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11 Best Practices for a Successful Salesforce Migration

Salesforce is a popular and widely used customer relationship management (CRM) solution. The software is used to help businesses find prospects, make deals, and provide customers with exceptional service. According to a Salesforce press release issued in May 2022, the company has dominated the CRM market for multiple years. The Salesforce website states that more than 150,000 companies use the platform. 

Maintaining a Salesforce environment requires a company’s IT team to demonstrate a degree of specialized technical expertise, such as maintaining relevant Salesforce certifications

One of the tasks Salesforce professionals may be involved in is a Salesforce migration. Below, we’ll discuss best practices that should be followed to ensure a Salesforce migration succeeds. If you’re implementing Salesforce for the first time, follow the best practices outlined in our 6 Best Practices for a Successful Salesforce Implementation article. 

What Is a Salesforce Migration?

A Salesforce migration is the process of moving data from one platform to another one. It may be necessary to perform a migration to import data from other systems into Salesforce or to move data between two Salesforce organizations. Migrations can be used to consolidate data resources and ensure that everyone in the organization has access to the most current and relevant information.

A Salesforce migration can be broadly categorized into three phases: 

  • Preparation – The preparation done before performing a Salesforce migration is vitally important to its success. A lack of planning and preparation will often result in a failed migration.
  • Migration – This phase encompasses the transfer of data from a source system to the target Salesforce organization. Migration methods vary and are based on the technical resources available as well as the complexity, volume, and location of the data being moved.
  • Quality assurance testing – After the migration, quality assurance testing is required to verify the data was moved correctly and its formats and relationships are intact in the new Salesforce organization.

Preparation is the most important ingredient of a successful Salesforce migration, as the best practices below make clear. 

1: Establish a Data Governance Plan

A data governance plan is critical for efficiently managing data before, during, and after migration. Data governance ensures that data resources are kept clean and available to the business. It also addresses issues such as how legacy data will be stored in the new environment, who is responsible for maintaining clean data resources, and validating data elements before they are stored. 

2: Back Up Your Data

This is an essential first step that you should take whenever performing an upgrade or migration. It protects you if major issues arise during the migration by allowing you to quickly restore your data and maintain business continuity.

3: Choose a Salesforce Data Migration Tool

The right data migration tool for your needs depends on the volume of data you’re migrating and your team’s experience with the migration process. Limited migrations can use the Salesforce Import Wizard, while larger projects may benefit from third-party tools. Teams comfortable with APIs can work directly with the Salesforce API.

4: Identify the Data Source of Truth

It’s critical to identify the source of the data you’re migrating. Large organizations may have multiple databases managed by different departments that contain similar information. In some cases, you may need to extract specific data elements from more than one identified source of truth.

5: Initiate a Pilot Project

It often makes sense to begin with a pilot project when first migrating to a Salesforce environment. This allows the team to identify and resolve any issues and become familiar with the process. This pilot project can be used to define the scope of the migration and build experience for more extensive future migrations. 

6: Determine the Migration’s Scope and Budget

It’s important to define the scope of a Salesforce migration as it will impact all subsequent steps. An organization may only be migrating a subset of its data affecting only certain departments or teams. Management must inform the appropriate individuals of the extent of the migration so they can be prepared for the activity. 

You should also define a realistic budget that your company can adhere to during the project. You’ll need to allocate adequate resources for a successful migration.

7: Define a Migration Timeline

A timeline with measurable milestones is essential for keeping the project moving forward methodically. You should communicate a cutover date to all interested parties and provide updates if the timeline is modified.

8: Construct a Salesforce Data Model

A major benefit of migrating data to the Salesforce platform is the opportunity to revisit your data model and make any necessary modifications. Simplify the model where possible and develop one that is scalable and supports continued business growth.

9: Clean Data Before Migration

Data that is migrated from legacy sources needs to be cleaned before being introduced to a Salesforce environment. This makes it immediately valuable to teams accessing the information after it has been migrated to Salesforce.

10: Perform Quality Assurance Testing

Ensure that all data has been migrated successfully and that the relationships between tables in source databases have been replicated in Salesforce. If testing uncovers inaccuracies in the migrated data, your team must repeat parts of the process to correct them.

11: Clean Data When Migration Is Complete

During the migration, you may have collected duplicate data from multiple sources. A final data cleaning allows your team to extract the most value from the Salesforce environment. 

A Salesforce migration is a complex undertaking that benefits from a structured and methodical approach. Following these best practices gives your organization an excellent chance of performing this activity successfully.