2013 IT Innovation Contest

A team-based contest for creative IT solutions

Campaign Data Import into Salesforce CRM

Proposal Status: 

Description of project

As UC San Francisco amplifies its message and mission in ‘leading revolutions in health’, communicators across campus are moving away from ‘spray and pray’ mass email tactics to targeted email marketing campaigns. Communications leaders on campus (University Relations, QB3, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Institute for Nursing Excellence, ITA Entrepreneurship center) have expressed enthusiasm for the adoption of a campus-wide email service provider for better email communication. The ability to import email campaigns into a customer relationship management system (CRM) is the logical next step.

To achieve truly relevant and responsive campaigns we need an ecosystem that allows for targeting emails based on custom criteria and previous email history (email was opened/not opened, etc.). That ecosystem consists of a contact management system as a central repository for an individual’s information and an email delivery system that tracks and reports campaign success.

A growing number of UCSF departments are actively using/or planning to use a Salesforce CRM as contact management system to track and report on details about their constituents.  Using the CRM campaign functionality, an email list can be created based on filtering custom criteria. The list can then be imported into an email delivery system for execution. To close the loop, campaign data can then be used to update the contact record in Salesforce allowing for better targeting for future campaigns – targeting the right communication to the right person and ultimately improving engagement.

CTSI has piloted a program to use Salesforce CRM and MailChimp to create an email delivery & feedback ecosystem. The solution includes a direct feed of completed campaign data back into the CTSI CRM both for campaign success reporting and more targeted communications. CTSI uses a MuleSoft integration platform to pass the data between MailChimp (via downloaded spreadsheet from Mailchimp) and the CRM.

CTSI chose MailChimp as their preferred email provider after an exhaustive analysis of the options taking into account factors that include pricing, reliability, clean UI, etc., however, the deliverable outlined below is not restricted to Mailchimp.


  • Email campaigns sent throughout UCSF reach thousands of people each day.  The project would be to expand the CTSI pilot to allow email campaign data integration with any existing and or new Salesforce application.
  • The deliverable for this project would be a generalized MuleSoft-based solution that provides a way for any UCSF Salesforce CRM owner to import campaign data from Mailchimp and/or a formatted spreadsheet. The data will be added to the individual contact record for reporting, analysis and future campaign needs.

    Workflow: Mailchimp data/Email Campaign data -> Formatted Excel csv -> MuleSoft -> Salesforce CRM

Impact on UCSF’s mission and/or community

The community of campus communicators and related staff, who reach hundred of thousands of people through email campaigns, has demanded both an email and content management system (See recent comments: http://bit.ly/17Y0yv1 & Communicators Network group on Chatter).

This solution would improve email campaign targeting, tracking, and reporting, which would result in improved university email communications to appropriate, targeted audiences. Importing email campaign data into the Salesforce CRM also allows users to take advantage of detailed individual data (department, title, etc.) to get a more comprehensive view of the people targeted (i.e., Advanced analytics and reporting from the integration of UCSF Salesforce CRM with an individual’s campaign history. Query: “What was the open rate of email campaign X broken down by the four schools?”)

The team/roles, % Time

CTSI-ISU partnership:

-          Nooshin Latour, Communications Manager, subject matter expert, business user 10-15%

-          Oksana Gologorskaya, PM/BA for CTSI solution 15-20%          

-          Danni Pugeda, Salesforce developer 50%

-          Kristin Chu, Salesforce Program Manager 5%



This is a great idea. I would just want to make sure that MailChip is the right choice - for us and Salesforce - if we are rolling out to all UCSF (as opposed to Hubspot or other companies who also rule this space).

Good points. This solution proposes spreadsheet import to the Salesforce CRM as well (for those who don't use Mailchimp) - since most Email Service Providers allow you to download campaign performance results into excel/csv.

I think this is a great idea to build Salesforce integration tools at the campus level since so many of us will need them. Thanks for preparing such a thoughtful proposal.


This might not have much to do with the actual merit of the proposal, but thought I would weigh in about the emphasis on "opened" emails. I would argue that just because someone technically opened an email does not mean that they read it. They may have inadvertently opened it by scrolling down their inbox. And if someone did read an email, does that mean they should not get a second email, for example, to remind them of a deadline?


I am sure that in some contexts it's important to know who "opened" an email. But I would argue that for most of us, what is even more important is the behavior of the user, that is, not only did they open the email, but did they click on anything? For newsletters, for example, that can tell us a lot about what our audiences are interested in reading.


As far as data that would be useful in a Salesforce profile, I think we'd want to capture actions such as: did the person register for an event? What newsletters do they subscribe to? etc.


Completely agree. There really isn't a 100% accurate open rate - like you mentioned, people who read emails in a preview pane (without clicking on the email or downloading images) don't count as opens. I use open rates as a general guide to measure campaign trends/patterns, etc.

We chose a few specific criteria (opens, sent, bounces, unsubscribes) for our current pilot solution to import campaign data into the Salesforce CRM, however, I'd like to emphasize that the generalizable solution for campus would allow spreadsheet import into the CRM - so those fields/data may vary based on importers' desired criteria.


While I know I am not alone, I am embarassed to divulge the mish-mash of spreadsheets and Outlook contact groups and other inadequate tools and methodologies I use to communicate with customers and constituents. I would love to see this proposal come to fruition and to be something that can be used for both small and large departments. I know next to nothing about the Salesforce CRM, but have been interested in learning more so that I could see how it might be applied to some of our activities in the Library.


Thank you for putting together this proposal to address a problem that affects so many of us.

Thanks! The advantage of the UCSF Salesforce CRM is that it has useful out-of-the-box hr data (titles, department affiliations) that wouldn't come with a completely external system. Good luck exploring what works best for your needs! *This proposal would help those who hope to import campaign history into their contacts' records once they have a Salesforce CRM in place.

This is a long overdue and extremely important effort. With more and more demands on everyone's time, the ability to send out information to targeted groups of faculty and staff has become an imperative. This proposal addresses a big chunk of the problem. It will be important to integrate it with a comprehensive communications and education campaign to guide both senders and receivers away from the "spray and pray" model. Managing opt-outs and capturing opt-ins will need particular attention. But if we all pitch in, this is one nut that I am confident we can crack in the foreseeable future (and perhaps set a model for other institutions who are struggling with the same issue.)

It sounds like the demand for a streamlined process to track and manage contacts and campaigns is quite high. I like your optimism - we'll get there! Also interesting hearing what constituent behavior, like those you and others are adding to the list (opt-ins/outs, click throughs) are see as most important. Thanks.

Selected feedback from Reviewers:

Potentially another solution in the works with UDAR; need to consider holistically.

Good to know that there's another potential solution in the work at UDAR - we will stay in the loop, can provide feedback based on our own import solution 'lessons learned.' Thanks for the update.

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