Import your Data into RapidStart CRM

To demonstrate how you can easily customize RapidStart CRM to meet your needs, we created this “Tips and Tricks” Series. In this series we will outline some simple-to-perform solutions to common things customers ask about RapidStart CRM. Enjoy!


Many new users of RapidStartCRM have existing data sources they would like to import to get started. While not particularly complicated, working with data can be quite tedious.

There are several methods for getting your data into RapidStartCRM depending on the data source and complexity. Some methods will be beyond the technical capabilities of our typical users and often require the use of special tooling. If you have a complex data migration, you should consider engaging Forceworks or your partner to assist.

But most users can handle basic data importing with a few instructions, and this post will cover that. The most popular tool for data manipulation is Microsoft Excel. You may be able to directly export your data from its source and directly import it into RapidStartCRM, however most of the time some “clean-up” is required.

These are the steps:

  1. Get your data
  2. Clean your data
  3. Import your data
  4. Fixing errors
  5. Update Existing Records

Get your Data

Wherever the data that you want to import currently resides can be any of many different sources. Some users have another CRM system, some are coming from spreadsheets, Quickbooks, Xero, Outlook, Access or homegrown solutions… the list is endless.

If not in Excel, the first step is to export your data from its source into an Excel compatible format, ideally CSV or XML. Instructions for how to do that will vary depending on your data source, however “most” applications offer some method for data exporting.

Clean your Data

Before jumping right to importing, you should review your data for several things. The first is deduplication. The most common challenge with data is duplicate data. Then “Normalization”, this refers to making data formats correct and consistent. For example, an Account phone number in RapidStartCRM requires a “Phone Number” format. So something like “888-888-8888 call after 5” will fail.

Excel is the primary tool used for cleaning data. You can use various methods like sorting, highlighting duplicates, visually scanning etc. to get your data as “clean” as possible. Don’t be in a hurry, the effort spent here will save you many headaches it the future. Make sure your data has column headings and save the cleaned file as a CSV or XML file.


We’ll use Accounts as an example, as most organizations have those. The steps are the same for other record types. Open RapidStartCRM.

import1 1

(1) Click Accounts in the sidebar
(2) Click the Down Arrow next to “Import from Excel”
(3) Select the file type you are importing, and the window below will open

import2 1
(1) Navigate to and select your data file
(2) If your data source file does not have a record Owner column, this is the person who will “own: them.
(3) Click Next

Note: If you add a record Owner name column to your data source file, make sure the name matches the users’ name(s) in RapidStartCRM exactly.

import3 1

If you prepared your file as described above, you can accept all the defaults here.

(1) It is rare that you would want to create duplicate Accounts, but there are other data circumstances where it may be applicable.
(2) Select “Review Mapping”

This is the important step, mapping your source columns (on left) to the RapidStartCRM Account columns (on right).

(1) If this will be a recurring import, you can save this data map for future imports.
(2) This is your data source column. In this case only the Account Name is a required field.
(3) This is where you select the column in RapidStartCRM to map this data to. You will do this for each item.
(4) We need all Green Check marks here to import!
(5) In this case, the Parent Account and Primary Contact would need map to existing records with the exact same name. If this is your first data being added to RapidStartCRM, you can select to ignore this column. It will not create the missing records. If we do select to map here, any records for which there is no existing record found will fail.

Note: The way to handle Parent Account and Primary Contact in this scenario would be to “update” the records later, when those items have been imported or exist. We’ll cover that shortly.

Click on “Track progress” in the import confirmation dialog to open the following window.


You can click on “Refresh” to update the results, if you are importing a lot of records this could take a little time.


Eventually you will see the results above

(1) In this case all 20 of the records imported successfully
(2) If you see a lot of Partial Failures or Errors. It is best to fix your data and start over. More on fixing errors shortly.
(3) To start over, check the Import record and click the Down arrow next to “Delete”.
(4) Select “Delete All”

Fixing Errors

Again, if you have a large number of errors, it is best to delete and start over. But maybe you only have a few errors.

import8 1

(1) You can see we imported some Contacts with a few intentional errors above.
(2) Now we will Click the record link to investigate further.


Here we can see the details of this import

(1) We see 5 records failed to import
(2) We can click on the “Failures” tab to understand why


(1) We can see the reason they failed, in this case…
(2) The Account names in the data rows did not exist in the system.
(3) We can export a CSV file of just the rows that experienced errors, then correct and import that file.

Update Existing Records

There are many reasons why you may want to update existing records in bulk. In the examples above, we did not import the Parent Account or Primary Contact as those records did not exist in RapidStartCRM,… but they do now! (Some of the Accounts we imported had these values included as other rows we imported.) So to “connect” these we will “Export and Reimport” with our changes.


(1) We’ll start by going to our Accounts
(2) Select the down arrow next to “Export to Excel”
(3) If the changes are minor, you can elect to open in Excel Online, make you minor changes and save. For this exercise we will select to export a “Static Worksheet”.

Note: The file exported or opened in Excel online will only contain the columns displayed in the view the export is initiated from. In our case we want to update the Parent Account field, which is not displayed in the default view (unless you previously customized the default view, or created a new view that included it and initiated from that view)

So for this we will use Advanced Find


(1) First click the “funnel” icon to open advanced find
(2) In the window that opens, select “Edit Columns”
(3) In the window that opens select “Add Columns” and pick Parent Account
(4) We can see it now in the view (note, we moved it left into view)
(5) Click OK, then click “! Results”


(1) You will see the needed column added to this “Temporary” view.
(2) Select all, or individual records you need to update
(3) Click “Export Accounts” to download the spreadsheet below


(1) First click to enable editing on the Excel file
(2) In our example we will add the Parent Accounts (Exact name) by typing them in. There are more sophistocated methods like v-lookups etc if you have a large number to do and are proficient with Excel.
(3) You might notice the hidden columns, do not edit these. These are used so the system will know this is updating existing records instead of creating new ones when you import this file later.

Save the edited file in CSV or XML format and then import as before.

Note: With so few records in this example, it would be quicker to just edit the records individually in RapidStartCRM. So this step makes more sense when there are too many records or column edits to easily do manually.


Getting your basic information into RapidStartCRM is not too complicated. Once you have a clean data source, the process is pretty quick and easy. In cases where there are many relationships, or other “connected” things you want to import like email or activity records, you may want some help from your partner or contact Forceworks.

If you have any questions feel free to post them in the Free Support Forum.

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