When the time comes to import data into Salesforce, you doubtless think, “how do I do this?”. The good news is there are many options available to help you. The bad news is you have to go through and choose one.
This article will explore the different data import tools, their pros and cons, and how to utilize them in your work best. Reading this should help you pick the best option for your Salesforce project.
Define your Data and Project
The first step in determining what tool to use is asking yourself some basic questions about your data and project.
- How much data are you moving?
- How complex are your data transformations?
- What are your team’s technical abilities and skills?
- What is your Budget?
These are all critical questions when determining what tool to use. If you are moving a small set of simple data, there are plenty of free tools to utilize. However, think of a complete migration from a previous CRM system for larger, more complex data sets. You will probably need to invest in a more robust import option.
The Salesforce Data Import Wizard is the baseline data loading tool built into Salesforce. It is an easy-to-use tool for adding or updating records in Salesforce. It is available with all Salesforce editions at no additional cost and does not require any installation.
The Data Import Wizar is an excellent tool for basic uploads. However, it has its limitations. For example, it Can only import up to 50,000 standard objects, records cannot exceed 400KB, and is limited to 90 fields per record. It can also only run one Import job at a time.
The Salesforce Data Import Wizard is an excellent tool for the day-to-day imports that come up while managing Salesforce, implementing new features, and adding new data. However, it lacks the nuance required for larger data loads. It is not an excellent fit for a large migration of data.
Like the Salesforce Data Import Wizard, the Salesforce Data Loader is available at no cost. However, it is slightly more advanced, allowing you to insert, update, upsert, delete and export records. It Can update existing records, bulk delete, and export records. It also supports all objects. This tool has to be installed directly on your computer and Can only import up to 5,000,000 standard things. It is also only available to organizations available for orgs. using Enterprise, Performance, Unlimited, Developer, and database.com. It is a good tool but still has its limitations on large and complex uploads.
Dataloader.io is a unified cloud-based solution powered by MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform that imports and exports information from Salesforce. It has a drag-and-drop design with great usability. It is an affordable solution for batch importing and exporting records. However, it can only support limited amounts of data and does not support complex data transformations.
The Jitterbit Cloud Data Loader is another free tool that enables Salesforce administrators to quickly and easily automate the import and export of data between flat files, databases, and Salesforce. It creates queries, upserts, updates, inserts, deletes, and bulk operations to move data between Salesforce and flat files or databases. It is a good tool for transferring files but can be cumbersome to set up and use.
Link.io is a cloud-based data integration platform that can support basic to advanced data transformations at low pay-per-use prices. It helps promotes advanced data transformations such as Salesforce org to org data loading and writing to multiple objects simultaneously. It supports nearly unlimited rows of data, local flat files, databases, and cloud applications. It also includes a data duplication prevention tool is also included in it. It does require the user to be more technology savvy as it requires some SQL knowledge. This is a good tool for large and highly complex data uploads but should not be used for more simple ones.
Excel connector is an excellent tool for those comfortable working in Excel. It allows you to import/export/update/delete Salesforce data, all from within the comfort of an Excel spreadsheet. It is available for most Salesforce editions (Professional and higher), is easy to download and install from Force.com, and can connect to your production environment or sandbox.
Apex Data Loader is a basic application. Its bare-bones nature makes it easy to import and export data. It has a good matching feature for updating records. It also generates a pair of success and error CSV files with each operation, which is extremely helpful in identifying what did not go through, and why. However, it is pretty simple. It only supports CSV files and has minimal options for data transformations.
Apsona for Salesforce is a suite of tools that works with all nonprofit versions of Salesforce. Apsona for Salesforce automatically detects the installation and configures itself to show you the nonprofits’ objects, fields, and functionality. This configuration includes quickly uploading data records in CSV format into all objects. In addition, you can choose the specific objects you want to work within Apsona for Salesforce. Apsona is an affordable and easy-to-use tool. It includes duplicate checking, data validation, and interactive error correction in its upload. It is suitable for data migration for nonprofits and does not require a lot of technology experience. However, it does not support complex data transformations.
Making the Right Choice
There are many important tools out there. This article just highlighted eight different top options for uploading data to Salesforce. There are even more options out there. Picking the right tools comes down to your budget, your data set’s size and complexity, and your comfort level with technology. With so many options available, you are guaranteed to find the right fit for you and your team. Every organization has different data needs, define yours, and then explore your options carefully and pick the tool you feel most comfortable using. If you need help making this decision, feel free to reach out to us here.
Now you have defined your project and picked your tool, it is time to prep your data, map it, and upload it.
Review the data you plan to upload to ensure it is clean, accurate, and consistent. Checking your data now will avoid having to clean it up later in Salesforce. In addition, once the data is in, it allows your Salesforce instance to be as clean and functional as possible.
Spend time checking for duplicates and eliminating/merging them.
Identify defunct contact information/improperly formatted contact information.
Look for common typos and other data inconsistencies in your data.
Ensure your naming conventions are the same across all the data.
Before you load your data into your selected import tool, it is crucial to think through the fields in Salesforce you want your data to go to. When you load the data into the import tool, you will have to map your data officially, but it is essential to think this through before you get to that point to stay organized and create a consistent data model. You also may need to add custom fields in Salesforce before the import if the data does not fit into any current field.
Now you upload your data to your tool and map it. This process requires great attention to detail. Before you run your imports, you need to ensure that the data fields you are importing line up and map to the correct fields in Salesforce. It is best practice to review your mapping several times.
Once your fields and mapped and ready, you can start your import. It may take several hours, depending on the data you are importing. If you have any errors, correct your data and run again till all the information is in Salesforce.
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