top of page
Not A Subscriber?

Join 2,000+ subscribers to the MinuteAdmin Newsletter. Every Friday morning, you'll get actionable tips to grow and thrive in Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Marketing Cloud Connect (15 Step Guide)

Why I made this guide (What you’ll learn)

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to set up Marketing Cloud Connect.

There’s not a lot of material online and the information that is online doesn't make much sense to anyone.

So I made this article to break things down into really simple terms.

Some terms I use in this article:

  • MC = Marketing Cloud

  • SF = Salesforce

  • MC Connect = Marketing Cloud Connect

  • CRM = Customer Relationship Management

  • CRM Data = Customer Data (i.e. - information about a customer, like First Name, Address, Email, etc…)


How to use this article (Read Article + Watch Videos)

Almost every step of the setup section of this article has a video that goes with it.

So if you don’t understand what you’re reading, just watch the YouTube video that goes with the step you’re learning about.

With that said, let’s get going!


What is Marketing Cloud Connect?

MC Connect is designed for companies to connect their Sales Cloud / Service Cloud, or Commerce Cloud to Marketing Cloud.

Why do companies want to do that? Because companies hold CRM data in Sales, Service, or Commerce Cloud and then they use the power of Marketing Automation in Marketing Cloud to send marketing campaigns to get customers to purchase more of their products or services.

One system (Sales / Service Cloud) is used for storing customer data, and the other system (Marketing Cloud) is used to create really cool and custom emails, text messages, mobile app messages, and send them to your customers automatically based on the data you’re storing about them.


How will MC Connect make you more money?

The cool thing is that most BIG companies are using Sales or Service Cloud, so naturally, they’re probably using Marketing Cloud.

And if they’re not already using Marketing Cloud, then they will switch over soon.

It’s like having an iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple headphones, but not a Mac.

Eventually, almost everyone switches over to get the Mac because of 2 reasons.

  1. The systems talk to each other easier.

  2. And Brand loyalty.

People aren’t that complicated, and neither are the managers and decision-makers at major companies.


The demand for MC Connect

The reason this is important is because if you know how to implement and use Marketing Cloud Connect, you’ll be in demand at companies that already use Sales / Service / Marketing Cloud.

You’ll be in demand in the future as companies start to switch their marketing automation over to Marketing Cloud.

It’s a win-win situation to be in because the demand won’t be going away any time soon.


Different Parts of MC Connect

Before we set up MC Connect, make sure you know a few things about it.

  • Your MC account has to be enabled to use MC Connect before implementing things.

  • Subscriber Key is required for MC Connect. If it is not enabled in your MC account, complete a Subscriber Key Migration before connecting things.

  • Make sure that four custom tabs are available in your Salesforce org.

  • To use most MC Connect features, your users need a Marketing Cloud license and a Sales or Service Cloud license.

  • MC Connect only runs in Salesforce Classic when you’re on the Sales Cloud / Service Cloud side of things.

Now that we know some prerequisites, let’s get into the KEY things you need to know before doing the 15 step implementation process.


Connected App Authentication (Most important part of the connection)

Probably the most important piece of any Marketing Cloud Connect setup.

This is how Sales and Service Cloud talks to Marketing Cloud.

Without Connected App Authentication setup, data can’t flow back and forth between the 2 systems.

The Connected App Authentication allows you to authenticate Sales Cloud or Service Cloud / and Marketing Cloud without making you store Sales or Service Cloud passwords in Marketing Cloud.

Connected App Authentication also prevents SOAP and REST API calls made by Marketing Cloud Connect from counting against your rolling 24-hour limit. (This is a big deal when you have a lot of email tracking data coming from MC into Salesforce).


Scope by User vs Non Scope by User

The next important thing to know before setting up MC Connect is the type of data access you can give your Salesforce users.

If you have Org Wide Defaults set to “Private” in Sales or Service Cloud, then when someone is looking at a report, they can only see the records they own or have access to through roles / sharing rules / teams.

If you do have org wide defaults set to private, then you’ll want to choose “Scope by User” because it let’s your users send a Marketing Cloud email to only the people they have access to in Salesforce reports.

If you have your org wide defaults set to “Public Read Write”, then you can choose “Non Scope By User” because in Salesforce your users already have access to everyone’s records.

So when a user makes a report and wants to send a Marketing Cloud email to those people, they send it to everyone in the report.

Look over Scope by User vs Non Scope by User to decide which one your company thinks is best to use.


