3 Most Common Ways to do Salesforce Data Exports And Imports

3 Most Common Ways to do Salesforce Data Exports And Imports
April 29, 2021 Rand Owens

Do you want to shorten your long-winded Salesforce data export and import processes?

We’re here to help you.

We’ll take a deep dive on the most common ways to import, export, and bulk update your Salesforce records and the pros and cons of each method.

When you’re done reading this guide, you’ll have actionable tips to streamline your data export and import processes so you don’t spend countless hours inputting and updating data.

Understanding Salesforce data exports and imports

Data importing and exporting is the act of pulling or pushing data (or data sets) between various software applications.

It includes “translating” the original format of the information used in your data source’s app into the format used by another system. This translation is generally very manual but can be automated through machine processes, such as data transformation and transcoding.

Exporting means creating a copy, extracting, and syncing your data from Salesforce into another format and app, such as exporting a Salesforce report to a spreadsheet file in CSV format.

On the other hand, importing means uploading and syncing datasets from various databases or cloud repositories into your Salesforce account.

Importing and exporting data automatically and accurately is critical to efficient data sharing and analysis since manually inputting volumes of information takes too much time and effort and restricts seamless information flows.

There are multiple ways to get the import and export data process done with Salesforce, but in this article we will be focusing on the three most common methods for importing and exporting.

TL;DR: Coefficient provides the best data exporting and importing solution

Out of the three methods presented, Coefficient takes the cake as the best option to export and import Salesforce data, especially for businesses dealing with massive data volumes. 

The app lets you integrate data from Salesforce and other data sources into your Google Sheets directly with uber-minimum effort. 

Coefficient’s solution makes building your dashboards and reports effortless and analyzing data a breeze since it gets updated in real time, let alone automatically. 

The app also requires minimal setup and you get to work with spreadsheet shortcut functions you already know. 

Coefficient lets you get the most out of your Salesforce data by simplifying your data exporting and importing processes, streamlining reporting and analysis.

3 Common ways to export and import Salesforce data

There are several ways to export and import data into your Salesforce account, including using built-in tools and third-party data connectors for Salesforce.

However, in this guide, we’ll focus on the three common ways to export and import your Salesforce data.

1. Through Salesforce native features: Data management tools

Salesforce has two native features that allows its users to export and import data: the Salesforce data import wizard and Salesforce data export service.

To import using Salesforce data import wizard, follow these steps.

Step 1: Prepare your file for import

In our example, we’ll show you how to import leads into Salesforce. 

To prepare your file for import, be sure to:

  • Clean your import file for consistency and accuracy, such as deleting unnecessary details, enforcing name conventions, updating the info, removing duplicates, and correcting any spelling errors.
  • Change any configurations necessary to ensure successful Salesforce import. For instance, you may need to add new values to your picklists, make new custom fields, or temporarily deactivate some workflow rules.
  • Compare your import file’s data fields with the Salesforce fields you’re importing into to verify and ensure your data gets mapped into the right fields.

After preparing your import data, save it as a CSV file.

Step 2: Launch the Salesforce Data Import Wizard

Click the Setup icon on the Salesforce interface, type in “Data Import Wizard” in the Quick Find search box, and select Data Import Wizard

The search box from Salesforce showing the data import wizard integration

Use Salesforce’s search box to find the Data Import Wizard integration.

Review the Salesforce field names in your import file to ensure they match the standard Salesforce field names by clicking the View a list of Salesforce data fields link. 

Reminders from Salesforce before you import data

Follow the data import reminders before you begin importing.

Click Launch Wizard! and choose the data to import. Under Standard Objects, click Leads. Other options under this tab include, Solutions, Accounts, Contacts, and Campaign Members. 

Specify if you want to update your existing Salesforce records, add new records, or perform both simultaneously. 

The Salesforce interface for data imports

These are the fields you need to set up for data imports.

Select matching and other required criteria and upload the file where your data is located. 

Drag and drop your CSV lead import file in the space provided or choose from the data source options, specify the character encoding method, and select your file. 

Salesforce interface for uploading CSV files

Uploading your CSV file to Salesforce is easy.

Click Next when you’re done. 

Step 3: Map your import file data fields to Salesforce data fields

The data import wizard will automatically map as many data fields to Salesforce standard data fields as possible. If it can’t, you’ll need to do it manually since unmapped fields won’t be imported to Salesforce. 

Salesforce will mark your unmapped fields. Click Map under the Edit column to change and map the fields to an existing Salesforce field.

Salesforce interface for edit mapping

The edit mapping interface is intuitive and easy to set up.

