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How Keboola benefits from using Keboola Connection — There’s no party like 3rd party

MARTIN MATĚJKA explains how Keboola uses Keboola Connection and other third-party tools to enhance their data pipelines.

Use Cases
October 21, 2022
How Keboola benefits from using Keboola Connection — There’s no party like 3rd party
MARTIN MATĚJKA explains how Keboola uses Keboola Connection and other third-party tools to enhance their data pipelines.

Oh boy, it’s been more than a year again since my last HKBFUKC article (yep, that’s a new standard abbreviation).

This is the fourth article in the series. You can always check out the first, second and third on our blog.

Again, loads of stuff has happened since the last time. I made the top 16 at the 4 Seasons MTG Legacy tournament in Bologna, I visited Lego House in Billund and I got married!

During all these events, I’ve been accompanied by my friends — my wife in Italy and Denmark plus a bunch of others at our wedding. Honestly, (almost) everything's better with friends. It's more fun and you can help each other if needed. That’s why I want to talk about how we are using third-party friends to do cool stuff with Keboola Connection.

Make It Happen

We’re using different tools to help run our company for either web analytics, CRM or email. We’re just like everybody else in that matter. If you’ve read my previous articles, you know we automate our data pipelines and processes mostly with Keboola Connection. This setup often makes sense for us (considering we know the platform inside-out — we created it!). We can use Keboola for any interaction between the tools we use. But, sometimes we don’t because the platform would be overkill for the task at hand. In such scenarios, we’re turning to Make (formerly Integromat).

So far, the most common use case for this tool is to process data provided via some kind of form. In general, we need to acquire the data upon submission, process it and distribute it to a couple of different places. I’d like to show you some examples of how we’re combining the strengths of both Make and Keboola Connection.

Website Forms

We have a bunch of forms on our website serving different purposes. I’m going to describe what’s going on behind the curtains of the Contact us form.

It’s pretty obvious what this form is for: to contact the Keboola team. The most simple way to manage data from this form would be to send the response to some generic email and let a dedicated person handle the rest.

But, we want to do more with it:

  • Acquire the information from the form.
  • Store the information in Keboola Connection for further lead processing.
  • Notify the business team via Slack so they can decide who’s best suited to handle the topic.

If we’d like to accomplish these goals strictly in Keboola Connection, we’d write a configuration of Generic Extractor, which would regularly receive data from Webflow (the tool we use for our website). Then, we would process the data via Transformation so it matches the desired output for Slack. After that, we’d write Generic Writer configuration to send data to the right Slack channel.

I’m not saying these steps are super complicated to do, but the entire process is too much hassle and takes longer than needed. It’s full of unnecessary steps and then you’re stumped with what to do after the data has been sent to Slack.

Hence why we decided to use a third-party tool Make-s sense (hilarious joke). Let’s check how Make fits into this use case. Below is the Make workflow for processing form submissions from our website:

Forms Processing - Keboola Website

To describe the steps:

  • The Webflow module listens for any form submission. When there is one, Webflow retrieves the data.
  • The router module then decides which route to take based on which form has been filled — let’s stick with “Contact us” for our example.
  • Set variables and CSV modules work together to create a CSV file with the data, which is stored in Keboola Connection Storage.
  • The Keboola module sends data to Storage, which triggers an Orchestration to process the lead (you can read more about that in The story of the Lead). Yes, there’s already a Keboola module that you can use to store data, run orchestrations, fetch data and more (our dev guys are working on the Make component too).
  • The Slack module composes the message from the form input and sends it to a dedžicated channel where it’s processed by the business team.

This whole process in Make takes 15 seconds. That’s the time between form submission and the Slack channel notification.

History

In contrast, these steps would definitely take minutes in Keboola Connection, as the platform isn’t built for these smaller tasks. But, Keboola is super great for the lead processing part, where you need to combine different data sources, add more info to a lead, decide if you want to store it as a contact in CRM instead and eventually trigger any other subsequent data pipelines. Just two good friends working together.

You can also check the Flow in Keboola Connection, which brings the whole picture together. The flow is kinda big, considering it’s amalgamating leads from multiple sources at the same time:

IR L2 - Sales & Marketing Output - Flows

External Leads

For a different type of scenario, I’d like to show an example where Keboola Connection is completely omitted in the initial process (whaaaat?!). This process is actually something I’m currently working on. However, with pre-production tests behind us, I’m quite confident sharing it with you.

Our sales team is utilizing one external partner for acquiring cold leads and setting up meetings where our team can take over and present our awesome product. But, the “data process” around the use case is just terrible:

  • The partner contacts the lead and arranges a meeting between the lead and our representative.
  • The partner sends the lead information by email to the selected salesperson.
  • The salesperson then creates an invitation for the lead based on the email.
  • Ideally, they store the lead and meeting information in Salesloft (a tool used by our sales team). In reality, salespeople are either too busy or too lazy, so this step is being missed. You can’t blame them — it’s just stupid extra work.

I’ve been wondering how to make this process easier for them. Below is the Make scenario I’ve prepared.

WHAM Leads_ Lead2Salesloft -_ Call Invitation
  • The typeform module watches submissions of a form I’ve prepared. The partner can easily insert necessary information about the lead and meeting into the form in a standardized structure.
  • The router module decides which path to take based on the categories the sales representative selected in the form.
  • The HTTP module creates the lead in Salesloft via API if it doesn’t already exist (similar to our Generic Writer, which you can use when there is no dedicated component).
  • A Google Calendar module creates an event in the representative's calendar and invites the lead.
  • The Slack module notifies a particular representative in a dedicated channel (you’ve probably already figured out that we like Slack notifications).
  • The only thing that needs to be done manually by the representative is to go to the calendar event and click the Salesloft button there, syncing the event with the platform. Unfortunately, this feature is managed by a Salesloft extension, so you can’t automate it via the Google Calendar module.

Of course, the leads are then synced to our CRM and grabbed by Keboola Connection later on for all the other shenanigans we do with such data, so Keboola isn’t completely left out :)

The Future

As you know by now, the ideas in my blog posts are by no means final solutions. We’re always building on them. In the future, I’m pretty sure we’ll use Make or other third-party tools to enhance our current data pipelines and come up with more cool solutions.

I urge you to always try to find the right tool for the task at hand (and if you think Keboola is the one, you can try it for free, today).

And, never forget that with good friends there’s always a good party!

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