A comprehensive guide for small and medium businesses on Data Migration to Salesforce

This article is prepared by certified Marketing Cloud Consultant Anna Metsik-Peshko.
This article is tailored for businesses that embark on a journey toward digital transformation and navigate the complex path of migrating to the cloud, prompted by the constraints of legacy tech stacks and systems. As we delve into this migration's details, the reader can get a comprehensive roadmap for data migration. The article focuses on the tools designed to streamline the process, ensuring a seamless transition to cloud environments.

We study the intricacies of data migration through the lens of a dynamic recruitment agency, connecting promising candidates and prospective employers. Formerly relying on a legacy CRM system, the company faced significant challenges in efficiently managing the employer partner network as well as coping with its expansion. The legacy system struggled to align with the influx of job offers and track open vacancies, leading to a lack of a unified view of customers across different touchpoints and departments. The existing workflows within the legacy system needed to have the essential transparency required for seamless navigation through the multifaceted stages of recruitment. This inherent limitation resulted in missed opportunities as the partner network required additional care, good alignment with the candidates’ inflow, and attribution of the candidates to a particular partner company, and as a result, the HR representatives were handling data from diverse sources. Furthermore, the company expressed a desire for near-real-time reports and dashboards to enhance its decision-making processes. Recognizing the critical need for transformation, the decision to transition from the legacy CRM to Salesforce CRM was strategically driven. This shift aimed to augment transparency, streamline workflows, and furnish the team with dynamic tools to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of recruitment, thereby fortifying the overall efficiency of their operations.

It should be stated beforehand that the recruitment company lacked the technical expertise in Salesforce and decided to use the services of a Migration Team, consisting of a Project Manager, Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Developer, and QA.

The project's start focused on meticulous preparation, emphasizing the importance of a well-crafted plan to facilitate the smooth and accurate transfer of data. This preparatory stage laid the foundation, encompassing vital elements such as timelines, dependencies, and milestones. As the team embarked on coding the migration for specific objects, a comprehensive approach unfolded, ensuring the completion of the Salesforce build, receipt of data from the legacy system, stakeholder approval of the data model, and the deployment of the target environment. Before the actual data migration, meticulous attention was given to every detail – from preparing job execution dates to addressing critical planning questions related to data delivery timelines, formats, security concerns, data cleanup, and the completion of mapping documentation.

The migration journey commenced with the meticulous task of identifying the data to be migrated and establishing its source of truth. The influence of existing Salesforce processes became apparent, leading to the need for additional object creation and process refinement. A strategic decision was notably made to enhance the sales process and broaden the partner network with employers seeking candidates. This strategic shift was reflected in the updated data model, where the foundation consisted of Leads, representing companies in need of recruitment services, which could then be transformed into Opportunities and eventually converted into Accounts. Simultaneously, candidates for job positions were managed through a custom object named Candidates, which could be further converted into Contacts. These Contacts were then associated with the Accounts that hired them. To support seamless operations, a series of custom objects were created, catering to various teams, including HR recruiters, Sales, Marketing, and Finance. This comprehensive data model ensured the effective facilitation of tasks across diverse teams within the organization.

This deliberate data model addressed crucial aspects such as contact and account management, sales and opportunity management, marketing automation, analytics, and reporting within the new Salesforce Sales CRM.

The focus of the data migration process was on preparing a robust database capable of storing and organizing customer information, streamlining sales processes, enabling targeted marketing campaigns, and providing advanced reporting and analytics features. The data analysis from the legacy system emphasized the necessity for unique identifiers and the identification of interrelated data categories like prospects and customers. Mapping tables, fields, and values from the legacy system to Salesforce objects ensured a seamless transition.

Particular attention was given to the Lead object, which housed data from various recruitment forms, with some leads evolving into opportunities as candidates progressed through the interview process. Concurrently, the migration team detected data discrepancies in the legacy system, including missing IDs, duplicates, and outdated information. The recruitment agency team actively engaged in data cleaning efforts, ensuring a refined and accurate dataset for the migration process. This meticulous approach underscores our commitment to a comprehensive and successful data migration experience.

