In this article you will find everything you need to know about importing data into SELLSATION. To begin with, we will look at some basic knowledge and definitions.
Important: If you are already familiar with the SELLSATION import process, but need a "reference book" on the various conventions for naming fields and their contents, please click here: Basics
New things right at the beginning
We have expanded the import of data so that it is now even easier to import data using the import function. This includes that the data can now be imported both in CSV format and as an Excel file.
Another new functionality is that when importing customer and project data, as well as in the case of a general import, all three information areas (customer, project and contact person data) can be updated and new data added in one process.
Explanation of the import functions
Authorised users can find the data import in the Administration menu item at the bottom left in the navigation bar:
As soon as the import page has been opened, you can click on the button
Load your prepared import file. As soon as the file has been loaded, you can make the import settings:
The following information areas or entities can be imported within the import module:
- Customer data
- Sales project data (project)
- Contact person data (contact persons)
SELLSATION offers the possibility to import data from all three information areas combined in one file, as well as each area in a separate file. The combined mode is useful if you, for example, receive a file with customer and contact person data from an external system. In this way you can import both areas of information at the same time and SELLSATION ensures that the contacts are assigned to the customers. It is not necessary that the import file contains data from all three areas. If, as in the example above, only customer and contact person data are included, SELLSATION recognises that the import file does not contain any project data.
How? The trick is fairly simple. With the so-called data mapping (i.e. the assignment of columns of your import file to SELLSATION data fields), projects are only imported if project data fields are "mapped". If this is not the case, SELLSATION assumes that no project data has to be imported.
The same would apply to the contact person data if, for example, you only want to import customer and project data and everything is made available in one set of data.
Of course, you can also import any information area for yourself:
If you only want to import customer data, then select the Customer mode. In this case, SELLSATION only expects customer information to be imported and only offers customer data fields for mapping.
The same applies to the two other modes:
Mapping (assignment of columns of the import file to SELLSATION data fields)
As mentioned above, the import process can only be started when the contents of your import file are assigned to data fields by SELLSATION. As soon as you have uploaded your import file, a preview of max. 10 lines displayed:
In the picture above there are only 4 rows, with the first row showing the column headers of your import file. In the line above you will see a dropdown for each column of your file with which you can assign the SELLSATION data fields to the respective column.
If a column header corresponds exactly to the field name of SELLSATION (case sensitive), the mapping is automatically created for the respective field.
In the example above, all of the column headers shown correspond to the SELLSATION field names, except for the postal code. Within SELLSATION this is called the ZIP code. To assign this field correctly, click on the dropdown above this column and look for the ZIP code field:
By selecting the field, you have now correctly assigned all fields:
The same procedure applies to all import modes. Depending on the mode selected, different data fields can be selected. The complete list of all SELLSATION fields are available for the general import. Otherwise, you will only see the respective fields of the selected information area.
Overwrite/update or add
The import of SELLSATION also offers the possibility to update saved data using the import function. This means that you have to tell SELLSATION which contents of your import file are to be used to check the existence of this data record (customer, project or contact person) and, if necessary, to update the contents with those from the import file.
We call this content the reference field.
In this example, I have now loaded the same file that I want to import into the Customers information area. However, I have now selected Update or Add. In the marked box you can see that a prompt has now appeared to specify the reference field. The following fields are available for selection in the Customer information area:
- e-mail ... the cusotmer's e-mail address
- External ID (customer) ... a stored foreign key of the customer data record
- Company name ... the company name (in our example this should be chosen
- Customer number ... the customer number that is stored in the customer data record
- Last name... the last name of the private customer (in the B2C business model)
- SellsationID ... the primary key of SELLSATION (can be exported via the export function)
If, as in our case, you select the company name as a reference field, SELLSATION first tries to clearly assign all the companies to be imported according to your company name to the existing data records in SELLSATION.
If a clear assignment is possible, the content of this line of your import file is used to update this data record.
If SELLSATION finds more than one match, this data record is marked as not assignable and you can carry out a manual assignment in a further step.
If SELLSATION finds no match, a new data record is created with the contents of your import file.
This concept is also applied analogously to project data, whereby the selection of the possible reference field options varies.
The selection of contact persons is limited to three types:
- Add to customer
- Add to project
I.e. for this information area you will not have the comfort of SELLSATION updating and adding at the same time.
Nevertheless, a reference field must also be specified in this case when overwriting.
Important: the reference field must also exist in the import file and be mapped accordingly. Furthermore, the exact spelling (upper / lower case) of the values in the reference field must be observed. For SELLSATION, "Meinkunde GmbH" and "Meinkunde GMBH" are interpreted as two different company names.
General import - Special case
The general import enables, as already described above, the simultaneous import of all three information areas in one working step. By specifying a reference field (analog concept as described above), SELLSATION can be "informed" through all information areas whether the data should be updated or added. If the reference field is not selected, SELLSATION assumes that a "simple" import, i.e. pure addition, is desired.
In this case the import configuration would look something like this:
You can see in the picture above that three reference fields, one for each information area, are now offered. If one or the other is not specified, no attempt will be made to update the corresponding information area.
Saving the import configuration
If you need to import data in the same format on a regular basis, it is advisable to save a created import configuration. However, it is also advisable to save your configuration in the event that the data has not been prepared properly and an error occurred during the initial import (see Deleting imports below). Saved import configurations can be reused at any time and they can also be selected for data export. I.e. You can also export the imported data in the same configuration (see Export of data).
To do this, click on the disk symbol at the top right and enter a name. Then click on Save. Your configuration is now saved.
