A lot of nonprofits I talk with are absolutely terrified of data migration and data importing. I was at first too when I first started using Salesforce. It's understandable - it feels permanent and like a big project! But with all of the available tools, resources, and support available to you (none of which were around when I started out, I might add, when we had to walk to school uphill both ways), you can totally do this. Just remember to practice in the sandbox and take it one step at a time. With that in mind here are a few additional tips:
1. Clean your data! If you're taking the time to move your data from one place to another, you certainly want it to look sparkling fresh so people will use it, right? Here are some tips:
2. Format your data! Again, watch this video for tons of tips to help make this easy (hint: filters in Excel really help with this!). You'd be surprised how many phone numbers, email addresses, states, etc. need to be cleaned up. Make sure your data will match the data standards and validation rules that you've established - for example, where do you put extensions for phone numbers? Are you using state abbreviations? What about US vs. USA for country?
3. Map your data! I like to keep this simple by using an Excel or Google spreadsheet where the top row has my legacy database field names and the bottom row has my new Salesforce field names (the goal is to have a 1:1 relationship between your legacy fields and new fields in Salesforce, assuming you're importing all of the old data). Then I use the data validation feature in Excel to restrict my data input to just the correct Salesforce values as appropriate (i.e., the right picklist values). I put all of the data to be imported into this spreadsheet in the appropriate Salesforce format for each field.
4. Figure out the import order of your data. Should you put in your Accounts first, by themselves?When in doubt, ask! Note you may need to split up your spreadsheet from step 3 into multiple objects, and confirm that you have at least the required fields from each object included. This step is heavily dependent on which tool you're using, so my advice is to draft a plan and then confirm that plan in the Power of Us Hub. It's typical to start with Accounts (Organizations), then add Contacts, then Opportunities (Donations), but this is different if you're using the Nonprofit Success Pack (see resources below). Some tools can also handle importing to multiple objects at a time, which is great and can save you a lot of stress! The Salesforce Importing Data Quick Start should be able to help, but does not address the NPSP. Don't worry, you can do it!
5. Again, practice in a sandbox! A Salesforce sandbox exists so you can test something before you do it in a more permanent way in production. Data migrations involving multiple objects can be tricky to undo, and you're given about 30 free sandboxes, so test out your skills before you move forward and ***be sure to check your work*** before and after you put it into production.
What's your experience with Salesforce data migration and importing? Favorite tools? Let me know and be sure to come to #AdminHour the first and third Thursday of ever month at 10am PT/1pm ET to continue to build your Salesforce skills in a fun and interactive way!
If you'll be importing into the Nonprofit Success Pack, be sure to watch this webinar!
Missy (@missylongshore on Twitter and Periscope) writes this blog just for you!