Data Quality

Celebrating a Double Decade of DemandTools

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It’s time to celebrate! After 20 years of automating over 80 million data quality jobs, DemandTools has helped thousands of CRM admins and RevOps teams get report-ready CRM data. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about how better data helps you market, sell, and support more effectively.

Recently, I was joined by data experts Chris Hyde, Olivia Hinkle, Ken Neudorf, and many others to celebrate a double decade of DemandTools. We dove into the history of Salesforce, how data quality challenges have evolved, and the inspiration and methodology behind the latest version of DemandTools: the V Release.

The evolution of Salesforce, DemandTools, and the CRM admin

Validity’s Chris Hyde and Olivia Hinkle kicked things off by giving a brief tour of what Salesforce and DemandTools have brought us over the last two decades. They walked us through the early years of Salesforce, all the way to the modern age and beyond.

The dawn of Salesforce

Salesforce was created in March 1999 so businesses could store customer data in a shared space. By July 2000, over 5,000 businesses were using Salesforce. However, duplicates soon became a problem and were an adoption killer for primary users.

That’s when CRMfusion appeared on the scene to combat the problem. They introduced HotShot Tools, which officially launched as DemandTools at Dreamforce 2004.

The enlightenment

By 2005, Salesforce acquired nearly 15,500 customers. They introduced the AppExchange at Dreamforce that year, which upgraded them from a software to a platform.

Adding thousands of applications introduced many different data needs and formats. Admins soon realized that data quality was about more than deduplication. As businesses moved more teams—not just sales, but also service and marketing—into Salesforce, the platform became a companywide system of truth.

The industrial revolution

In 2010, Salesforce started connecting to other systems—Finance, Customer Success, and many other departments all wanted a piece of the platform.

Admins had to integrate different record IDs, formats, and processes from each department’s system into one System of Record. They saw common problems across departments and had to learn how to work with massive groups of records, handling inevitable exceptions.

The modern age

Consumers expect everything digitally, so nowadays, there are billions more data points that need to be monitored, cleaned, standardized, and managed. Admins are the guardians of their company’s most valuable and versatile asset: their data.

However, admins can’t go it alone. Leadership buy-in and a cross-functional operations team are vital parts of maintaining high-quality data.

The future

The proliferation of data means more use of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automated decision making—all of which require high-quality data to drive good results.

Admins know it’s an arms race to stay ahead of the next big thing and that systems will fall behind again if they don’t stay current. The power is in our hands to tell the CRM what we want out of it—not the other way around.

What’s new in DemandTools: the V Release

Validity’s Ken Neudorf joined Olivia to discuss the latest version of DemandTools: the V Release. They discussed three solutions included in the V Release that can be used to solve some of the most common data issues.

  • Assess module: The assess module provides an overall analysis of records evaluated and groups them into five quality categories, starting with “Unactionable” and ending with “Validified.” It assesses six data quality points for Lead, Contact, Account, and Opportunity objects, including duplicates, invalid emails, missing engagement points, missing business segmentation, incomplete decision support, and malformed content. Plus, it’s available for Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365!
  • Dedupe module: The dedupe module makes it simpler than ever to find and merge duplicates. You can start by building out a deduplication scenario from scratch, or you can use one of the pre-configured scenarios. The module contains cross-field matching, new record criteria options (e.g., Last_N_Days, Last_Week), new comparison types, Contact to Multiple Accounts merging support, and ParentFixer functionality.
  • Modify module: The modify module makes the process of data standardization much less time consuming. It allows you to increase data maintenance frequency by applying uniformed changes across data sets to standardize or change field values and align record ownership. The modify module also contains hundreds of new formulas, which now all follow Excel syntax, and provides business insights like object counts and field aggregates without changing your Salesforce configuration or creating a Salesforce report.

Watch the full webinar to see Ken give a short demo of each of these modules in action. 

Corbin Neike, Senior Salesforce Administrator at 84.51° and self-proclaimed “accidental admin”, stopped by to share his experience using DemandTools.

“DemandTools has been very useful in helping us solve everyday issues with simple point-and-click methodology,” he said. “Since it allows us to automate a lot of our processes, DemandTools takes a big weight off the admin’s shoulders.”

Speaking of data…

We were thrilled to be joined by celebrity guest Brent Spiner, who played the android “Data” in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

“I’m here to congratulate Validity and DemandTools on their twentieth anniversary. Fantastic! And of course, on the launch of the DemandTools V Release,” he said. “Whether you’re deduping records or importing lists, standardizing or mass modifying data, DemandTools is all you’ll ever need. Happy anniversary, and many, many more.”

DemandTools has come a long way in the last 20 years, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it continues to evolve over time. You can watch the full webinar here.