How to decide how much data lives in Salesforce?

When you decide to implement a Salesforce solution, one of the most important issues you must resolve is how much of your legacy data should be exported — and how you will manage it after migration. There is no single answer that is ideal for every enterprise. Instead, each company must balance emotions, logic and budgetary considerations as well as any regulatory concerns.


For some, the solution is to take all data, while others may choose to leave most of it behind. Typically, however, the answer lies somewhere in between the two extremes. The following pointers can help you determine the best answer for your particular situation.

Data In salesforce - AhaApps

Determine Your Legal Requirements

If you are in a highly regulated industry, you may face certain limitations regarding the storage of sensitive data. Based on your specific needs, you can choose one of four courses:


  1. Store all data in Salesforce. Many — although not all — regulators realize that Salesforce is a safe, secure place to store sensitive and personal information.
  2. Employ encryption/tokenization technology. Encryption software can make all fields secure from misuse, or you can depersonalize selected fields, such as names, phone numbers or addresses, through tokenization.
  3. Use a third-party system to embed personal information. You choose a third party to outsource certain information, such as having your bank store your customers’ credit card information. You can then use a mashup technique to bring the required information into Salesforce as it is needed.
  4. Omit certain data sets from Salesforce. Some data might be better stored on-premises. If the data is not relevant to your sales or marketing efforts — yet needs to be maintained in a secure environment — you could choose this option. However, it is important to remember that “data silos” are one crucial aspect of most legacy systems that you are trying to eliminate.

Prepare an Overview of Your Business

A visual representation of how your business functions can help you determine which data is most critical. Prepare an overview of your business processes based on your answers to the following questions:


  • Where do you get your leads?
  • How do you hand off leads?
  • How will leads reach Salesforce, if applicable?
  • How do you eliminate duplicate leads?
  • How are leads assigned?
  • How do you measure conversions?
  • How can you measure trends, and how often do you want to do so?
  • How long do you consider a lead as qualified?
  • Do you need weekly, monthly or quarterly forecasts?
  • Who needs access to sales data and forecasts? In other words, do the production, warehouse and shipping departments need access? What about the purchasing department?

Evaluate Your Data

You need a strategy to decide which data you should migrate to Salesforce. Although you will want to scrub your data prior to migration — and may need to prepare a separate business case to justify the cleansing — there are other aspects that you need to evaluate.


  1. Map your data. You need to know what fields are included in each file and what purpose each field serves.
  2. Assemble representatives from all groups using the data. Provide each representative with a data map to review.
  3. Hold meetings with all representatives to discuss which files and data fields each considers critical. Ask them to identify unnecessary fields and obsolete files, and then ask them to prioritize what remains.
  4. Assign costs related the data migration. If your budget will not permit migrating all data, use the list prepared by your team of representatives to prioritize.

Examples of Data You Might Exclude

Naturally, the ideal solution is to migrate all of your data to Salesforce without revising the fields. This can sometimes be problematic, however. The following data might be expendable, depending on the nature of your business.


  1. Historical data, such as a history of phone calls or appointments.
  2. Archived data, such as saved emails, order purchase histories of former clients or completed work orders.
  3. Leads, if you do not plan to use Salesforce to import leads from your website or track conversions.


How you manage your data in Salesforce depends on the specific needs of your business. Fortunately, Salesforce has the flexibility and power to allow you to adapt it to maximize your return on investment.