Zendesk to Salesforce Migration — A Mini Guide

by Josh Biggs in Tech on 28th August 2020

The world of help desk solutions is varied and rich. Each year we either get a new substantial feature or a brand new platform. Sticking to a single platform has its benefits but with so many offerings on the market, you will be forgiven to feel tempted to try something else. 

One such case we’ve recently encountered, and that is, how on Earth do you migrate from Zendesk to Salesforce painlessly. We all know that both systems are great but when it comes to Salesforce, a steep learning curve is in place. I mean, the tool does come with an academy module so there’s that. This curve expands to all features which is why we are here. 

That’s right, we would like to talk about how you can move your records from Zendesk to Salesforce using both official and unofficial means. There are quite a few things we need to discuss so let’s not waste time and dive in.

Using the Official Method

Let’s start our guide by looking at the official way of doing things. Zendesk export function is pretty okay but not perfect, all things considered. You are limited to two methods, namely, the API route and the CSV/XML file route. Both are valid but we’ll cover the latter one as it is more user-friendly and doesn’t require a software department to execute.

Also, while we are at it, do keep in mind that the export option is only available in Professional and Enterprise tiers. If you are on these plans, you’ll need to contact Zendesk Customer Support so that they could enable it for you.

Returning to the migration process, to move your records from Zendesk to Salesforce, you must first head over to your Zendesk account. Once there, you will need to locate the freshly enabled export option. Then, do the following:

  1. Click on the Admin menu which is on the sidebar, then select Manage followed by Reports. Keep in mind that older Zendesk versions show export options on a separate tab.
  1. Pick an export file extension.
    • For JSON files, you need to select the date range and type of data. You then simply press on the Export button. Keep in mind that if you have more than a million records, the export option will deliver data in 31-day increments. It is advised that use JSON files if you have more than 150,000 tickets. 

JSON export is recommended for accounts with more than 200,000 tickets. Accounts with more than 1 million tickets are downloaded in JSON format only in 31-day increments.

Zendesk JSON Files


  1. For CSV or XML files, click Request a file beside the proper export option to start cooking the file. The file will be sent to the email address that you’ve used to register the account. 

And that’s pretty much it. The method works and is free but it has its limitations. You’ll not only have to be on a higher tier but wait a substantial amount of time for your data to be accessible. Furthermore, you will be limited to these two file extensions which aren’t optimal if you plan on using the data elsewhere. Remember, CSVs aren’t exactly editable and cannot be (easily) adapted.

Using an Automated Solution

If you are looking for a speedy solution and don’t mind spending a couple of quids, then you might want to check out the Help Desk Migration Service. It is a dedicated help and service desk migration platform that will offload all your migration work. The best part of the service is its pricing and accuracy. You only pay for the records moved and the whole transfer process is handled by a sophisticated system. Here’s how it all looks like: 

  1. Go to the Zendesk to Salesforce migration page;
  2. You’ll see two fields that are already filled with the necessary info so just hit the Next button;
  3. You’ll be asked to input your credentials to both platforms. In case you are wondering, this is needed for the system to establish a bridge of sorts;
  4. You’ll then see a screen where you can select objects and then map your data.
  1. After you picked what you need, we suggest that you do the demo migration as it will verify whether all record types are migratable. 

And that’s all there is to it. The process is fast and within a single business day (sometimes more, all depends on the number of records) you’ll be using Salesforce Service Cloud. 

Advantages and Disadvantages to Consider

Both methods are viable and have their set of pros and cons that you might want to learn about. We can’t list them all but we’ll do focus on the more important ones.

Table 1: Pros & Cons

Native MethodAutomated Solution
ProsConsPros Cons
FreeDoes not require extra equipmentCan take a while to completeAccuracy depends on personal attentionWill not work with massive record basesFastAccurateDoes not require extra equipmentNo files neededPaid Not optimal for smaller record bases

As you can see, both methods are viable but not perfect. Make sure that you study your current situation and assess whether you need to stick to the automated or the file method. 

Final Notes 

There are other ways you can move your information from Zendesk to Salesforce but we can’t vouch for their effectiveness. If you are seeking speed and accuracy, then there is no better way than to use the automated solution. However, if you have time and not a lot of records, sticking to native methodologies will most likely do the trick. 

Categories: Tech