Salesforce is the world's most popular customer relationship management (CRM) solution, with a massive 24% market share. Salesforce is billed as "Customer 360" software, enabling businesses to get a comprehensive, panoramic view of all of their customers.

If you’re familiar with the Salesforce.com platform (also known as SFDC), you know that there's a vast range of features and functionality to choose from. By making the right choices, you'll be able to make actionable use of the wealth of data that Salesforce has to offer.

In previous articles, we've given tutorials on—for example—how to create a Salesforce ETL pipeline. The ETL workflow involves three steps for your enterprise data: extract, transform, and load. Once this information is loaded into a centralized data warehouse, you can start running analytics and create beautiful dashboards and visualizations for better data-driven insights.

In this article, we’d like to narrow down the scope of Salesforce ETL. Here, we’ll discuss exporting attachments from Salesforce with change data capture (CDC) and Data Loader.

Looking for a powerful, user-friendly CDC Salesforce solution? Get started today with Integrate.io's 7-day pilot. 

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Why Export Attachments from Salesforce?

If Salesforce is so great, then why would you ever want to move data out of it? There are a few reasons you might want to export attachments from Salesforce. Anyone who works with the platform, from Salesforce developers to non-technical end-users, will tell you they have to share data for specific things.

The reasons for exporting attachments from Salesforce include:

  • Sharing data internally: Rather than exporting data from Salesforce, you might think that accessing this data within the Salesforce database is a better option. Since this data is kept as up-to-date and accurate as possible, you can be sure that you're not missing out on any new information. However, this alternative isn't possible for employees, teams, and departments in your organization that doesn't use Salesforce. Instead, you can export attachments in Salesforce when you're running a report or working on a specific project. You can then import them into software like Microsoft Excel or a SQL database in a cloud platform like Microsoft Azure, Oracle, or Amazon Web Services. This allows you to select or highlight a particular segment of data for a given use case rather than work with the entire database.
  • Working with a third party: Third parties such as vendors and business partners are another good reason to export attachments from Salesforce. For example, if you outsource certain projects or initiatives to a contractor, you don’t want them to have access to your entire Salesforce CRM system. To give them precisely the information they need and no more, you need to be able to export certain Salesforce records while leaving out others.
  • Backups: Some businesses decide to use exporting attachments in Salesforce as a simple method of creating data backups. However, you don’t necessarily need to rely on this technique. There are other methods that are more robust and involve less manual effort, including third-party solutions on the Salesforce AppExchange. For more information, check out this article from Salesforce: “Best practices to backup Salesforce data.”

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What Is Salesforce Data Export?

Businesses use Salesforce CRM to store massive quantities of information—far more than any human could hope to comprehend. To make sense of this data, you need an organized and efficient way to export it to other software and systems. Most importantly, this method should be automated, saving valuable hours of human effort and reducing the chance of human error.

When someone talks about Salesforce data export, they're generally referring to Salesforce's Export Wizard. However, there are other methods to export data, such as free or paid third-party tools. You can also custom-build your own Salesforce data export tool, or have a software development company design a solution that meets your specific needs.

For example, you might have a list in your Salesforce org of customers who recently attended one of your company’s webinars. You could use Salesforce data export to prepare and export this list of attendees and then send it to a printing company that will create and ship gifts to them branded with your company logo (e.g., T-shirts, mugs, or notebooks). The printer can take this file and easily import it into their own system, making your Salesforce data easily transportable.

The Salesforce data export feature is also useful for analytics and reporting functionality. Information from Salesforce is exported as a comma-separated CSV file, which is compatible with a wide range of data analysis software.

Although Salesforce data export can be performed manually, you can also extract data using tools such as Salesforce Data Loader (more on that below). Salesforce data export can be scheduled on a reoccurring basis or performed manually as a one-time action.

The Integrate.io data integration platform makes it easy to export data from Salesforce and other platforms using our 140+ pre-built connectors. Try Integrate.io for yourself today with our 7-day pilot.

How to Export Attachments from Salesforce Using Data Loader

Data Loader is a free tool for importing or exporting data in bulk that is available through the Salesforce platform in the software's Setup menu. Note that the Data Loader tool does have limits: it only supports exporting up to 5 million records. Although this limit is more than enough for many companies, you'll need to find an alternate method if you do need to work with more than that.

The good news is that Salesforce has made Data Loader a very user-friendly tool to operate. After selecting the type of file you want to export, the Data Loader wizard user interface will walk you through the configuration process. This includes the data source and the fields that you're mapping, as well as setting a schedule so that reoccurring imports and exports will happen automatically. The Salesforce Data Loader is an excellent option if you want to backup or schedule regular data exchanges.

How Integrate.io Can Help with Salesforce Data

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Solutions such as Salesforce Data Loader are enough for many companies with lower data consumption needs. But what happens once your business grows past the limits of Data Loader and needs a more robust solution for exporting data from Salesforce?

The best option is to select a mature, purpose-built ETL solution like Integrate.io. The Integrate.io platform is a cloud-based ETL solution that helps you build simple data pipelines in a user-friendly visual interface. By creating your own automated workflows, you can ensure that your enterprise data is efficiently transferred into a centralized data warehouse, making it accessible from a wide range of locations.

Integrate.io offers no-code, drag-and-drop functionality, so even users with no technical experience can rapidly build their own data pipelines. The Integrate.io platform also includes many predefined data transformations, from cleaning data and removing duplicates to joining and validating datasets. The platform adheres to compliance best practices to keep you up to date with your regulatory requirements.

What's more, Integrate.io offers more than 140 prebuilt connectors and integrations, including Salesforce, so that you can get started right away. We offer support for the Salesforce Bulk API, so you can easily use this feature during the exporting phase for any ETL process. Here at Integrate.io, we have vast experience in working with Salesforce, helping our clients get the best use of their CRM.

At Integrate.io, we design pre-built integrations for Salesforce. If you have an issue that's outside of the box and you can't seem to find the solution to make Salesforce work efficiently for your needs, contact us. We can not only make recommendations for the best integrations to completely revolutionize your experience, but we can help you get the support you need to master every aspect of your journey.

Want to learn more about how Integrate.io can help optimize your use of the Salesforce platform? Get in touch with our team of data experts today for a chat about your specific business situation, or to start your 7-day pilot of the Integrate.io platform.