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How to Export Contacts from Salesforce

The ability to export contacts from Salesforce is among the most common requests our users share with us. No surprise here – it’s far easier to keep track of your contacts from the comfort of a spreadsheet. Many Salesforce users also choose to pull data from the platform and then import it into other tools they use for e.g. email outreach or analysis.

As is often the case, there’s more than one way of exporting contacts from Salesforce. We’ll explain the native methods built into the platform as well as an external option that helps automate the process.

How to export contacts from Salesforce – available approaches

The default method for fetching data from Salesforce is pretty straightforward. You jump into one of the existing reports, (optionally) filter for the required data, and export the information in a chosen format. Alternatively, you compose a custom report and follow the same procedure.

Contacts aren’t available with a standard report, so you’ll need to follow the latter method and create a custom report. You’ll then be able to export them as an Excel or a .csv file. You can also schedule for Contacts data to be exported weekly or monthly, depending on the Salesforce plan you’re on. 

We’ll describe all of that in the following chapter.

The alternative approach involves using dedicated tools for exporting data from Salesforce. One such application is Coupler.io. With it, you can set up automated importers that will be pulling contacts from Salesforce at the frequency that works best for you. Many other data entities are also available for export from Salesforce.

The available destinations for your data include Excel, Google Sheets, and BigQuery. We’ll discuss the setup in the later chapter.

How to export a list of contacts from Salesforce – native method

As we mentioned earlier, the first step is to create a custom report that will feature our contacts.

If you don’t have one yet, jump to the Reports tab in the menu. Then, choose either New Report or New Report (Salesforce Classic). The former will create a report in Salesforce’s Lightning Experience that we use in this tutorial.

There are several Contact-related reports. The first on the list – Contacts & Accounts – is the most generic one and will do the job for many. We’ll pick it and click Continue.

On the next screen, you’ll see your Contacts & Accounts export. Here, you can:

  • Filter the data
  • Adjust the reporting period
  • Choose to show only your contacts or accounts, or perhaps display all available accounts
  • And more

Adjust the settings and click to Run the importer. If you plan to export this report again in the future, you may want to choose to Save & Run instead.

Once the report has been processed, click the triangle icon in the top-right corner and then choose Export.

You can choose one of the two available export views. One is a Formatted Report which will feature your data with headers, groupings, and filter settings you’ve chosen. If you don’t plan to process the data further, it’s probably the most suitable option.

If, however, you plan to transform the data or import it into another tool, it’s best to choose the Details Only option.

If you choose a Formatted Report, you’ll only be able to export the data as a .xlsx (Excel) file. If you opt for Details Only, you’ll have a chance to export in either .xlsx or .csv format.

As the last step, click Export. The file will be saved to your device. Here’s a sample .csv export of our contacts and accounts.

Scheduling a contacts export in Salesforce

An alternative approach to exporting contacts is with the default data export functionality. With it, you can export contacts from Salesforce as a one-off activity or choose to schedule an export on a monthly or weekly (users on the Enterprise, Performance, or Unlimited plan) basis.

To find this option, click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen and jump to Service Setup Home. There, find Data Export in the Data menu and choose to either Export Now or Schedule Export. We’ll go with a scheduled export of contacts.

Next, you can choose the frequency of exports as well as precisely when they should happen. From the list of data entities below, choose Contact. Then, click the Save button.

From now on, you’ll get an email notification once a new report has been generated. It will be available for download on the Data Export pages within Salesforce.

How to export bulk contacts from Salesforce – automated approach

Fetching contacts manually has one big disadvantage – it requires a certain amount of work every time you want to get fresh data. It can be automated to some extent with the scheduled exports, but weekly or monthly export may not be sufficient for some of you.

An obvious alternative is automating the process. We’ll show you how to set up Coupler.io to automatically fetch contacts on a chosen schedule – weekly, daily, hourly, or even every 15 minutes. This approach requires no coding and takes just a few minutes to set up.

