In 2016, every leader worth their salt knows the value of their data. This is especially true for teams using Salesforce. Without the data spotlight, you won’t have any idea who your top performers are, how to wisely invest your resources or where you’ve been wasting budget all along.
But not all data is created equal – in fact, some data is downright harmful. If your systems are full of outdated information, duplicate fields, conflicting indicators and poor quality data, you’re not going to make smart decisions. You’re going to be led astray.
Charting a course using data is kind of like following a sherpa up a perilous mountain. Follow a top-notch sherpa and you’ll dodge the dangerous spots and get to the top to plant your flag. But if you follow a confused amateur who isn’t sure where they’re going… Well, that doesn’t bode well for your success.
Let’s just say it: weak data means weak results. It means chasing down “opportunities” in your sales funnel that are actually dead ends. It assigning unachievable sales quotas, and collecting quarter-end metrics that are way off base. It means sharing reports with C-suite leaders and realizing later the information is inaccurate. It means migrating bad data from legacy systems into your new systems, and continuing the chaos.
The only way to avoid these disasters? Making sure your account, lead, contact and customer data is clean, accurate and complete.
Easier said than done, you might be thinking. So here are 3 steps to keep your data quality top notch.
#1: Evaluate your current data quality.You may be reluctant to find out just what state your Salesforce data is in – but you have to know where you’re starting from before you can make improvements.
You can make this step easier on yourself by using a tool that delivers a visual representation of your data quality. The good ones offer a data assessment that helps you analyze your account, contact, and lead records. You can even talk to a certified experts to learn best practices for improving data quality.
Another valuable tool: software that can clean up your duplicate records. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on identifying and resolving your dupes, these tools can provide specific features that prevent redundancies before they happen.
#2: Build your own dashboards with the metrics that matter to you.A good dashboard can make all the difference in data management. Instead of sifting through piles of reports to assess your overall sales health or changes in your customer base, you can glance at your dashboard and get the right information in seconds – and you can convey the same information in meetings to clear up misunderstandings and document your successes.
So here’s the million dollar question: which metrics matter?
Marketing teams need to look at the pipeline and their top revenue-generating campaigns, of course. They’ll also want to look at campaign success by region and leads by source and campaign. Sales pros, on the other hands, are going to be interested in win/loss rates, time to close and the opportunity pipeline. They’ll also need to see activities broken down by each sales rep and a forecast for those reps by stage.
Your service teams will have yet another set of data to prioritize. What’s the volume of high severity cases? What’s the case volume trend and the top customers by open case? And finally – what’s the time to case resolution?
# 3. Go multi-dimensional with your data.If your company is typical, you likely collect data from a few reliable sources, such as past transactions and online interactions. The problem? That’s not going to give you a full view of your customer – not really. That’s why the latest predictive analytics tools are so helpful; by using data from multiple in-house and third-party sources, then integrating those data sets, they create cohesive customer profiles.
Yesterday’s sales teams were limited in the data they collected and how they used it. Today there are tools that reveal inter-company relationships, hierarchical affiliations, product usage and much more, empowering you to act on richer and more accurate insights that spell out the actions needed to go to the next level.
Like engine fuel, data drives your company farther when it’s clean and powerful. Take the time to eliminate your duplicate and incomplete records and ensure that your strategies and investments are based only on the cleanest, fullest data sets possible. You’ll know the right sales and marketing priorities to act on – and strengthen your best accounts.