Reverse ETL 101: Bringing Data Warehouses in Action Simplified

on Data Analytics, Data Driven Strategies, Data Extraction, Data Integration, Data Processing • June 21st, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Over the past few years, Cloud-based Data Systems have gone through a massive evolution and growth. Although businesses primarily relied on Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) for moving data into a Data Warehouse, they have now started relying more on Extract, Load, Transform (ELT) for Cloud-based Data Warehouses in which raw data is loaded into Data Lakes and then transformed as per requirements. 

Along with ELT, businesses have started adopting yet another approach called Reverse ETL. This article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what Reverse ETL is, why it’s an essential process, along with a list of the best Reverse ETL tools available in the market.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Reverse ETL

Standard ETL forms a crucial part of Enterprise Data Management. In the ETL process, data is extracted from the required data sources such as SQL databases, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools, etc., transformed as per requirements, and then loaded into a Data Warehouse such as Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, etc. Solutions like Hevo, Fivetran, Airbyte, etc., have enabled businesses to implement the ETL process seamlessly. The following image shows how an ETL process works:

Reverse ETL - ETL Process
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Reverse ETL can be defined as the process of moving data from Data Warehouses to third-party systems to make the data operational. Reverse ETL solutions are now considered to be a useful component of the Data Management stack to make effective and accurate data-driven decisions. The following image shows how the Reverse ETL process works:

Reverse ETL - Data Warehouse to Data Destination
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Understanding the Need for Reverse ETL

The data stored in Data Warehouses is primarily used for Analytical workloads by Business Intelligence and Data Analysis tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, etc. However, businesses have now started recognizing how this data can further be leveraged for Operational Analytics. Operational Analytics is used for day-to-day decision-making in an organization to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its internal operations. Operational Analytics is empowered when businesses implement a Reverse ETL process between Data Warehouses and their operational tools. Along with using data to identify long-term trends and influence long-term strategy, Operational Analytics helps form the strategy to improve a business’s day-to-day operations. Some examples of Operational Analytics are as follows:

  • Businesses can identify at-risk customers by integrating customer usage data with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. A system can be set up to notify teams when usage goes below a given threshold, thereby allowing the Sales team to take necessary actions to prevent the customer from churning.
  • Operational Analytics can also be leveraged to build personalized Marketing campaigns. By leveraging Sales, Support, and Product data, campaigns can be created for each user based on their requirements instead of sharing a single campaign with all users.

Operational Analytics allows decision-makers to ensure that every decision made is an excellent strategic choice and backed by real-time data. This entire process, however, cannot be implemented without Reverse ETL.

Sending real-time data to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems can help make sure there is a consistent view of the customer across all systems. For example, pushing data to Salesforce from a Data Warehouse or a Business Intelligence tool means all teams have access to an up-to-date list of each customer’s Lifetime Value, Product Qualified Lead (PQL) and Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) information, Customer Health, Propensity Score, ARR/MRR, Funnel Stages, etc.

Reverse ETL - Looker to Salesforce Reverse ETL
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Until recently, businesses had to set up their own Application Programming Interface (API) connectors from Data Warehouses to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products to transfer data into operational systems such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Marketo, etc. However, setting up these connectors is not an easy task as the API endpoints may be brittle, and most APIs are not built to handle the transfer of data in real-time. 

This means that businesses must set up batching, retries, and checkpoints to avoid rate limits. Along with that, they also have to ensure that the fields from the Data Warehouse are mapped correctly to the suitable fields in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product. Once all the processes are complete, and the connectors have been set up, it would still need to be maintained since the Data Warehouses, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, and the APIs are regularly updated. Hence, businesses started relying on existing Reverse ETL solutions, which helped them save immense engineering resources and bandwidth in the development and maintenance of the connectors.

5 Best Reverse ETL Tools

Some of the best Reverse ETL solutions available in the market are as follows:

1) Hevo Activate

Reverse ETL - Hevo Logo

Hevo Activate helps you directly transfer data from Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, etc., and various other sources to SaaS applications, CRMs such as Salesforce, HubSpot, etc., Support tools such as Zendesk, Intercom, and a lot more, in a completely hassle-free & automated manner. Hevo Activate is fully managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. Its fault-tolerant architecture ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.

Hevo Activate takes care of all your data preprocessing needs and lets you focus on key business activities, and draw a much powerful insight on how to generate more leads, retain customers, and take your business to new heights of profitability. It provides a consistent & reliable solution to manage data in real-time and always have analysis-ready data in your desired destination. 

Get Started with Hevo for Free

Check out what makes Hevo Activate amazing:

  • Real-time Data Transfer: Hevo Activate, with its strong Integration with Data Warehouses like Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, etc., allows you to transfer data quickly & efficiently. This ensures efficient utilization of bandwidth on both ends.
  • Data Transformation: It provides a simple interface to perfect, modify, and enrich the data you want to transfer. 
  • Secure: Hevo Activate has a fault-tolerant architecture that ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.
  • Tremendous Connector Availability: Hevo Activate houses a large variety of connectors and lets you bring in data from various Data Warehouses such as Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, etc. in an integrated and analysis-ready form.
  • Simplicity: Using Hevo Activate is easy and intuitive, ensuring that your data is exported in just a few clicks. 
  • Completely Managed Platform: Hevo Activate is fully managed. You need not invest time and effort to maintain or monitor the infrastructure involved in executing codes.
  • Live Support: The Hevo Activate team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.

