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I have this same issue and after many phone calls and an in-depth engagement with a senior consultant, we've established that unless both the Marketo database and SFDC database are completely synced, the Program-Campaign sync feature is pretty much useless.
In order for a member of the program to also be added to the SFDC Campaign, it has to first exist in SFDC. Also, the flow step "Add to SFDC Campaign" automatically includes the "Sync Lead to SFDC" step based on auto-assignment rules.
I've had to learn this the hard way - back tracking actions in the activity log and undo-ing a lot of automatic changes.
We've been debating whether to bite the bullet and make the necessary changes in SFDC to "hide" leads until they are sales-ready, but so far this would remove the ability to create custom views in SFDC. Our SFDC admin is currently looking into whether using a unique record type will manage these correctly, but the challenge is in excluding leads with this record type in search results...
I'd first identify what it is that's preventing you from syncing both databases, explore what changes it would entail to begin this process, and then go from there.
Currently, the bandaid in place for my programs is an "Add to SFDC" campaign based on certain triggers. The downside to this is that SFDC Campaign reporting is inaccurate because not all "Sent" leads are visible in SFDC. It's just acting as a bucket to track MQLs generated by this program.
Thanks for the thorough response JK but my problem is not that we AREN'T synching (synching is working just fine), the problem is that leads intended solely to be kept in Marketo are being synched into SFDC once they are progressing through a program. I think that is happening because all our programs are synched with campaigns in SFDC. Perhaps that's the "bug".
I don't know how to prevent it from happening though.
You just need to disable the Program-Campaign sync under program actions. Like I said before, if you don't want marketo-only leads to sync to sfdc until they're ready, then you need to deactivate the Marketo Program-SFDC Campaign sync feature.
I'm aware that the problem is that leads are syncing when they're not sales ready yet... so the response was meant for that issue.
Anytime you use the Add to SFDC Campaign, it will sync the lead, so basically, you cannot add marketo-only leads to a SFDC Campaign.
Does that clarify?
Just wanted to add...
If all your programs are synced with campaigns, program statuses and campaign statuses need to be the same, so anytime a progression status is changed within a program, it triggers the same campaign member status change in the campaign - but in order to do that, the lead is first added to the sfdc campaign, which is when the lead is being synced to sfdc and is no longer in marketo only...
Gotcha. May not be worth it to continue this route then as I really don't want to disable all the campaign synchs and have to go back and add the manual flow step.
Maybe we'll just create a queue in SFDC or something similar to "hold" nurtured leads. However I'm not sure if the lead owner can be changed using auto-assignment rules once it is in SFDC, right?
The Change Lead Owner flow step does not have the auto assignment option, unfortunately... Also, if they are in sfdc, and a sales staff runs a query, it will not exclude these leads from the results, which is the issue I described above and we're looking into fixing.
The manual flow step you speak of should be included in your lead lifecycle management program. How do sales-ready leads sync to sfdc now?
Consider how important sfdc campaign reporting is to your organization because you can only add "sales-ready" leads to sfdc campaigns... you won't have a clear view of conversions without the complete sync of both databases.
My "Add to SFDC Campaign" smart campaign listens for a trigger (smart list) such as opens or clicks - and if SFDC Type is not empty that means they already exist in sfdc, and since the lead lifecycle program already qualified the lead and synced over to sfdc, then (flow) they can be added to the corresponding sfdc campaign.