Flow Any Data Between Any CSV and Your Stack with the Tray CSV Processor

by David Simpson

Introducing: The CSV Processor for Tray.io

Greetings, Tray.io community! The product team are thrilled to unveil a handy new development: the CSV Processor. This powerful new feature extracts, transfers, transforms, and loads any data to, or from, any CSV file you have in your possession; collates multiple CSV files and re-formats them to your custom business rules; and even creates new CSV files to your specification using data from your own tech stack.

Why it's important: The CSV data integration problem

As we continue to work with outstanding enterprises and fast-growing companies such as Forbes, DigitalOcean, and Segment, we’ve identified a very real pain point. Businesses that are otherwise ready, willing, and able to scale are getting hobbled by data integration woes. In plain English, they can’t get all the data they need in one place, whether said data reside in multiple source systems in their tech stack, or are locked up in various CSV files.

CSV files aren’t glamorous, but they are important. They’re also common, whether they’re used in lead lists for marketing and sales, customer lists for support, invoice lists for finance, or any number of use cases for IT. CSVs are supposed to be useful, after all. In theory, you can use CSVs to house large amounts of similar data into a single document. That document should then be trivially easy to port over into a specific application for data warehousing (or other) purposes. And in theory, the data in various CSVs have clean, uniform, and complete formatting that in no way implies an army of crazy people randomly threw it all together.

In practice, we know this doesn’t always happen.

We know that CSVs can be messy beasts that may be poorly laid-out and missing key values/fields. For example, we’ve spoken to numerous teams in various states of transition who have inherited large and confusing CSV files containing years’ worth of data from their predecessors; and are simply expected to make do.

We’ve also spoken to many teams who are practically drowning in countless CSV files submitted by multiple users, none of which is uniformly formatted. Yet the expectation is that every piece of the data housed in these one-thousand-and-one CSVs must somehow all make it into the correct repository, error-free.

Unfortunately, while the most popular solutions for business users that are used as repositories (such as CRM and marketing platforms), do certain things well, they typically don’t always do a good job handling CSV files. For the most part, business users were expected to manually verify an endless cavalcade of irregularly-formatted spreadsheets, in some cases, row-by-row and field-by-field.

Let’s just say this was more than a little challenging. Until now.

The solution: Porting data from CSVs and your stack

With the CSV Processor, you can now flow any CSV data between any other part of your tech stack, including CRM, marketing platform, customer support platform, and many, many more.

“We needed custom headers to query multiple data sets, as well as the functionality to use a formula to assign values to an uploadable CSV file,” said Jim Wills, Eloqua systems engineer at Arrow Electronics. “The CSV Processor is a great utility, with lots of good helpers, that lets you perform a lot of customization to manage multiple data sets and easily create uploadable files.”

The CSV Processor handles all data integration tasks you need to finally crack open those pesky CSV files and get at the important data that each one has locked away. Ingesting the data is also easy, since the CSV Processor lets you upload data in multiple ways, including direct FTP upload, using a Tray.io form, or simply emailing your files to a Tray.io email trigger.

What this means for you: A data revolution

The CSV Processor means more than having a slightly easier time with spreadsheets. Now that you can make your CSV files play nicely with the rest of your tech stack, which you’ve already fully integrated with Tray.io, you can unlock the true power of your data and massively increase your operational speed.

What else are you doing with your tech stack? For marketing, are you using your applications to enrich leads, and route them to the proper owners? For sales, are you using your applications to track prospect status and send outbound touches? For support, are you using your apps to track support queues or schedule tasks?

As you know, with Tray, you can already integrate all the applications you’d use for the above use cases to create powerful, flexible workflows that quickly and reliably run those processes for you in a fraction of the time it would take to run them manually. But with the CSV Processor, you can incorporate any data in a CSV file directly into these processes to speed up sales cycles, cut down response times in the support queue, and plug up leaks in your marketing funnel, while your competitors are still double-checking individual rows in their spreadsheets by hand.

Example 1: Ingest CSV for marketing lead data

Here’s an example of how business users in marketing and sales operations can use the CSV Processor to reduce lag time after lead capture to expediently enrich leads and update lead records in CRM.

  1. Rather than manually trudge through its lead list, our marketing team creates an automated workflow that accepts lead list CSVs through an email trigger to automatically begin the data ingestion process.

  2. The workflow then uses the CSV Processor to begin the verification process for all data housed in the CSV.

  3. Using a loop, the workflow verifies lead data row-by-row, ensuring that every crucial field has been filled out for each lead.

  4. If a certain row or field for a specific lead is missing, the workflow sends it back to the marketing platform, in this case, Eloqua, to retrieve the missing info.

  5. Once all leads are properly filled out with basic info, the workflow then routes leads to Clearbit to enrich them with additional details, such as geographic location, phone numbers, and the like.

  6. The workflow then sends these enriched leads to the team’s CRM, in this case, Salesforce, to update existing leads with the enriched info.

Example 2: Export customer revenue CSV for finance

For an example of how business users might the export/create CSV function of the CSV Processor, let’s walk through a second example. A company needs quarterly revenue reports from its existing customer database for board meetings and regular compliance.

Rather than manually chase down invoices, it uses a workflow with the CSV processor to:

  1. Set a scheduled trigger to begin the workflow at the end of every fiscal quarter.

  2. Pull in revenue data from all accounts marked as “active customers” in its CRM, in this case, Salesforce.

  3. Use the CSV Processor’s “export” function to export a custom CSV file populated with account, revenue, and billing status info.

  4. Automatically send an email to the finance department, the company’s leadership team, and the board for review.

Takeaway

You should now have a better sense of the potential ways you can use the CSV Processor to not only take back all the data that may be locked up your CSV files, but also how to integrate your CSV data into the rest of your stack to move faster, drive more leads, win more deals, and make more customers happy.

As always, thank you for using Tray.io.

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