Your Comprehensive Guide to Salesforce Data Management
When it comes to making the best use of any CRM solution, data management is key. This is especially true with Salesforce, which offers a variety of tools for storing, managing, and analyzing your CRM and related data.
How can you use Salesforce data management to find out more about your customers, deliver a more supportive user experience, and improve the effectiveness of your sales force? Read on to learn more.
What is Salesforce Data Management?
Salesforce data management is a data-driven approach to CRM strategy. It involves organizing and analyzing all the data you have about your company’s current customers and active prospects, with the goal of having your marketing and sales teams use that data to build better and more effective customer relationships.
The data you collect must be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. This data can include everything from basic contact information to information about each contact’s company, the industry they’re in, and their sales history.
Salesforce data management, when done right, will not only highlight sales opportunities but also help you make better decisions about the future of your business. You use the data gathered to improve relationships with your customers, increase customer retention, and drive sales. The more you know about your customers, the better you can create targeted marketing campaigns, optimize sales territories, encourage incremental sales from existing customers, and improve ROI. It’s all about getting the best data and making the best use of it.
What Are the Five Steps of Effective Salesforce Data Management?
There are five key steps necessary for effective Salesforce data management. They are, in order:
- Import data relevant to your CRM processes
- Optimize your system for large data volumes
- Integrate non-CRM data into your system
- Archive your data
- Manage and analyze your data to drive ongoing quality
We’ll examine each step in detail.
1. Import CRM-Relevant Data
Your organization possesses reams of data about your customers, products, and services. Much of this data is important to CRM, but not all of it is. You can overwhelm your system with too much irrelevant data, so it’s important to identify the data you own that is most important to your business needs.
What data is more relevant to Salesforce data management? The following data types are most useful in CRM:
- Contact information, including demographic and biographical information
- Data specifically used by the Salesforce platform, especially that used to generate reports and dashboards
- Data that drives your organization’s daily operations
Selecting the right data to import – and triaging less-important data – will reduce data clutter in your system, improve the experience for your users, and potentially reduce your cost of operations.
2. Optimize for Large Data Volumes
Organizations that generate huge amounts of data have special needs in regard to CRM data management. A large data volume (LDV) is one that contains literally millions of records. LDVs can slow down performance, and they require special tools to manage.
If your CRM includes LDVs, you need to optimize your CRM accordingly. You can employ the following tools to speed up performance:
- Custom Indexes, to speed up SOQL queries
- Force.com Query Plan, to optimize and speed up SOQL queries
- Database Statistics that collect statistics overnight to help plan for maintenance and determine the best way to access data
- Skinny Tables, which contain frequently-used fields to speed up read-only operations
- Divisions that segment your data into logical sections for more meaningful searches and reports
Optimizing Salesforce for LDVs will make for faster queries and improved overall performance.
3. Integrate Non-CRM Data
Salesforce data management requires more than just CRM-specific data. You also need to incorporate other data where it exists across your organization. This can include enabling data from external sources, embedding web apps, and syncing all of this data with Salesforce.
You can use some or all of the following tools to integrate non-CRM data with Salesforce:
Integrating this non-CRM data will help expand the data view for your staff and enrich your Salesforce platform’s capabilities.
4. Archive Your Data
To optimize your Salesforce performance, you need to make a distinction between current and historical data. Current data is used to manage daily operations and drive analysis and insights. Historical data is less relevant on a day-to-day basis and can be archived to decrease the size of your database and improve Salesforce performance. (Managing less data on a daily basis can also reduce your operational costs.)
There are several tools you can use to archive – but not totally delete – your unused data. These tools include:
- Data Extracts, to export historical Salesforce data to an external system
- Data Extracts via Bulk API, a Salesforce API that extracts and deletes large quantities of records in batch mode
- Big Objects, a Salesforce feature that can store billions of records in a read-only format on the Salesforce platform
There are also a number of Heroku-based solutions that can archive Salesforce data on the Heroku platform.
5. Manage and Analyze Your Data
Finally, you need to manage and analyze the data you’ve incorporated into the Salesforce platform. To do this, you need to create formal procedures to guide your CRM data collection and analysis across your organization.
You should specifically address the responsibilities of the following teams:
- Center of Excellence, to ensure that any changes to your system support your business goals and follow IT best practices
- DevOps/Release Management, to design and manage the release management process
- Design Reviews, to ensure compliance with design standards for configuration, code, and integration with other systems.
- Data Governance, to establish the reviews and inspections necessary to ensure the continuing quality of your CRM system and data, as well as to put processes and tools in place for data administration and maintenance.
Let Rainmaker Assist with Your Salesforce Data Management
Salesforce data management helps you assemble, manage, and analyze your CRM data. The Salesforce experts at Rainmaker can help you build your Salesforce data management plan, as well as manage and analyze your CRM data on an ongoing basis. We offer end-to-end support of the entire Salesforce platform to help you better manage all aspects of your business.
Interested in how Salesforce can improve your Data Management process? We’re here to help. Contact us now to learn how.