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June 2, 2024
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A detailed guide on how to connect a banking system to Salesforce CRM

Everything you need to know about Salesforce CRM integration
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Disconnected data in banking systems is one of the top challenges for financial institutions. Statistics show that 87% of banking firms report frustration due to data issues affecting the decision-making process and operational efficiency. Integrated with core banking systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Salesforce, can address these challenges. With Salesforce Financial Services Cloud integration, banks can gain data-driven insights, personalize customer experiences, and facilitate daily operations.

Salesforce Financial Services Cloud is a flexible platform with a powerful API for seamless integration. And when it comes to guiding you through this process, you're in good hands. Noltic, a certified Salesforce partner, has extensive experience in this area. In this article, we will draw from our expertise and successful implementations to guide you through the process of connecting a banking system to Salesforce CRM.

Contact us today to unlock the full potential of your customer data and transform your financial institution.

Steps to do before connecting your banking systems to Salesforce

Step 1: Define types of banking data to be exchanged between systems

Account information:

  • Customer account numbers are unique identifiers for each customer’s accounts and are essential for tracking and managing accounts within the system.
  • Account types such as checking, savings, loans, or other types are necessary for categorizing and managing different services.
  • Account balances and available credit limits are crucial for both customers and bank management.
  • Account opening and closing dates help track account lifespan and activity.
  • Account holder information and personal details such as names, addresses, and contact information are essential for customer communication and verification.

Transaction data:

  • Transaction dates and times are essential for tracking and auditing purposes.
  • Transaction descriptions and categories help in understanding spending patterns and reporting.
  • Transaction amounts and information on deposits, withdrawals, and transfers are essential for account balance updates and financial tracking.
  • Payment methods and transfers are helpful for processing and tracking.
  • Information on transaction merchants is important for customer records and fraud detection.

Customer profiles:

  • Customer demographics, such as age, location, income level, etc., are helpful for market analysis and personalized services.
  • Banking history and product usage patterns are valuable for marketing and service improvements.
  • Customer relationship data, such as information on interactions with customer service and loan applications, is important for improving customer service.
  • Customer segmentation information based on banking behavior helps target services and products better.

Step 2: Outline data flows between systems

  • Identify data formats your core banking system can export, such as XML, CSV, or JSON. Knowing this helps in planning how data will be imported into Salesforce.
  • Check if your core banking system provides APIs for data exchange. With APIs, various software systems can communicate directly, simplifying data integration.
  • Identify banking protocols your banking system uses for data transfer, such as SOAP or REST. These protocols define the rules for how data is exchanged over networks.

Banking system integration options with Salesforce

Point-to-point integration (Custom development)

Building a custom code solution to connect Salesforce CRM for banks directly involves writing specific code tailored to your banking systems' and Salesforce's requirements. This approach allows you to develop a highly customized integration that precisely fits your needs. The process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Analyzing both systems to understand their data structures and communication protocols.
  2. Writing code to enable direct data exchange between the systems.
  3. Testing the integration thoroughly to ensure data accuracy and reliability.
  4. Maintaining the custom code with frequent updates and troubleshooting.

Pre-built connectors and middleware solutions

There are ready-made tools with user-friendly interfaces and built-in functionalities that simplify the connection between Salesforce and banking solutions. Implementing this option usually involves the following steps:

  1. Selecting a suitable connector that supports both your banking systems and Salesforce.
  2. Configuring the tool in accordance with your requirements.
  3. Testing the connection to ensure data flows correctly between systems.
  4. Relying on the provider for updates and support to reduce the need for in-house maintenance.

API-based integration

You can integrate CRM with APIs provided by your banking systems and Salesforce. To use this method, you will need to:

  1. Identify the relevant APIs offered by your banking systems and Salesforce.
  2. Write scripts or use integration platforms to facilitate data exchange between these APIs.
  3. Ensure that API calls are correctly implemented to maintain data integrity and security.
  4. Monitor and update the integration as needed to accommodate changes in API structures or requirements.

Comparison of Salesforce banking integration options

Each integration method offers unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Your choice will depend on your organization's needs, resources, and long-term integration strategy.

