No matter how long you’ve been working within Salesforce, it’s important to regularly evaluate the data management systems you have in place and review the best practice tips shared by other Salesforce admins. Sometimes you come across a strategy you can implement that dramatically improves your data quality. We hope you find your next one here.
1. Create a Cross-functional Data Governance Team
Business data is relied on by all departments of a business, equally. So, when it comes to the valuable data in Salesforce, it only makes sense that each department also have an equally vested interest in its health and accuracy.
Create a team of representatives from each business function (sales, finance, marketing, product, etc.) to ensure your data is in compliance with all industry regulations and so each department’s needs are met when capturing data.
2. Develop a Data Security Model
Salesforce data security can be managed in so many ways, it can be daunting to identify which approach is most efficient and manageable. Choosing the correct model is best supported by a conversation with the data governance team, reviewing what data should be public or private at the object level down to the field level.
Your Salesforce administrator can take this information and formulate the right mix of security features to effectively protect sensitive information and provide proper access for all users. Keep in mind, a security model is not static. It should be reviewed at least twice a year to accommodate changes in industry regulations and internal needs.
3. Deduplicate on a Regular Basis
Duplicate data is a known killer of successful Salesforce adoption. It undermines sales processes and marketing efforts, skews pipeline details, and can result in multiple sales people contacting the same lead – leaving a bad first impression of how well your company communicates internally.
To help solve for this, deduplicate your data at least once a month and after each data dump into Salesforce. Seasoned data ambassadors and admins also implement an application that dedupes at import as well as a dupe-blocking application to block or report dupes in real-time.
4. Standardize on a Regular Basis
Business data is gathered to fuel reporting, sales and marketing activity, and product development. If data elements are not standardized or if free form text fields capture most of your data, it will be next to impossible to provide accurate reporting.
Standardization is supported by using picklist fields where possible and running data standardization actions on key reporting elements like state, postal code, country, industry, account type, and other fields that lend insight into the people and organizations you have a relationship with.
When it comes to data elements, always consider how it can be reported on.
5. Devise a Backup Plan
This is probably the only area you will be strongly encouraged to have duplicates – if they exist as backup data.
Most companies have data flowing in and out of Salesforce constantly, making the data vulnerable to inaccuracies and unplanned changes that create a domino effect in data corruption. Every novice and veteran admin should be aware that a proper backup strategy is paramount in data protection and timely restoration of corrupted data.
If you can download the free weekly backup from Salesforce, do it. Even if you have other backups in place, the more the merrier. Some third-party data quality applications offer backup options that can be executed on-demand or on a schedule, which is valuable as data changes rapidly.
6. Refresh and Verify Your Data
People change jobs, companies, email addresses, and phone numbers, and they don’t normally reach out to everyone they do business with to let them know. It’s up to you to uncover those details.
Refreshing your data should be done at least quarterly to provide accurate information to your end users. Some companies take a layered approach. They use it as an opportunity to engage with their user base, reaching out in an email, showing the information they have on record, and asking the client to provide any needed changes. Then, for those who don’t respond, their data can be hit up against data and email verification services.
7. Publish Your Data Processes
If you want data to make its way into Salesforce properly, users need to be trained on your data best practices and have easily accessible documentation.
Utilizing the field level help bubbles in Salesforce is a great way to quickly remind users of each field’s purpose and how data should be entered. Proactive admins will run exception reports to see which fields are not following the established rules and send protocol reminders to the users. The key here, and in the previous 6 tips, is consistent communication.
Bonus tip: As a Salesforce admin, you often prioritize education for other users, but remember to prioritize education for yourself. Read articles on achieving CRM data quality, download white papers that offer strategies for maintaining data accuracy, join the Validity Community to get tips from others who use the same products, evaluate third-party applications on the Salesforce AppExchange that can address your specific data quality needs, and share what you learn with your organization as its data quality ambassador.