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Salesforce Data Migration: What Is It & How to Set It Up?

Ammar Ali

Content Manager

February 15th, 2024

What is Data Migration in Salesforce?                                        

Salesforce data migration is the process of transferring data from external sources, legacy systems, typically databases, into the Salesforce platform, a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platform. This migration is often undertaken when an organization adopts Salesforce for managing its customer data, sales, marketing, and other business processes.

Why Migrate Data from Legacy Systems to Salesforce?

Salesforce data migration will likely be an inevitable process if you decide to adopt Salesforce as your customer relationship management (CRM) solution or need to integrate it with other applications. Migrating to Salesforce from legacy platforms, in particular, offers numerous advantages that can significantly enhance your company’s efficiency, scalability, and overall business operations.

Here are a few key reasons why you might want to migrate to Salesforce:

  • Scalability: With Salesforce, your system can effortlessly handle increasing data volumes and user loads as your business grows, ensuring optimal performance and responsiveness.
  • Cloud Accessibility: Access your data and applications anytime, anywhere, with the convenience of a cloud-based platform, fostering collaboration and enabling remote work.
  • Advanced Automation: Leverage robust automation tools in Salesforce to streamline and automate your sales and service processes, reducing manual effort and enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Flexible Customization: Tailor Salesforce to match your unique business processes, ensuring a perfect fit for your organization’s specific needs and evolving requirements.
  • Security and Compliance: Benefit from Salesforce’s top-tier security measures, including data encryption and user access controls, ensuring the confidentiality and compliance of your sensitive business data.

Types Of Data Migration in Salesforce

Salesforce data migration can be divided into four different types:

  • Database Migration: Migrate data from external databases, such as SQL, NoSQL, or other CRM systems, to Salesforce. Ensure a smooth transition by considering schema differences.
  • Application Migration: Transition both data and replicate application functionality from your existing CRM or business application to Salesforce. This involves extensive configuration or customization.
  • Storage Migration: Manage the migration of attachments and files within Salesforce by moving them to external storage systems. Alternatively, utilize Salesforce’s external file storage options to efficiently handle data within specified storage limits.
  • Cloud Migration: Execute the transfer of data from on-premises systems or other cloud platforms to Salesforce. Leverage Salesforce’s cloud-based infrastructure, including IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, for improved accessibility and scalability.

There’s another use case of data migration from Salesforce Classic to Lightning. If you’re currently using the legacy version and considering a move from Salesforce Classic to Lightning, you’ll be stepping into the revamped edition of the system. This transition offers you the opportunity to access exclusive features and enjoy an improved UI/UX.

The Salesforce Data Migration Checklist

While your actual Salesforce data migration journey will likely be different—owing to your unique requirements—the following are the typical Salesforce data migration steps that you can expect:

  1. Planning: First and foremost, you need a Salesforce data migration plan that defines the scope, objectives, and success criteria for your Salesforce data migration. Identify the source systems, data entities, and stakeholders involved. Your Salesforce data migration plan should also be clear about the timelines, resources, and responsibilities.
  2. Data Assessment: Conduct a thorough analysis of your existing data. Identify data sources quality and potential issues such as duplicates or incomplete records. Assess data structure, formats, and relationships to create a clear picture of what needs to be migrated.
  3. Data Mapping: Create a mapping between source and target data fields in Salesforce. Specify how data will be transformed and mapped during the migration process. Ensure alignment with Salesforce data models and consider any necessary data cleansing or enrichment.
  4. Data Extraction: Extract data from the source systems according to the mapping plan. Ensure that data extraction processes maintain data integrity and consider the use of extraction tools or scripts to automate the process and minimize errors.
  5. Data Transformation: Apply necessary transformations to the extracted data to align it with Salesforce requirements. This includes data cleaning, formatting adjustments, or any other modifications needed to ensure compatibility with Salesforce data structures. For example, you may need to standardize address information if it’s in a different format.
  6. Data Validation: Perform thorough validation checks on the data to ensure accuracy and completeness. Apply custom validation rules to validate data against predefined criteria and reconcile any discrepancies to maintain data quality.
  7. Data Loading: Load the transformed data into Salesforce. Depending on the volume of data, consider using enterprise-grade data migration solutions for moving your data into Salesforce.

Remember, this Salesforce data migration checklist is not exhaustive. However, it should give you an idea of the overall process.

Salesforce Data Migration Tools

Salesforce offers native data migration tools, such as Salesforce Data Loader, but they can be complex for non-technical users. Users without a strong technical background find it challenging to navigate and use these tools effectively. Moreover, they face limitations when dealing with large volumes of data. For enterprises with extensive datasets, the performance of these tools is not as efficient.