With the dropdown Select configuration on the right you can call up the configuration again. If you want to save a modified copy, click on the disk symbol again after making the changes and then click on the New button. This will display a generic name in the name field, which you should overwrite. Then you can finally save the new configuration by clicking Save.
The import process
Now that the columns of the import file have been assigned to the SELLSATION data fields and the import configuration is saved (optional), the import process can be started by clicking on the import button.
Important: if the import button appears in light blue color, it means that important requirements have not yet been met. These could be that reference fields were not mapped or, for example, the company name was not specified when importing customers.
After clicking on the import button, the import file is checked together with the configuration. The result of the check is shown in the import preview:
Here you can see in the upper part how many data records SELLSATION has recognized for the respective information areas. The middle part shows how many data records could be assigned according to the (n) specified reference field (s), or not as described above. The numbers given in the right column also serve as a download link for the data sets falling into this category.
In the bottom section, invalid data records are displayed. These could be, for example, customer data records of your import file, for which a company name field was specified in the configuration, but the value was not specified for one or the other data records.
If you are satisfied with the preview, click here again on Import and SELLSATION will now lead you to the import history.
Immediately after you start the import process, the history shows that your import is waiting in the queue for asynchronous processing. The status is not updated automatically. Should you remain on this page and want to wait for the process to be completed, you can click the Refresh button next to the name "Import history" from time to time:
As soon as processing is started, the status "Import in progress ..." is seen. After the import has been completed, you will see the success message in the Status column, as shown in the picture above.
You are able to delete imports that only add data to the database. To do this, click on the x on the far left in the history table. This will delete all data associated with this import. Note that SELLSATION has two questions for you to make sure that you really intend to delete the data:
If you confirm both questions, the import is "deleted".
Recommendation: deleting an import is a help functionality to remove imported data which, after checking the import, does not yet have the desired quality. If the import was several days ago and your users may have already added information or have created projects for new customers, we recommend that you do not delete the import. This could lead to unwanted data loss as users may lose their valuable information.
Character encoding and separators
The import file(s) can be in CSV as well as in Excel format. You can choose the character coding and the separators. Please make sure that the character encoding and the separator have been selected correctly, otherwise the result may be incorrect (eg: umlauts are displayed incorrectly).
Please note that countries in SELLSATION are saved internally with ISO 3166-2. The country name is shown in full text in the respective language translation. More information on the correct country coding can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-2.
Please always store the phone numbers in the CSV file to be imported with the country code (e.g.: +1 for the United States, +33 for France...).
Salutation vs. Gender
SELLSATION only saves the type of customer or contact person for people (or families). The salutation is compiled in the course of the preparation of the serial letters or e-mails based on the saved greeting. It is therefore necessary to enter the type of customer or contact person in the import file using a single letter:
- m for male
- f for female
- F for family
Selection field values
The values of selection fields or so-called dropdown fields can be stored in the import file in two ways:
- General: store the values that are visible to the user (eg: blue, red or green for a selection field whose possible user-selectable values are either "blue", "red" or "green".
- Option indices: these are natural numbers that represent the option index value (OptionID) within the SELLSATION database. This method is intended for all administrators or developers who read the option values from selection fields via our API (Get CustomFieldOption.
In order to be able to provide additional customer relationships in the import file, you have to provide a column with the reference field for these customers. When assigning this column to the value of the "secondary" customer relationship (s), you now select the name of the customer relationship that you want to supply here, for example "End customer". SELLSATION recognises that this is an additional customer relationship for the project and requires you to specify the reference field (customer name, customer number, etc.) in a popup.
In the example above, we want to use the entries in the End customer number column to determine the second customer relationship to our projects (here called "end customers"). To do this, we click the down arrow in the assignment dropdown as always and the field selection is opened (shown here somewhat shifted for the illustration). Now we are looking for the field that describes our second customer relationship ("end customers" - this is what we called the relationship during configuration).
Then SELLSATION wants to know from us which reference field we want to use:
You can now select the reference field from the list that is to be used for the customer assignment. In our case, the customer number of the end customer.
Sales process and stage
Projects that are to be imported can be assigned to different sales processes and and their corresponding stages. To do this, you need a column in the import file with the name of the sales process and a column that describes the phase.
Name of the sales process: The name entered in the column must correspond exactly to the name of the process (it can be the configuration name or the name in the respective translation - if you are not sure, please contact your administrator).
Naming of the stage: SELLSATION leaves it up to the respective administrator to name the stages. There is also no requirement to name the stages with unique names. Many users have defined more than one process for different requirements, but have used the same stage name within the processes (e.g. first contact is a name that is often required in different processes). SELLSATION uses the position number of the respective stage to enable a clear assignment during import:
This item number is displayed in the sales project overview of the respective sales process and can be easily read there.
Special case closing stage: within the SELLSATION sales or lead processes there is always a stage that has three sub-stages:
- Won projects
- Lost projects
The names you have may differ, but the position of the sub-stages within the final stage is always the same. In order to correctly assign the projects to this stage, the name must be specified as follows.
Projects won: <position> -won, in our case 5-won.
Stage lost projects: <position> -lost, in our case 5-lost.
Example for specifying the project assignment to process and phase:
For user-defined fields that have a yes / no selection, please use:
- True or TRUE or true for Yes
- False or FALSE or false for No
Multi selection fields, Tags and Interest
Value assignments of multi selection fields, tags and interests cannot be imported using the import function.
With this information you are now able to prepare the import file (s) and carry out the import.