If you have large numbers of records to import, such as a lead list you purchased, we would use the data loader portion of the automation software to import those into sales force. This is a more complicated process and we recommend that only a qualified sales force administrator attempt this. In either case, it is important to clean the data prior to loading it into SFDC. Excel has some nice facilities for cleaning data and making sure that all fields are populated for each record and it is easier to do it in a batch than to clean each record up individually once it is in sales force. The import facilities also can prevent the creation of duplicates.
If you want to simply access your contacts from Outlook we recommend using Sales force for Outlook or Connect for Outlook. Your Tidewater consultant can explain the pros and cons of all these facilities to you. Once again, many people have very large Outlook contact databases and it is wise to clean these up so you are not bringing unnecessary contacts into the new system. Sales force for Outlook also syncs up calendars and we highly recommend that you use Outlook as your mail client. If you are using another mail client (such as on a Mac) there are products in the AppExchange that provide similar functionality.
A special note about using the sales force automation software tool to import data from other contact managers like ACT! Although it is easy to bring over all the contact information from these programs, bringing over the contact history information is much more difficult because of the proprietary file layout of these programs. It can be done but may be more trouble that it is worth. In many cases it is easier to run the old system in parallel with sales force for a month or so until you are completely up to date with each important contact. The history is always available in the old system if you need to access it. If you would like more information about sales force automation software please give us a call for a free consultation.
Launched in 2005, AppExchange is a marketplace for cloud computing Web application built for the Salesforce.com community and delivered by partners or by third-party developers, which users can purchase and add to their Salesforce.com environment. As of April 2012, there are over 1,400 applications available from over 450 independent software vendors.
Note: We are a Salesforce consulting firm providing salesforce training throughout the USA, but focus on cities & states in the Northeast like Hartford Connecticut / CT, Augusta & Portland Maine / ME, Boston Massachusetts / MA (MASS), Portsmouth New Hampshire / NH, Burlington Vermont / VT, and Providence Rhode Island / RI.