Salesforce CRM Data Clean-up

DataCleanSweepHaving a lot of data is nice, having usable data is far better. We will need to look over the data in detail to make sure we are not importing data we don’t need or want. It is surprising in retrospect how often useless data gets imported into a CRM.

It is tempting to do a quick clean up, just load the data, and we will clean it up in phase 2 of the project. This really means is Never… the clean-up won’t happen and it will undermine the credibility of your CRM implementation. As soon as users run into bad data, they say the CRM Stinks. Putting dirty data in to a CRM results in a pretty looking Junk. Clean up the data first, you will be glad you did.

Early on it becomes an issue as to “Who is Responsible for keeping the Data Clean”. Sales says its inside sales job, inside says, it’s a customer services job, then everyone gangs up on IT and say it’s their job. The right answer is Everyone who touches it is responsible, Yes Everyone. Many hands make for light work. Yes, the heavy lifting should be done by those with the tech expertise, tools and skills to handle larger data sets. Everyday everyone who uses the data and sees an error needs to help correct it.

The first step is to have Rules and Procedures for your data: What data goes in and what data gets left out. Where does the data go? Make the field names clear and, in the help, text explain it. Use Pick lists to make it easy for folks to do the right thing. Create cheat sheets to que your team on the correct way to enter data. Limit the number of people who can load large amounts of data (using the Data Loader or Data Wizard). Keep the rules simple. Decide on a data standard, what constitutes a valid record for example: a Valid Contact has: First Name, Last Name, full address, phone number, and email address.

Start by running a Salesforce Report for the data you plan to import, for example Accounts. Then export that file and use it as a template for all your incoming data. That way you will have the correct field headings at the top of your import file and the right data will end up in the correct field. Next use Excel to do some basic clean up. First: look for missing data: If there is no phone # or email address, I don’t load that data it is worthless. (Maybe if there is an address it is a keeper, if you have a name & title that is attached to an Account it may have some value).  Then I move on to spell check, the state and city fields are easy to spell check.  Then look at the phone number and email address. There are outside services for validating phone #, at this level we are looking for a complete phone number and format. A great tool for checking emails is (or pick an email verification service of your own choice) it pings email addresses to see if there is an active valid email in box there. (the person never gets an email so don’t worry about being labeled a spammer.) My take is if the email bounces is dead then the contact is probably not good either. (some folks may disagree with me; you decide what data you keep or get rid of). After we do our cleaning and validation, we load it into Salesforce.

After the CRM is up and running we need to keep the data clean. Some of the methods used by small to mid-sized firms is: Verify just one piece of data on every call: “hey can it confirm your address?” most customer are glad to do this IF you keep it to One piece of data. Have an Address Push one week, e-mail the next, Phone Number and so on. Mix it up one month on one month off et. Do your Top 20 customers per Inside Sales Person. Make it a Game reward the folks that find the most errors, the least errors, funniest mistake etc.


The best tool I ever found for loading data and avoiding duplicates is People  Import           ( ) it matches incoming data with existing data using criteria you select. This software is highly customization so you pick what constitutes a match and what doesn’t. This avoids duplicate leads and contacts based on your own needs and decision.

I don’t suppose creating duplicates when doing an implementation or import is a problem you all ever face? On the off chance it is it may make sense for us to talk.

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Salesperson Exits… Dude where’s my Contacts?


Early in my sales career I took over a territory that had been vacant for a few months. Not long after I started, I asked for a Account & Contact List and got a blank stare. As I later found out the prior sales person had a traditional business card folio, which no surprise he took with them when they “Exited the Building:. Ouch. The phone was a personal phone. The quoting process was more or less a manual one, at least we had some idea of pending sales to follow up on.  Leads, what Leads. The best we could do was to run a list accounts out of the accounting software. Me I spent 3 months running through that list cleaning it up, it was re-inventing the wheel on a massive scale. I don’t suppose this has ever happened to you or your company?SalesPersonQuit2019

Oddly enough the place to start is your Human Resources Department. Yes HR it the place to start. Who owns the data may well depend on company policies, employment agreements, where the data resides, was the data gathered as a product of their employment and who owns the devices where the data is stored? Usually these devices are returned ‘Before” they Exit the Building. The laws will very from state to state. I am not a Lawyer or expert on Human Resources, employment law etc. Often times but not always if it is on a company computer, company network and part of your job it usually belongs to the company.

