Salesforce Data Import: 2 Easy Methods

on Activate, CRMs, Data Integration, Hevo Activate, Salesforce, Tutorials • August 18th, 2020 • Write for Hevo

Salesforce Data Import - Featured Image

In this post, you will learn how to upload data into Salesforce by two methods. In the first method, you will be setting up the Salesforce Data Import functionality using the dataloader.io tool. Dataloader.io is a simple yet powerful web-based tool provided by Salesforce for free. It makes it possible to insert, update, delete or export Salesforce records. When importing data, Dataloader reads, extracts, and loads data from comma-separated values (CSV) files or a database connection. When exporting data, it outputs CSV files. In the second method, you will utilize Hevo Activate for Salesforce Data Import.

In this post, you will explore how to upload data into Salesforce, such as contact information as follows:

  • Object: Contacts
  • Fields: First Name, Last Name, Address, City, County, State, Zip, Phone Number, Email Address
  • Operation: Upsert

You will use the Upsert operation which means that you will either create a new record or update an existing one. By the end of this post, you will be in the position to use the Dataloader Wizard to import data for any standard Salesforce object, such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Solutions, and Campaign members. You will also enable notifications so that when the import is completed, you will receive an email report. 

Lastly, you will connect Dataloader to your PC and schedule daily imports so that the CSV file with the Contact records is imported into your Salesforce instance automatically. When updating records, you will use email to look up already existing records that have the same email and update this information.  Let’s get insights into both methods in the further sections.

Table of Contents

Prerequisites

You will have a much easier time understanding the Salesforce Data Import if you have gone through the following aspects:

  • Access to a PC with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  • An active Salesforce account.            

What is Salesforce?

Salesforce Data Import - Salesforce Logo
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Salesforce is one of the most widely used CRM platforms, and its popularity has risen dramatically in recent years. It’s a Cloud platform that provides customers with a better experience and more complete business apps for communicating with other Customers, Prospects, Partners, Sales, and Marketing services across the world. It may also be used to plan and track Sales and Marketing efforts, as well as manage your services by analyzing your data. 

Salesforce also offers several additional Salesforce Products, such as Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Analytics, Process Automation, and so on. Salesforce’s Customer 360 Platform guarantees a tailored experience. Salesforce’s API allows users to access data and migrate data from other systems by connecting using Java Database Connectivity (JDBC).

Salesforce Tools to Perform Salesforce Data Import

You can use the following Salesforce built tools, to perform the Salesforce Data Import:

1) Data Import Wizard

The Data Import Wizard tool allows you to import data from both standard and custom objects, such as contacts, leads, and accounts. It has the ability to import up to 50,000 records at once. It has a simple UI for configuring the parameters, data sources, and field mappings, which translate the field names in your import file to Salesforce field names. Refer to the Salesforce Data Import – Data Import Wizard Documentation to know more about the Data Import Wizard.

Data Import Wizard Permissions Required for Salesforce Data Import:

  • Import Personal Contacts: You may use this permission to import your own accounts and contacts.
  • Modify All Data: You may use this permission to import other people’s accounts and contacts.
  • Import Leads: You may use this permission to import leads.
  • Import Custom Objects & Create on the custom object: You may use this permission to import custom object data.

Refer to the Salesforce Data Import Wizard Permissions to know about the other permissions required by the Data Import Wizard.

2) Data Loader

Data Loader is a client application that allows you to load large amounts of data and execute DML statements on Salesforce data. It can import up to 5 million records of any data type from files or a database connection at one time. It can be controlled using a graphical user interface or a command line. In the latter situation, you must use configuration files to define data sources, field mappings, and other settings. This allows you to use API calls to automate the import process. It leverages SOAP API for processing records. However, you can also use the Bulk API for larger load and parallel processing.

Data Loader Permissions Required for Salesforce Data Import:

  • Read, Create, Edit, and Delete on the objects.
  • API Enabled.
  • Bulk API Hard Delete (when you configure to use Bulk API for hard deleting records).

Refer to the Salesforce Data Import – Data Loader Documentation to know more about Data Loader.

Methods for Salesforce Data Import

Method 1: Salesforce Data Import Using Dataloader.io Tool

This method involves setting up Salesforce Data Import manually by using the dataloader.io tool. It is a simple yet powerful web-based tool provided by Salesforce for free. While importing data using this method, the dataloader reads, extracts, and loads data from comma-separated values (CSV) files or a database connection. When exporting data, it outputs the CSV files.

