5 Foolproof Data Loading Tricks Salesforce Admins Must Know

Salesforce data loading can be a daunting task for new Salesforce admins. Whether you’re inserting, updating, upserting, or deleting, your overall actions are touching a lot of records in your org, which can be intimidating. However, if you follow the right best practices, data loads can be completed successfully and with less stress overall. We’ve outlined 5 foolproof data loading tricks below so you can start completing data loads with more confidence today!

Turn Off Configurations That May Fire On Your Data Load

Depending on the type of data load you are running, a lot of existing records can be touched. With this being the case, you will want to proactively temporarily deactivate any configuration that could accidentally fire on the creation or update of a record. This includes configurations like Workflow Rules and Process Builders that are set to fire when any change is made to a record, or when a record is created for the first time. Temporarily deactivating configuration will allow you to complete your data load without firing any accidental changes in your org. Don’t forget to reactivate when you complete the data load!

Salesforce data loading

Look for rules with this type of criteria

Plan Data Loads For Off Business Hours

Another useful Salesforce data loading trick is to always run your data loads off hours from when normal business operations are ran. It is important to do this especially if you have deactivated some configuration from firing on the creation of a new record. For example, if you have a Workflow Email Alert that fires a specific email for when a new Lead enters your system, you may have deactivated that configuration for your deployment. You will want to conduct the data load at a time where it is less likely for new Leads to enter your system so that you minimize the chances of a new Lead getting created and not receiving that certain email.

Salesforce data loading

Practice in a Full Sandbox First

Practice makes perfect, and with Salesforce data loading, it is vital. If you can, practice your data load in a Full Sandbox environment so you can see what will actually happen to the records and org after completion. Practicing in a Sandbox helps you see if you accidentally fire configuration during the data load, and also what errors may prevent the records from uploading or updating properly, like a Validation Rule. Not only will practicing in a Full Sandbox help decreases stress during the actual data load, but it will also save time down the road. By addressing errors prior to a data load, you will understand what changes or deactivations need to be made to your org to ensure a smooth and quick deployment.

Here are some tips on how to utilize your Salesforce Sandbox experience

Use an 18 Digit Id Instead of 15

In Salesforce, records have unique identifiers that are 15 digits. These unique 15 digit ids are case sensitive, as in the upper and lowercase characters matter. For example, these are two different records:



This works in Salesforce, but when you are conducting data manipulation or cleansing, a common first step in a data load, many programs cannot take case sensitivity into account. For example, without proper helper functions that may slow down your program, Microsoft Excel cannot detect case sensitivity and would consider the two records above the same. Luckily, records also have an 18 digit id that is completely unique to the record and solves the case sensitivity problem in Excel. You should use this Id when you are doing any form of data manipulation in Excel prior to a data load. Use a converter tool to get a record’s 18 digit id.

Smaller Batch Sizes

When using the Salesforce Data Loader for your data load, records are processed in incremental batches. This means that Salesforce will run the data load for the number of records you specify, like 10 or 100. The maximum batch size you can run is 200 records, but it is not always wise to run batches that large.

Salesforce data loading

Sometimes, depending on the setup of your org, Salesforce can’t process a large number of changes to records at one time, which results in an error stating “Error: System.Exception: Too many SOQL queries”. To combat this, decrease your batch size by clicking “Settings”. Although your data load will take longer to run, you will hit fewer errors and have a smoother data load overall.

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Use Salesforce to Send Emails Quicker Than Ever Before

Emails are the core of communication for many firms and we all know how time-consuming they can be. According to Forbes, the average employee actually spends about 2 ½  hours per day reading and replying to emails. This adds up to a lot of time not spent working on projects!

Luckily, you can use Salesforce to automate tedious email tasks, freeing up your team so they can spend more time working on projects, meeting deadlines, and doing the work they enjoy. We’ve explained some of these key email features below so you can get started automating email functions through Salesforce today!

Email Templates

Salesforce email templates are re-usable emails that you can connect to different types of automation. Your customers or team members receive these emails when other things happen in Salesforce, like creating a new Opportunity. Email Templates will save you hours writing the same type of emails over and over again, and they’re easy to set up too!

Salesforce Emails

  • Folder. You can select the folder you’d like to keep this email template in. This is good for an organization when you have many different email templates for different reasons.
  • Email Template Name. Use a clear concise name that allows others to know what your email template is meant for.
  • Template Unique Name. This will auto populate after you enter an Email Template Name. This name is to be referenced if you use this email template in Apex Code somewhere else in Salesforce, or in a Changeset. You don’t need to worry about this right now.
  • Encoding. Encoding standards tell your web browser or email application how to read the characters or text in your email body. You don’t need to worry about this right now.
  • Description. Write a clear concise description so others know what your email template is used for.
  • Subject. This is the subject of the email that everyone who receives the email will see.
  • Email Body. This is where the actual email message is written. You can add plain text and Merge Fields to create your message.