In our example, you’ll need to change the unmapped field by selecting Map and choosing the First Name in the Salesforce standard list fields.

Changing your unmapped field in Salesforce

Change your unmapped field.

You can also change the automatic mappings performed by Salesforce by clicking Change under the Edit column beside the field you want to modify.

After reviewing your import information, you can go back to the previous steps to change unmapped data and ensure all the information is correct. Click Start Import.

Follow the steps below to export data from Salesforce via the data export service. 

Step 1: Navigate to the Data Export option on Salesforce

On the Salesforce interface, navigate to Setup and enter Data Export in the search box. 

Salesforce search box with Data Export

Find Data Export by using the search box.

Choose Export Now, which prepares your data for export immediately, or select Schedule Export, which lets you schedule your file exporting to weekly or monthly intervals.

Step 2: Choose the types of information to export

Choose your preferred encoding for your export file.

Click the box beside Replace carriage returns with spaces, so your export files have spaces instead of line breaks or returns. This is useful for importing and for other integrations.

Several fields for data export setup

Set up details on the data export setup page.

Select the types of info you want to include in your export. If you’re not familiar with Apex API names, choose Include all data and click Start Export.

Multiple options for data export

Select which type of information to include in your export.

Step 3: Schedule your export

Configure your export schedule by setting the frequency, start and end dates, and the time.  

Choose your data export frequency

Choose the frequency and preferred start time of your data export.

Click Save when you’re done (or Start Export if you’re not scheduling, but instead exporting your Salesforce files immediately).

You’ll receive an email from Salesforce when your zip archive of CSV files is ready. Large exports are usually broken into multiple files, and you can download the zip files from the link within the email.

Want to learn how to export leads from Salesforce quickly? Open your report, click the dropdown arrow beside the Edit button, and select Export

Export leads from Salesforce

Export leads from Salesforce easily.

Choose your export view, click Export, and you’ll instantly get a downloaded CSV or .xlsx spreadsheet file.

Two export views

Salesforce presents two export view options.

Pros

The Salesforce data import wizard and export data service are native Salesforce tools. This means you won’t need to install third-party apps for your Salesforce data export and import. 

Cons

Both methods are tedious and time-consuming since you’ll need to set up your data import and export manually. What’s more, whenever you want to update the data on your Spreadsheets, you’d have to repeat the import/export process every time.

You might also need to map some of your data if Salesforce fails to do it automatically, which can be cumbersome and labor-intensive. 

Your exported files in zip format will only be available for 48 hours upon exporting and will be deleted afterwards. 

You can only import up to 50,000 records at a time. Also, all the objects for importing must be supported by the Wizard. The process is not fully automated since you’ll need to set your data importing manually.

2. Dataloader.io

Dataloader.io is a third-party data loader app for Salesforce that lets you import and export your data in bulk.

It allows you to update, insert, export, import, upsert, and delete your Salesforce records for standard and custom objects with ease. 

In our example on importing Salesforce contacts, we’ll use the Upsert operation. That means we’ll create a new record or update an existing one. We’ll also enable email notifications so reports are automatically sent when the import is complete. 

We’ll also show how you can schedule daily imports, so your CSV file gets imported to your Salesforce account automatically.

Step 1: Select your Salesforce connection, operation, and object type

After installing and logging into Dataloader.io, select New Task, then Import.

In this example, we’ll use the default connection. Select Upsert, then search for the object type you want to import (in this case, Contacts), and click Next

 Connection and object stage

Use Dataloader.io to import data in bulk.
Image source: dataloader.io.

Step 2: Choose a CSV file

Dataloader.io offers direct connectivity to File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Secure FTP, Dropbox, and Box. Select where your CSV file is stored for uploading.

Multiple sources for files to be uploaded

Select your file source.
Image source: dataloader.io.

You can also configure a third system, such as Database or another Salesforce instance (the server your Salesforce organization lives on), to upload the CSV file in the same location automatically.

This allows Dataloader.io to automatically import your up-to-date data from their data sources directly into Salesforce.

Step 3: Define the mapping

Dataloader.io automatically inputs your data into the matching Salesforce fields: First name, Last name, Email, and Phone.

Modify Email to map to a Contact ID and configure a Lookup via email to set the email address as a unique identifier.

Select the check box on the left side of Insert as new if no match is found and click Next

Contact upsert section

Set up your contact ID.
Image source: dataloader.io.

Step 4: Schedule importing task

Set a schedule in the Summary page so Dataloader.io automatically performs the import task into Salesforce with your defined mapping configurations daily (or hourly, weekly, monthly). 