Salesforce integration for banks and financial institutions

How to connect a banking system with Salesforce CRM in 5 steps

1. Data mapping and standardization

This step is crucial to ensuring that information is accurately transferred between systems. Data can become misaligned without proper mapping, leading to errors and inefficiencies. 

There are several approaches to data standardization.

First, you must ensure that both systems use the same data field formats. For example, standardize date formats (e.g., YYYY-MM-DD), currency formats, and text fields. Before integration, clean your data to remove duplicates, correct errors, and ensure consistency. This might involve normalizing address formats, standardizing names, and verifying customer information. Finally, ensure that numerical data, text fields, and other data types are consistently defined across both systems.

2. Considering secure data transfer

You need to take several measures to protect sensitive banking and customer information. Encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS ensure data is securely transmitted over the network. Implement authentication security measures so only authorized systems and users can access the data. Ensure that the data transfer methods comply with relevant regulations, such as GDPR, CCPA, or PCI DSS, to avoid legal and financial penalties.

3. Testing and validation

Before fully deploying the integration, it's essential to precisely test and validate the system to ensure it functions correctly. Consider to perform the following tests:

  • Conduct tests to ensure data transfers accurately between the banking system and Salesforce. This includes verifying that all data fields are correctly mapped and transferred without errors.
  • Test all functions used in the integrated system, such as data updates, queries, and reporting.
  • Assess the system's performance to ensure it can handle the expected load without issues.
  • Perform user acceptance testing to ensure the system meets the needs and is easy to use.

4. Deployment

Deployment involves rolling out the integration to your live environment. There are two main approaches:

  • Phased rollout. Gradually deploy the integration to different segments of your organization. This allows you to manage risks and address issues in smaller, controlled stages.
  • Full Implementation. Deploy the integration across the entire organization at once. This can be faster but carries more risk, as any issues will affect the whole system simultaneously.

5. Maintenance

Ongoing supervision is necessary to ensure the integration remains functional and up-to-date. Monitor the system regularly to identify and resolve issues promptly. This includes tracking data transfer logs and system performance. Update the integration components, including any custom code, pre-built connectors, or APIs, to address security vulnerabilities and improve functionality. Continuously gather user feedback to identify improvement areas and ensure the integration meets their evolving needs. Maintain comprehensive documentation of the integration process, configurations, and any changes made. This helps in troubleshooting and future upgrades.

Technical considerations on the implementation depending on the banking system type

Core banking systems (CBS)

Most core banking systems offer APIs for data exchange. Identify the specific API versions and functionalities your CBS supports to ensure compatibility with Salesforce for banking. After reviewing the API documentation provided by your CBS, you will be able to review available endpoints, request and response formats, and rate limits.

Security is crucial in this context. Many modern APIs use OAuth for secure authorization, so ensure your integration supports OAuth flows to protect sensitive data. If your CBS uses token-based authentication, verify this and implement secure token handling practices to maintain data security.

Legacy systems

Integration with legacy systems often requires custom development or data extraction tools to bridge the gap between older systems and Salesforce CRM. This might involve writing custom scripts or using middleware to facilitate data exchange. Using ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools can automate data extraction, transformation, and loading processes.

Data mapping and standardization become even more crucial when dealing with legacy system data formats. Legacy systems often use outdated or proprietary data formats, so thorough data mapping and standardization are essential to ensure accurate and consistent data transfer. When dealing with legacy data, consider data cleansing to remove inconsistencies and errors.

Cloud-based banking systems

Cloud-based banking systems often provide pre-built connectors or integration tools that simplify the integration process with Salesforce CRM. Leveraging support from your cloud banking system vendor can help configure and deploy these connectors.

Cloud platforms offer features like data warehousing and managed APIs that can streamline data exchange. Cloud-based data warehousing solutions that aggregate and manage data from various sources before integrating with Salesforce CRM can enhance data management and reporting capabilities. Use your cloud banking system's managed APIs to facilitate seamless and secure data exchange with Salesforce.

