Salesforce is the most widely used cloud-based CRM platform. It stores all your leads, customer data, vendor data, sales and invoices, contact data, etc. Often, to get usable insights from all this data, you need to combine it with some other data and import it all from Salesforce to a BI tool. 

The most basic BI tool most of us are familiar with is Excel. In this post, we will discuss the method for Salesforce ETL using Salesforce Excel connector, its limitations, and challenges. 

Steps to Use Salesforce Excel Connector

To import Salesforce data into Excel, you can use the Salesforce Excel connector.

Step 1: Open Excel and go to the Data Tab →  New query → From Other sources.

New Query > From Other Sources > From Salesforce Objects: Salesforce Excel Connector
Open Excel and Go to Data Tab

Step 2: Next, select → Salesforce objects →  choose one option from Production or Custom →  enter your Salesforce credentials, if asked for.

Select Salesforce Objects: Salesforce Excel Connector
Navigate to Salesforce Objects

You will have 2 options here.

Step 3: Navigator allows users to select SF objects OR use the “Load To” option to load to a table or create a connection.

Option 1 : 

If you just want to copy data and do some Excel calculations on it, create a new table. This new table will hold all the data snapshots, selected from SF, as it was at that moment in time.

Option 2 : 

Else, if you want to load the latest updated data from SF and create graphs/calculations on it, create a connection. A connection will fetch you the latest data from SF, every time it’s accessed. Hence, your graph will be drawn from the latest data as it is fetched from Salesforce.  

There are some limitations and challenges in the above approach using the excel salesforce connector.

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The main limitations of Salesforce to Excel Connector are,

  • Most versions of MS Office require you to install Office Toolkit and then install Excel Connector XLA. 
  • Excel and any other MS Office tool like Access or PowerPoint, use an  ODBC Driver to access Salesforce, and for that driver to work, you will need to get API access enabled on your Salesforce account. 
  • Tools like Excel and Access have a maximum size limit, if your Salesforce data is substantial or if your Salesforce objects are big, they might not be accommodated in Excel.
  • Also, in this case, linking to the data instead of importing, might be slow as advanced Pipeline capabilities are simply absent from these tools.
  • These tools were not designed for ETL purposes. So the back-and-forth movement of live data could be slow, at times. 

Nevertheless, if your data volume is not big and your data does not change very often, the above approach is good for you. 

But if you want to integrate data from multiple sources and use it to get a comprehensive picture of what’s going on, you will need a proper ETL tool. 

To get a bird’s eye view of all your processes and formulate the best strategy moving ahead, you will also need a modern BI tool. 

Hevo, A Simpler Alternative to Integrate Your Data for Analysis

Hevo offers a faster way to move data from databases or SaaS applications like Salesforce into your data warehouse to be visualized in a BI tool for free. Hevo is fully automated and hence does not require you to code.

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Salesforce Excel Connector helps to migrate data from Salesforce to Excel. You can carry out this in three steps mentioned in the blog. The connector has several limitations including linking to the data instead of importing might be slow as advanced pipeline capabilities are absent in the tool.

Other limitations include size limit issues. Because, the tools like Excel and Access have a maximum size limit. If your Salesforce data is substantial or if your Salesforce objects are big, they might not be accommodated in Excel. So, before looking into how to install Salesforce Excel Connector, understand if that would be a good fit for your requirement.

Also, if you have multiple data sources, its better to go for a no-code data pipeline platform for data integration. Hevo Data is one of them that can fetch data updated to the last minute in real-time and supports fast pre-processing. The data from your multiple data sources (Including Free Sources like Salesforce), would arrive at the Hevo pipeline at varying speeds and at different times. Hevo is designed to easily manage these gushes and trickles of your various data streams and supports 128-bit SSL encryption. 

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Share your thoughts on the Salesforce Excel connector in the comments below!

Pratik Dwivedi
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Pratik writes about various topics related to data industry who loves creating engaging content on topics like data analytics, machine learning, AI, big data, and business intelligence.

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