In addition, they struggle with complex data transformations and are unable to handle intricate data structures. To mitigate these issues, you must consider third-party solutions. When it comes to migrating data to Salesforce, Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) tools are key players. There’s a variety to pick from, suitable for different technical skill levels.

Despite similarities, each tool has its own technical strengths and weaknesses. When deciding, consider your company goals and ensure the chosen tool has the technical capabilities needed for a smooth transition to Salesforce.

There’s a notable shift towards the adoption of no-code solutions for Salesforce data migration. These tools streamline the process, requiring no coding expertise and ensuring accessibility for a diverse user base. Importantly, the focus extends beyond singular data migrations; these tools excel at automating ongoing ETL processes.

This commitment to automation contributes to sustained operational efficiency, offering a solution for long-term data management strategies. We recommend using Astera—a unified, no-code data management solution to handle complex Salesforce data migration as it can handle large-volume migration and ETL processes with ease.

How to Migrate from Legacy Platforms to Salesforce

Using Astera, you can seamlessly migrate your data from legacy platforms to Salesforce in a matter of minutes. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Connect to your legacy destination. This initial step establishes a connection to the source system where your data is currently residing. Astera supports a wide range of legacy and new systems. For example, let’s select the legacy IBM Db2 system.


After ingesting the data, you can use the data preview feature to examine the data fields. In this instance, we examine the data within the customer table.


Step 2: Apply transformations to cleanse and filter data

Cleaning the data by removing records without specified regions is essential for ensuring data integrity and accuracy in the new Salesforce system. This step enhances the quality of the information being migrated, preventing issues related to incomplete or inconsistent data.

The above data preview shows missing data in the region column. So, let’s add a data quality object rule to remove the records that have no region specified.


Now, the data preview shows the fields with data in the Region column.


What about the rows with missing data?

We can use the Log function to get a record-level log of the data. It highlights all the fields with empty values in the Region column.

log Astera

Step 3: Connect to the Salesforce Database.

Establish a secure connection to the Salesforce database. Select Specify Database Information, choose Salesforce REST V2 as a Data Provider, enter the credentials, and you’re all set.


After the connection is established, map the fields to the Salesforce Database.

Step 4: Execute the workflow.

The final step is to execute the dataflow to complete the transition from the outdated IBM Db2 system to Salesforce.


And that’s it! The data is migrated to Salesforce.

salesforce data migration Astera

Salesforce Data Migration Best Practices

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when migrating data from legacy system to Salesforce:

  • Thorough Data Assessment: Before initiating Salesforce data migration, carefully assess your existing data to identify inconsistencies, redundancies, and incomplete records. A comprehensive understanding of your data will guide your migration strategy and minimize disruptions.
  • Define Clear Objectives: Clearly outline your data migration goals and set specific objectives. Define what success looks like in terms of data accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. Having a well-defined plan will keep your migration on track and ensure that you meet your business requirements.
  • Establish a Robust Data Mapping Strategy: Create a comprehensive data mapping document that clearly outlines how data from the source aligns with Salesforce objects and fields. Use a data mapping tool to quickly map source and target data fields. Ensure data integrity by mapping fields accurately, considering data types, and addressing any transformations needed during migration.
  • Thoroughly Test and Validate: Rigorously test your Salesforce data migration plan in a sandbox environment before executing it in a live Salesforce instance. Verify data accuracy, completeness, and adherence to validation rules.
  • Prioritize Ease of Use: Choose a user-friendly Salesforce data migration solution that facilitate a smooth migration process without extensive coding requirements. Embrace no-code platforms to simplify tasks and empower non-technical users to actively participate in the migration process, promoting efficiency and reducing the risk of errors.

Cost of Salesforce Data Migration

Determining the cost of migrating to Salesforce involves assessing variables such as your company size, migration complexity, and the specific Salesforce product selection.

Due to the nuanced nature of these factors, providing a number, even a ballpark figure, is difficult. For a customized cost estimate tailored to your use case, reach out to our sales team. We’ll discuss your requirements and provide a cost estimate for data migration into Salesforce.


Migrating your data to Salesforce is a smart choice because it centralizes and streamlines your customer information. But keep in mind that it’s just the first step in the right direction. You must design a data architecture to ensure your Salesforce system has accurate and complete data available for timely reporting and analytics. Therefore, consider investing in a tool like Astera that allows you to seamlessly migrate data into Salesforce and create automated data pipelines — without writing code. In addition to smooth data migration, it serves as a scalable, long-term solution to handle complex ETL and data integration processes.

Would you like to learn more about how Astera can help you migrate data into Salesforce? With years of experience in data migration, our team stands ready to offer valuable guidance and advice to support you throughout the entire process. Contact us now or request a free 14-day trial!

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