As a customer relationship management (CRM) product, there are few services more valuable to your business than Salesforce.com – regardless of the industry that you happen to operate in. With Salesforce, you now have access to every last piece of actionable information regarding your business’ interactions with customers at your fingertips. For many businesses, however, the key failing of Salesforce is data quality. Just because it allows you to keep a record of every last word spoken in every last interaction with a customer doesn’t mean that all of that data is valuable. As more data is entered, it can be difficult to find the wheat through the chaff and identify the information you really need. If you want to improve data quality in Salesforce.com, you and your employees will need to keep a few important things in mind.
Salesforce data quality issues to look out for
The root of data quality issues in Salesforce can usually be traced back to one key source: the employees themselves. More specifically, you’re relying on sales representatives and other key personnel to manually enter data themselves. Without a rigid set of best practices and guidelines in place, this can result in everything from bad data that you’ll never need to use again to missing or incomplete data and more.
For an example of this problem in motion, consider what happens when a rep fails to fill in the primary “Contact” field in Salesforce. You may have a huge volume of actionable and important information about that customer, but it will do you little good if you don’t actually have a way to contact them to guide them further along the sales funnel. Not tying a Primary contact or secondary contact to an opportunity can make it difficult to run proper attribution reports – a problem that needs to be corrected if a marketer is going to get a true ROI for different channels, assets and tactics.
Salesforce Data Quality Solutions to Common Data Quality Issues – Software and Process
Luckily, the answer to these types of issues is a great deal more straightforward than you probably think it is. One of the major benefits of Salesforce is that it is inherently customizable, meaning that you can adjust the way it works and even the way that your employees are interacting with it depending on your needs.
If you’re trying to get your reps to fill in the primary “Contact” field in Salesforce, for example, you can customize your own particular deployment to make this easier than ever before. You can configure Salesforce to make this a mandatory field for reps to fill out when either opening up or closing an opportunity. Attribution reporting applications like AttributeApp can also intelligently look back at an account’s recent history and assign contacts to opportunities based on a a pre-defined algorithm.
Third party data append services are also a great way to eliminate other types of data issues moving forward. There are firms out there that can append literally any type of data that you may need – from demographics to lifestyle data and everything in between. Making use of these services is just one of the many ways to dramatically increase the quality of the data that you’re storing in Salesforce.
If you’re experiencing issues with data quality due to a high volume of low quality information, the answer is simple: eliminate open ended text whenever possible. Again, just because Salesforce allows you to keep track of a virtually limitless amount of data doesn’t mean that this will actually do you, your customers or your employees any good in the long run.
Use pick lists to help create a set of defined choices that your employees can select from, allowing you to both identify what values you consider important and streamlining the data entry process for your employees. Limit the total number of choices that they have available to create the best possible situation for everyone involved.
If you only want your employees to keep track of X, Y and Z, for example, don’t make A, B and C options at all. Suddenly you’ve made your employee’s job easier by eliminating much of the guess-work that they had to deal with in the past and you’ve dramatically increased the quality of your Salesforce data in one fell swoop.
A mix of Salesforce configuration, good data construct and hygiene, and third party services like AttributeApp and data append companies can produce a clean set of Salesforce data that can produce actionable marketing and lead attribution and ROI reporting.