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Careful when using Excel and exported Salesforce dataFor many sales managers, exporting data from Salesforce.com so you can analyze it in Excel is a daily or weekly occurrence. Even here at InsightSquared we do it from time-to-time to for specific analyses we haven’t yet incorporated to our Salesforce reporting software.

Just last week we exported some of our recent Leads and Activities so that we could dig into the effectiveness our new lead nurturing efforts. In order to link the two tables and see which activities were performed on which leads, we were tempted to use the VLookup function in Excel. That’s often the fastest, simplest way to link to separate tables in Excel.

But in this case be very careful!

  • Salesforce.com uses case-sensitive IDs. So 00QC0000019hxGe might be Albert Einstein but 00QC0000019hxGE is Isaac Newton. In both cases the last letter is a “e”, but one is lower case and the other is capitalized.
  • Unfortunately, Excel’s VLookup function is case insensitive. That means Excel will think they’re the same people and will thus combine their results. That’ll throw off your analysis.

This “gotcha” is dangerous because it’s so easy to overlook. We’re not used to paying attention to long, random alphanumeric IDs–our eyes just gloss over them. We just assume it’s their unique without paying thinking about the structure.

But don’t worry – here’s how to solve the problem. You could use one solution from an Excel expert here using the CODE function. Or if you want something simpler, you could just make a second column (LeadID2) in both tables that combines your ID with another column, such as the lead’s name, giving you a row like “00QC0000019hxGeAlbertEinstein”.

Excel ID Screenshot

This makes the row unique to case insensitive functions like VLookup. You can create this row easily with either the concatenation function or with the “&” symbol.

Wanna reduce the time you waste building sales reports in Excel and struggling with these problems?

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Showing 2 comments
  • Find Out More

    Good site you’ve got here.

  • Manoj Kumar

    I’ve also experienced similar problem with this. Got the idea from SFDC support to use the below excel formula below to create a unique, case-sensitive unique ID in excel. Just replace “# “ in the below formula with the cell number in excel:

    =#&CODE(MID(#,12,1))&CODE(MID(#,13,1))
    &CODE(MID(#,14,1))&CODE(MID(#,15,1))

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