In part 1 of our series, we highlighted the importance of a clean, well-architected Salesforce org to the health and ROI of Salesforce. Optimizing your Salesforce org will go a long ways in providing you and your executive team with information to help guide revenue growth from new and existing accounts.

Also in part 1, we discussed the first week of a 30-day Salesforce cleanup exercise. You should plan to conduct a thorough analysis of your org. Again, plan to spend a full, dedicated week to analyzing data, reports, apps and functionality. This first step is crucial in arriving at key insights that will guide stakeholder buy in and priorities outlined below. Ready for more? Read on about weeks 2, 3, 4 and beyond below!

Week 2 – Present Findings, Assemble Recommendations and Drive Stakeholder Buy-In

After you’ve performed your initial analysis, you should assemble your findings, insights, and initial recommendations for other stakeholders in your organization. More than likely, you’ll need to agree on changes to data organization and get feedback on proposed changes to fields, processes, and reporting deficiencies.

Identify Reporting and Dashboard Deficiencies

Review the reports and dashboards various user groups have implemented.

  1. Is there consistency in how teams are reporting?
  2. Are the reports complete, or is key data missing?
  3. Are charts and visuals representing an accurate and meaningful representation of the underlying data?

Most of the time, it’s easy to spot reporting issues once you drill down into the underlying data.

Identify Priorities

Depending on the complexity and extent of your database issues, you may not be able to tackle everything at one time. Make a list of priorities, focusing on those data points that will give your users the most critical insights. Go back to part 1 in our series for a list of common trouble spots and prioritize accordingly. 

Evaluate if Tools and Outside Providers are Necessary

Consider that your existing system architecture may not work in the long term to help you maintain a clean and optimized org. As a general rule of thumb, we encourage clients to exhaust all possible out-of-the-box tools to accomplish the required functionality. But sometimes, the situation does warrant an AppExchange tool or expert technical team to resolve issues and improve your use of Salesforce.

  1. Mass Update. Data Loader can work great to mass update data but if you’re unfamiliar with Data Loader or want a more configurable option to mass edit, delete, transfer, merge or convert data, there are multiple Mass Update apps on the market.
  2. Duplicate Management. Salesforce duplicate detection functionality works great for preventing duplication of records but there are a variety of situations that can create duplicate issues and AppExchange tools can help admins more easily manage potential duplicates.
  3. Database Enrichment. We encourage our clients to be wary of data enrichment services. Bringing non-opted in email addressed into Pardot and other marketing automation tools is a big no-no and these lists can age very quickly. A better option would be to use data enrichment vendors to identify target lists of Accounts that meet specific criteria, then implementing focused efforts at those accounts or using LinkedIn to uncover common connections with current Contacts at those Accounts.

Drive Engagement with Key Stakeholders

Salesforce adoption and quality issues should be made a priority from the executive level down to each individual user. It’s important that stakeholders who benefit from reporting understand clearly what the issues are and how they are impacting the organization.

Make sure that when you meet with key stakeholders, you’ve done your homework and prepared a list of goals, priorities, and resources needed for the cleanup effort.

Week 3 – Divide and Conquer

Have reasonable expectations for how much work one person can or should do in a short timeframe. The sooner your org is squeaky clean, the sooner you’ll be able to rely on better reporting to help guide business decisions and sales priorities. It’s quite reasonable to divvy up different areas of Salesforce cleanup. For example, one person could help with reconciling Accounts and Account Names with external systems of record and updating the “Type” category. And others could help with updating or creating Products and Price Books related to Opportunities.

If you didn’t add a Mass Update or Duplicate Management tool to your installed packages, handling mass updates on Excel spreadsheets is the easiest way to quickly update multiple rows. From Reports, create a report with the Object Type and fields you want to update. *Remember* to add the record ID, such as the Account ID, as a column in your report. Then hit “export.” Or, to review the full data set by the object, have your admin visit “Data Export” in the Setup panel to choose a full export by object. 

Finally, consider the best way to load your clean data back into Salesforce. If you’re updating records in the Account object or adding Accounts, start with Accounts and work your way to Contacts, Opportunities, Opportunity Products, Leads, Activities, and Campaigns. Any other custom object related to a standard object should also come last. It’s best to make all updates to a particular object before proceeding to the next. We would recommend doing all of the planned updates over a 1-2 day window, or a Friday to a Sunday, to make the quickest and most effective use of your time.

Lean on Salesforce Premier Support or a consulting partner to help you quickly load updates back in the system via Data Loader. Make sure that if you’ve changed any fields and picklists that your values are identical to the API values in the picklist.

Week 4 – Stabilize, Train, Optimize

Once you’ve made all your updates, it’s important to verify the data and confirm that all the necessary changes have been made. You might also find that a revamped database may help you think of other improvements you can make during your reboot.

It may be necessary to train users on any changes you’ve made to the system. Use live training sessions, quick sheets, and 5-minute on-demand videos to help your users through new processes or understand the importance of key data entry points and validations. Consider using Salesforce Content Libraries to organize your training content for users.

Finally, once your database is stabilized, it’s important to quickly build or optimize your reports and dashboards so users can immediately begin to take advantage of key metrics. Ensure you build your reports with consistency in mind, especially with date ranges, groupings, charts, summary fields, and more. This is especially important for dashboards representing different business lines. Also ensure that your report components have the appropriate headline, name, and organizational structure so it’s clear to each user the underlying meaning or date range of the component.

Day 30 and Beyond

Once your Salesforce org is stabilized, it’s important to implement data governance and Salesforce oversight strategies from the top down. We recommend meeting at least quarterly with participants representing each job function impacted by the data sets. You should also use this time to evaluate new functionality rolling out in upcoming releases or new products that will enrich your roadmap.

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