Once your company has established it’s policy explored and identified relevant laws etc. It is time to establish policies and procedures for data governance. Here is where Sales Operations, Sales Management, IT, & HR need to work together. Policies & Procedures are nice but it is through execution that rubber meets the road. Some companies create an auto backup every time a device connects to the network. Make sure the new copy doesn’t over write the old backup, so if the departing salesperson deletes up their files you don’t end up with a copy of blank data fields. Monthly back ups of your Salesforce Instance will achieve the same result.

Similarly having a web based CRM like Salesforce will provide protection from the sudden departure of a Salesperson. Of course the data is only as good as the process that gets it into the data base in the first place.

Epilogue: After weeding out 600 bad accounts I was down to 160 good Accounts with contacts It took a good 3 months, to build that up to 320 good active Accounts, Contacts, and Leads. It took a lot of hard work and asking for referrals & introductions, some internet sleuthing, networking and a few trade show. When I moved on I gave my boss a complete excel spreadsheet with full data, giving the next sales person a great foundation to get started.

On the off chance any of this resonates with you all, maybe we should talk?

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CRM Implementation, Where’s the Data?


It’s kind of funny that when it comes to getting really started with planning the CRM Implementation “The Data” becomes a big issue. How so? Well sometimes there is so much we don’t know where to start on how to get it organized or all of a sudden there is no data (It’s My Data and I am not sharing it).  Neither situation is good.

If you get “It’s My Data and I am not sharing it” or as often happens they say yes but never share data. This is but a symptom of a far bigger problem. In most every case where someone refused to share data there was something going on, and it wasn’t good for the business. I agree some data must be kept secure and Salesforce has plenty of great ways of doing that, nor must all data be in the CRM. When you run into a situation where relevant data is not being shared it will end up being a major impediment to the implementation, as once it starts others will also dig their collective heals. It is better to deal with this issue up front with your executive sponsor, CEO etc. if they will not put their weight behind getting the data well it is better not to start the implementation.

The first situation is better that is having too much data. Common sources of data are: Legacy CRM, Excel Spreadsheets, Outlook files, Mobile Devices, Trade Show Lists, email marketing lists,  ERP/MRP/Accounting Software, Data Bases etc. To get started we need a sample of each of the sources and a Sample of the Relevant Salesforce Report. So if I were working on Accounts I would download the Salesforce Accounts Report. Now I have a Template for what Salesforce names fields and existing fields.

Legacy CRM: this may or often is not a good source you are implementing a new CRM for a reason, find out why and take a skeptical look at this data. Most allow exporting a comma delimited file, which Excel & Salesforce will easily import.

Excel Spreadsheets: It is amazing to me how many folks even large Orgs in the $100 Mill Plus size still use Excel as a proxy for a CRM and how many versions exist in one organization. I love Excel but version control is a challenge. Getting the right data all together can be a challenge but Excel has some excellent tools like vLookup.

Outlook & Mobile Devices: This is a great source of Contacts & Leads, often having email and direct phone numbers.  If at all possible, capture their corp website this will be critical in tying them to the proper Account later on. This can be tricky depending on your corporate policy, who owns the device & data, National/State/Local laws. Work closely with your Human Resources department to understand the implications up front. In many cases but not all information on company equipment – networks created in the course of employment belongs to the company, verify this first.

Trade Show Lists: Great for building your lead lists and you may get some more detailed info about your current contacts – accounts

email marketing lists: If these are lists your marketing team build then they are probably a great resource. If you are buying lists well it can be a grab bag of stuff. Some of if good most of it well picked over and spammed. But if you can use it to enrich your existing client base it may be of use. Use Caution here some of these lists are expensive and well worn – spammed.

ERP/MRP/Accounting Software: This is a great starting place for Account info. Because this is where the bills get paid the core info will be good. Often times there is a contact listed in accounting that person can be leveraged to get a few other names with some careful quality sales tactics.

Business Cards, Paper Lists etc: There are great scanning tools what will digitize your info. A word of caution, they are all reasonably good, to get good data you will need to have a human look it over as some fonts & logos confuse even the best scanning software.


Other Data Bases: you may have good data scattered in various mailing lists, data bases, etc. Scour your company every bit helps. Tech support & Warranty registrations, are often kept in separate data bases.  A few cautions here: consider careful how you got this data and if it is truly relevant, for example: sending e-mails to every person who applied for a job on your website is well disingenuous.

