Recently we recorded a round table chat where two of our team members discussed ways to improve Salesforce data quality. (If you missed it, what the broadcast here.)
We started out by defining
What is dirty data?
Dirty data has become a catch-all phrase. The most common example is duplicate records. But dirty data can also include anything from incomplete records that don’t have enough useful information to junk records that have been entered with invalid information. Test data and nonstandardized data also fall into this category.
Think about dirty data as any data that compromises your business operations. Dirty data causes confusion, uncertainty, and results in inaccurate reporting. It can also lead to wasted marketing efforts and frustrates Salesforce users.
Strategies to improve Salesforce data quality
The first step is to understand your data challenges. What are users complaining about? What are their frustrations? Think about instances where you need to do one-off corrections like deleting a record, deduping records, or correcting field values. More than likely those one-off corrections are frequent occurrences in your data and can be good hints as to where your data problems stem.
Once you’ve identified your problems, it’s time to take action. The best place to start, and the most common strategy, is to dedupe records. However, some methods that you may have not previously considered are to validate and standardize mailing addresses and geocode. This will give you a more complete record which can also lend to further deduplication.
Finally don’t be afraid to update or delete records that are no longer useful. For example if you only use phone and email to contact customers, and you have records with no valid phone number or email address, there’s no way to contact them.
An important thing to remember is that this is not just a one-time process. Employing these strategies is a recursive process and needs to happen on a frequent basis to ensure data stays clean. Consider what those intervals will look like when you’re putting together a plan around improving and maintaining the quality of your Salesforce org.