Method 2: Salesforce Data Import Using Hevo Activate

Hevo Activate is a completely managed cloud-based ETL tool that can load data to multiple applications such as Salesforce from your Data Warehouse and other data sources for free. Hevo Activate provides an easy-to-use interface that can accomplish such load jobs in a matter of few clicks. It can transform data on the fly and facilitate recurring jobs to load data to Salesforce.

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. Hevo’s pre-built integration with various data sources such as Salesforce, Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, HubSpot, etc., will take full charge of the data transfer process, allowing you to focus on key business activities.

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Methods to Set up Salesforce Data Import

Users can set up Salesforce Data Import by implementing one of the following methods:

Method 1: Salesforce Data Import Using Dataloader.io Tool

Salesforce allows users to leverage the Salesforce Data Import functionality to load data in the CSV format from a source of their choice. You can learn more about how to upload data into Salesforce using the Salesforce Data Import functionality from the following steps:

Step 1: Install Dataloader.io from Salesforce AppExchage

  1. Log in with Salesforce. Use your existing Salesforce credentials to log into AppExchange.
  2. Search for dataloader.io in the search bar.
salesforce data upload - search bar
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  1. Alternatively, you can directly find the App using the following link: https://appexchange.salesforce.com/appxListingDetail?listingId=a0N30000009w8ZBEAY
  2. Install dataloader.io for free and authenticate using your Salesforce credentials. Dataloader uses OAuth 2.0 which means no sign-up or security tokens are required.
  3. Select the environment you want to access and click Login.
  4. When first logged in, you will see a Getting Started page. On the top of the screen, you will see New Task. This is the starting point to import, export, and delete data in Salesforce.

Step 2: Create an Import Task

The first step to load data into Salesforce using Salesforce Data Import is to create an Import Task. Import Tasks are reusable such that the next time you want to import the same kind of data, you can reuse a task that you’ve already created and it will just take you one click to get it up. Dataloader.io will also allow you to schedule import/upload tasks to run automatically at the designated times.

To create an Import Task:

  1. Click New Task on the top menu bar
  2. Then select Import
dataloader.io import data
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This is how you can create an import task to start setting up the Salesforce Data Import.

Step 3: Select your Connection, Operation, and Object

  1. Select the Salesforce connection from the dropdown menu.
  2. Select Upsert operation to create new records and update existing ones.
  3. Select Contact as the object type you wish to import data into.
  1. Click Next.
dataloader.io - connection & object
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Step 4: Upload your File

  1. Download the sample CSV file from this link: https://letterhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/50-contacts.csv
  2. To upload a CSV file, click on the Upload CSV button to select the file from your computer or drag and drop your file inside the import wizard. You can import files from your PC, Dropbox account, FTP, or SFTP connection. 
upload csv file
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This is how you can import your desired CSV file from a source of your choice to Salesforce using the Salesforce Data Import functionality.

Step 5: Define the Mapping of your Fields

  1. The next step is to map your CSV columns to your Salesforce fields. As you can see from the window, Dataloader has automatically matched some headers from your input file.
mapping fields
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  1. Use the quick filters on the top right to see all, mapped or unmapped fields from salesforce and quickly find if you are missing some important attributes.
Using filters to check attributes
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  1. To delete a mapping, click on the trash can next to the mapped Salesforce field. When doing inserts make sure you have mapped all the required fields, otherwise, you won’t be able to move forward.
  2. Modify Email to map to a Contact ID.
  3. Select Lookup via Email.
  4. Select Insert as new if no match is found.
Setting up Lookup via Email.
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  1. Click Next.

Step 6: Schedule Daily Updates and Email Notifications

On the next page, you will see a summary of the Import Task you just created.

  1. Add a daily schedule so that Dataloader will run this task every day importing the CSV file into Salesforce with the mapping configuration you just defined.
  2. Select Use Bulk API because it’s much faster. However, note that this feature is not available for Lightning users in which case, just stick to the SOAP API.
  3. Check the Send me the results via e-mail option.
Contact Upsert Summary.
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Step 7: Save and Run Your Task.

Finally, on the last step of the setup wizard, click Save to save your task and run it later or click Save and Run to save your task and run it immediately.

Check your Salesforce.com account to see whether the contacts have been updated. You should view something similar to this:

Contacts in Salesforce.
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This completes your step-by-step tutorial on how to upload data into Salesforce using the Salesforce Data Import functionality.

