What should Admins stop doing, right now with Salesforce data?

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Data management has always provided challenges for sales teams, marketers, and admins. With so much data to wade through, it’s easy for businesses to become bogged down, especially if they do not have formal procedures in place.  

I sat down with Chris Hyde, the Global Head of Data Solutions at Validity, to discuss his views on effective data management, as well as the exciting launch of DemandTools V – an admin’s “best friend”.

What is the one thing that Salesforce Admins (and other professionals) should stop doing with their Salesforce data right now?

Chris: Taking it for granted. If you look at everyone using data for customer interactions at the moment, they’re hoarding data

There are so many regulations around that govern how we should be collecting data, holding data, managing data. 

I think admins, or anyone that is managing a customer database, often takes that data for granted without, necessarily, looking at where it’s come from – or whether they have the legal necessity to hold it, whether they need it to do business, or whether they should have it at all. 

There are lots of stats around data owners hoarding data. That’s the best advice I can offer: know why you need it and don’t take it for granted.

What should Admins start working towards, with their Salesforce data?

In other words, what should you start thinking about or doing now to help in the future?

Chris: Three things: compliance, completeness, and confidence.

Compliance

Back to what I said – you’ve got to know where the data has come from. You’ve got to know:

  • Do you have permission to hold it? 
  • Do you have consent from those users? Especially consumer data.

Just because you have someone’s email address (if they submitted something on your website, or signed up for your newsletter), does not mean you should have their mobile phone number because they may not have consented to that. 

You must have the data for the reason you need to hold the data and not just hoard that data because you could be breaking laws in certain jurisdictions around the world.

Completeness

Goes hand in hand with compliance. You need to have enough data to do business, right? For example, you need a company’s address in order to send someone a product. 

What you don’t necessarily need though, is the phone numbers and the email addresses of 50 executives or 200 employees of that company. Because, again, you may not have permission to hold that data and it may not be necessary for you to do business. And there’s a growing amount of regulatory pressure around the world for doing that kind of thing. 

Correctness

Have you got the correct data? There are ways you can validate that – email validation, email verification, etc. Is the email address I have going to get the email to a human if I send it? It’s easy to verify a postcode is correct if you have someone’s business address, for example. 

However, there’s a lot of players around in the market at the moment looking at data enrichment. Just because I have your first name, surname, and email address, should I have your phone number? There are those organizations that could give me that phone number, but again, do I have permission to hold it? 

So, circling back to the completeness, we can see it could mean many different things. 

What I need is data that is complete for the purpose that I need it for, and I don’t need any more than that. Then, it goes back to data hoarding. You’ve only got to hold the data you have around customers and contacts, and businesses that you need in order to do business. Otherwise, there’s a growing number of laws that you may be breaking.

GDPR was a massive wake-up call, and the CCPA in California – and more, they’re all over the place!

What’s your vision for Salesforce data management?

As Global Head of Data Solutions at Validity, we knew that these were topics Chris thinks about all the time. Many people in the Salesforce world will know about DemandTools – it’s been in the market so long (15+ years), and has been called an admin’s toolkit/best friend.

Which lead us to ask, what is Chris’ vision for the next generation of DemandTools, and how will it help Salesforce Admins solve data issues more effectively?

Chris: It’s a great question and very timely. DemandTools first came out back in 2000 – so, it’s almost as old as Salesforce! It was one of the very first apps on the Salesforce AppExchange. 

It’s been largely the same for a long time, and there’s a good reason for that. It does what it says on the tin – deduplication, mass modification, all of the data processes that an admin might want to do – and it does it amazingly well.

However, we’ve had feedback. Two of the biggest pieces we’ve had are that it looks old, (like an old Windows app) and that it doesn’t run on a Mac, which was fine 15 years ago when the only people that used Macs were designers! Now anyone could be using Macs. 

We’ve been working really hard over the last 18 months. Coinciding with the pandemic, the CRM world’s quietened down. A lot of people took stock of what they were doing, they weren’t buying new technologies. We took that opportunity to get developing and to get building out a new version of the product. 

We’ve built a brand new version of DemandTools (DemandTools V Release), and yes, it supports Mac (and Linux for those of you inclined that way). Also, what we’ve added is the ability to not just fix all of the problems with the data, which we’ve always had, but also the ability to assess the problems with the data

Anyone who decides to trial DemandTools can download the product, press one button, and it will assess the quality of the data. It will look for missing data points, duplication, missing fields – any kind of large problems with the data – and then allow you to go and fix those.

“We’ve added the ability to not just fix all of the problems with the data, but also to assess the problems.”

You can tell, right up front, how big the problem is. I can see where I’m in compliance. I can see how I have my completeness. I can see how I can go fix it.

What’s Next?

Where we go next – definitely other systems. At the same time as releasing the brand new version for Salesforce, we’re releasing DemandTools for Microsoft Dynamics, with a roadmap of other customer data repositories or systems that we’re going to go after next.

Summary

Thanks to Chris Hyde for sharing his valuable insights, including his advice for admins to have confidence in the data they hold; is your data compliant, complete, and correct?  

Validity has an exciting year ahead with the upcoming launch of DemandTools V – you can read the full app review here.

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