"Sync with Marketo" mysteries part 2

This post it to elaborate some strategies to handle the "sync with Marketo", based on the findings we had on how this field really work ("Sync with Marketo" mysteries part 1​)

If you want to prevent some leads to be sync'ed to Marketo from the early beginning

Just set the "Sync with Marketo" to False in SFDC before enabling the sync. In the initial sync process, stop at the field mapping step, ask Support to enable the filter and, when it's done, complete the sync.

If you want to progressively expand the set of contacts and leads to be sync'ed

This may be needed for a progressive roll out in large orgs.

Start with disabling ("Sync with Marketo" = False) for everything in SFDC and progressively set the "Sync with Marketo" field to True for the BU's or geographies you want to activate.

If you want to deactivate the sync on some existing and already sync'ed leads / contacts before deleting them in Marketo

From our findings, the first way you should consider to set this up is to stop the sync FROM Marketo. Unchecking the "sync with Marketo" will propagate to SFDC at next sync, and from there, the sync will stop. So the smart campaign to set up to do this is:

  • Trigger: whatever event that should cause to stop syncing
  • Flow :
    • Change data value. Attribute = "Sync with Marketo", New value=False
    • Sync to SFDC
    • Delete lead

The "sync with SFDC" flow step is not mandatory, you may just rely on the automatic sync to happen. Still, having this step in the flow enables to make sure that the sync has occurred before deleting the lead. If you do not use a "Sync to SFDC" step, insert a "wait 1 hour" instead.

If for various reasons, you do not want to use Marketo to stop the sync but you want to do it in SFDC, then use a time based workflow so that the "sync" field is not unchecked immediately. This will leave time for the other value changes to be propagated to Marketo, where you will be able to use these value changes to ultimately delete the lead, after another wait of 2 hours.

T0Lead/contact values are edited and trigger a Time based workflow for 1 hour
T0+5mnOn sync, the values are also changed in Marketo to reflect the changes from SFDC. Trigger a smart campaign to delete the lead, but start by waiting 2 hours
T0+1hEnd of the TBW. The "sync to Marketo" field is set to False
T0+1h 5mnThe sync stopsThe sync stops.
T0+2h 5mnEnd of the wait, the lead is deleted

If you want to reactivate the sync on leads/contacts that have stopped to sync

You do not have a choice here: the only place you can do this is in SFDC, even if you have not deleted it yet from Marketo.


Level 2

Hi Grégoire Michel​,

I'm having a bit of an issue with the "Sync to Marketo" field and the program sync, basically because the standard program sync will essentially override the field setting and bring into Salesforce even those Leads that shouldn't be there. Is there any solution to inhibit this behavior?


Level 10

Hi Francesco,

The "sync with Marketo" will not prevent the lead from being pushed to Marketo, it will simply block the sync just after the lead being created in SFDC.

If you want to use this field to prevent lead insertion into SFDC, you will need to do it with some validation rules in SFDC


Level 2

Hi Greg,

do you think a simple validation rule on the Lead object that prevents creation of the Lead record if, say, the "Sync to Marketo" field is false AND the creating user is the sync user would suffice?

What would happen in terms of displayed errors? I mean, I figure that on the activity log you would get a "sync failed" error when the Lead is first added as program member and Marketo tries to push it to Salesforce, but would that repeatedly happen evrey time the sync starts? I would like to avoid cluttering the activity log page if possible.

Do you see any other weak spots with this process?

Of course the alternative would be to not sync the programs that might have Leads that only need to stay in Marketo (which I believe we can actually single out), but i don't like this solution very much...


Level 2

Hi again Greg,

an update: the validation rule does work as long as the records have the sync field set to false (which is great!), however I'm scratching my head a bit trying to better understand program sync behavior... when does Marketo sync a program member to SFDC? My guess is that it only happens whenever a new member is added to the program or there is a program status change. If this is correct, then it could be an issue for all those records that were added to a program while not in sync and were synced later on without having their program status changed.

Is this really the case, or does it behave differently?


Level 10

I Francesco,

Your assumption is correct. Meaning you need to run another "change program status" when the lead becomes "synchronizable".


Level 1

Hi @Grégoire_Miche2,

Great articles on how best to use the Custom Sync Filter.  We have the inverse need to hold back Marketo records from syncing to SFDC.  We have a global SFDC sync program and we also sync to SFDC at the local program level.  Ideally, if Marketo had a Custom Sync Filter to not sync to SFDC feature, our problem would be solved.  What have you done where there is business need to temporarily hold back leads from syncing to SFDC?



Level 10 - Community Advisor + Adobe Champion

I think this should be easy! Marketo only records do not get created and synced with the SFDC on their own, i.e., w/o explicitly syncing people over to the SFDC using Sync to SFDC flow step, or w/o running people through the implicit sync flow steps (like Add Person to SFDC Campaign, Change SFDC Campaign Status, Change Owner, etc.) they would stay in the Marketo only.


You'd need to find a common denominator between the records you do not wish to sync with the SFDC (could be field values/activity/membership of particular programs, list etc.) and use that as a filter in the Sync to SFDC campaigns to prevent these records from syncing with the SFDC.


Note that, if you have a program tied with the SFDC campaign, then people getting added as program members would automatically get created,  synced, and added to the corresponding SFDC campaign  upon program status change in Marketo as a result of implicit/implied sync.

Level 2

Hi @Grégoire_Miche2,


Thank you for your great insights and help on this topic. I have recently joined a team where the first task for me was to look into a situation where the team is experiencing a great spike in MQL numbers in batches at a similar time. Basis my investigation, I found the leads were recently created in Marketo with the source of Salesforce.com but these leads have an old lead history in SFDC. This situation implies that these leads were deleted from Marketo only and not from SFDC. However, I am not sure that my team followed the process correctly to delete the leads in Marketo only but I want to know why these leads are getting created now suddenly and from SFDC, we cannot see a major change in their respective activities. Can you please help me in this case and let me know what might be the issue of these leads syncing back suddenly?