In honor of this weekend’s upcoming Hallmark-induced lovefest, we thought we’d turn our attention to a more non-traditional Valentine: your love-hate relationship with your Salesforce data.
Salesforce can create the prettiest charts and graphs that plot your progress to goal, forecast your sales, organize your help desk team, or send invoices on the right day … but only if the data for the pretty charts and graphs is already in place. Otherwise they are just pretty charts and graphs that don’t mean a thing.
When we undertake Salesforce “rescue” projects, one of the first things we inevitably hear is, “Our data is a mess.” What’s more interesting, though, is that for the most part nobody attempts to do anything about it. They just work around it. It’s like getting used to the fact that the Christmas tree is still in the living room come Valentine’s Day. We’ve adjusted to it, and it’s a hassle to clear. In the same way, people get used to having duplicate contacts, missing addresses, and bad dates, and they compensate with clever Last Names like “USE THIS CONTACT” instead of deleting the bad and cleaning the good.
I’m not throwing any stones here. Our data could use some work too. Some days I take the short cut of yelling across the office, “Hey, Phillip, do you have the security token for … ?” and he’ll skype it to me. Neither of us actually ENTER the data into Salesforce where it should be in the first place. Bad Salesforce Admins.
There are all kinds of tools out there that purport to keep your data shiny white shiny bright. But here’s the best one: a person. A person within your organization who has a love affair with your data. Who takes pride in and is compensated for the completeness and accuracy of every record. This data lover is personally offended when records is missing or incorrect, and he or she will have no issue with publicly berating the users who take shortcuts.
If your budget allows for such a person, I cannot recommend anything more. In many cases, though, it’s just not feasible. There are other ways to give your data the attention it needs. Maybe once a month bring in lunch and everybody sits around the conference table doing nothing but cleaning up their own records. You can enable some of the tools that block duplicate creation, or you can create validation rules that make sure you can’t put phone numbers in text fields. It’s easy to get creative.
This weekend a lot of love is going to be thrown around. Make sure your data gets a little too.
President & Chief CRM Strategist