Its often the case that when you start digging around that un-expected benefits show up. Sometimes a lot of success & very profitable business can allow us to overlook money lying on the floor. This is the story of one such case. While working with a client in the consumer support business on a large CRM implementation I discovered a data gap that turned out to be a $14 Million Dollar hole in the Bucket…! (Note: Identifying information has been changed & approximated to protect the clients privacy.)
My assignment was to map the data fields from the home grown consumer service data base to Objects and Fields in Salesforce sounds simple, it wasn’t. It took a lot of leg work to find out who the guru was for the old data base and then get a handle on what needed to be mapped, what didn’t and where each piece of data needed to go. Then I needed to make sure that the data had a place to go with enough space and was the right type & format to go into Salesforce. For example if you try to put 140 characters of text into a 50 character field the first 50 characters go in and the remaining 100 get chopped off, or if you try to put text into number fields etc. This is the meticulous process of due diligence that can make or break any CRM implementation. Along with this we needed to make sure the right data was mapped to the correct place in Salesforce. In addition I had to match up the accounts in the legacy data base with the accounts in Salesforce.
We were going from a home grown database to Salesforce CRM. To do that we needed to do to reconcile the consumers accounts between the two. There where many thousands of consumers some had been put into Salesforce others had not. I determined who the most recent (last 3 yrs or so) consumers were and made sure they were in Salesforce. Next I compared that with the list from the home grown database, they did’t match. We extracted the key identifying consumer data into Excel and after a lot of filtering, VLookups, and sorting narrowed it down to a difference of several thousands active consumers. Still not good enough too big a delta. I then suggested that we compare these two data bases with the Account Data from our Accounting Dept Software, I got curious looks, why ? what could they add to the picture? Well I said: As someone once said “Follow the Money” good advice where the money is there will be someone watching it…… guaranteed.
As I have found out though experience the accounting department will have a strong interest in keeping good records. They are my go to for certain key data, like Consumer Address, key billing contacts, sales closed won, sales history, active accounts and most importantly who has paid and who hasn’t. The folks in accounting kindly shared a high level list of active paying consumers. When comparing this list with our list of “Active Consumers” in both Salesforce and the Home Grown Data base there was a big difference. As we were just in the process of implementing Salesforce we expected some minor difference. The team was very surprised to discover that the home grown data base was well, way off.
After yet more sleuthing we were able to determine that 15% of consumers with an active account in the legacy data base where no longer paying us ouch! Grinding though the numbers that worked out to be about $14 Million in lost revenue.
My approach for critical path items it to triple down. That is have at least 3 plus independently redundant methods of validation.
First we added a field for agreement expiration date to the Consumer Account Object, and a check box = Active/Inactive Consumer Account, then limit data access via user profiles, so that service was only provided to paying consumers.
Second set up a workflow to warn both the sales team & the accounting team 7, 30, 60, 90 days in advance of the contract expiring based on the Agreement Expiration date field
Third a workflow that would un-check the Active Account box on the account after the contract expired date had passed, this would prevent our service team from providing support.
Fourth set up an API connector between Salesforce and the Accounting software to un-check the consumer account active box if the customer was seriously past due on payments and/or their agreement expired.
We also added field level security to the check box so only authorized management members could extend the consumers agreement, with field history tracking and a time limit. We also decided to create an approval process that allowed Sales management to give the customer some breathing room during extended negotiations. This also prevented folks from well “Helping out” a consumer at the companies expense.
Through follow though and meticulous data mapping won the day. Saving $14 million by closing a 15% hole in the bucket for consumer services.
You probably never run into this type of situation in your world, if you want to avoid this type of loss it may be worth a quick conversation. firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-636-5286