February 7, 2021

The ultimate guide to Salesforce payments processing

Discover the key to efficient payment processing with our comprehensive guide to Salesforce. Streamline your transactions, enhance security, and improve customer satisfaction with expert tips and best practices.
person paying with a credit card

Overview of Salesforce payments processing

Salesforce has become the backbone of countless businesses due to its versatility and scalability. When it comes to handling payments, the platform does not disappoint. Its payment processing capabilities allow businesses to streamline transactions, track payments, and manage financial data securely. It also provides a seamless integration with a range of popular payment gateways, modernizing payment operations and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Payment processing in Salesforce essentially boils down to capturing, managing, and reconciling payments made through various channels. When you incorporate payment processing into Salesforce, you're arming your organization with the ability to handle transactions seamlessly from within your CRM – the nerve center of your customer data and interactions.

This means more than just receiving funds; it means creating invoices, tracking payments, updating customer profiles with transaction history, and having a full grasp of your financial picture without ever having to leave the Salesforce ecosystem.

Salesforce payment processing features and functionalities

Salesforce payment processing tools are quite robust. Here's a look at some key features and functionalities to expect:

  • Revenue Recognition and Reporting. With payment processing integrated into Salesforce, real-time revenue recognition becomes a feasible reality. Your finance team will have continuous insights into funds inflow, outflow, and status of every transaction. Moreover, comprehensive reporting can be automatically generated to provide executives with a dashboard view of the financial health of the business.
  • Order Management. The payment journey doesn’t start and end with the transaction – it begins with order management. Salesforce allows businesses to create, amend, and manage orders with payment milestones and fulfillment statuses, all within the CRM.
  • Customer Profiles and Payment Histories. Each customer's profile in Salesforce can be enriched with their individual payment histories. This feature provides sales and service teams with valuable information about each customer, allowing for tailored interactions and informed decision-making.
  • Refund and Dispute Management. Customer service can be enhanced further with tools for refund processing and dispute management. This ensures that all payment complexities are handled systematically and effectively, maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • PCI Compliance and Security. Maintaining Payment Card Industry compliance is non-negotiable in payment processing. Salesforce ensures the highest levels of security in handling sensitive payment data, giving your customers peace of mind and protecting your business from costly penalties.

Salesforce's ecosystem is designed with interoperability in mind, making it easy to sync with a plethora of third-party services. When it comes to payment processing, this means seamless integration with some of the most trusted and widely used payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net. Stripe's extensive set of APIs allows for deep integration, including the ability to accept a wide range of payment methods, handle subscriptions, and manage the various aspects of the payment lifecycle within Salesforce. The PayPal for Salesforce app makes it simple to process payments, manage transactions, and access detailed reporting without leaving Salesforce. With its developer-friendly platform, Authorize.Net enables high-level customization and compatibility with various payment methods, giving businesses control over how they process transactions in Salesforce.

By integrating with these gateways, businesses leveraging Salesforce can enjoy several benefits. These include simplified onboarding processes, flexibility in payment acceptance and processing, reduced risk through payment gateway security measures, and the ability to manage all payment records within the familiar Salesforce interface.

Benefits of integrating payment processing in Salesforce

  • Streamlining Business Operations: Integrating payment processing with Salesforce brings your financial workflows into the CRM you already rely on. It means that you can accept payments, manage invoices, and track sales all in one platform. No more jumping between systems, which reduces the potential for errors and saves employees time.
  • Enhancing Customer Experience: Customers want fast, secure, and simple payment options. By integrating payments directly into your Salesforce environment, you reduce the friction of the purchasing process. It can also enable you to offer new features like subscription billing and the ability for customers to manage their own payment details.
  • Improving Data Accuracy and Financial Reporting: When payment data is captured in Salesforce, reporting becomes a breeze. You'll get insights into sales performance, cash flow, and forecasting that are much quicker and with greater accuracy.
  • A 360-Degree Perspective of Your Customers: Having a single source of truth improves the clarity and effectiveness of your reports. This creates chances for contract renewals and upselling. Your staff can stay more informed and prepared to offer support by having access to your customers’ payment history and account activity in Salesforce, which should ultimately reduce churn.
  • Greater Flexibility in Payments Handling: With Salesforce payments, most users can use their preferred payment processors however best suits them. This includes using Field Service Lightning, the community for partners or clients, text messaging, over the phone, embedding payments into contracts, and much more to handle payments. These can provide clients with a seamless, fast checkout process that is tailored to their location and device.

