When it comes to large quantities of data, there can be many reasons companies need to import data. The data could be from a purchased list for marketing, or existing data that needs to be exported, scrubbed and re-uploaded. It can also be a list from trade shows or acquisitions.
Salesforce CRM allows users to import data in large quantities, which can be a huge time saver, and can improve data accuracy and quality. When data is imported, it can reduce the element of human error, and can be formatted to ensure it is accepted by the desired fields.
Data imports are usually done to map data accurately, migrate data from one system to another, or when an integration is done between two systems. This may be because of a field change, or because the data needs to be tweaked in-between your finance system and Salesforce, for example.
However, if done incorrectly, importing data can be disastrous. Mapping data to the wrong field, or overwriting data that has not been properly backed up can cause issues that last for days! It can cause repercussions downstream, as an update can trigger actions in Salesforce that were not previously considered.
As intimidating as this sounds, with the right tools, importing data into Salesforce can be easy and successful! This article will go into tools for importing data into Salesforce, various data sources that can be used for data importing and best practices.
Salesforce Data Import Tools
Salesforce offers two native tools for importing data, each important in their own regard.
The Data Import Wizard is useful for importing less than 50,000 records, and when the import process does not need to be automated. There are also a limited number of objects the Data Import Wizard will support.
As long as your requirements meet the criteria, the Data Import Wizard is an excellent tool for importing smaller batches into Salesforce.
Another useful tool is Data Loader, which can handle up to 5 million records, numerous custom objects, and can be used for scheduled jobs. This must be downloaded to your machine from the Salesforce Setup menu, but is necessary when the Data Import Wizard cannot support the load you’re looking to import.
Now that we’ve looked at tools for data import into Salesforce, let’s look at a few sources of data used in imports.
Sources for Importing Data into Salesforce
There are multiple sources that can be used for importing data into Salesforce, and they can be used manually or scheduled with jobs.
Excel (.csv) Files
When speaking of data imports, Excel files are the ones that come to mind the most. Usually in .csv format, Excel files are used with the tools mentioned above import data like that found on object records.
(An example of Lead data that can be imported into Salesforce using Data Loader)
For example, this can be contact or lead information, or formatting data for an account. This is often used by Salesforce Admins or other users doing imports and data cleanups for company data.
Another way to import data into Salesforce is to use databases such as SQL Server, Oracle, or MongoDB. Databases are largely relational,each one with tables that hold data (Salesforce included!). There are third-party tools, such as DBAmp, that can be used to grab data from one database and import it into Salesforce.
System to System Integrations
Having integrations between two systems, such as is found with Marketo (or other marketing systems) and Salesforce, for example, is another way to import data into Salesforce. Oftentimes, data can be pulled into another system to stay until it meets criteria to be pushed into Salesforce.
Once criteria is met, the data can be imported into Salesforce, based on field mapping, and can usually be scheduled in batches to make it more efficient.
Importing data can be time consuming and a bit scary, but it is necessary for keeping your Salesforce org sharp and up to date. You can always rely on a consultant to advise you on your data needs and how to move data efficiently and accurately.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your data import needs!