All of us have spent a lot of time staring at spreadsheets loaded up with rows and rows of records.
Your CRM users are the same.
If you need data from Excel spreadsheets or your previous CRM, Salesforce can easily import data in the form of csv files.
A csv file..’comma separated values’ file is just that. A spreadsheet table (just one table) that is saved in a format where each cell value is separated from the next by comma’s. The first line of the csv file is the header row on your spreadsheet.
How do you get a csv file out of a spreadsheet? Simple. Select save as in excel and select csv type. This will take the first table (only one table remember) of the spreadsheet and save it wwith a row of header names then all of your data separated by comma’s.
Once you have the csv file – how do we get it uploaded in to salesforce.com?
There are a few ways you can transfer these spreadsheets of data into the CRM – some easier than others.
The Data Import Wizard under Setup walks you through the process of importing contacts, leads, solutions and campaign members from csv files.. The interface allows you to import up to 50,000 records at one time.
There are some instructions for this available here.
It won’t import cases though which can be annoying if you are setting up a salesforce system for the first time and want to import previous data.
There is also a very old piece of software on salesforce, the apex data loader, that you can find under set up and download. It is a little clunky but can be used to upload a broader range of data albeit with a few more manual steps. Salesforce Ben has an excellent walk through available here on his blog if you want to master this.
Finally, there are a few options for more extensive data loaders on the appexchange.
Dataloader.io is my own preference but unless your data upload needs are fairly small there will be a subscription for this product.