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Using Web Posting

The most common Response Management function is the InsideSales.com API's ability to automatically add new records to the database via the Web.

Most organizations use Web forms to capture customer data—"Contact Us" forms, requests for pricing information, downloading a white paper, etc. InsideSales.com allows you to capture information directly from these forms, giving sales agents a huge advantage by being able to start the prospecting process immediately.

Understanding Web Forms

If you're not familiar with the basic concept of a Web POST command, functionally it gives Web servers the ability to add information to a database using a series of inputs defined within the text of a URL.

For example, if you've ever run a search on a Web site, you may have noticed that the URL often includes the data you input into the search form, something like:

http://www.somedomain.com/search?name=Jones&Phone=8015559988

It's easy to see the search parameters in the URL—"name=Jones" and "Phone=8015559988".

A Web POST command works on the same principle, only in reverse. Information gets entered into a URL string, and then sends it to a server, where the information is interpreted and "posted" to the database.

For example, if you had a Web form that captured the information

First Name:
Last Name:
Company:
Phone:
Email:

You might see a URL (web address) to "POST" that information to a database that would look something like:

https://www.somedomain.com/post/add_data/7?FirstName=John&LastName=Smith&Phone=4085553322&Company=ACME

The Web form and POST command takes the information supplied by the user, and renders the URL post string, which can be interpreted by a data server that recognizes the POST format.

Web Forms: Names vs. Variables

Sounds simple enough on the surface, right? All we need to do is create the form, and send it to the right place—the URL with the POST command attached to your InsideSales.com system.

When you create a Field Post Mapping, InsideSales.com creates a dynamic POST URL automatically. This URL can be accessed through the Map Lead Fields link in your Admin tab (Admin tab >>> Site Settings >>> Manage Fields and Labels >>> Map Leads Fields). We'll discuss this tool in more detail in just minute.

Before creating a Post Mapping, however, you'll first need to get the variable designations of each of input items contained in the form. Each field's variable name is specified in the Web form page code. The database server then uses the variable name to match information coming from a POST to the database.

Variable names often follow esoteric coding conventions. For example, if we had a field labeled "First Name," the variable designation might actually be something like "user_input_first_name" (without the quotes).

Obviously we don't want the user to see "user_input_first_name" on the actual Web page; we want them to see "First Name." However, when the data is actually sent to the server, the database field entry needs to be mapped to "user_input_first_name." That's the field's defined variable designation.

Mapping Lead Fields

The Map Lead Fields tool allows you to post Leads to InsideSales.com while making minimal changes to your existing Web forms.

The code in your company's various Web forms will already have defined all of the fields' variable designations. To keep things simple, we don't want you to have to go back and re-define all of the variable designations for every form. Instead, we'll create a field map in InsideSales.com that will automatically correlate your existing form's variable names into the appropriate object fields for database.

Ultimately the only change that will need to be made will be to update the POST URL for your InsideSales.com system. If we're successful, you should avoid having to make wholesale changes to the form code.

Web post field mappings can be accessed through:

Admin tab >>> Site Settings >>> Manage Fields and Labels >>> Map Leads Fields

When you arrive at the main screen, you'll see a list of any current Post Integrations, and their associated field mappings (if any).

For training purposes, we're going to assume you want to create a new Post Integration, and a new field mapping associated with it.

First, click Add Custom Integration Template to get started.

Setting Up Variable Designations

There's two parts to creating our form integration:

  1. First, we identify the variable designations in the Web form code, and create a simple name for them.
  2. Next, we'll link the variables in our form to the actual fields in the InsideSales.com database.
  3. Start by giving your integration a name, and setting the Input Data Method to Post in the dropdown (XML integrations will covered in a future training guide).

Now we need to actually pull up the Web form code, and start adding the variable designations with their their associated field names.

The easiest way to see the variable designations as they exist in the form is to use the View Source Code option in your Web browser. Find the code for the form, and look for the variable names.

The code for the variable names will look something like this:

<tr>
<td>First Name *</td>
<td><input name="txtFirstName" type="text" id="txtFirstName" /></td>
</tr>

Notice in the "input" line the name and id entries. Our field mapping is going to automatically apply a different id, so what we're looking for is the "name" entry: txtFirstName.

This is what we'd put in the Post Variable Name entry. Then, we'd give it a simple label in the Post Field Name: First Name, as shown.

Go through the rest of the fields in your form, and add their variable designations as appropriate. When finished, you should have a short list of variable names, and their associated simple labels.

Mapping Fields to the Variable Designations

Next, we need to now tell the database which variables should map to which fields.

Click Save, and then Done to be taken back to the main Integration screen.

Now we need to click the Add Mapping button associated with our new Integration.

The first time you create a new mapping, you'll need to give it a name and specify the owner, then click Save to unlock the actual mapping options.

When it does, you'll see a table with two columns, the first denoting the Integration Fields you named in the previous section. In the second column is the database entry contained in the actual InsideSales.com system.

Now we simply line up our entries to the most appropriate field.

Notice as well the Post URL line in the left-center of the page. This is the URL that must be placed into the Web form code on your Web site(s), for any forms that should use this particular integration.

The code might look like something this:

<form name="editPage" onSubmit="return checkForm();"
action="https://theoffice.insidesales.com/do=noauth/add_lead/8" method="post">

The number at the end of the "action," like

/add_lead/8

correlates to the integration mapping (i.e., "Integration Mapping #12").

As an example, a post string for the site "test.insidesales.com" to submit the value "98765" to the "Zip" field to the integration with the identification number of "7" would look like this:

https://test.insidesales.com/do=noauth/add_lead/7?zip=98765

Static Field Variables

In the left dropdown for Integration Field, you may notice an option for a Static Field. A static field means the value for that field will be the same for every Lead captured from the form.

This is significant because it allows Sysadmins to set certain parameters for a new Lead record when it arrives, without having to include that information in the actual Web form code. This is a great time-saving feature, because you don't have to change the code on your Web site every time you need to update a static option, like Lead Source, or Campaign assignment. Simply make the change in the Field Mapping, and all records posted using that mapping will have the right values automatically assigned.

To use a Static Field, choose the option in the left dropdown, then select the InsideSales.com Field where the value should be put.

Static Field Values

Static fields are commonly used to set specific field values such as Lead Status, Lead Source, Campaign, Rating, and so on. After setting the InsideSales.com Field in the dropdown, input the actual value into the Static Data mapping, as shown.

However, some potential Static Fields require special consideration. These are marked with a double asterisk (**).

For these fields, rather than being able to simply type in the text for the field value, you'll need to input the system ID instead, typically represented as a number.

For example, to use a static field to assign Leads to a Campaign when they post, you can't simply type in the name of the campaign for the Static Data—"Google," or "Outbound Lead Calling," for example. You need to find and input the InsideSales.com ID number for the Campaign, as listed in the system.

To find the ID number for items like Campaigns, ACDs, or Routing Rules, you'll need to visit the appropriate area of the system. To get an ACD ID number, go to the ACD Manager in the Admin tab. To get a Campaign ID number, go to the Campaigns tab.

When you click to access the appropriate item, look at URL in your browser. For example, to get a Campaign's ID number, go to the Campaigns tab, and click on the name of a Campaign. Notice the string in the URL: campaign_id=8.

This ID number is what needs to be put in the Static Field data column for your static mapping.

When you've finished adding all of the field maps, click Back, and your Web Post Integration is ready to go! We recommend testing any forms a few times just to make sure that your Web form and Post Mapping are working correctly.

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