Merge Fields

Merge fields can be used to pull your customer’s unique information right from Salesforce and into your email templates automatically. For example, if you wanted to send your customers an email addressed directly to them, you would write something like this in the email template:

Dear {!Lead.Name}

Where {!Lead.Name} is the merge field that will update to the name of your Lead. Merge fields are awesome because they easily allow you to customize emails sent to customers, making them feel important. Additionally, you can use merge fields to send the most current and up to date information to your team, ensuring everyone is on the same page with projects.

Workflow Email Alerts

Email Alerts allow you to send emails automatically through Salesforce. You can specify the type of person to receive these email alerts, like an internal User or Contact, and you also specify the email template that you want to be used in this alert. Email alerts can be used for actions like sending emails automatically internally when deals close or sending “Welcome” emails to new Leads. To send an email alert, you must create a configuration to actually fire the rule. We will get into this below!

Salesforce Emails

  • Description. Write a clear concise description so others know what your email alert is used for.
  • Unique Name. This will auto populate after you enter an Email alert Name. This name is to be referenced if you use this email alert in Apex Code
  • Object. Pick the object you’d like your email alert to be associated to for merge field values in the email itself as well as potentially where to find information to determine the actual recipient.
  • Email Template. Pick the Email Template you’d like to be associated to your email alert.
  • Recipient Type. Determine how the email recipient is identified. You can pick from the following list:

Salesforce Emails

  • From Email Address. Specify where the email has come from to the end User.

Send Emails Automatically in Salesforce

Instead of focusing on projects, many of your team members day is consumed by writing and sending emails. With email templates, you took the burden of actually writing certain emails off of your team’s back. Now, with Workflow Rules or Process Builders, you can actually set up emails to get sent automatically based on happenings in Salesforce so your team can put their time toward productive work instead.

Workflow Rules

Use Workflow Rules to send emails automatically so your team doesn’t have to! Workflow rules fire automatically when something happens in Salesforce. For example, workflow rules can fire when a new Opportunity is made, when a Lead’s status changed to a specific value, and from many other things. Once you write your rule to fire based on an action in Salesforce, you will have to associate your existing email alert to the rule. Then, after activation, you will be all set to send emails automatically in Salesforce!

Process Builders

Process Builders are more complex configurations that you can also use to fire email alerts. With process builders, you have many more options to cause an email to fire and can create more complex scenarios than with a workflow rule. If you are new to Salesforce, stick to using workflow rules to send emails for now. However, once you feel more confident with your config skills, check out how a process builder can be used to automate emails and ultimately let your team spend more time on the important tasks.

Salesforce Emails

Email Reports Daily/Weekly/etc.

One last capability of email in Salesforce that you may not know about is the ability to send Salesforce Reports automatically over email to who you want, when you want, and with only the most updated Report information. By scheduling a report to refresh, you are telling Salesforce to automatically refresh that report so the information is completely up to date. Then, you determine if you’d like the refreshed report to be sent to just yourself or other Users you specify. Finally, you determine the duration of time you’d like the report to get emailed out during, like at the end of the week, 2 weeks, month, or another time. Sending updated reports automatically over Salesforce to Users can save your Users a ton of time by not having to track down each other to find the information they need.

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Salesforce Influencer Spotlight: Tom Blamire (Salesforce Tom)

In the previous issue of “Salesforce Influencer Spotlight”, we’ve had a chance to talk with Tiffani Bova, the Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. She shared great insights about Salesforce and her very successful career path in the US. This time, in order to introduce you to our next guest, we are moving across the Atlantic Ocean.

We are happy to introduce you to Tom Blamire, or how the Salesforce community knows him – Salesforce Tom. Tom resides in the South East London with his wife, son and two dogs and he is an extremely passionate Salesforce Influencer. He was introduced to the platform back in 2013 when he was told: “Starting from Monday, you are going to be the company’s Salesforce admin. Don’t worry about what to do, you’ll pick it up along the way…”

He found out very quickly that this was his new calling in life and instantly knew that this was going to be his career path for good. Since then, Tom has spoken at the London Salesforce Community Groups; the 2018 Salesforce World Tour, entrusted as being an ‘expert’ at the lightning booth and he hopes to one day speak at Dreamforce. During his path, Tom has worked across multiple industries including Facilities Management, Travel, Marketing, Financial Services and feels most comfortable when it comes to processes.

Tom is a strong believer in equality across ALL spectrums and follows the 4 L’s:

  • Love (who you want)
  • Laugh (not at the misfortune of others)
  • Live (and let live)
  • Limoncello (his weakness)

When he isn’t with his family, he likes nothing more than helping others leverage their Salesforce knowledge or connecting other like-minded people to help fill the gaps where he isn’t able to.
According to Tom, there is always a place for gif (or two).


