Salesforce is all about data and the manner in which it is managed. The CRM platform allows users to store, track, and analyze datasets to automate business processes and provide personalized services to customers. Being a cloud-based platform, Salesforce makes data management more flexible, accessible, and scalable.
We live in the age of digitization where competition across all industries is intense. While implementing and using Salesforce for data management, businesses cannot afford to make mistakes. Especially if you are dealing with records that are sensitive in nature (PII, credit/debit card details, account details, etc.), it is always important to manage your data while maintaining its security and privacy.
This makes it important for organizations to chart out a Salesforce data management strategy.
What Is Salesforce Data Management Strategy?
Salesforce data management strategy is nothing but a roadmap dealing with using Salesforce data collected and stored within an organization. From data migration to integration, a data management strategy allows businesses to optimize their Salesforce records and use them to obtain the desired results.
Having an effective data management strategy allows your team to have an organized approach to handling your Salesforce data. It helps you deal with different challenges, including:
- Dealing with Salesforce data that is incorrect, duplicate, missing, or not documented
- Having siloed projects that use the same datasets but duplicate the efforts and costs associated with the same
- Dealing with data management activities that take up time and resources without helping you achieve your business objectives
By having a robust Salesforce data management strategy in place, you can build a strong foundation for using the right datasets for undertaking the right processes.
The Process Of Building A Salesforce Data Management Strategy
There is no standardized and universally accepted process to be followed for creating a Salesforce data management strategy. Depending on the specific needs of your business and the objectives needed to be achieved, the process would be different for different organizations.
However, here are some of the most common steps that can be followed by organizations, irrespective of the industry they belong to, for developing an effective Salesforce data management strategy:
Identifying And Defining Your Business Objectives
The first step towards building a Salesforce data management strategy should always revolve around ascertaining the objectives you are willing to achieve through the process. All the efforts put in by your team members would revolve around these objectives and would help you make the most of your Salesforce datasets.
In order to clearly define your business objectives, it is advisable to ask the following questions to yourself:
- What is the status of your existing database? Does it need improvement?
- Which business processes are you willing to focus on through data management?
- What are the difficulties faced by Salesforce users within your organization?
- Which department(s) can be benefitted the most from the data management strategy?
- What are the short-term and long-term objectives to be achieved by your organization?
- Which metrics should you focus on to improve your business processes?
Answering these questions (and more) would help you enlist specific objectives that need to be achieved through your Salesforce data management strategy.
Determining The Type And Source Of Data To Be Managed
Once you have identified the objectives to be attained, you can move on to determining the type of data required and the source(s) from which it can be procured.
While determining the type of datasets required, businesses are often required to choose among internal, external, structured, unstructured, or a combination of different data types. Your business processes and objectives would dictate the type of data you should select for your Salesforce data management strategy.
After identifying the type of data to be used, you need to focus on the process of locating and gathering the same. It is advisable to create a framework for adding information within the same. This would help you identify the missing data and the sources from which you can gather the same.
If you are willing to move legacy data from a different CRM platform or another external storage system, make sure you use suitable Salesforce data migration tools for collecting the required datasets. Using automated ETL tools would increase the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of your data management processes.
Developing Workable Data Processes
Once you have identified the type of data to be collected and sources for the same, it is advisable to create sustainable data processes. Developing data processes for collecting, storing, preparing, analyzing, and sharing your Salesforce data would give a structure to your data management strategy.
Building data processes allows your team to focus on its tasks and streamline the processes undertaken by the users. It drives you and your team members towards the business objectives ascertained during the initial stages.
Facilitating Data Governance
Data governance is one of the most important practices when it comes to developing an effective Salesforce data management strategy. It involves a set of practices to undertake and regulations to follow while managing your datasets. Especially if your organization deals with a large data volume and/or records that are sensitive in nature, data governance plays an important role in data management.
Facilitating data governance allows you to look after the privacy, security, transparency, ethics, ownership, and access regarding your Salesforce data. It helps you tackle challenges like unauthorized access of data, data leaks, and a range of cyberattacks. Effective data governance ensures that every user works on the data in an effective and secure manner.
Implementing The Right Technology
Technology is the key to creating an ideal Salesforce data management strategy. We live in an age where new technological advancements are made at an astonishing rate. Make sure you choose the right technology that allows you to obtain the desired goals and leverage your business processes.
For this, it is advisable to analyze the technological requirements for collecting, storing, and analyzing your database. If you are dealing with Big Data, it is advisable to implement tools equipped with AI and machine learning. Similarly, make sure you choose the tools that help you streamline your business requirements based on your needs and preferences.
Building A Team of Professionals
In order to bring your Salesforce data management strategy to fruition, it is always important to build a team of skilled and dedicated professionals. Based on your data management processes and business objectives, build a team of experts that are well-versed with Salesforce and data management. Depending on your requirements, you can choose internal employees or hire contractors to help you work on your project.
Irrespective of the scale of your business, always ensure that you have eminent professionals at your disposal for preparing a robust Salesforce data management strategy.
Salesforce Data Management: Best Practices
Here are some of the best practices to implement while undertaking Salesforce data management:
Focus On Regular De-duplication
Data duplication is one of the most common issues faced by organizations while handling their Salesforce data. It affects the smooth functioning of your Salesforce org and hampers your sales and marketing efforts. To avoid these issues, it is advisable to undertake de-duplication of data on a regular basis. Make sure you de-duplicate your Salesforce data at least once every month.
Have A Backup Plan In Place
Although data stored within a cloud-based platform is more secure than the data stored in traditional storage systems, there will always be the risk of data loss. A small careless mistake by your team member can have dire implications on the security of your datasets and Salesforce org as a whole.
This makes it important to have a robust backup plan in place. Based on your requirements, you can choose to download the weekly backup from Salesforce or go with third-party tools that help you with efficient data backup. Both on-demand and scheduled backing up of data are instrumental in keeping your Salesforce org secure.
Keep Your Database Updated
It is common for employees to leave companies, change their designations, and switch tasks without reaching out to everyone they work with. In order to keep the end-users, partners, and everyone you work with updated about your organization, it is always advisable to keep your Salesforce database updated.
Make sure that you refresh your data on a periodic basis to keep your records in sync with the current goings-on within your organization. Similarly, it is advisable to refresh your database to remove records that are no longer relevant and leads that should no longer be nurtured.
A relevant and crisp database allows your team to manage your Salesforce records in an effective and sustainable manner. A cleaner database is always likely to increase the overall productivity of your organization.
The Final Word
These were the major steps involved in creating a Salesforce data management strategy and best practices to undertake Salesforce data management. Effective management of your Salesforce data would help you obtain a better Salesforce ROI and drive you towards the goals you are willing to achieve in the best way possible.