Data migration. It’s a challenging and time-consuming process, but every Salesforce organization will need to do it at some point or another. You’ll need to overcome both organizational and technical challenges to ensure things go smoothly, which is vitally important. Why? Because a sloppy Salesforce data migration can result in bad data, and bad data can lead to everything from minor efficiencies to critical errors that threaten your business.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of Salesforce data migration best practices, from planning to tips and tricks to execution advice. Let’s get started.  

Create a Data Migration Plan

When developing your migration plan, think of it like any other project. You’ll need to include timelines, documents, dependencies, and milestones. And if you have a dedicated project manager to keep everyone organized and on task, that’s a bonus. 

Here are a few questions to consider before you start migrating any data:

  • Do you have a data governance plan so that all stakeholders are on the same page about the migration? 
  • Who will be using the data in the new system? How will you ensure that the record ownership is set up correctly? 
  • What’s the security plan? Will existing profiles and defaults transition into the new environment, or will you need to update them?
  • Do you have any inactive applications you can clean up and uninstall? Is there data or duplicate files that need to be removed? 
  • Do you have enough space in your current Salesforce environment to handle the new data being migrated into the system?
  • How are you organizing your data? Do you have a structure and consistency for the records in the new Salesforce system and consistent naming?
  • How will you back up your old data before starting the migration process? 

Best Practices for Migrating Your Data in Salesforce

Once you’ve created your plan, the next step is executing on it. Here are five best practices for organizing and then actually migrating your Salesforce data. 

Step 1: Determine What Data You Plan to Migrate

Begin by choosing which objects you want to migrate. This could be anything from just the contact information on your accounts or account information on specific industries. Whatever it is, have a clear goal in mind. 

Step 2: Develop Templates for Your Data 

Next, you’ll want to create an Excel document for each Object using a data export from Data Loader. And don’t forget that Objects have mandatory relationships that dictate the order of migration. Keeping this in mind will help you determine the required fields for each Object first. (Helpful tip: Always migrate Users first, then Accounts, then Opportunities)

Step 3: Populate Templates 

During this step, you’ll review and confirm your data before adding it to the template. The trick with template population is to load one record and check your results before going all in. That way, if you’ve made a mistake somewhere along the line, you can fix it beforehand, as opposed to doing a lot of work and then learning you need to re-do it all over again. 

Step 4: Prep Your Destination Org

This step is an optional one, but we highly recommend it as a best practice—building custom fields for your legacy ID information. Give the custom field the “External ID” attribute, and it won’t be indexed. Trust us—prepping your destination org beforehand will save you a lot of potential headaches down the road.

Step 5: Confirm the Data 

Finally, your Salesforce data has been migrated. You’re done, which means it’s time to celebrate, right? Not so fast. The last step to any solid data migration is validating your migration. To do this, you can create custom reports to validate record counts and get a comprehensive picture of the migration. Additionally, conduct a data spot check and review exception reports to uncover data that wasn’t migrated.

Once everything checks out, that’s when you can do the balloon drop.

The Key Step to a Smooth Salesforce Data Migration

Properly executing a Salesforce data migration might be a time-consuming and expensive process, but keeping best practices in mind will improve the efficiency of your new system and the accuracy of your data in the long run. 

Our best advice for a smooth Salesforce data migration? Partner with somebody who already knows the ropes. Our senior-level Salesforce consulting team can engineer a custom plan for your organization, guiding you through each step of the data migration plan so that everything goes off without a hitch

Contact us today to get started on your project.