How to improve data quality in Salesforce - part 2

Identify growth opportunities with accurate reporting dashboards

In part one of our series on ‘How to improve data quality in Salesforce’ we discussed about the importance of data quality and how to assess your current data quality and stores. In this blog we’ll continue by showing you  how to plan, apply and enforce your data management strategy.

Step 2: Plan your data management strategy

Once you’ve gauged the scope of your data management challenge, it’s time to tackle it. Start by planning a strategy with a standardised framework and review schedule.

The table below outlines examples for different types of data and aspects of data management. Salesforce has a guide on creating import field labels showing best practices that you can expand on. We also go into more detail in step six of our Salesforce Implementation Checklist.

Data type or process Data standard
Text and qualitative information Create rules for text-based records like company and employee names, such us ‘Last name, First name’. Plan how you will use titles, suffixes and abbreviations like Ltd, EOD, CEO etc.
Numbers and quantitative information Ensure numbers follow similar formats -for example, dd/mm/yy or mm/dd/yy for dates, decimalisation values for numbers and currencies etc.
Data workflows Plan steps on how all records should be managed (like record creation, reviews, updates and archival or deletion).
Validation Establish criteria on things like min/max values, character counts and null values (where there is no input). For example, employees shouldn’t be able to make invoices with negative values or create sales leads without at least a name and email address.
Governance Determine who owns and administers records within your organisation. For example, who is responsible for updating data.
Security and privacy Establish who can view and edit which parts of your business data. For example HR shouldn’t be able to see customer data and employees shouldn’t be able to view records of other employees. Remember to consider GDPR mandates and contractual obligations / NDAs.

Step 3: Tidy your data

With your new standards established, it’s time to actually improve your data quality in Salesforce. The process below is where you’ll learn how to improve your data quality in Salesforce in the most literal sense.

The exact steps you’ll take will depend on whether you’re already using Salesforce or have yet to migrate to the platform. You can also read our guide on 7 Salesforce data cleansing best practices for more information as you go.

  • Improve your Salesforce data quality using spreadsheets

If you’re not using Salesforce quite yet, you’re likely still using spreadsheets to handle data within your business. As such, you’ll probably be familiar with the processes behind manipulating the data in columns and rows.

However, formatting your records at scale is a slightly larger task, so you can use shortcuts and best practices from Microsoft or Google to make the job quicker. Once you’ve formatted your records in line with your new standards, save any files as .csv (comma separated values) so Salesforce can read the document easily later on.

  • Improve your data quality natively in Salesforce

Salesforce offers a range of tools for you to improve your data quality within the platform. First, ensure anyone who’s working on the project has the right control permissions to manipulate the data. Otherwise, Salesforce won’t show them the records they need to work with.

From here, your teams can use the REST API to manipulate records at scale and tidy your information.

Step 4: Import data using Salesforce tools

Now that your data is formatted and ready for import, it’s time to migrate your records over to your chosen Salesforce platform (such as Sales Cloud or Service Cloud). Note that, if you’re already using Salesforce, you can skip this stage as your data is already held in the cloud by Salesforce

Salesforce offers two ways for firms to import their data, depending on how large your record stores are and how experienced you are with managing data at scale. If you’re implementing Salesforce without a dedicated IT team or run a smaller business, Data Import Wizard is a good tool to use. Salesforce’s Data Import Wizard can handle up to 50,000 records at once and can catch duplicate records automatically.

If you’re transferring a larger store of legacy records, you’ll need to use the Data Loader. Data Loader can import up to 5 million records at a time and handle data from a wider range of sources. Data Loader can also export files so you’ll be able to share files across locations.

Read our data migration checklist before uploading your records to Salesforce and ensure your import process is seamless.

Step 5: Enforce your management strategy

Knowing how to improve your data quality in Salesforce is about understanding that it’s a continuous process. That’s why our final step is repeating the actions detailed in step three in line with what you planned in step two.

Doing so ensures your governance plan and standards are adhered to over time. Otherwise, standards or none, your records will deteriorate over time, leaving you with little strategic ability — the very reason why you wanted to tidy your Salesforce data in the first place.

Unleash new revenue tactics with high-quality Salesforce data

In the digital age, data is the growth engine. High-quality data offer firms insight into their real-time performance and the ability to create targeted business strategies. Yet, in a data-rich, time-poor world, business leaders need to carefully manage their data acquisition and quality to ensure reliable analysis.

Use the steps above and create concise, consistent and complete commercial records, and begin identifying new strategic directions using the world’s best CRM.

Refine your Salesforce data with best practices from makepositive

makepositive is a Platinum Salesforce Partner, we can help you unleash the full potential of Salesforce in your business. We have a track record of 1,800 (and counting!) client projects helping firms leverage their data and the latest Salesforce features to grow their customer base and save money.

We can help identify issues in your business using our award-winning Health Check service or keep you up to date with our Managed Service SLAs. Get in touch with us at [email protected] and learn where your data can take your business today.

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