In entering the data migration stage, a pivotal decision loomed large — the selection of the optimal tool to facilitate this critical process. The current landscape is teeming with a variety of data migration tools tailored for Salesforce integration or migration, encompassing both import and export functionalities. Navigating this plethora of options required meticulous consideration from the team. The focus was directed towards evaluating a spectrum of choices, ranging from cost-effective options like Salesforce's Data Loader and to purpose-built integrations such as Zapier, as well as tools offering advanced scheduling and robust data transformations like Talend. On the flip side, the team ruled out tools like Jitterbit, Dell Boomi, Informatica, and Mulesoft, as the project's scope didn't demand extensive data transformation capabilities or the utilization of API-building platforms through specialized interfaces.

Another crucial determinant in the tool selection process was the consideration of budget constraints and the specific functionalities required for the project. After a comprehensive evaluation, the team concluded that a combination of Zapier and DataLoader would perfectly align with the project's requirements, offering an optimal balance between functionality, cost-effectiveness, and ease of integration for a successful data migration journey.
The list of tools encompasses:

Salesforce Data Loader:

  • Tech Stack: Java-based application.
  • Pricing: Salesforce Data Loader is a free tool provided by Salesforce.

  • Tech Stack: Web-based application
  • Pricing: Basic features may be available for free, with additional features offered through a subscription-based model.


  • Tech Stack: Web-based platform
  • Pricing: Zapier uses a freemium model, offering a free tier with limited features and subscription plans for more advanced use cases.


  • Tech Stack: Web-based platform, specific technologies not publicly disclosed.
  • Pricing: Subscription-based pricing model, with different plans based on usage and features.

  • Tech Stack: Cloud-based platform
  • Pricing: Typically a subscription-based model, with costs based on usage and features.


  • Tech Stack: Open-source and commercial data integration tools, built using Java.
  • Pricing: Talend offers both open-source and subscription-based models. Pricing details may vary based on the specific product and deployment options.


  • Tech Stack: Integration platform with a focus on APIs, built using Java.
  • Pricing: Subscription-based model, costs vary based on usage and features.


  • Tech Stack: API-led connectivity platform, built using Java.
  • Pricing: Subscription-based model, costs are influenced by factors like the number of applications and APIs.
In the concluding phase of data migration, a thorough validation process ensured the precision and seamless integration of data into Salesforce. Our dedicated Quality Assurance (QA) specialist meticulously verified that not only was the data in the correct format but also that relationships were accurately reflected within the Salesforce environment. This scrutiny extended beyond technical aspects to examine how migration aligns with broader business goals.

The testing phase delved into crucial aspects for our recruitment agency, examining how leads enter the system, evaluating the efficacy of various flows and marketing activities, and assessing the role of HR recruiters in converting leads into opportunities. The overarching goal was to understand how the entire process contributes to securing and deploying valuable talent for employers, thereby enriching the recruitment agency and adding value to partners. The benefits realized by the recruitment agency were multifaceted, including enhanced transparency, a unified customer view across all departments, and streamlined workflows within the organization.

Notably, the executive team found immense value in the informative reports and dashboards generated by Salesforce. These tools facilitated real-time decision-making, empowering the leadership to make strategic decisions promptly. The successful migration not only achieved technical precision but also transformed the operational landscape for the recruitment agency, fostering transparency, efficiency, and informed decision-making.

To sum up, the recruitment agency recognizes the significant impact of data migration to Salesforce, showcasing remarkable results such as increased engagement, higher conversion rates, and an impressive 65% reduction in the time required to fill challenging roles. These outcomes underscore the efficiency and necessity of investing in a robust data migration team. Should you have any inquiries regarding data migration or seek a reliable partner to accelerate the digital transformation of your business and seamlessly transition your data to the cloud, feel free to reach out.