  • Create a free Coupler.io account using your Google or Microsoft account.
  • Click the Add new importer button.
  • Choose Salesforce as an app to import the data from. The destination is up to you – we picked Google Sheets but, if you prefer, you may go with Excel or BigQuery instead. Then, click Proceed.
  • Name the importer. Then choose to Connect your Salesforce account. Authorize Coupler.io to export data on your behalf and then press Continue.
  • As the next step, also decide  on the type of data you wish to pull from Salesforce. There are over 1,000 available data entities. For starters, we suggest pulling the general Contact entity first and then experimenting with other entities for the following imports.
  • You can pull all the available contacts or you can customize the import in the following fields. For example, you could fetch contacts modified after a certain date or those based in a specific country. We’ll show you an example later. These settings are optional though so we’ll skip them and jump to the destination settings.
  • Here, connect your Google or Microsoft account, depending on the destination you picked. Also, decide where exactly the data should be imported to. When specifying a specific sheet (Google Sheets), worksheet (Excel), or table (BigQuery), you may type in a name and Coupler.io will create a new tab for you.
  • There are a few optional settings but we’ll skip them.
  • You may run the importer right away by pressing the Save and Run button but if you want the data to refresh automatically, there’s one more step available. 
  • Enable Automatic data refresh and decide when the data should be refreshed. You can choose to, for example, refresh it hourly on weekdays or pull a fresh report every morning at 7 am. It’s up to you.
  • Finally, press the Save and Run button. Once the importer has finished running, press View Results to jump to your destination file. Here’s a sample export of contacts from our Salesforce account:

How to export ids from a list of contacts in Salesforce

Whenever you export contacts with Coupler.io, IDs come in the package. It’s the first column of each import.

If you’d like to fetch IDs only of the specific contacts, you can add the filtering criteria to the Advanced Filters field in Coupler.io. For example, to get IDs of contacts with “USA” in the MailingCountry field, you would use the following:

MailingCountry = 'USA'

See our Salesforce integration documentation for more examples.

How to export contacts from a campaign in Salesforce

Contacts added to your campaigns are available in a separate data entity. When configuring an importer, choose Campaign Member as a data entity.

This will fetch all contacts added to any campaign on your Salesforce account. This won’t do the job most of the time as you’ll want to export contacts from only one specific campaign, or perhaps just from a few.

Each Campaign Member export features a CampaignId field. You’ll want to use Advanced filters in Coupler.io once again to filter only for the contacts belonging to a specific campaign.

For example, one of our campaigns has an ID “7015e000000qFveAAE” so we’ll use the following filter:

CampaignId = '7015e000000qFveAAE'

If we wanted to fetch campaign members from several campaigns, we simply need to separate them with the OR operator. For example:

CampaignId = '7015e000000qFveAAE' OR CampaignId = '7015e000000qFvjAAE'

Here’s an example import:

If you’re not sure what’s the CampaignId of a particular campaign, you can always run one more import. The entity name is Campaign and it features IDs, campaign names, and a lot of other handy details.

How to export all contacts for a company from Salesforce?

You can also fetch contacts associated only with one company (account). To do that, you’ll also use the Contact entity that we described in the earlier chapter.

Once the import has finished, you’ll see the AccountId associated with each contact.

Following the earlier example, you can use the Advanced filters to export only the contacts matching the desired AccountId. For example:

AccountId = '0015e00000TlJTrAAN'

If you’re unsure what a particular AccountId represents, you can always run one more import of Account entity. There, you’ll find the desired Ids with the account names.

Export contacts from Salesforce – summary

Salesforce provides an easy way to export contacts and any other data from the platform. Once you’ve put together a relevant report, you can customize it to your liking and only export the contacts you need. 

You can pull the very same data with Coupler.io, but perhaps in a more convenient way. Whichever destination app you choose, it’s easy to put together a dashboard and see it auto-update as the fresh data is imported in the background.

If you need any help getting started, be sure to give us a shout!

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