How to Use Zapier To Convert Your MailChimp Subscribers Into Salesforce Leads

A mailing list a great way to engage with potential clients and customers. However, companies are often left with a vague idea of who their subscribers actually are and how best to engage with them. In this article, we’ll explain how to connect MailChimp to Salesforce – a service for managing sales leads – through Zapier, making your mailing list and list of prospective leads each more effective.

Step 1: Create A Mailing List

The first step is going to be a bit of prep work: Creating your mailing list in MailChimp. If you already have the mailing list in place that you plan on using, feel free to skip this test. For everyone else, let’s get into it!

After you’ve created/logged into your MailChimp account, you should see a page that looks like the image below (minus the “Example List”). From here, you’re going to click Create List in the top right. This will walk you through the process of creating your list.

After your list is created, you need to create a way for people to subscribe to it. The best way to do this is through an embedded form. An embedded form is just a pre-created bit of code. This code will create your typical online subscription form, which looks like a pair of text boxes asking for a person’s name and email.

To get the code for this form, click on the list you just created. From there, you’ll see a screen that looks like the image below:

Any of these options will give you a subscription form, but the simplest choice is Embedded Forms. Selecting this option will provide you with a bit of HTML code, which you can copy and paste onto your site wherever you like. And voilà! You now have a mailing list and a way for people to join that list on your site.

Step 2: Create Your Zap

Now that you have your MailChimp mailing list in place, and you have a Salesforce account ready to go, you’re all set to start creating your Zap. If you’ve never used Zapier before, your “Zaps” are just the automations you create. On the home page of Zapier, you should see a form that looks like this:

In the first field – Connect This App – you’re going to input MailChimp, and in the second field – with this one! –  you’re going to input Salesforce. You’ll do this simply by typing the name of each app in the appropriate fields and clicking on them when they pop up. When you’re done, it should look like this:

You can leave the When This Happens… and then do this! fields blank for now, and just click Make a Zap!

Step 3: Create Your MailChimp Trigger

Now that you’ve created your Zap, it’s time to make it do something! After making the Zap, you should find yourself at this page:

You’ll notice that on the left side of the page are two boxes, Trigger and Action. The Trigger is whatever you want to make your Action happen. In our case, that’s a new subscriber. Click New Subscriber and select Continue.

The next step is where you connect your MailChimp account to your Zapier account. If you’ve already used MailChimp with Zapier, you should see that your account is already selected. If this is the case, you can simply select Continue.

If you’ve never used MailChimp with Zapier, you’ll choose Connect an Account. This will take you to a MailChimp login page, and all you have to do from here is login, enter any verification codes, and accept any pop-ups. Once you’re finished, you can go back to Zapier, select your now connected account, and Continue to the next step.

The next step will ask you to choose a MailChimp list. At this point, you’ll click your MailChimp list from the drop-down menu and hit Continue. Zapier will then bring you to the following step:

If your list already has subscribers, then you can choose to Pull in Samples. All this will do is use random subscribers from your list to fill out the next couple of forms with. This doesn’t mean that the subscriber it chooses will be affected in any way, it’s only there to make filling out the forms easier. If you don’t have any subscribers, or you’d rather use fake subscribers that Zapier creates, just click Skip This Step. If you skip the step, you’ll see something like this:

Subscriber A is just a fake subscriber made up by Zapier that we’re about to use in the next step. Just click Continue With Default Sample.

Step 4: Create Your Salesforce Action

Okay, so just to recap everything that’s happened so far: First, we created our MailChimp list and integrated it with our website. This allows people to join our mailing list. Then, we made a new Zap on Zapier that connects your MailChimp account to your Salesforce account. For our trigger (the event that puts your Zap into action) we chose New Subscriber. This means that anytime you get a new subscriber, this Zap will do its thing. And now, we’re going to tell Zapier what that thing is.

You should be looking at the above screen. Since we told Zapier that we wanted to use Salesforce when we created the Zap, it should be the first choice of Action App. If it isn’t there, you can easily search for it and select it in the search box. Once you’ve chosen Salesforce, scroll down and Continue.

Next, Zapier will ask you which action you would like to perform. In our case, that would be Create Lead. Choose this option and Continue.

Just like with MailChimp, Zapier is going to need to connect to your Salesforce account. Select Connect an Account and Continue to the next step once you’re all set.

Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Creating your new Salesforce Lead. The page you’re looking at now should be a bunch of empty boxes asking you to fill in information. The only boxes you have to fill in are Last Name and Company.

These boxes – and any others you choose to fill in – will determine what the created Lead looks like every time you gain a subscriber. If you wanted, you could fill in “Jim” in every field, and every time you gained a subscriber, you’d get another Lead on Salesforce named Jim Jim, Jim Ltd. However, we’re going to opt for something a little more useful.

In the first box, Last Name, you’re going to pull the last name from MailChimp and fill it into the box. To do this, click the button on the right of the Last Name box. This will give you a drop-down menu like the one below:

You’re going to select Merges Lname, which just means that whatever the last name of your new subscriber is will be filled into this box. Salesforce also requires that you enter a Company for any new Leads. This creates an issue, though, since you won’t know what company a person belongs to just from their email subscription. So instead, you can fill in this box with anything that associates the Lead with this Zap – that way you know where the Lead came from. To do this, simply type something along the lines of, “MailChimp Subscriber” or “Zapier Lead” into the Company box.

You technically don’t have to fill anything else out for this section, and the majority of it is information that you won’t have unless you interact with a Lead more. However, there are a few boxes you can fill in, just so that you have a little more than a last name for your Lead. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a box labeled Email. For this field, you can choose the drop-down menu and select Email – filling in the email that the subscriber used to join your MailChimp list.

Right below that you’ll see the First Name box, which you can fill in using the drop-down menu with the Merges Fname option. For the Lead Source box you can choose Use Custom Value and fill in something similar to what you filled in for Company, i.e., “MailChimp Subscription”. This just tells you later on that the Lead came from this Zap.

Feel free to fill in as many or as little boxes as you see fit, and hit Continue when you finish. You should see the following screen:

This page is just here to test the Zap before turning it on. Whether or not you choose to send the test or skip it is completely up to you, it doesn’t affect the final outcome. Once you finish this section up, you’ll arrive at the final page:

This means you’re almost done! All that’s left to do is name your Zap and turn it on. Once you click the Off switch in the middle of the screen, the Zap will go live, and any new MailChimp subscribers you receive will automatically become Salesforce Leads!


A quick recap of what we did:

  • Created a mailing list in MailChimp and integrated it with our website
  • Created a new Zap in Zapier that connects MailChimp to Salesforce
  • Created a trigger that runs the Zap every time someone new subscribes to our MailChimp list
  • Created an action that adds that new subscriber as a Lead on Salesforce

By identifying each of your new MailChimp subscribers as potential Leads, you make it easier to stay in tune with your mailing list and keep up with prospective customers. Both Salesforce and MailChimp are valuable tools for managing your customers. By combining these resources with Zapier, you strengthen your ability to secure and retain clients.

This is only a sample of what can be accomplished through Zapier. Don’t hesitate to explore what else the service has to offer, and get creative with your automations!

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