In essence, Salesforce payments processing unifies your entire business, aligning your sales, marketing, and finance teams toward common financial objectives.

Setting up payment processing in Salesforce

The following actions are recommended for companies implementing Salesforce Payments:

  • Evaluation and Scheduling: Determine the objectives for integrating Salesforce Payments and assess the existing payment procedure.
  • Salesforce Payment Gateway Integration: The cornerstone of your payment setup is choosing the right payment gateway for your business. Assess factors such as transaction fees, supported currencies, and security features. Once you've decided, the integration usually involves installing a managed package within Salesforce.
  • Custom Configurations: Customization is key to tailoring the payment experience to your business needs. You'll want to configure options like email payment links, automatic invoice generation, and payment reminders. Don't forget the security settings—encryption is a must, as well as robust user authentication practices.
  • Integration and Testing: To make sure everything functions as planned, integrate the payment system with Salesforce and carry out extensive testing.
  • Training and Support: Provide Salesforce Payments training to the employees and put up a support mechanism for assistance and troubleshooting.
  • Go Live and Watch: Start Salesforce Payments and keep an eye on its functionality, tweaking as needed to streamline the workflow.

With the basics covered, the next steps involve fine-tuning your approach to payment processing within Salesforce.

  • Perform regular audits of your payment processes to identify areas for optimization. Additionally, stay current with updates to both the Salesforce platform and any payment processing apps you use.
  • Empower your team with the right knowledge and skills to manage and leverage the payment processing tools available. Regular training sessions and knowledge sharing can help your team make the most of payment processing features within Salesforce.
  • Define key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitor them closely. Use these metrics to continuously improve your payment processing, driving better financial performance and a superior customer experience.

By approaching Salesforce payment processing as a vital aspect of your overall business strategy, you can unlock its full potential to drive growth and success. As with any business process, the key is to begin with a strong foundation, stay informed about best practices, and remain agile in the face of change and challenges.

Best practices for Salesforce payments processing

An efficiently operating, secure, and compliant payment processing system instills confidence in both customers and employees. Now that you're set-up, it’s time to optimize your payment processing system.

Compliance is non-negotiable when dealing with customer payments. This includes adhering to PCI DSS standards and any local payment processing regulations. As the backbone of payment security measures, PCI standards are a set of security mandates and guidelines that companies must follow to:

  • reduce fraud
  • build trust with customers
  • avoid fines and penalties
  • protect your brand.

Salesforce provides tools and features to enhance the security of your payment data, but it's up to you to implement these best practices. These include but are not limited to:

  • Data Encryption in Transit and at Rest. Utilize SSL/TLS encryption for all communication between your users and Salesforce. Additionally, encrypt data at rest within the Salesforce database using tools like Shield Platform Encryption.
  • Tokenization for Data Protection. Implement a tokenization system to replace sensitive payment data with non-sensitive data, or “tokens”. This ensures that even if a security breach occurs, the actual payment information remains secure.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for Your Salesforce Environment. Establish stringent permissions and access controls within Salesforce to limit who can view, edit, or report on payment data. Utilize RBAC to grant minimum necessary access to each user, reducing the risk of data theft.
  • Regular Security Audits. Conduct regular security audits of your Salesforce instance, ensuring that you're aware of possible vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers.

Efficiency is key in any business operation, and that includes payment processing. Streamlining your payment collection process can save time and reduce errors.

  • Automate Payment Data Entry. Look into Salesforce integrations that automate the collection of payment data. Applications such as PaymentConnect can synchronize payment information directly into Salesforce, reducing the need for manual data entry.
  • Simplify the Checkout Process for Customers. A complex, multi-step checkout process can deter customers from completing their purchases. Ensure that the payment processing within your Salesforce instance is as straightforward and user-friendly as possible.
  • Salesforce Reporting and Analytics. Leverage the reporting and analytics features within Salesforce to gain a comprehensive overview of your payment data. This allows you to track payment trends, identify growth opportunities, and make data-driven decisions.