Set up for scheduling data imports

Schedule your data imports.
Image source: dataloader.io.

Select bulk API for faster importing and enable the Send me the results via email option to get automatic email reports every time the task runs. You can also configure the advanced settings based on your preferences. 

Click Save and Run once you’re done. Your new records should be uploaded instantly to Salesforce and existing records should be updated.

The general steps to export data from Salesforce using Dataloader.io include creating an export task, selecting your connection and object, building your custom query, then saving and running your task. 

The tricky part is the custom query building aspect of the process since you need to understand SOQL well to review and ensure you’re asking your query properly.

The Dataloader.io data exporting feature also lets you use its SOQL Query editor to write your custom queries. 

Pros

The app’s interface is easy to navigate and understand. It automatically translates the query into SOQL as you select your preferred object fields to build your query. 

Cons

While Dataloader.io offers essential automation features for exporting and importing, setting these up can still take up your time.

You need to build your query when exporting, which can be complicated and confusing if you don’t know a lot about object fields and types and what they are specifically, including SOQL. 

You can access basic Salesforce data importing and exporting features with Dataloader.io’s free version. However, you need the paid plans to get a bigger file size limit and schedule more than one task and email notifications (among others).

3. Coefficient

An even faster and easier way to import and export data into Salesforce is to use Coefficient. 

This app lets you connect your Google Sheets and Salesforce data instantly without needing to go through the steps mentioned earlier.

Coefficient puts your Salesforce data exporting and importing on steroids by making the process seamless and pain-free.

For instance, if you want to export Salesforce data and import it into Google Sheets, simply open a new Google Sheets file and launch the Coefficient Data Connector Add-on.

Click Import Data, select Salesforce as your data source, and choose whether to import from reports, objects or specific fields, or a custom SOQL query.

Several data sources available

Coefficient lets you choose from several data sources.

After authorizing the connection, your data instantly exports from Salesforce to your Google Sheets file.

You can add and remove data fields as you go along, so you only work with the data you need without repeating the exporting process.

Coefficient also auto-refreshes your exported data on Google Sheets, so you never have to build the same analysis or keep exporting your file every time your Salesforce data changes or gets updated. 

Options for running data import

Schedule your data imports in Coefficient easily.

Schedule live data refreshes hourly, daily, or weekly by setting the frequency, day, and time in the Scheduled Run option. This ensures your data is always accurate and up-to-date.

Coefficient’s powerful features make your Salesforce data exporting (and importing) quick, easy, automated, and completely effortless, bolstering your data workflows and analysis.

Pros

Coefficient is uber-easy to set up and install and you can get it up and running in seconds. 

It’s a powerful tool that requires little to no effort when exporting and importing your Salesforce data. 

It lets you set up auto-refresh schedules to ensure you always work with the latest and most accurate data.  

You won’t need to manually configure Salesforce data export and import. You only need to connect where you want to pull data from, select the object fields you want, and get them instantly on your spreadsheet. 

No object data mapping and manual query building required since Coefficient works instantly and on the fly as soon as you set up your data source connections. 

Upserts and writebacks are native to the Coefficient app

Cons

Coefficient isn’t free, but it offers affordable pricing plans.  

How to use writeback or bulk update records in Salesforce

Salesforce offers a Writeback Object node feature to update, create, or upsert your Salesforce org records with transformed data.

Several fields for Writeback Object

Set up your Writeback Object node.
Image source: Salesforce.com.

Salesforce lets you create a maximum of five Writeback Object nodes within a Data Processing Engine definition. This allows you to write back your transformed data to custom or standard objects, updating them in bulk. There are a few tools out there that can help with writing back to Salesforce, however, Coefficient takes the cake with its writeback feature for Salesforce. 

Push to Salesforce button

Update your Salesforce data in bulk through Google Sheets using Coefficient.

Open your Spreadsheet file, and from the Coefficient window, select Push to Salesforce, select your preferred action, and you can update bulk Salesforce from Google Sheets quickly and easily.

This is a huge time- and energy-saver since it only takes a few clicks (and seconds) to do bulk Salesforce record updating. 

Conclusion

The tips in this guide can help you improve your data export, import, and bulk record updating processes.

Learn the different ways of Salesforce data importing and exporting and leverage the best tools that automate and streamline your data handling, sharing, and analysis.

The more efficiently you can move and sync your data, the better its quality. This can help revolutionize your company’s Salesforce adoption, boosting your ability to generate accurate dashboards and reports.

Ultimately, seamless Salesforce data importing and exporting amplifies your data flow, allowing you to derive insights effectively and efficiently.