Organizing your data:

Now that we have a data inventory, we need to sort it out into three basic categories: Is it Account Data, Contact Data, and Lead Data. Yes there is a lot more data in most cases. For now we need to build the foundation, later we will build our skyscraper.

Accounts this is your Clients Corporate Data usually where your bill goes, it is the foundation of your implementation. Look at the data and decide what you want to bring- import into Saleforce and what gets left out. How many years of data do you want to import? For some companies 3 yrs is plenty others 7-8 yrs for tax purposes, some all of it. Involve the departments that will be using the data as well as the folks who supplied the data. Repeat this step for Contact Data and Lead Data. With Lead data you can be a bit more flexible as it is usually fuzzier.

We are only scratching the surface here on data, I hope it will give you all some good food for thought as you plan your CRM implementation.


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OC B2B eMarketing Group Meeting

eMarketing – OC Pardot User Group

July 25, 2019

Great user group session today hosted by Roland DGA in Irvine, CA. It was an interesting mix of people from new users to the more experienced. The newest was just launching the oldest was about 5 years into their journey. There were great tips, tricks and hacks shared for every level of user. Great job of facilitation by Deidre our Roland DGA Host. Marketing Automation is here today and this group is at the forefront here in Orange County, CA


We started off with Mark Somers who shared several key Hacks to make a Pardot Admins life easier. His slides do a better job than my writing so check them out below:



Deidre & Her Team at Roland DGA did a great presentation on how they implemented the Pardot email preference center. A key finding was if they did a simple Un-Subscribe they lost more people than if they let folks select the: Type and Level of email touches they received. They found that the preferences broke down into two areas: A. Subscription Based Preferences for newsletters B. By Product – Application Interest Preferences. As they noticed sometimes, the same product is used in many industries and each has it’s own needs & wants.


It was a great event with lots of information sharing. Thanks to Roland DGA and Diedre for all the hard work setting this up.

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Why CRM implementations Fail Take 2


Why CRM implementations Fail and what to do about it Take 2
From everything I read and it was a lot, there are several common threats that occur over and over again: No Clear Strategy, Lack of Process Improvement, and Lack wholehearted of Executive Support. The real surprise for me was that over the past 15 years or so of studies, it steadily gets worse. Some companies had several failures in a row! One other factor that in a way sums it all up is the Business Disruption – Change bringing on a CRM causes. This matches my own observations of the scant attention given to Change Management in many CRM implementations. If you live in a Manual, Paper & Email driven world bringing switching to a 24/7/365, paperless, automated, transparent, Cloud base world is a huge culture shock. The speed of business has accelerated the Manual, Paper & Email driven world is just too slow, either you jump a head or your competitor will. This lack of vision often makes the CRM a very expensive rolodex rather that transforming the business through massive gains in efficiency.  CRM should be Disruptive and Change the way you do business. One example is it requires that we define our selling process (example below)


Another Example:
It all started one fine day I was at a client that dealt the 7 of the 10 largest Wall St. Banks and I was asked to help a colleague create a New Salesforce Report. It was simple enough She want a report on all of the Cases that Tech Support of a particular product line, had closed last week. Being curious I asked Why? She replied so I can send them and email with a link to our customer satisfaction survey. I asked how are you doing it now ? She said Manually, it takes me about 2 hrs a week and I do it every week. I asked is there any reason for you to look at this report other than to click on their email address and hit send? She said No. I said Well today is your lucky day! We can create a Workflow that will automatically send personalized email template directly to every customer when a case for that product, once the Tech Support Person changes the Case to closed. This saved her 100 hours a year doing a mindless task, she was a smart highly educated professional that can now make more valuable contributions to the business. We saved about $3,000 in the first year.
In the above example the person could not ask for automation because they did not know Salesforce CRM could do that type of thing. A good consultant can find the pain points that a CRM can Solve. The Business has to be open to “Changing the way we do things around here” if not it becomes an expensive rolodex – a ROI failure. It takes time to Build a Vision to see what could be and define those benefits in hours saved, new sales generated and to track it.
A more detailed look at a compilation of the top 3 failure reasons ranked:
1. Lack Cross Functional Coordination 50% (50% Saw this as one of their top 3)
a. My take: It was dumped in ITs’ lap; Sales & Marketing see it as an IT thing
b. Solution: It’s a team effort with a high-level Steering Committee & Goals
c. See: Creating a High-Level Vision  The FIRST of SIX Steps to CRM Implementation Success

