| | | |

Turning Conversations Into Action with Drift’s Marketo and Salesforce Integrations

October 17, 2018 | Andrea Lechner-Becker | 4 Comments |

Should You Read This?

If you’re a Marketo and/or Salesforce.com administrator, you may be suffering from some tech stack overwhelm. Every platform wants to integrate with these two core hubs of marketing and sales departments. If you’re exploring a new tool, it should solve a problem and it should do it well. But beyond that, it should be easy to implement and manage long-term. This is not a fluffy post, it’s a tactical one (with lots of screenshots) to share explicitly how and why you should consider adding Drift to your 1pass… everyone uses 1pass, right?

What is Drift?

Their category is “conversational marketing”. To be honest, I don’t really know what that means. If I were to describe the tool to one of my CMO friends, I’d keep it simple by saying, “Drift is a chat bot on steroids.”

The tool has a ton of features and a very aggressive development/release cycle. I wouldn’t dare to explain further here, when their website will provide better, more up-to-date information. And hey, you can CHAT with one of their reps, if you have more questions.

The Dreaded MarTech Integration

Before digging into this, I want to set the stage a bit. I see the Drift solution sitting securely between marketing and sales departments, but I’ll classify it as a Marketing Technology for ease. Anyone who has implemented MarTech before knows how hit and miss integrations can be. Some are awesome, so many others absolutely suck. Drift is in the awesome category.

Drift’s Marketo Integration

Confession: I’m a massive Marketo fan girl. I have been since I went from Eloqua to Marketo in 2011 and realized that in Marketo things don’t just break (as they did in Eloqua). It was seriously mind-blowing, and I’ve never looked back.

The Drift-Marketo integration is pretty brainless to execute. It’s a couple of clicks from Drift’s “Apps” area and you’re connected. The user interface will walk you through the steps, which again, given Drift’s speed of change, I won’t bother detailing here. Just know, it’s a 1 out of 10 in terms of difficulty.

Once you establish the connect, you have two core areas to manipulate:

  1. Synced Marketo Data
  2. Mapped Marketo Attributes
Drift Marketo Integration Screenshot

Drift Marketo Integration Screenshot

Synced Marketo Data

Within this section, you’re given three options.

  1. What data you want to push from Drift to Marketo
    1. Creation of Leads*
    2. Attach anonymous history to Marketo leads
  2. What data you want Marketo to push to Drift: The only option here is to identify Drift visitors with Marketo cookie

If you’re the type to learn through examples, I have screenshots below for how these integrations end up looking in their respective systems.

Mapped Marketo Attributes

Here, you’re mapping fields that Drift is collecting to Marketo fields. This is only necessary if you sync leads from Drift directly to Marketo.

*Gotcha Alert

If you tell Drift to sync leads to BOTH Marketo and SFDC, you will get duplicates if Marketo and SFDC are synced as well. Because Drift is essentially sending to both Marketo and SFDC simultaneously and then when Marketo and SFDC sync (likely through the every 5 minutes bulk sync), it creates a no-man’s-land-syncing-paradox, where each sync doesn‘t see the already-created lead in the other system in time to match and duplicates are created. So, for us, we just synced with SFDC and let the lead come from SFDC down to Marketo, where all the activity appends nicely. If you have any complexity around the SFDC to Marketo sync, it may make more sense to do the opposite for your business, but that will be up to your admin (who is the one reading this anyway, right?) to decide.

That’s it! Onto Salesforce…

Drift’s Salesforce Integration

Like the Marketo integration, the Salesforce integration takes about 30 seconds to complete and that’s only if you forgot your password. It’s a button click. Side note: Mad props to SFDC for making apps insanely easy to configure.

This integration gives more options as you’d probably guess, given the sales-forward nature of chat on websites. Here are the options:

Drift SFDC Integration Screenshot

SFDC Integration Screenshot

Sync Settings

The purpose of this first area is to configure all the ways leads sync to SFDC. I’m not going to write up an exhaustive SFDC configuration guide here, because most elements of the integration are very common sense and also here, but I do want to share how smart and user friendly each element of the integration is. As I’ve dug deeper into Drift, it’s become obvious just how big the platform is and how quickly they’re expanding it everyday. But I’ve also found each area to be brainlessly easy to manage and understand.

