6 Actionable Tips to Keep Your Sales Data Clean

database-hygiene
Editors Note: This is a guest post by Karyna Do Monte, Founder of Archie.io

We all know that no company can make essential decisions without accurate forecasting.  From deciding who to keep on the sales team, to getting a clear sense of budgeting, a clean forecast helps businesses to stay profitable and healthy.  So it should be no surprise that keeping the data in your Salesforce clean is equally vital.

 

In this minute-clip from last month’s Building the Sales Machine event, Kiva Kolstein, CRO, Handshake explains how training enterprise sellers on their pipeline is part of maintaining this Salesforce Hygiene.

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Every business deserves clean CRM data that helps them see what is happening with all of their employees and clients in an accurate way.  Salesforce hygiene means the system is maintained by its everyday users.  Each representative keeps quality data that is easy to collect and doesn’t slow down a sales funnel.

In an ideal world, leads come into your Salesforce (CRM) with the right name, company, and contact information. By the time these leads are converted into accounts, all the essential data is filled in.  This allows you to project revenues and coach your team to maximize performance and success.

Unfortunately, this rarely happens because lead lists inevitably are missing or contain inaccurate information.  Prospects who fill out your web forms usually don’t provide all the data you need.  Human errors happen all the time, or you just don’t have the fields set-up to collect the data accurately. This all happens before you adapt your sales cycle, iterate a new approach, decide new data is essential, and old data irrelevant, which leaves your existing lead pool woefully out of date.  

Everyone deals with these issues to one degree or another, but you don’t have to let them build to critical mass and destroy your CRM.

Here are a few important ways to incorporate Salesforce hygiene into your system:

  • Perfect the Sync
  • Put Field Goalies into Play
  • Validate to Prevent Bad Data
  • Prioritize Cleanup
  • Take Note of Major Changes
  • Have Dedicated Resources to Report Key Performance Indicators

Perfect the Sync

Your reps communicate internally and externally in multiple ways.  Your CRM needs to track these activities.  A core Salesforce deployment must include integrations of email, calendar, and phone events.  Outside systems are fine (I love my Gmail), but if it doesn’t sync your system’s going to sink.

Nowadays, tracking external sales activities in Salesforce is mostly done by integrating the tools via third party apps available on the Salesforce AppExchange. These apps are API integrations that connect email, calendar, and phones with Salesforce. Make sure all of the tools your team uses to sell are talking to Salesforce.

Also, you need to be vigilant!  If you’re using a third party app and your sales reports indicate activities numbers are way off, there is an issue with your integrations that needs to be fixed immediately. Adding/deleting retroactive activities to clean up data is sticky business that should be avoided whenever possible.

 

Put Field Goalies into Play

Each user on your system touches the lead or account record as a sale moves through your funnel. Implement a field goalie game that make Salesforce users responsible for the fields they work with. The winners of this game understand that businesses need Salesforce to be their central source of truth.

For example, BDRs / SDRs perform email and phone prospecting, so they enter the right basic contact information. Account Executives increase engagement and hone in on who the advocates and key decision makers are, so they can add in details that indicate contact roles such as ‘economic decision-maker’ or ‘influencer’ for any given account. Once a sale is made, Accounts Receivables makes sure the billing address is correct. And Account Managers ensure that new contacts are entered on accounts and puts feedback used to make renewal sales in the right place. Make each user responsible for the quality of data in the fields they impact.  This team approach allows errors to be rapidly identified and the source cut off before bad data impacts projections.

Carlisle's Melissa Moist and Mechanicsburg's Katie Hamilton fight for the ball but Mechanicsburg's goalie, Karen Thompson kicks it out during the first round of District 3 field hockey playoffs at Camp Hill.
Put field goalies in play to stop bad data in your sales org before it starts!

 

Validation Prevents Bad Data

All games need rules and your CRM is no different.  Setting up validation rules, required fields, and automations ensures that your field goalies have to enter correct data in order to convert leads and save records in Salesforce.  Implementation of this cannot be overstated.

 

Prioritize Cleanup

When you have a major data quality issue, don’t give the task of cleaning it to your team who should be focused on selling.  Lots of companies work around issues with data quality because getting Salesforce data clean seems complicated or burdensome. Instead of going into fire-drill mode, hire a Salesforce expert to audit your system and perform data cleansing scripts on the backend. This technical expertise will also allow you to keep records relevant when you change your lead scoring model, opportunity funnel, and overall sales process.  In addition, the benefit of an outside view frequently streamlines the funnel as inside talent is too deep and can’t see the forest for the trees.

 

Take Note of Major Changes

Adding new fields and updating opportunity stages are changes that impact your data quality. So, whenever the system is refined because you want to track new information or retool your sales funnel, make sure your Salesforce expert knows so they can identify which data to retroactively update, and which to archive and replace.  Your process needs to be cutting edge, and an expert knows when to work backwards, and when to cut and rebuild to match your updated process.

 

Have Dedicated Resources to Report Key Performance Indicators

There is definitely a Salesforce hygiene issue in your system if the reports you run do not render the KPIs. There may be a need to set a data quality protocol up if users often complain that the data they are working with is inaccurate. Make sure you have specialized resources dedicated to maintain the quality of your system, and to retroactively update your data when you make significant changes to the sales process. Most importantly, use field goalie techniques to motivate your team to be accountable for the fields they directly interact with on a day-to-day basis.

 

If you’re not sure on any of these things, or feel your inside resources to tackle Salesforce hygiene are not keeping up, it’s probably time to get some outside support. Don’t panic about bad data. A few changes and best practices implementation is usually enough to redirect your team and return to a hygienic CRM.  

 


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Karyna do Monte is the Founder/Systems Architect of Archie.io, the Salesforce implementation experts used by NewsWhip, Johnson & Johnson, Oscar Healthcare and a host of others. You can follow more of Karyna’s thoughts on twitter @Archie_io

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