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  • Writer's pictureKirk Steffke

An Admin’s API Integration: External Services and Flows

An Admin's API Integration: External Services and Flows

An Admin’s Salesforce API Integration: External Services and Flows

Automation is a game-changer. Work that once required hours of manually entering data can magically appear and get updates in real-time.

As part of her client onboarding process, a wealth management advisor named Bianca enters information about client-owned real estate to calculate net worth of all assets.

The onboarding process is daunting for Bianca. In addition to entering profile information about client household and income sources, she has to manually research property values and enter the data in Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.

Luckily for Bianca, her firm is ready to update to Lightning Experience while making sweeping changes to the org. Among those upgrades is the addition of integrations for external services.

After the upgrade is complete, Salesforce Financial Services Cloud will automatically gather property value information from Zillow so Bianca and her clients can see real-time property value estimates on their dashboards.

Relaying data requests

Perhaps the unsung hero of our connected world is the Application Programming Interface (API). An API is the messenger that takes requests from users and then tells a system what the users want to do. The API then returns the responses back to the users.

Think of an API as a behind-the-scenes digital assistant that systems can use to ask each other questions and make requests to do things.

In the case of Bianca’s wealth management firm, APIs are useful to automatically populate data fields in Salesforce as they pertain to client information. Using the Zillow API, Bianca clicks a button that allows her to see the current ZestimateⓇ for her clients’ real estate assets in Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.

Building integrations in Salesforce

Seeing automatically populated Zestimates is pretty exciting for Bianca. However, her wealth management firm’s Salesforce team had behind-the-scenes work to do before she could see the update.

Here’s how Salesforce admins can use integrations for external services and flows:

Understanding Salesforce Integrations

Before you start your integration, determine which method is best for your particular project. Salesforce offers a variety of ways to integrate to external systems. Here are the most common:


  • Standard Platform APIs

  • Apex Callouts

  • Apex SOAP and REST Classes


  • Data Loader

  • Mulesoft

  • External Data Sources/Remote Objects

  • External Services


  • Workflows

  • Process Builder

  • Flows

Process Builder Overview

For a situation like the one at Bianca’s wealth management firm, the Salesforce team started with the Process Builder.

Step 1. New Process

Process Builder

Process Builder

Step 2. Choose Object and Specify When to Start the Process

Choose Object

Step 3. Define Criteria for this Action Group

Define Criteria

Set Conditions

Step 4. Select and Define Action

Select and Define Action

Launch a Flow

Flow Builder Overview

Step 1. New Flow

Flow Setup
New Flow

Step 2. Adding Actions

Adding Actions

Action Examples

Step 3. External Service Actions

Apex Action

Label and Description

External Service Actions - Input Values

Input Values

External Service Actions - Output Values

Output Values

Step 4. Update Records

Update Records

Label and Description

Finding and Updating the Account

Finding and updating records

Setting the Value(s)

Set Field Values

Using External Services with your Salesforce Org

Connecting your Salesforce org to external services exponentially enhances an already robust system. You have the power to pass information between your org to remote systems with ease.

Using external services allows you to:

  • Leverage external APIs.

  • Integrate systems with little or no coding involved.

  • Configure as a Salesforce Administrator.

Schema Definition

Schema Definition

Title and Description

Title and Description

Describing an Action

Describing an Action





Save Results

Save Results

Prerequisites for Using External Services

Authentication Providers

Some external systems require authentication to connect with your Salesforce org. For example, Google Drive integration requires the system to pass through an authentication process.

This is a declarative solution for authentication handshakes (OpenID Connect, OAuth), token management (access, refresh), and permissions.

Named Credentials

How do your Salesforce users leverage authentication providers? Named credentials may be the key. Are your credentials per user, company-wide, or anonymous? This is also similar to Google Drive integration.

Dreamforce 2019 Session

Dreamforce Session

CRM Science's Ami Assayag and Kirk Steffke presented An Admin's API Integration: External Services and Flows at Dreamforce 2019.

Contact CRM Science Salesforce Consultants

Need help with your Salesforce org? Click here to contact us.

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