2. No CRM Business Strategy 48% (50% Saw this as one of their top 3)
a. My take: Lets just do it, no clear goals, or how will it serve the business
b. Solution: Take the time to define How it will grow the business, Measurable Goals. Good Change Management – Team involment
c. See: Define Your Strategy
d. Define Your Metrics The FOURTH Step to CRM Implementation Success Identify the Metrics

3. Lack of Process Change 45%
a. My Take: Team still clings to Manal Process, Email, & Paper
b. Solution: Map your existing process, define measurable goals to improve that process or better yet create a new process enhanced by CRM Automation.
c. See: Define Your Goals & Objectives
d. Prioritize Your Initiatives Step FIVE of SIX – Prioritize Initiatives

4. Lack of Executive Support 40%
a. My Take: If the Top Monkey doesn’t use it neither will they.
b. Solution: All reporting is out of the CRM, at meetings crack open the CRM and have Outside Sales, Marketing, Inside Sales, Tech Support do their reporting Directly Out of the CRM
c. See: Salesforce Best Practices https: // Salesforce Help Executive Support

5. Poor Business Representation on the Team 32%
a. My Take: It’s and IT thing so we send a low-level person
b. Solution: Either Go Big or Go Home, if you don’t insist on key managers being present it is a non-starter.
c. See: Define Your Strategy The FIRST of SIX Steps to CRM Implementation Success

The top 5 Items listed in Bold are from: Meta Group Leadership Strategies in CRM Jan 2000 and Data Warehousing Institute March 2001. The: My Take: Solutions and See: are my original work.
If this seems like a lot of work to even get started it is, the alternative is yet another CRM implementation failure. When there is a lack of firm clear commitment to doing the upfront work its best to well…… not start at all. On the off chance you all do want to start a CRM Implementation feel free to contact me.

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Top Reasons CRM Implementations FAIL Take 1 of 2

GraveStoneCRMFails2019Take1Top Reasons CRM Implementations Continue to Fail &
what to do about it Take 1
It was shocking to me when I started researching this article just how bad the situation was. Not only was the failure rate high, between 30% – 70% over the past 15 years, it continues to be high and in some cases there were multiple failures. ( source Why the failure rate ranged between 30% to 70% it is not clear, some of it depends on how failure was defined. Was the failure: technical, lack of user adoption, ROI was not realized, partial adoption etc. According to work done by Forrester Research lack of user adoption was the caused 70% of failed CRM projects.

I was reading an article in Harvard Business Review “Why CRM Projects Fail and how to make them more successful By Scott Edinger His top 3 are:

1. “Re-think your CRM as a tool to increase revenue. Period……
The CRM is a tool to help them sell more, access support resources during sales cycles, and manage their territory or “book of business.” If the sales team recognizes the value of this tool, you’ll get all the metric and forecast information you desire.”

My observation: is that Sales People want to sell not sit at a keyboard typing. They are more valuable selling than typing. Keep the amount of data they have to enter to a minimum, just the key info about the people and the opportunity. Do as much heavy lifting for them as possible, at an Salesforce Admins we have plenty of tools to upload their account – contact lists.
2. “Integrate your marketing efforts with sales activity.      Historically, these two functions collaborate on CRM implementation so poorly it’s almost a cliché. …… Early in the sales cycle, marketing and sales have roles to play in identifying and qualifying opportunities to actively pursue. As sales cycles develop, they should have a shared understanding of what constitutes a qualified lead, as well your ideal customer profile — both in terms of the company and level of buyer. This helps filter out business you shouldn’t pursue. Later in the sales cycle, marketing works with sales to create materials that can be customized to client objectives and case studies, instead of the generic collateral sales teams often see as low value. Finally, working together on win/loss analysis provides an active feedback loop for joint planning and addressing future needs. This kind of integration, using your CRM as the glue, will improve marketing’s efforts to create gravity with prospects, and sales’ ability to accelerate sales cycles. It’s an advantage for the business if you can use at least some of the same metrics to evaluate the success of both departments.”
My observation: No self-respecting Sales Person ever gives credit to Marketing for getting the deal done, it was all their sales prowess that won the deal. Honestly I have been on both sides of this one. Sales is the sharp tip of the sword and a very hard job. No person does it all it is truly a team effort. With e-marketing tools like Pardot we know where the good leads came from cradle to close won. Both sides need to drop their pretenses and have open and honest conversation on what a good lead is and how to close them. Marketing has to look for feedback on what a bad lead is and weed them out. Our markets ever change so Sales need to keep Marketing up to date on what to filter in and out.
3. “Managers provide coaching to improve, not reporting to inspect.       The pivotal role in driving CRM success is not individual sales people. It’s sales management. They will determine how the sales team uses and experiences the CRM. If they use it solely to check on the amount of activity, call volume, or other measures of efficiency, it’s of low value to the sales team and likely be rejected or filled with fictional data. Instead use it as a tool to jointly create strategies for major opportunities, and help the sales team to maximize opportunities by coaching them throughout the sales process. I’ve written in the past about the high value of coaching and the fact that it’s rarely done well. But CRM can be a powerful mechanism to support coaching for individual sales calls, as well as opportunity, account, and territory management.”
My observations: No one likes to be tracked and held accountable. The types of personality’s that are good at sales according to folks at Sandler Sales are not the personalities that are good at the detail work like CRM. Coaching and Managing the Team using the CRM works well for enterprise selling and major opportunities I agree. Where I disagree with the Author is on the Accountability side. The only part of the sales process we fully control is “Our Activities” so I feel using the CRM to track sales activities like dials, walk in’s, cold calls, networking is the way to go. “Selling is a Contact Sport” if a sales person is Not tracking these basic activities they don’t even have a foundation and coaching someone without the fundamentals of the game won’t help much. A good sales person will not like it but will accept that failing at accountability is going to hold them back. They must be part of the goal setting to buy into what they will be held accountable for.
This is also where I feel the Executive Sponsor has to weigh in and walk the talk and hold the Team Accountable. Several ways come to mind: It’s part of their Annual Goals, All Reporting is done out of the CRM, Commissions are paid based on what is in the CRM. Align the whole teams’ goals towards success.

