, which may require the services of a designer.

These paid options are great for organizations looking to push more complex customer data from WordPress to Salesforce. Organizations have used this to automatically create:

  • Contacts that are not potential sales
  • Tech support cases
  • Tasks
  • Accounts based on blog or website comments . . . and many others.

Use Case: National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)

NICHCY is the center that provides information to the nation on: disabilities in children and youth; programs and services for infants, children, and youth with disabilities; IDEA, the nation’s special education law; and research-based information on effective practices for children with disabilities.

NICHCY maintains and publishes a list of national disability organizations and publicly funded information resource centers. These organizations provide detailed information in the area of disability or health expertise.Several departments within NICHCY maintain this data. The main requirement was to have the ability to add/update the database from a central location and provide the information via NICHCY website. NICHCY also sends out paper responses to general public requesting information via Ask NICHCY online form. There is a workflow process in which paper responses are disability related information (including national organizations) is sent to the requestor.

The solution AmDee LLC presented included using Salesforce for data and WordPress to present the data on the website using the Categories in WordPress to provide better search and categorization to end-users.


Based on these requirements the following solution was proposed:

  • Create custom post types in WordPress for Salesforce Data
  • Apply tags and categories to Salesforce data in WordPress
  • Run a scheduled job for sync – sync will be unidirectional (Salesforce to WordPress) – data update will occur ONLY in Salesforce

The process for the integration:

  1. Created a custom post type with custom fields in WordPress to hold the organization data.
  2. Wrote PHP script for querying Salesforce data.
  3. Created a daily schedule job to import data from Salesforce to WordPress. Using the Salesforce Ids, we determined if the organization was updated or added. The scheduled job ran every night in order to minimize the impact on the website.
  4. Once the data was imported, organizations were assigned categories in WordPress manually.
  5. Created custom post search interface (
  6. Created CSS for displaying data in the theme.

Strategy Considerations

Before choosing a WordPress-to-Salesforce integration tool, first determine how your organization would like to use the information collected.

Some considerations for your organization:

  • How much information is essential for communications? Is it sufficient to have just the first name, last name, and email address, or do you need physical address or zip code?
  • How are new leads/contacts/opportunities handled after collection? Consider creating an automated Welcome Series for these new constituents.
  • How much form customization is required? Will a basic form suffice, or is it essential to utilize custom fonts, colors or styles?


In this constantly changing environment it is essential to connect your website to Salesforce CRM, and developers are coming up with new and exciting options for you—both free and paid. Take a good look at your organization’s needs before choosing which integration option is right for your organization, and you’ll be on your way to automated success!

Additional Resources:


Mark Becker: 
Mark founded Cathexis Partners in the fall of 2008 and is responsible for operations, sales, and client & partner relations.. Prior to that, he was the Director of IT Consulting at an event production company focused on producing nonprofit events. In his nearly five years as Director, Mark and his team supported several NPO fundraising event websites, the largest of which was Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day.

Molly Heinsler: Molly manages new client deployments, project retainers and Cathexis Partners’ business development and partner network. Prior to joining the Cathexis team, Molly worked at Salsa Labs, and as a consultant on a number of communications, events, social media, and fundraising projects for a variety of nonprofit clients.

Tim Johnson: Tim heads up our Salesforce and Luminate CRM deployment and support team. As an executive with over 15 years of top leadership experience, Tim has led business units at one of the most dynamic and successful production companies in children’s entertainment, managed projects for Fortune 500 clients, and launched new entertainment brands into the marketplace.


Amar Trivedi and Lisa Rau also contributed to this article. Amar Trivedi, is the founder of AmDee LLC, and Lisa Rau is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Confluence.