In the following interview, Tom shares his Salesforce Influencer perspective on the ecosystem and provides some useful tips and tricks to better utilize the Salesforce experience.

How did you end up getting it and how did it influence your future career?

Tom Blamire

Picture Credit: Tom Blamire

Tom Blamire: I was like the other 99% of admins in the community and fell into it. At the time I was working for an IT and telecoms company and remember that on a Wednesday afternoon was called into my bosses office. All I remember thinking was ‘what have I done now?’. My boss said, “As you aware, we have now implemented Salesforce in the business and now was the perfect time to get an administrator to help manage the platform and have decided you are the person to fulfill that position starting Monday.”

I had no working knowledge of Salesforce and hadn’t even heard of it, nor what it was able to do. I remember panicking thinking I was out of my depth and made the wrong decision. So, I spent the next few days and all weekend learning as best I could from available websites (trailhead wasn’t about then) ready for Monday. Soon as I built my first validation rule, I knew this was something I wanted to do. Don’t ask me why, but it just felt right. The more I felt comfortable, the more I needed to learn and the more I learned, the more I wanted to help the business.

What would you do differently if you were starting in Salesforce now?

Tom Blamire: If available back then, I would have definitely been a HUGE Trailhead user as this has been fundamental in my current knowledge. Other than that, I would have attended local user group meetings and immersed myself in all things Salesforce.

Do you have any favorite Salesforce tips or tricks that help you be more efficient?

Tom Blamire: Become a SABWA as this will truly help you understand your users and the processes they have to go through. Get on Twitter. Sounds silly but the majority of the community are on Salesforce and if you ever have a question that you need help with then there is always someone willing to help and guide you. This also goes for the success community.

Additionally, make the best use of the free apps and components available on the app exchange – these are life savers! Above all these is having the ability to ask ‘why’ whenever you get a request. You’ll soon find out its because a user doesn’t necessarily understand how to use the platform.

What are the three Salesforce apps that you use the most and that you could recommend to our readers?

Tom BlamireTom Blamire:

1. Rollup Helper – allows the ability for you to control how rollups are calculated.

2. AAkonsult Campaign Status – allows the ability to preset member statuses based on campaign types etc.

3. Mass Transfer/Reassign Opportunities – unfortunately, you can’t mass reassign opps unless using data loader. This removes the headache of having to do that. If you are a Chrome user, I definitely recommend that you use ORGanizer as this has a ton of use cases and regularly updated with new functionality.

You are an extremely active contributor to the Salesforce community and a Certified Salesforce Admin. Why do you believe this community is such an integral part of Salesforce? How would you motivate people to be even more active in it?

Tom Blamire: There is a French translation of morale which is “l’esprit de corps”. This is loosely translated as ‘A strong sense of enthusiasm and dedication to a common goal that unites a group of people’. If one person succeeds, then we all succeed as we are all there for each other. For people unsure, I would say go along to your local user group or participate in some of the webinars as this will give you great insight into what’s possible.

You are a proud co-founder of the Gif Squad which is “a group of tech enthusiasts who can (and often do) find a GIF for anything”. We would love to hear the story about how you came up with an idea started this group!

Tom Blamire: This all started as a result of Dreamforce 2016. A group of us met up, became friends and wanted to do something as a collective. Amy Oplinger, I believe, came up with the name as before DF16 we had these HUGE gif battles as to who could outdo each other – fortunately, we all won! Once we established GIF Squad, we decided to give back and soon set up a web page and t-shirts where all proceeds were donated to charity. The rest, as they say, is history!

The Gif Squad, Tom Blamire

Picture Credit: The Gif Squad

Your life motto is “A diamond is a piece of coal that did well under pressure“. How do you live up to it? What kind of advice you can give to enthusiasts, who are pursuing the Salesforce Career?

Tom Blamire: At first, it may seem tough and that you want to give up but keep pushing through and you’ll witness/experience something completely amazing whilst making a ton of friends along the way.

As a Salesforce influencer, what Salesforce blogs and resources would you recommend to a person who is starting with the platform now?

Tom Blamire: Personally, I think it has to be http://admin.salesforce.com! The weekly podcast gives great insights, tips, and tricks that shouldn’t be overlooked. I’d also recommend http://salesforceben.com as there is a ton of information but additionally http://automationchampion.com, http://sfdc99.com, http://salesforcesaas.wordpress.com and http://tomblamire.wordpress.com (obviously.)

If you could ask Marc Benioff just one question, what would it be?

Tom Blamire: It wouldn’t be so much of a question but a mere ‘thank you’. By Marc Benioff creating Salesforce, it has helped changed mine and family’s life for the better. I have been able to buy my first home, get married and start a family. This wouldn’t have been possible if I was still doing what I was before being an admin. I’m sure there are a million people out there who also feel the same. If I had to ask a question though, it’ll probably be “What’s your favorite gif?”

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