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Step SIX of SIX Define Your Road-map


The Launch date – Go Live Event, is not a one and done occurrence. The benefits to the Organization can be added to for many years to come.  Make sure your Road Map Reflects That Benefits that the whole organizations will gain. The tailwind from a Implementation will be felt for years, as the benefits mount. In one case I automated a customer satisfaction email survey that cost $400 to create and saved $2,500 the first year, $3,000 the next year and $8,500 over the past 3 years. This is where you get to show the Organization the Magic.

Gaining alignment of all of the team members involved or effected by the implementation is super important. It can make or break the success of the implementation. If there is any one thing, I see in business management books over and over again is “Keeping the main thing the main thing” to loosely quote Steven Covey. A road map shows the whole organization where you all are going at a high level. Sometimes it makes sense to keep the dates broad – by Quarter and as you look out 3 – 5 years. The Tailwind of a Salesforce Implementation can drive cost benefits out at least 3 – 5 years or more. Mainly through reducing costs, improving productivity, better forecasts and most importantly Automation.  The Road Map also keeps the Implementation Team accountable. A good road map will also help avoid chasing shiny objects as you will be forced to decide what gets delayed.  Team members also get to see where their preferred features get implemented. It also gives the Implementation team a tool to set new feature requests into the future.

Implementing a CRM is disruptive it engenders a new way of thinking.  The reap the benefits of a CRM we have to be open and willing to change how we do business. It is a journey from Organization Centered model to a Customer-centric model.  Customer expect you to know about them and the products – services they bought from you, their preferences, likes & dislikes. The old way worked, but is was a lot of manual mindless work, CRMs automate the drudgery freeing Professionals to use the intellect to further the business goals.  Getting input from the Teams who will be affected will be key. Good change management is critical.

A less detailed version of Salesforce Implementation Road Map should also be presented at an All Hands Meeting. Shared with Key Share Holders and at Investor Presentations.  This generates alignment across the whole organization. If there is one thing that I see over and over in Business Management Books is how hard it is to as Steven Covey said “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing” to keep the business aligned and firing on all cylinders. Salesforce CRM is all about Data Transparency (yes you control who sees what) the whole Team is on the same page.


A Gant Chart like the one above (Built using Smartsheet is a great way to show at a high level the overall goals and timeline of the project. It is best to keep the Chart at a high level and by Quarters. Even when using an Agile – Scrum approach a High-Level Road Map is a good tool to have as a guide. Keep your road-map flexible enough to flow to where the success will be rather than being too rigid. Often times during Implementations better ideas surface that will generate far more ROI than what we originally though would be successful.

Now it’s time to going and get started. I don’t suppose that in some small way this series of Six Articles has helped, on the off chance it has kindly feel free to contact me.

Phil Sallaway

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