Take the syncing of leads. The screenshot below is of the expanded advanced settings, which detail how to set the lead owner.

Drift SFDC Sync Leads Screenshot

Drift SFDC Sync Leads Screenshot

How many times have you implemented a technology with an integration where you can tell no one actually thought about what the user would be looking to do? That just doesn’t seem to happen with the Drift platform. Each element is just like above, where it’s flexible enough to fit your business, but point and click enough to basically be an easy button.

Note: If you’re curious why we aren’t adding to a campaign, continue reading.


The other really cool piece of this part of the integration is your ability to send chats to SFDC as activities. You have similar options to the above in terms of activity ownership and then even being able to define the specific type of activity you’d like to create. Example below.

Mapped Salesforce Attributes: Same as Marketo (see above)

Mapped Salesforce Users

This is of course where you tell Drift which SFDC users (sales reps likely) you want to bring into Drift and also where you manage routing rules.

Send Chat Metrics to Salesforce

Remember the activities we’re creating from the setup in #1 above? Well, we can take that to the next level but including a slew of other metrics on the task. Drift allows you to push the following to the task from conversations: Request time, Start time, End time, Response time, Time to close, Visitor average response time, Visitor message count, Visitor max response time, Agent average response time, Agent message count, Agent max response time

What cool shit could you do with this data? Gamification amongst your reps for lowest response time, perhaps? Dig into what types of questions reps are taking longer to answer/having trouble answering and create content (both internal and external) around it? Oooooh to possibilities!

Salesforce Revenue Dashboard

Drift will show you how much revenue they’ve influenced. If you’re curious about how they determine such a thing, there are more details here: https://help.drift.com/article/revenue-reporting-dashboard/


As I mentioned above, for those visual learners. Here are some screenshots from a live implementation of Drift-Marketo-SFDC.

Here is how the “Attach anonymous history to Marketo leads” actually ends up looking in Marketo. Where, when you double-click into the activity detail, there’s a link right to the conversation within Drift.

Marketo Activity Detail Drift Screenshot

Marketo Activity Detail Screenshot

That’s good, but not great, because you can’t action on that data directly in Marketo, right? But wait…

That same conversation ends up looking like this in the SFDC task:

SFDC Drift Conversation Screenshot

SFDC Conversation Screenshot

And the way it all ends up looking when someone books a meeting through Drift is like this in the Marketo activity record:

Marketo Drift Activity Screenshot

Marketo Activity Screenshot

If you double click into the first line of the screenshot above, it’ll show you all the same details of the task, just like the SFDC screenshot.

Nerd Alert!

That ^^^ is really cool and provides the data needed for more advanced use cases for Drift. Essentially, because Drift is sharing all this data with SFDC (and therefore Marketo) the marketer can mine and use that data in lots of interesting ways.

For example, if I wanted to track all the times someone referenced an ABM term, I could populate an “Interested In” field on their record. All I have to do is build a Marketo campaign to look at the conversation history, like so…

ABM Example Screenshot

ABM Example Screenshot

And then, I can populate fields, group people into lists, etc.

Tips and Tricks for Drift

Marketo Programs and SFDC Campaigns

As mentioned in the SFDC integration setup, you could choose to add new people to an SFDC campaign, but, I’m a bit particular when it comes to my campaigns and corresponding Marketo programs. We have a whole infographic with our best practices regarding how to sync the two and all the little nuances associated to that sync. Check it out here.

So, instead of having Drift add people to campaigns, we add the leads to SFDC, then we sync them down to Marketo, and we have a Marketo program listening for the most recent lead source population of “Drift” and we bring them into the program. The program has three statuses: Visited (was a playbook presented to the person?); Converted (anyone who interacted with Drift); Meeting Set (anyone who books a meeting through Drift). NOTE: Visited is not currently activated and I don’t think we can see this yet.

Drift Marketo Program Screenshot

Drift Marketo Program Screenshot

Training and Enablement

The Drift team is absolutely awesome. Their onboarding and support (as a partner and a client) have left me an outspoken fan. Enough so to write this very loooooong post. However there are some nuances to be aware of:

Drift requires a CQL (Conversation Qualified Lead) in order to push certain data to SFDC. Essentially, each conversation has a quick qualification via lightening bolts.

