Data Migration is one of the most critical tasks in Salesforce CRM software for any organization. Moving data from its current location (an external system) to Salesforce CRM can be a challenging procedure if not executed in a strategic careful manner.

In today’s post, we are focusing mainly on importing data into Salesforce.

The success of data migration depends on the complexity of data as well as other factors like planning the process, the time to perform data migration, system configurations, existing data processes, data quality, and the state of the external data source system.

The following reasons might lead to an unsuccessful Data Import,

  • Lack of planning while initiating data import and during the process of executing the import can result in data migration inadequacies. Awareness and understanding of the business, its owners, and use cases to be applied is key to avoiding limitations of time and resources at hand.
  • Data complexity can also become quite a challenge when importing data into Salesforce. In Salesforce org, there are parent/child relationships, workflows, triggers, and other associations. The more complex the data structure, the more challenging will be the data import. 
  • Underestimating the time that data import will take can result in the failure of the data migration process. Unable to meet on-time delivery and forecasted budget will ultimately bring down the efficiency of the organization.
  • Lack of oversight can cause errors in importing the data. All the active workflows and triggers associated with data need to have some oversight so that there are no issues during data migration.

Best Practices To Follow When Importing The Data into Salesforce

Preparation And Strategy

Choose the objects and fields for data import. For example, migrate only Contact information from each Account or only the accounts from a chosen division.  

Having a strategy for importing data into Salesforce CRM is essential for various reasons, particularly if a need arises to recover the previous version of data. Let’s say you are inserting Contact records again after deleting them and if there were Cases associated with those records then they will not be present on the recently inserted records if it’s not planned properly.

It is important to perform an import of a subset of data first and see how it’s impacting your database structure before executing the main import.

Check For Duplicate Data Before Importing

Duplicate records can create numerous issues in the system. It is important to remove all the duplicates before doing the import. Duplicate records deteriorate data quality which affects user experience and reporting.

Use Excel to compare new records with existing records before importing. You could also use a third-party app from the App exchange if you import records regularly. The app will check your list against your database and flag duplicate records.

Check All Existing Processes In Your Org 

There are validation rules, triggers, flows, and other software settings in Salesforce CRM which will affect your data importing process. You may need to turn off workflows, flows and validation rules if they restrict the import of certain records that are created or updated while data load operations.

Contrary to the above, you can use validation rules to maintain your data structure. You can create validation rules about the format of the data in which it should be inserted. There is a list of sample validation rules to get started and get an idea from. Also, check triggers, flows and how the fields are being handled. Do an impact analysis and see if existing triggers or flows will affect data import.

Test The Import In Sandbox First

Before deployment, test your Imports in a sandbox first. It makes sure that you are getting your desired results and that there are no errors. It is always a good practice to test new features or functionalities in the sandbox before deploying them in a production environment. 

Select The Data Import Tool

The Salesforce admin can perform three types of data importing functions: Insert (for creating new records), Update (for updating the existing records using the external id or salesforce record id), and Upsert (for both updating and inserting records). For importing data to Salesforce, Data Import Wizard and Data Loader are the most popular tools. Here is a comparison table between the Import wizard tool and Data Loader

Utilize Reports to check on Data Quality

You can create reports on a daily basis to keep a check on your data quality. Include the objects as well as the fields important for generating reports. Use reports as a data management tool. They provide a visual representation of the Salesforce data in your org. 

The Salesforce data import is an integral process and requires skill and knowledge of database management. Handling heavy amounts of Salesforce data is not an easy task. We have discussed some of the best tips and practices to follow while initiating and executing the data import procedure.