Method 2: Salesforce Data Import Using Hevo Activate

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Hevo Activate is a completely managed cloud-based ETL tool that can load data to multiple applications from databases and data sources including Salesforce. Hevo Activate provides an easy-to-use interface that can accomplish such load jobs in a matter of few clicks. It can transform data on the fly and facilitate recurring jobs to load data to Salesforce. 

Hevo Activate takes care of all your data pre-processing 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. 

Check out what makes Hevo Activate amazing:

  • Real-Time Data Transfer: Hevo Activate with its strong integration with 100+ sources, 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 numerous marketing & SaaS applications, databases, etc. such as Airflow, Hubspot, Marketo, MongoDB, Oracle, Salesforce, 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.
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What are the Common Salesforce Data Uploading Challenges?

While performing Salesforce data upload, cleaning, migrating, and integrating it with other data properly are some of the critical steps that are frequently overlooked. If these stages, which all need data loading, are not correctly planned for, they might result in unanticipated expenses and longer implementation deadlines. Some of the frequent challenges that arise when these processes are not adequately planned are:

  • Dirty Data: Clean data is critical whether a customer is upgrading their CRM, deploying a new CRM, or integrating several Salesforce instances. Since CRM is frequently considered as the source of truth, you should avoid importing data that is missing, inconsistent, or duplicated.
  • Complex Data Transformations: Complex data transformations are common while going through an ERP and API integration or data migration. It will be impossible to identify the suitable technologies to utilize or plan out the required resources, deadlines, and budget for this work without first examining the intricacies of the data you are transferring.
  • Manual vs Automated Data Loading Decision: Setting up your CRM and ensuring that all of the data that has to travel in and out of your CRM are the main challenges  You should determine if you want to automate the connections between Salesforce and the other systems while you’re designing your Salesforce setup. A few primary advantages of automated data loading are reduced manual mistakes, increased staff efficiency and performance.

As you can see from the challenges listed above, in order to ensure a successful Salesforce Data Upload, you must plan out the data loading stages and ensure you have the necessary tools.

FAQs

1) How to match the Salesforce fields to your data for mapping while uploading?

When you import accounts and contacts for an organization or individual data from sources other than Outlook or ACT, the Import Wizards map the fields as accurately as possible. Before you can finish the import, you must fine-tune the mapping. Salesforce recommends that you label the columns in your import file in Excel before importing your data.

When inserting, deleting, or updating files, use the Mapping Dialog window to map Salesforce fields to CSV file columns.

  • To match fields to columns automatically, select the “Auto-Match Fields to Columns” option. Based on the similarity of field and column names, the Data Loader populates the list at the bottom of the window. Automatic matching only works on the ID field during a delete operation.
  • Click and drag fields from the list of Salesforce fields at the top to the list of CSV column header names at the bottom to manually match fields with columns. For instance, if you’re inserting new Account records and your CSV file contains the names of new accounts, drag the Name field to the right of the NAME column header field.
  • Click the “Save Mapping” button if you want to save this mapping for later use (optional). Give the SDL mapping file a name. If you choose an existing file, the export will replace its contents. Click the “Yes” button to confirm the action, or the “No” button to select another file.
  • To use your mapping for the current operation, click the “OK” button.

2) Which Salesforce users can upload data?

For importing data using Data Import Wizard, you need to have these permissions:

  • Import Personal Contacts: You may use this permission to import your own accounts and contacts.
  • Modify All Data: You may use this permission to import other people’s accounts and contacts.
  • Import Leads: You may use this permission to import leads.
  • Import Custom Objects & Create on the custom object: You may use this permission to import custom object data.

For importing data using Data Loader, you need to have these permissions:

  • Read, Create, Edit, and Delete on the objects.
  • API Enabled.
  • Bulk API Hard Delete (when you configure to use Bulk API for hard deleting records).

Conclusion

We hope this helps you get up and running quickly with uploading CSV records to Salesforce so that you can manage customer interactions much better. Since you’re here, you can easily upload records to Salesforce using Hevo Activate.

Hevo Activate helps you directly transfer data from a source of your choice such as a data warehouse to any SaaS application, CRMs such as Salesforce, etc. for free in a fully automated and secure manner without having to write the code repeatedly. Hevo Activate with its strong integration with 100+ data sources & BI tools, allows you to not only export & load data but also transform & enrich your data & make it analysis-ready in a jiffy, at a reasonable price. You can automate your data flow to Salesforce in minutes. 

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Sign Up for a 14-day free trial today and let Hevo Activate be a helping hand in your data upload process.

Do share your experience of learning about Salesforce Data Import with us in the comments section below!

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