Drift's CQL Icons

Drift’s CQL Icons

If the rep indicates that the call was junk (the red dash), then the data does NOT sync over to SFDC. That’s really great, because it protects the SFDC database.

But is it? Well, while your reps are getting the hang of Drift and creating muscle memory, they are likely to forget this rating. And then, the conversation will fail to sync.

Luckily, your admin integrations panel provides logs for both SFDC and Marketo activities and you can monitor them (daily to begin and then weekly) to ensure everything is running smoothly.


LeadMD’s been live with playbooks for a couple of weeks, but we’ve already experienced some great results. Instead of waiting for people to fill out that contact us form, we’re moving the conversations up the funnel and grabbing people earlier in the process. That’s good news for us, as our consultative sales cycle requires time and is better for our future customers when we get together earlier, rather than when core decisions regarding technology and team members have already been made.

We don’t have any revenue yet. But according to Drift’s ROI calculator:

People using Drift see an average increase of 1.5% in their visitor to lead conversion rate.


This article started aiming to prove to you why Drift is worth adding to the extremely long list of technology you’re already using in modern marketing/sales departments. I hope you’ve seen how easy the implementation is and how much data you have at your fingertips to continue the conversations that are starting earlier. Drift is one of those products that truly lives and breathes a customer-first mentality from every person with whom we’ve talked to every feature we’ve explored to every “next” feature we’ve requested, Drift is the type of technology we love working with: fast, smart and just plain better.

If you’re looking for something to add tremendous value, Drift is great. If you’re looking for something that won’t be too much effort to create and make you look like a rockstar, it’s even better. Admin on, friends!


  1. Gar Smyth on October 24, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Andrea, great post. A lot of enterprise marketers are trying to figure out how chat fits into the funnel – both the technical side and the process side. So thank you for demystifying the nuts and bolts of the technical side of the implementation. I’ve seen complex Marketo-SFDC sync issues, and in that case, the Marketo-first integration is likely the right way to go to avoid timing issues. In other cases, if you capture the email via Drift, you could trigger the contact creation in Marketo sync, whereas a meeting could sync directly to SFDC, and then back-sync to Marketo. Lots of options… and Drift is continuing to deepen these integrations.

    • Andrea Lechner-Becker Andrea Lechner-Becker on October 25, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks Gar! We are loving our Drift implementation… And working closely with the insanely talented Drift team.

  2. Nina Gonzalez on March 10, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Andrea — Have you tried to sync leads created by Drift in SFDC with anonymous data already in Marketo — to close the loop?

    • Andrea Lechner-Becker Andrea Lechner-Becker on March 27, 2019 at 8:35 am

      Hi Nina, Apologies for the delay. I was in Europe! Yup, that’s the flow I’m suggesting here. Sync the Marketo Munchkin activity to Drift (that way you get to see the people you’ve already cookied on the site) but only SYNC the new Drift leads to SFDC. =)

Leave a Comment

Want more? Here's some related content


#MAfails: New to Marketing Automation and Looking With Your Eyes Shut

My most memorable fail in the marketing automation world happened when I was still pretty...

Do You Have It? Thoughts on the "Optimism Effect"

I often wonder: is optimism an inherent, or learned skill? I hope it can be...

The Two Things Your Business Must Have to Grow

When I graduated from college way back when (can a little more than a decade...
email best practices ebook

Walking the Talk: Email Best Practices

 Here's how WE talk to OUR clients about email. (more…)
click to convert: landing page best practices

Click to Convert: All You Need to Know About Landing Pages

The only guide you need for consistently high converting landing pages. (more…)

Content Planning Checklist

Your first step in the right direction to creating high caliber content is a content...

Back to the Marketing Future: From Demand Gen to Account-Based Marketing

Great marketing doesn't require stolen uranium. And while we may not need roads where we're...
Email Subject lines ebook

Email Subject Lines: How to Write Enticing Copy that Readers Can't Resist

With the rise of digital marketing, businesses are using multiple platforms like social media and...