Salesforce Objects that you can send to with Marketing Cloud Connect

The 3rd thing to know before setting up and / or using MC Connect is which objects you can send emails to in Sales or Service Cloud.

These are the Salesforce objects you can send Marketing Cloud messages to:

  • Lead

  • Contact

  • Person Account

  • Campaign

  • Report


MC Connect User Types

The 4th important thing to know before using MC Connect is the different user types available in MC Connect. These are crucial to know for 3 reasons:

  1. For proper setup of MC Connect

  2. To troubleshoot MC Connect issues if they come up at work

It’s important to know the different roles in MC Connect and the level of access each one has.

Arguably the 2 most important roles below are the MC Connect API User and the SF System User.

If you don’t set these 2 roles up the correct way, then the whole connection is off.

So make sure you pay attention to details when you set these two users up.

Also, understand something very important.

These 2 users, (MC API User and SF System User) should not be real people.

People shouldn’t be logging in as them.

You should set them up for this integration and not be continuously logging in as them in the future unless you’re troubleshooting the connection.

You should set them up as users in Sales and Marketing Cloud just like you would normally create a user.

Then put in your email address for them so you can get notifications and password resets when it’s necessary. (Or put in a shared email address).

They should both have Full System Admin access when you set them up.

Those are very important things to know when you’re setting these 2 users up.

Just remember, pay close attention to the process when you’re setting them up.

These 2 users plus the Connected App Authentication is how Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud are going to talk to each other.

You don’t want to mess this part up.

Also, here are the roles to know well, read more about them here.

  1. MC Administrator

  2. MC Connect Admin

  3. MC Connect User

  4. MC Connect API User

  5. SF System User

  6. SF Administrator


Marketing Cloud Connect (15 Steps)

Now it’s time to set up Marketing Cloud Connect.

Remember, every step of the setup can be watched in my MC Connect YouTube playlist here.

Now let’s get into what you’ve been waiting for!


Step 1 - Understand User Types

Make sure you really know the different types of Marketing Cloud Connect users before setting anything up.

Get a good understanding of the roles and permissions that each user should have when you’re configuring the MC Connector.

Don’t forget about that valuable MC API User and SF System User.


Step 2 - Choose User Data Access (Scope vs Non Scope)

Choose the correct user data access you want your Salesforce users to have when they’re sending emails to people in Sales or Service Cloud.

Remember, Scope vs Non Scope by User should be based on your Org Wide Defaults in Salesforce.


Step 3 - Download & Install MC Connect Managed Package

This is probably the easiest step of them all. All you have to do is go to this Salesforce help webpage and download the MC Connect Managed Package into your Salesforce org.

This is the same process you would do if you were to download an AppExchange managed package from the AppExchange store.

The only difference is that you can’t download the MC Connect Managed Package from AppExchange. You can only download it on this Salesforce help page.


Step 4 - Apply Admin Permissions in MC Connect

Now it’s time to give admin permissions to the MC Connect Admin user. These permissions allow the Sales or Service Cloud Admin to set up MC Connect right within Sales or Service Cloud.

Add the Marketing Cloud for AppExchange User permission to the User Page Layout.

Add the Marketing Cloud for AppExchange Admin permission to the User Page Layout.

Give the Salesforce System Admin both permissions on his or her user page layout, then click save.


Step 5 - Create System User

System user Purpose #1:

The System User completes the account-level connection between Marketing Cloud and Sales or Service Clouds

System user Purpose #2:

The System User is the primary mechanism for making Marketing Cloud tracking data available in CRM

System user Purpose #3:

Used exclusively to send to Salesforce Reports / Campaigns from Marketing Cloud in non-scope-by-user accounts.


Step 6 - Connect the 2 clouds using Email Studio

Now it's time to go into Marketing Cloud and integrate the 2 clouds from the Marketing Cloud side.

Here’s the step by step process:

  1. Click Salesforce Integration

  2. Select Scope by User if applicable for your data access configuration

  3. Create System User

  4. If prompted, click Upgrade to Connected App

  5. Click Connect Account

YouTube Video


Step 7 - Create the MC API User

Remember, this is one of the most important users you’re going to set up. The other important user is the Salesforce System User.

Without these users (Plus the Connected App Authentication), Marketing Cloud and Sales / Service Cloud can’t talk to each other.

The MC API User is a unique user that connects to the Salesforce System User in Marketing Cloud Connect Setup.

Right now all you’re doing is creating a new user in Marketing Cloud.

