Your Salesforce Data Migration Checklist

Are you new to data migration or using Salesforce? With so many platforms in the Salesforce ecosystem, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Especially since you risk data losses or performance underutilisation when switching to new digital systems. Unfortunately, these are problems for tech-newcomers as much as tech-natives.

Make sure you capture the full power of Salesforce technologies and retain all your records by using our comprehensive Salesforce data migration checklist. In this guide, we’ll share core pieces of advice and break down common pitfalls so you can make your Salesforce data migration easy and manageable. Read on to find out more below. 

Our top 5 Salesforce data migration checklist items

1. Use the right file format for each task

First up on our checklist, make sure to use the right file format for the process you want to complete. When setting up your organisation and importing data to Salesforce, you need to use .csv files. These are files that use commas to separate data (hence the name comma separated values), so computers can easily read where one input ends and another starts. Salesforce provides guidance on how to save .csv files specific to your office package and version. 

Note that you may need to remove formatting from some of your existing columns. For example, you need to be cautious when importing financial data to Salesforce. A ‘£1,000’ gross profit will log as £1 (since the comma marks the end of the input), causing the remaining zeros to force everything else out of place. 

Salesforce can handle other file formats, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with any others you need to use. For example, Marketing Cloud can handle content file types ranging from .pdf to .mp3, while Sales Cloud can import external social media data on your sales leads. Therefore, don’t think you’re stuck using .csv files to achieve everything in your business.

2. Have a 1:1 ratio between data and objects

Like trains and their tracks, Salesforce can only import data if it has a designated object to populate records with. 

Although Salesforce is extremely capable with extensive out-of-the-box solutions, it’s crucial to create a customised data architecture for any records that don’t fit Salesforce’s existing framework. Otherwise, with no object to store it, your data may go underutilised or lost. Consider refining your data migration by creating custom objects with your business’s unique data and using an adaptive data model that tracks KPIs accurately. 

3. Confirm data inputs match Salesforce’s required formatting

Similarly, ensure your data fields follow Salesforce’s naming conventions. While our second tip helps migrate all your data to Salesforce, it can still end up jumbled. This is because your field names act like directions for your data, allowing the software to match your records with the object you want it to. 

We go into more detail about formatting your data fields with best practices in step two of our How to improve data quality in Salesforce guide. If you want to skip ahead to labelling your data, Salesforce has a guide on creating import field labels which you may find useful.

4. Retain data with the right compression algorithm

Salesforce places size limits on files ranging from 20 KB to 2 GB. When migrating data, any file must clear its maximum limit in full, as applications won’t break them apart just to transfer a portion of their data. Therefore, you may need to occasionally compress documents so you can migrate them successfully. 

‘Lossy’ compression algorithms are one possible method for compressing data before transfer. They work by deleting redundant data. Unfortunately, they’re not a very sophisticated compression method because some data may turn out to be important.

Try to use ‘lossless’ algorithms (compression methods that recode data to preserve it) where you can. Moreover, aim to use PNG and vector image files, or structured data types (like spreadsheets) that can be compressed more readily.

5. Import data using Salesforce tools only

No Salesforce data migration checklist would be complete without mentioning the import tools that Salesforce has available.

Salesforce publishes two applications, the Data Import Wizard and the Data Loader. Data Import Wizard can handle up to 50,000 records at once and catches duplicate records automatically (especially handy if you’re new to data migration or haven’t got a dedicated IT team on hand). In contrast, the Data Loader can import up to 5 million records at a time and handle data from a wider range of sources, but can’t detect duplicates. 

The maximum size of your import file can be up to 100 MB. However, no record can exceed 400 KB (about 4,000 characters) and you can’t import more than 90 data fields per record. Learn more about using the tools mentioned above during your data migration on Salesforce’s website.

Switch tech stacks easily with our Salesforce data migration checklist

Changing your customer management software can be risky and burdensome. Without sufficient backups, you could risk losing data. Luckily, cloud-based tools like Salesforce offer transformative features to improve your business processes while reducing your workload at the same time. 

Use our checklist on Salesforce data migration best practices above to ensure your Salesforce implementation is seamless and comprehensive. Read more about data management in our articles on best practices and data quality, and take advantage of innovative business features today.

Ease your Salesforce data migration with makepositive

makepositive is a Platinum Salesforce Partner with a team of experts on hand to help you set up scalable solutions with Salesforce tools.

We have experience in delivering everything from core Salesforce platforms like Sales and Service Clouds, to AI-based analysis tools — all using data migration and formatting best practices.

Get in touch with us at info@makepositive.com and learn where your data can take your business today.

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