Often times Salesforce administrators will come to us with the question “How can I mass update my data in Salesforce?”. Technically speaking, mass-update capability is not built into Salesforce (unless you count using a custom view: provides limited functionality but is useful, hence I will review how-to in a later post).
Luckily, there are tools (two in particular that I love) that allow you to make mass updates in Salesforce, and are provided free of charge for non-profit organizations.
They are Demand Tools (by CRMfusion) and Apsona (by Apsona). They each have their strengths and weaknesses, and I like and use both of them. So I decided to provide a quick comparison for Salesforce users who might be wondering which is the better choice for them. Without further ado, I present Demand Tools vs. Apsona
A program downloaded from the CRMfusion website. To log in, you need your salesforce security token so Demand Tools can access the API. To extend your license (indefinitely) beyond the 5-day trial, non-profits provide proof of 501c3 status (in pdf format). Donated licenses are not eligible for live support (but do have access to all documentation, forums, and tutorials, which are exceedingly helpful).
- Only compatible with PCs (sorry Mac users (like myself), you’re out of luck!).
- Since it’s a program you download, you must have it installed on the machine you're using to access it.
- Robust mass-editing capabilities include data import, update, and deletion of any field in your Salesforce instance.
- Additional capabilities like deduplicating (mass merging duplicate records based on a variety of criteria you customize) and finding IDs (upload a spreadsheet with information and DT will find the Salesforce IDs and drop them in the sheet for you – very handy for making mass updates).
- Can add constants right in the tool by right clicking on that field – for example: very handy for setting record types
- If there’s an error – whether a formatting error, the value not in picklist, etc. the record is created anyway – if it’s a value that’s not in a picklist, the next time a user tries to save that record they will be prompted to select an appropriate value.
- Accepts CSV or excel files.
- After your import DT automatically saves an output “restore” file, with all the Salesforce IDs of the records you created. This gives you the option to undo any mistakes you may later realize you’ve made.
- User interface isn’t very slick – this took some getting used to for me, and can be offputting for first-time users. (There are numbered steps you can roll over for instructions.) Now that I’m used to it I respect DT for it – it makes me think they're an efficient organization who spends time on what matters – like making the tool better, rather than worrying how pretty the site looks.
An app you download from the AppExchange and install in your Salesforce instance. To access it (once installed), click the plus sign and find it in your tabs. After your 30 day free trial, non-profits provide proof of 501c3 status to receive a complimentary license.
- You don’t need to launch another program, log in, or reset your security token to access Apsona – it’s right in your Salesforce instance so you can access it anywhere you access Salesforce.
- User-friendly interface – the steps to complete a mass update are intuitive and clearly marked.
- Relatively new app and I imagine we’ll see many improvements in the coming months. Currently there appears to be a bug where mapped columns don’t line up if you have more than 8 columns. And you can’t go back to view the columns you’ve already tabbed through – once you’ve tabbed to the right you’re stuck there.
- Only accepts CSV files, which has caused some problems for me as working in CSV causes symbols when characters like accents are used (more frequent with contact names, but has happened on apostrophes too!).
- You can copy and paste data into the tool (adding flexibility) in addition to uploading CSV files.
- Before your data is added to the system you have the opportunity to stop and view the potential errors (and ostensibly fix them). With DT you’re not always sure what’s going to shoot out of the other side into your error log.
Demand Tools still reigns supreme for me as it offers more functionality and control than Apsona; I prefer it for most of my mass updates, uploads, and deletions (especially complicated or extensive ones). However, for those one-field-quickie updates when I don’t want to launch a new program or fire up my PC (or for less technologically saavy users or those who don’t have time to invest in learning a new interface), Apsona wins with its speed and intuitive interface.
The disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Demand Tools or Apsona, and did not receive compensation from them for this post. I may have inadvertently left out someone’s favorite feature of one of these tools, as this post only covers my experiences using each of them. So please leave your comments in the comments section and tell the world what you love/hate about Demand Tools and Apsona.
Larissa Neale is a Brooklyn-based Salesforce consultant who is passionate about all things time-saving and life-improving (that’s one of the reasons she began implementing Salesforce, after all). Contact her if you want to swap time-management tips or slow-cooker recipes, or become a more efficient Salesforce user.