Salesforce implementation for different banking systems

Noltic’s experience in connecting banking systems to Salesforce

At Noltic, we have deep expertise in integrating Salesforce into banking systems worldwide. Our client, a financial company in the Caribbean, provides credit history reports to banking institutions and private individuals. The client needed to optimize their process for handling credit report requests, processing data, and sending final reports. Previously, bank representatives had to manually fill out request forms, which was inconvenient and error-prone. The system required improvements to ensure data security, reduce data loss, and eliminate duplicate records.

Challenges:

  • Manual request forms were inconvenient and error-prone.
  • Data security needed enhancement.
  • Data loss and duplicate records were issues.

Solutions:

To address these challenges, we:

  • Created a secure API connection with Salesforce-based user authentication.
  • Enabled credit report requests via a simple widget click.
  • Implemented XSS and XSRF protection, secure file encoding, and decoding.
  • Added mechanisms to eliminate duplicate records.
  • Improved the notification system for real-time updates.

Results:

As a result, the client achieved a 100% successful delivery rate for customer requests, ensuring accurate data input and eliminating disruptions in incoming data feeds. The updated and reliable setup empowered customers to submit requests from their systems, fostering increased trust in our client's services and enhancing user satisfaction.

Benefits:

  • Enhanced data quality and accuracy, preventing outdated or incorrect data.
  • Improved customer communication with timely notifications.
  • Allowed access to data uploads at any time.
  • Resolved duplicate and false credits, ensuring accurate credit history representation.
  • Strengthened data integrity.

The implementation of Salesforce significantly improved the client’s operations. By resolving the issues of data security, accuracy, and customer communication, we ensured that individuals in the system have their credit history accurately represented, further enhancing data integrity and user satisfaction.

Consult with Noltic's experts in Salesforce integration.

Conclusion

The benefits of integrating your banking system with Salesforce CRM unlock numerous opportunities. By streamlining data exchange and fostering a centralized view of your customer, you can make data-driven decisions more accurately and efficiently. Improved customer insights empower you to personalize interactions, optimize product offerings, and drive superior customer experiences.

Noltic, a certified Salesforce consultant, has the expertise to guide you through the integration process. We can help you define your data exchange requirements, choose the optimal integration method, and ensure a seamless connection between your banking system and Salesforce. 

FAQs 

Do I need a specialist to integrate my banking systems with Salesforce?

While not mandatory, having a specialist can significantly benefit the integration process. Specialists possess the technical expertise to navigate the complexities of data mapping, API configuration, and ensuring a secure connection. They can also help you choose the most appropriate integration method based on your needs and data exchange requirements.

What happens to data quality during the integration process?

Data quality is a key priority for a successful integration. Specialists will define precise data cleansing and transformation steps during the planning phase. This ensures the data transferred between systems is accurate, consistent, and readily usable within Salesforce.

What factors should I consider when choosing an integration approach?

Several factors influence the choice of integration method:

  • Customization needs: A point-to-point integration might be suitable if extensive customization is required. However, pre-built connectors offer a faster, more cost-effective solution for more straightforward needs.
  • Technical expertise: API-based integration offers flexibility but necessitates technical knowledge of both Salesforce and your banking system's APIs. Pre-built connectors typically require less technical expertise.
  • Budget: Custom development is often the most expensive option, while pre-built connectors generally have lower upfront costs but may involve ongoing licensing fees.

What key metrics should I monitor to ensure the integration is functioning properly?

Monitoring key metrics is crucial to ensure the health of your integration. Here are some important metrics to consider:

  • Track the volume of data flowing between systems to identify any bottlenecks or unexpected changes.
  • Regularly verify the accuracy of the transferred data to ensure it reflects the information in your banking system.
  • Monitor error rates during data transfer to identify any potential issues with the integration.
  • Track the time it takes for data to synchronize between systems. This helps identify any performance bottlenecks that may need optimization.

By monitoring these metrics, you can proactively identify and address any issues with your Salesforce and banking system integration, ensuring a smooth flow of data and optimal performance.

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Oleksandra Petrenko
Content writer
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