Users can leverage Hevo Activate to perform the following operations:

  • Create User Segments: Creating user segments allows the Marketing and Sales teams to understand how resources should be utilized for different kinds of users. This allows teams to focus on channels that convert better and maximize their Return On Investment (ROI).
  • Build 360 View of Customers: This can be used to understand each customer better and plan strategies accordingly to ensure maximum revenue. This information can also be leveraged to help Support teams prioritize Enterprise customers. Businesses can seamlessly sync all customer data into their support software and respond quicker with a holistic customer background.
  • Sync Product Data into Sales CRM: Hevo Activate can be leveraged to get all product data in the CRM tool of choice, allowing businesses to track user activity easily. Users can be segmented based on their activity, and that information can be used to improve product adoption and prevent churns.
Sign up here for a 14-Day Free Trial!

2) Hightouch

Hightouch is a Reverse ETL Data Platform that allows businesses to effortlessly sync their data from Data Warehouses to customer-facing teams’ Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Customer Relationship Management (CRMs), Marketing, and Support tools such as Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, Gainsight, Zendesk, etc. It also allows businesses to use their Data Warehouse as an Operational Center and an Analytics Center. This gives them the ability to use this analysis to power their operational workflows.

Hightouch syncs data with the tools at the user’s specified frequency, and it only syncs the data that has changed since the most recent call. Hence, it can avoid data transfer limits imposed by the APIs of their operational tools.

Hightouch Pricing

Reverse ETL - Hightouch Pricing
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Hightouch offers two paid tiers, i.e., Team and Business, along with its Free tier. The pricing for each paid tier depends on the number of records a user is expected to integrate. The Team tier offers 10k Active Records at $150/month, 30k Active Records at $300/month, and 100k Active Records at $600/month. The Business tier is a custom tier for large Enterprises with complex requirements. However, Hightouch does not follow a transparent pricing model for this tier, and the final price depends on your unique business and data requirements.

More information about Hightouch can be found here and its pricing can be found here.

3) Census

Reverse ETL - Census Logo
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Census is a popular Operational Analytics platform that syncs data across numerous third-party applications with your Data Warehouse. Census automatically publishes all SQL & dbt models from your Data Warehouse in your operational tools allowing you to ensure customer success and that your Marketing and Sales teams are on the same page without the need for any engineering bandwidth.

Census works on top of your existing infrastructure. This means that you do not need to spend additional resources in setting up new hardware. This tool empowers everyone in your business to make data-driven decisions by leveraging live metrics in every application leading to happier users & more revenue.

Census Pricing

Reverse ETL - Census Pricing
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Census offers a Free and Business Plan with a 14-day free trial. The Free Plan only supports integration with Google Sheets and allows creating only two workflows. However, the Business Plan supports integration with unlimited sources and allows the creation of unlimited workflows. This plan does not follow a transparent pricing model. The final price depends on the number of sources you wish to integrate and can be finalized after a discussion with the Census team.

More information about Census can be found here, and its pricing can be found here.

4) Grouparoo

Reverse ETL - Grouparoo Logo
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Grouparoo is another popular Reverse ETL solution that gives businesses the ability to move data between their Data Warehouses or Databases and Cloud-based operational tools in real-time. One key characteristic that differentiates Grouparoo from other tools is that its free Community Edition is Open-source. This means that businesses can make changes to the code base to fit their unique use case and business requirements.

Grouparoo Pricing

Reverse ETL - Grouparoo Pricing
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Grouparoo offers two paid tiers, i.e., Standard Cloud and Enterprise Cloud, along with its free Open-Source Community Edition. The Standard Cloud Tier allows users to sync 100k records at $150/month, and the Enterprise Cloud Tier is a custom plan for Enterprises with larger data requirements. The pricing for this tier can be discussed with the Sales team at Grouparoo. An in-depth comparison of the features offered in each tier is as follows:

Reverse ETL - Grouparoo Tiers Comparison
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More information about Grouparoo can be found here, and its pricing can be found here.

5) Polytomic

Reverse ETL - Polytomic Logo
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Polytomic is another Reverse ETL tool that allows businesses to create a live view of all customer data they need in Marketo, Salesforce, HubSpot, and other business systems within minutes. Users have the ability to sync data from various data sources such as Data Warehouses, Databases, Spreadsheets, APIs, etc., and choose the fields they wish to sync from these sources. Polytomic also houses a functionality that allows users to sync data in real-time or schedule it or invite other users to perform the necessary operations.

Polytomic Pricing

Reverse ETL - Polytomic Pricing
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Polytomic offers three tiers, i.e., Basic, Standard, and Enterprise. However, it does not follow a transparent pricing model for any of the tiers, and the price can be finalized by contacting the Polytomic team.

More information about Polytomic can be found here, and its pricing can be found here.


This article provided you with a comprehensive understanding of what Reverse ETL is, why it’s important, along with a list of the best Reverse ETL tools available in the market. 

Most businesses today, however, have an extremely high data volume with a dynamic structure. Creating a Reverse ETL pipeline from scratch for such data is a complex process since businesses will have to utilize a high amount of resources to develop it and then ensure that it can keep up with the increased data volume and Schema variations. Businesses can instead use automated platforms like Hevo Activate.

Visit our Website to Explore Hevo

Hevo Activate helps you directly transfer data from a source of your choice, such as Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, etc., to any SaaS applications, CRMs such as Salesforce, HubSpot, etc., Support tools such as Zendesk, Intercom, etc., in a fully automated and secure manner without having to write the code repeatedly. It will make your life easier and make data migration hassle-free. It is User-Friendly, Reliable, and Secure.

Want to take Hevo Activate for a ride? Sign Up for a 14-day free trial and see the difference!  Check out the pricing details to get a better understanding of which plan suits you the most.

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