Return of the Stupid CRM Data Corruption Tricks

Take this updated quiz to see how many of the Top 10 corruption mistakes you and your CRM team have made this year.

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Number 5: Don't Bother With the Semantic Details

Semantics are not just a matter of semantics. Get this wrong, and the credibility of your system data will be wiped out with every new data entry. Why? Because the data will be misinterpreted, put in the wrong categories, and cause false conclusions. Two reports that are supposed to show the same thing will contradict each other. While I'm not a big fan of large data dictionaries, getting the basic meanings under control is job one in CRM.

Number 4: It's time to play... "Confuse People with Contracts!"

The grand-daddy of semantic confusions in CRM is embodied in this sentence: "When Leads mature, they become opportunities and then close as Accounts." Can't spot the problems here? AAANNNKKK!! Thank you for playing...

Number 3: ISO want to Normalize Data

Many reports, dashboards, rules, and workflows in a CRM system need well-formed data to avoid the USA vs U.S.A. vs US vs United States of America problem. Even if set up by pick lists, long strings are problematic: that's why the two-character ISO-standard abbreviations were developed. Yet so many organizations resist using them for normalizing state and country fields.

Number 2: "We don't have time to de-dupe..."

Deduping is painful. Deduping is time-consuming. But that doesn't mean you can get away without it. Duplicate records (particularly those owned by different users) destroy data quality because users spread correct data entries across two or more incomplete records. But the data quality problem doesn't hold a candle to what dupes do to system credibility — embarrassment every time you run a report or dashboard.

And the Number 1 way to corrupt your CRM data...

Don't Bother with Frequent Backups

While it's true that the leading SaaS applications do continuous backup for DR and data replication for business continuity, there are two critical truths about these backups. First, the SaaS vendors backups are there to allow them to restore if they make a mistake and goof your data&but those restorals are anything but free if you make the mistake. Second, the SaaS vendors' backups are at best weekly. You probably have key data that evolves in critical ways every day — particularly in week 13 of the quarter.

Scoring

Of course your team and consultants will say they've never done these — they'll claim a score of zero. That means they're either hiding the truth or haven't been working under enough pressure!

David Taber is the author of the new Prentice Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of Success" and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, Europe, Israel, and India, and David has over 25 years experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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