Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) tool helps businesses support their customers in a powerful and efficient way by allowing them to combine big data with sophisticated customization. Yet, a tool is only as powerful as the hand that wields it, so it’s important to be cognizant of possible pitfalls that may occur when using a CRM system.

Since data is the deciding factor of most strategic business decisions, it’s essential to prioritize the maintenance of CRM data integrity. This isn’t as easy as it may seem—Salesforce reports that about 70% of CRM data “goes bad” or becomes obsolete annually.

Bad data, also known as dirty data, refers to information that is invalid, duplicate, inaccurate, fraudulent, invalid, incomplete or untimely. If present in your CRM system, it could cause users to make ill-informed judgments or decide not to adopt the system altogether.

But how do you know if you have dirty data lurking in your CRM software? This article will teach you how to audit your data, centralize it, and establish a plan to maintain its integrity.

Shepherd your Salesforce CRM data

Auditing your CRM data doesn’t stop with your Salesforce platform. If your company is using multiple systems and there’s duplicate data that isn’t integrated, you’ll run into issues of teams using old data or wasting time figuring out which data to use. By eliminating duplicate information and reducing data friction between applications, your CRM data becomes reliable and easy to use.

But there are a lot of other components to consider for your CRM data audit. Use the list below to help guide you:

Audit and clean your current data

Get a lay of the land on the current state of your data:

  • Identify and record where your data is coming from as well as where it’s landing
  • Find out if there is duplicate data across your Salesforce CRM and other data systems
  • Compare data structure and ownership to your organization’s structure
  • Check your data for accuracy, holes, problems, and duplicate objects or records
  • Clean your Salesforce CRM with data quality tools you’ll find on AppExchange
  • Ask your teams what data is most valuable to them

Once you have a good grasp of the data in your CRM system and its quality, it’s time to restructure  it for optimization. Use the list below to kick-start your process:

Centralize and organize your data

Restructure and centralize your data to make it as useful as possible:

  • Update data structure and role hierarchy to reflect organizational structure
  • Integrate your Salesforce CRM with your other customer-master data systems
  • Integrate other applications with Salesforce CRM to create a consolidated data powerhouse

To make sure your auditing efforts don’t go to waste, you’ll have to get users to help maintain CRM data integrity as it’s collected, recorded, and used. To do so, follow these steps:

Update your data collection practices

  • Define and distribute the process for data collection, recording, cleaning
  • Assign ownership to managers for maintaining data and system integrity
  • Create data quality dashboards to make it easy for managers to stay on track
  • Help users make data complete with the Salesforce CRM validation rule alerts
  • Monitor systems after updated data and system practices to ensure user adoption

Once you have your data centralized, systemized, and checked for quality, you’re free to do more much with your Salesforce CRM, like rethinking your data collection approach to ensure you’re seeking and analyzing the right insight to feed your business strategy.

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