Your business may include various customer relationship models, and each may require a unique approach to payment processing. Whether it's one-time transactions, subscription models, or high-volume sales, tailor your payment process to accommodate each.

Customizing payment options for different business models

Here are two distinct instances of how firms use Salesforce-native payment solutions.

  1. SaaS companies that provide a variety of software solutions have the ability to handle subscription-based customer payments and make adjustments according to various use tiers. Within a payment processing app, subscription plans and customer data are in real-time sync. Businesses may access consumers and their subscription choices without having to flip between apps or manually transmit invoice data. It is also possible to process credit and debit cards straight from a Salesforce account. Payment information is not kept in Salesforce; instead, transaction data is linked to a customer's records via a distinct transaction record.
  2. A significant portion of rental agreements involves payment processing, from the time of sign-up to financing and billing throughout the duration of the partnership. Customers and company owners demand a faster, user-friendly process when there are significant financial transactions between parties. Businesses can examine statements and payout dates within their Salesforce system and safely and securely automate transactions by utilizing Salesforce payments capabilities. This maintains the data centralized and easily accessible.

Troubleshooting common issues

No payment processing solution is immune to issues. It's important to understand what could go wrong and how to fix it. Identify potential stumbling blocks such as failed payments, disconnects between your CRM and accounting, and errors in financial reporting. Have clear procedures in place for addressing these challenges when they arise.

  • Integration Issues: Ensure that your payment gateway is properly integrated with Salesforce. You may encounter API mismatches, incorrect field mappings, or unsupported features.
  • Security Concerns: Payment processing must be secure to protect sensitive customer information. Challenges may include inadequate encryption, compliance with security standards like PCI DSS, or insecure data storage.
  • User Errors: These can occur due to complex interfaces or unclear processes, leading to incorrect data entry or misinterpretation of payment statuses.
  • Payment Failures: Failed transactions can happen due to expired cards, insufficient funds, or network issues. Identifying the cause is important to resolve these issues effectively.
  • System Limitations: Salesforce has governor limits that can affect batch processing or real-time transactions, leading to system timeouts or errors.
  • Outdated Information: Keeping payment processing systems and information up-to-date is crucial. Failing to do so can lead to incompatibilities or missed transactions.

Resolving the challenges:

  • Thorough Testing: Before going live, conduct extensive testing of the payment integration. Use sandbox environments to simulate various scenarios and catch potential issues.
  • Enhance Security: Regularly update security protocols, use encryption for data transmission, and conduct security audits. Ensure compliance with relevant standards like PCI DSS.
  • User Training: Provide comprehensive training to users. Clear documentation and a user-friendly interface can reduce the likelihood of user errors.
  • Robust Error Handling: Implement error-handling mechanisms that can identify the reason for payment failures and provide clear instructions on how to resolve them.
  • Monitor Limits: Keep an eye on Salesforce governor limits and design your payment processing flow to work within these limits. Consider using batch processing strategically.
  • Regular Updates: Stay informed about updates to Salesforce and your payment gateway. Apply patches and updates in a timely manner to avoid system incompatibilities.
  • Customer Support: Have a responsive customer support team trained to deal with payment processing issues. Quick resolution of customer problems can prevent loss of trust and business.

Leverage the support resources available from your payment processor and the Salesforce community. Ongoing communication with support teams and participation in user groups can provide you with valuable insights and solutions to common problems.

Future trends in Salesforce payments processing

As technology advances, so does the landscape of payment processing and Salesforce integrations. Keep an eye out for innovations such as machine learning for fraud detection, blockchain for secure transactions, and the Internet of Things (IoT) for new payment channels. These technologies might not be mainstream today but are worth monitoring for future implementation.

These trends could shift the way you integrate payments into Salesforce, from the backend architecture to the customer-facing experience. Preparing now for the future will enable you to adapt quickly as new technologies reshape the payments landscape.

Viktoriia Melnychuk
Content writer
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King
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