Import Your Contacts and Accounts to Salesforce - dummies

Import Your Contacts and Accounts to Salesforce

By Tom Wong, Liz Kao, Matt Kaufman

If you already have contact lists from another database (such as Excel), you can use the Import Wizard to create multiple contact records in Salesforce and be done in no time. The Import Wizard is located in the Tools sections of either the Accounts or Contacts home page.

When you import accounts, you can choose to import just companies and their associated information, or you have the option to import companies and their related contacts in one action. Which route you take really depends on your existing data and what you want in Salesforce.

Refine your accounts and contacts before bringing them into Salesforce or clean them up after the import; it’s up to you. Some sales reps prefer to make changes on a spreadsheet first because they’re more accustomed to spreadsheets.

When preparing your import file, keep these points in mind:

  • Enter your column headers in the first row. Try renaming column headers to be consistent with the field names in Salesforce. For example, you could rename the Company field from Outlook as Account Name.

  • To import data for your entire company (available as an option only to system administrators), add a column for Record Owner to signify who should own the record in Salesforce. Otherwise, as the person importing, you own all the records from the file.

  • To differentiate locations of a company (for example, Sony in Tokyo versus Sony in New York), add a column for Account Site and update the rows in your file to reflect the different sites.

  • Link accounts in the import file by adding columns for Parent Account and Parent Site and by filling in fields as necessary to reflect the hierarchy.

  • Make sure that a Type column exists and that fields are filled to correspond to the types of companies you track (customers, partners, prospects, competitors, and so on).

  • For files with more than 500 rows, divide the master file into smaller files to fit the Import Wizard’s size limitation. You have to repeat the Import Wizard for each of the smaller files.

  • To import contacts and accounts at the same time, add a column for the billing address fields if those addresses are different from the contacts’ mailing addresses.

For more hints on importing, click the Help and Training link and check out the Training and Support information in Salesforce by searching for the keyword Importing.

When you’re figuring out how to import data into Salesforce, try testing an import with five or so records first, just to make sure that you know what you’re doing. After importing the test data, review your new records to make sure that they contain all the information you want to have brought in. Delete the test records, refine your import file, if necessary, and then run through the final import.