Nearly every sales team deals with some sort of data hygiene issue with their Salesforce instance. We get it - you want your reps focused on closing deals, but also want them to better manage their lead/account data so leadership can better forecast pipeline. So what can you do to improve your overall Salesforce data?
To utilize Salesforce to its full potential, sales teams should follow data hygiene best practices to ensure they always act on the best and most complete customer information. Without this, leads can start to slip through the cracks, taking your growth along with them.
What is Salesforce Data Hygiene Anyway?
Maintaining good data hygiene is the practice of ensuring that bad data isn’t piling up in your records. Practicing good data hygiene is just as important (and about as fun) as practicing good personal hygiene, which is why so many sales teams tend to struggle with it!
When you’re working with Salesforce, so-called “dirty data” (i.e., outdated, duplicate, or incorrect) can quickly pile up in your Salesforce records. As it does, Salesforce becomes less reliable and effective.
Practicing good data hygiene means regularly updating this bad data while also preventing it from piling up in the first place. And this is where things tend to go off the rails. Most sales reps don’t want to tediously comb through their records in search of bad data, and we don’t blame them.
However, it has to be done at the end of the day. So how can you better enable your team to maintain good data hygiene practices without slowing them down?
We’ve compiled a few simple tips that will help you improve your team’s data hygiene practices without sacrificing valuable sales time.
5 Tips to Maintain Better Data Quality in Salesforce
Tip #1: Create Workflows That Notify Reps When Necessary Fields are Missing
The first issue we need to tackle when it comes to improving your data hygiene practices is getting your employees on board. Neither you nor your reps want to sacrifice valuable sales time to double-check records, so the better solution is to have the records come to them.
Build workflows that alert reps whenever there’s missing key information. This can be a manual workflow where you have a sales manager comb through all the records each day and alert reps to missing fields. You can also utilize a tool like Rattle (more on this later) that automatically scans these records for missing data and then alerts the appropriate people.
Tip #2: Run Regular Data Audits
No matter what you do, missing or poor data will find its way into your Salesforce records. This doesn’t have to be a huge deal for your team if you keep on top of it by running regular data audits. Data auditing on a regular schedule will help you catch smaller errors more frequently instead of letting bad data pile up inside Salesforce.
You can, of course, do this manually. But this requires a lot of time from your team that could be better spent on more productive tasks.The better way to regularly audit your data is to employ intelligent software that can comb through your records for missing or incorrect information and alert your sales team to it for a quick fix.
Even with good software, Salesforce administrators or Sales Managers should also go through and spot-check records. Having smart software regularly and consistently checking for issues can save tons of time and find things that humans miss. However, even the best automation tools still need regular maintenance to ensure it’s catching everything.
Tip #3: Leverage The Right Tools
So we’ve already talked about utilizing tools to help with your data hygiene routine, but which platforms exactly? Some of our favorite tools for keeping your Salesforce data in tip-top shape include:
This bi-directional Slack/Salesforce integration allows you to build custom workflows that alert sales managers and reps when Salesforce data is incomplete or missing. This helps you encourage good data hygiene from the moment a lead is brought into the system by working proactively to remind reps of anything they may have forgotten to add to their records.
For example, the operations team at PartnerStack utilized Rattle to help them flag data hygiene issues as soon as they occurred, alerting the team of data hygiene issues in records such as past close dates. As a result, PartnerStack’s data hygiene went up by 30%, and they saw significant improvements in their sales forecasting.
InSycle offers a lot of good data hygiene tools for teams, but their data cleansing tool is an especially powerful addition to your data hygiene stack. This tool constantly scans your Salesforce data to identify incomplete, improperly formatted, or inaccurate data and flags them for fixes. It also regularly identifies and removes redundant data, fake contact emails, phone numbers, and other forms of “bad” data that may exist in your stack.
This kind of automated, regular cleaning is a massive timesaver for teams and can help improve confidence in your data. Insycle can also give you insights into what kind of bad data is being identified so you can target training to address these areas of weakness.
So now we know we’re working with good data, but have we gotten all the data we can? Data enrichment is an additional step to good data hygiene that often gets overlooked. Largely because it can be so time-consuming to find out what information you may be missing that can help you qualify new leads.
Clearbit adds enrichment to the companies and conacts you already have, applying additional information to new Salesforce records such as demographics, firmographics, and technographics. This way, your reps are really getting the whole picture on each prospect, speeding up qualifying and increasing their odds of success.
The best part about Clearbit is that it’s yet another automation, reducing the need for manual intervention and pulling in way more data points than your reps would be able to do manually. Some users report saving up to 15 hours per week on sales admin tasks just by using tools like these.
Tip #4: Create Incentives
It’s one thing to equip your team with the tools and ease-of-use processes they need to make data hygiene easier, but the fact is, most reps will still need some motivation to put these things into practice. Of course, we love that they want to focus entirely on the sale, but incentivizing them to give more TLC to their data hygiene practices can pay off in dividends both for them and for you.
Some ways to incentivize your sales team to practice good data hygiene include:
- Building an actual incentive program with rewards like gift cards or a free lunch/dinner of their choice for sales team members who complete certain goals in the CRM during a specific time period (100% field completion on x number of leads, for example)
- Sharing success stories of big and small wins thanks to the new processes (time saved, information easily available for a big pitch, etc.)
Finding ways to positively motivate your team with some friendly competition and enjoyment of a “win” can have a much better outcome than suddenly handing down more heavy-handed user expectations.
Tip #5: Coaching
Stepping away from our tech-based solutions, if you’re still not seeing results with your team, adding in some group or 1-on-1 coaching may help you address specific issues that our previous tips have not. However, the fact remains that most reps view updating Salesforce as a huge chore, and coaching can only minimize this fact so much. Therefore, we highly recommend finding ways to make your data workflow in Salesforce easier and more automated before you turn to coaching.
As a side note, some of the tools we’ve mentioned earlier also offer personalized coaching tools that allow you to combine coaching with automation and insights as a nice “add-on” to your workflow.
Good Salesforce data hygiene isn’t something that’s going to happen automatically. It’s the job no one wants to do, and if it doesn’t get done, it just gets worse and worse until you start seeing measurable negative impacts on your sales outcomes. And even then, no one will want to dive in and tackle the now giant pile of bad data that needs to be cleaned out.
The best way to prevent this is to put good data hygiene practices in place as early as possible. In the words of our ancient elders, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So if you can stop the bad data pile up before it starts by employing the right tools and processes to flag and clean out bad or missing data.
Even if that hasn’t happened and you do find yourself facing a huge mess of data inconsistencies, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it may feel. Implementing the right tools and dedicating a little time to cleaning out old data and putting new automation processes in place will save you immeasurable time and headaches down the line.
And then there are your reps. Motivating reps to follow these practices can be one of the most difficult tasks facing you in your quest for better data hygiene. So it’s important to stress to your reps the importance of these data housekeeping processes and make following them as easy and non-disruptive as possible. Giving them little nudges and implementing automation tools that regularly double-check their work for inconsistencies can make your sales team feel supported by these data practices instead of hindered. And trust us, they won’t be complaining when their win rate starts rising.