Remember that this user is just a system user and in the future you won’t be logging in as this user unless you need to troubleshoot or fix the MC connection.

Give this MC API User your email address or a shared email address so other Marketing Cloud Admins can fix things (If necessary) in the future.

A good reason to use a shared email address for the MC API User is because you might go on vacation and not be working if/when something goes wrong.

It would be best if someone else could fix things while you’re sipping Pina Coladas and Margaritas with your toes in the warm ocean water.


Step 8 - Connect The MC API user and the Salesforce System User

Here’s the reason we need to connect these 2 system users:

To push tracking data from Marketing Cloud into Sales or Service Cloud.


Step 9 - Assign Business Units to MC API User

Business Units in Marketing Cloud can hold different customer data and can be used to message specific customers.

Certain Business Units can be connected to Sales / Service Cloud.

The level of access that your MC API User has to Business Units is what determines the level of access your Salesforce Users have in Sales / Service Cloud.

For Example, if your MC API User has access to every business unit in Marketing Cloud, then your SF System User has access to all business units in Sales Cloud or Service Cloud.

If your MC API User only has access to 2 business units, then the Salesforce System user in your Salesforce org will only have access to 2 business units.

The access that the SF System User has determines the level of access that everyone else in Salesforce has.


Step 10 - Set up Connected App Authentication

When you have Connected App Authentication setup, remember that you don’t need to store Sales or Service Cloud passwords in Marketing Cloud

This prevents SOAP and REST API calls made by Marketing Cloud Connect from counting against your rolling 24-hour limit.

You’ll need to create a Permission set for this to work.

Give the Permission set to the SF System User.

Connect to Marketing Cloud in the "Marketing Cloud" tab in Salesforce

Enter the username and password for the MC Connect API User & Login.


Step 11 - Update Field Level Security

This is a really quick step you need to do so you remain in compliance with CAN-SPAM laws and can opt people out of emails when they ask not to be sent any more emails.

Make the email opt-out field visible on leads and contacts.


Step 12 - Update Page Layouts

Add ContactActions from the Visualforce Pages section

Add "Email Sends" and "Individual Email Results" from the Related Lists section to the correct Contact page layout

Add LeadActions from the Visualforce Pages section

Add "Email Sends" and "Individual Email Results" from the Related Lists section to the correct Lead page layout


Step 13 - Launch The Setup Wizard

The Setup Wizard is where things start to really come together and the connection really starts to form.

Launch the setup wizard in Salesforce Classic UI

The setup wizard automatically adds and creates:

  1. Required IP addresses to the allowlist

  2. Required workflows

  3. New permission sets


Step 14 - Connect to Marketing Cloud

Make sure you’re logged into Marketing Cloud as the MC API User for this step.

From Salaesforce in the “Marketing Cloud” tab, you’ll connect the SF System User to the MC API User.

The Salesforce Admin connects Sales or Service Cloud with Marketing Cloud using the MC API User credentials.


Step 15 - Manage / Integrate MC Users to Salesforce

Go to the Marketing Cloud user you want to connect and click "Integrate"

Select the following permissions for each user that you want to Integrate:

  1. Content Creator

  2. Data Manager

  3. Marketing Cloud Content Editor/Publisher

Go to the Marketing Cloud Tab in Salesforce and follow the instructions:

  1. Click "Configure MC Connector"

  2. Click "Manage Users"

  3. Select the right users


An Entire Walkthrough of Marketing Cloud Connect

  1. Marketing Cloud Connect (Part 1)

  2. Marketing Cloud Connect (Part 2)

  3. Marketing Cloud Connect (Part 3)



My Advice BEFORE setting up Marketing Cloud Connect:

  1. Read through this article twice

  2. Watch the YouTube videos twice

  3. Read through the official Salesforce MC Connect Documentation AT LEAST once.

Now that you have all this info and can set up Marketing Cloud Connect, share this with anyone that needs it and give feedback on how I can make this article better in the future!

Happy Connecting!

If you’re interested in kickstarting your career in Marketing Cloud, take the FREE 3 Day Marketing Cloud challenge.

To see real world Marketing Cloud projects and study for MC exams, join the Marketing Cloud Career Development Program!


Helpful Resources / Links


When You're Ready,
Here's How I Can Help

3 Day Challenge

Goals are important. If you want help reverse engineering Marketing Cloud success into bite-size goals and tasks - start the 3 day challenge for free.

Screenshot 2023-11-05 at 23.12.43.png