Extension pointers: Define and raise a signal to receive timely notifications in Zoho CRM

Extension pointers: Define and raise a signal to receive timely notifications in Zoho CRM

Customer relationship management is a significant factor involved in the success of a business. When interaction with customers at all touch points is properly targeted, customers are satisfied and business flourishes. This makes it a necessity to stay updated about your customer interactions.

The Signals feature in Zoho CRM provides real-time notifications, helping you keep track of all your customer interactions from different channels in a single platform. It supports actionable alerts, so you can respond to notifications instantly and resolve them right away. Signals also enable alerts from integrated third-party apps to simplify the process of handling multiple applications. You can build customized notifications for different events and keep track of them in your Zoho CRM account.

Suppose a Zoho CRM user plans to pull their prospects from Zoho Desk, their customer support solution. Let's consider a possible scenario they might face and look at the solution.

Say that whenever a new customer/contact is added under the type "Prospect" in Zoho Desk, it is pushed into the Leads module of Zoho CRM. Once it's there, the sales rep needs to be notified that there's a new lead to process. The sales rep will also want to be able to visit the lead source page (in this case, the Zoho Desk page where the customer was created) to view the complete lead details.

In order to implement this solution, the Zoho Developer platform provides a feature called Signals. Creating a signal on the platform involves two major steps:
  • Defining a signal
  • Raising a signal
Now let's look at the steps in detail.

Defining a signal

In order to receive Signal notifications in Zoho CRM, it is necessary to create a signal.
  • Log in to Zoho Sigma, then go to the Extension Details page.
  • Expand the Automate options under Build in the left panel of the Zoho Developer console, and choose Signals.
  • Click Define Signal.

  • Enter the name for the signal and choose an icon for it. Click Save.

  • The signal is now defined and a namespace is auto-generated for it.

Registering a webhook request and raising a signal

In our example, Zoho Desk sends an alert to Zoho CRM, so it is necessary to register a webhook. The webhook posts a callback request whenever a new customer with type "Prospect" is added in Zoho Desk. The response from Zoho Desk will be handled via a REST API function. Using the response data, we can push the lead to Zoho CRM and raise a signal. Now, let's see how.

     1. Establishing a connection between Zoho CRM and Zoho Desk
  • Create a connector between the two applications.
  • Add the CreateWebhook API with the parameters specified by Zoho Desk. Learn about connectors.

API Name

Refer to the Zoho Desk API documentation for the header and body parameter specifications of the API. 
  • After creating the connector and adding the APIs, publish and associate the connector with the extension. 
     2. Defining a REST API function and raising a signal
A webhook needs to be created to receive real-time notifications from Zoho Desk. But before creating the webhook, you need to define a REST API function that will provide the subscription URL parameter required to construct the CreateWebhook API.
  • Expand the Automate options under Build in the left panel of the Zoho Developer console, and choose Functions.
  • Provide a name for the function and choose Yes for Invoke as REST API. Click Next.
  • Enter the code for the function.

Code snippet
crmAPIRequestMap = crmAPIRequest.toMap();
request_body = crmAPIRequestMap.get("body");
data = Map();
leadsource = "";
for each item in request_body
payload = item.get("payload");
firstname = payload.get("firstName");
lastname = payload.get("lastName");
type = payload.get("type");
email = payload.get("email");
title = payload.get("title");
leadsource = payload.get("webUrl"); 
if(type == "Prospect")
data.putAll({"First_Name":firstname,"Last_Name":lastname,"Email":email,"Designation":title,"Lead_Source":"Zoho Desk"});
resp = zoho.crm.createRecord("Leads",data);
signalMap = Map();
signalMap.put("subject","New Notification");
signalMap.put("message","A new lead from Zoho Desk");
actionsList = List();
actionMap = Map();
actionMap.put("display_name","Lead Source");
//Raising a signal
sigResp = zoho.crm.invokeConnector("raisesignal",signalMap);
return "";

  • In the code snippet, the response from Zoho Desk is obtained through the input variable of "signalfunction", crmAPIRequest. The required parameters are retrieved from the response and pushed as a new lead into the Lead module if the customer type is "Prospect." A signal map variable is created and the required specifications to raise a signal are assigned to it. In our example, we have also included an actionable item, a lead source URL. When clicked, it will redirect to the Zoho Desk page of the newly created lead, indicating its source and holding its complete details. Finally, the raisesignal task is invoked in order to raise the signal whenever a new lead is created from Zoho Desk.
  • After the code is defined, click Invoke as REST API. The sandbox URL obtained is used for locally testing the functionality in the sandbox environment. Meanwhile, the production URL is used as the subscription URL while creating a webhook.

  • Close the Invoke function dialog box. Click Save & Close to save the function. 
    3. Creating a webhook
Now that we have obtained the subscription URL, let's go ahead and create a webhook. We have chosen to create a webhook during the authorization of the connector.
  • Expand the Install Actions options under Build in the left panel of the Zoho Developer console, and choose Connectors.
  • Enter the code for creating a webhook under the On Authorization tab. Click Save to Connector.

m = {"nameSpace":"xxx.desksynccrmsignal"};
apikeyresp = zoho.crm.invokeConnector("crm.zapikey",m);
zapikey = apikeyresp.get("response");
dynamic_map = Map();
resp = zoho.crm.invokeConnector("desksynccrmsignal.deskconnector.createwebhook",dynamic_map);

  • In the code snippet above, the subscription URL obtained from the REST API function is constructed as a parameter for the CreateWebhook API. The ZAPI key value required for the subscription URL is fetched and passed to the URL. Finally the Create Webhook API is invoked and the webhook is created. 
  • After a new customer is added to Zoho Desk with the type "Prospect," a signal is raised in Zoho CRM and the customer is added as a lead in the Lead module.

  • On clicking the notification symbol, the signal appears, along with the subject. On further clicking the SalesSignal region, the details contained in the signal are displayed along with a link pointing to the lead source.

  • On clicking the lead source link, the user is redirected to the Zoho Desk page.

You can further modify the functionality of the signal based on your business requirements. Hope you found this information useful! For more extension tips, keep following this space.

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