Data Management is essential for the most basic to the most complex CRM implementations. Think about it, you can spend hours detailing, restoring and customizing a classic car, but without oil, it simply will not run! Data is like the oil that you put into your CRM machine. The most carefully designed business processes and analytic reports are useless without quality data behind them.
There are many facets of data management, but here are nine items that we’ve identified as the most important:
1. Naming Conventions
Naming conventions are arguably one of the most important principles of data management. There are countless methods and strategies for naming your records. Less important than the naming convention itself is that it remains consistent throughout your organization. Solid and persistent nomenclature will allow your users to easily search for records, and will enable you to train your data entry team to properly insert new records into the database and ensure that new records enhance your database rather than confound it.
2. Avoiding duplicates
Duplicates can be a big problem for many organizations, especially if you are getting your data from a few different sources. Not only do duplicates create an inaccurate view of your database size, duplicate customer records can result in wasted effort from your sales and marketing teams. Even worse, duplicate order or opportunity records can lead to grossly miscalculated revenue, sales, or pipeline projections. To avoid duplicates, train your team to import records using Salesforce’s Data Import Wizard and select a matching field to identify duplicates, such as email, order number, or even phone number. And let’s face it, despite all your best efforts, chances are that occasionally a duplicate will make it into your database. When that happens, you can use Salesforce’s built-in duplicate management tool by clicking the “Find Duplicates” button at the top of the record page. Using the tool, you can easily select which fields to save and merge the duplicates together.
3. Ensuring data is up to date
As with most things, the quality and integrity of your data can degrade over time. Even the most robust databases are near useless if the data is out of date. Add-on products such as Data.com Clean can assist in scrubbing and enriching your data. With Data.com Clean you can clean your data automatically or schedule regular jobs. You can even fill in missing or incorrect data by matching records to Salesforce’s database.
4. Third-party validation
Some organizations, particularly those who regularly mail or ship products or marketing materials to their customer base, should consider implementing third party validation for addresses and other demographic information. A simple add-on can provide huge time and cost savings for relatively little effort on the front end. You can easily find a plugin that suits your needs in AppExchange.
5. Consider implementing a scoring model
You can help your sales and marketing teams identify and address the most valuable data first by implementing a scoring model. Even the simplest scoring models – with only 3-5 parameters – can provide huge time-savings and helpful guidance to your teams.
6. External IDs
An external ID is a unique identifier that can be very useful when integrating with a system outside of Salesforce that contains information about your record. With the use of an external ID field, you can make sure that there is always only one version of each record and that the version of that record inside Salesforce and outside Salesforce both contain the most current and useful information.
7. Salesforce Connect
In some cases, you may want to go beyond the use of external IDs and move away from manual integration. Salesforce Connect can be useful for organizations that have large amounts of data stored in an ERP or other data warehouse. Salesforce Connect is ideal when you need real-time access to data that you don’t want to copy into your Salesforce.org, and especially if you only need access to small amounts of that data at any one time.
8. Back up your data
Even though Salesforce has their own backup procedures, it is always a good idea to back up your data and store it somewhere where it’s accessible to at least a handful of people within your organization. The breadth and frequency of your data backups will vary depending on your database size, number of users, and how often you make changes to your data. A variety of options are available to help you backup and restore your data, including Salesforce’s Data Export Service, Data Loader, Report Export, or third party application.
Even the most carefully thought out data management processes and procedures are nearly useless unless they are documented and available to everyone who needs them. Your team can save valuable time in the future and simplify training a great deal by establishing your organization’s data management best practices and making them available to everyone in your organization who deals with data.
If data management is an issue you aren’t comfortable tackling internally, email Bayforce and we can provide you with the expertise you need to get your data back on track!