by Mina Tsankova, Salesforce Technician | Oct 30, 2023
Tools for Establishing and Maintaining Data Integrity
In another article, we covered the importance of major data integrity considerations within your Salesforce environment. In this article, we will uncover admin-friendly and native Salesforce tools that can help you start your journey in establishing and maintaining your Salesforce data integrity.
Data Management through Fields and Records
Data Validation Rules
Data validation rules are tools that are used for error-checking the format, type, and range of the data you enter. Validation rules verify that the data a user enters in a record meets the specified standards before the user can save the record. Validation rules are created through the Object Manager, and you can have up to 100 active Validation Rules per object at a time on both Standard and Custom objects.
A validation rule will contain a formula or expression that evaluates the data in one or more fields and returns a value of “True” or “False.”
Validation rules provide the ability to display an error message to the user when the rule returns a value of “True.”
PRO TIP: Choose clear, instructive prompts so that your end users can easily understand how they are not meeting the data management best practices enforced by the Validation Rule so they can correct and save the changes.
Some common types of validation rules are—
Field-Level Validation Rules verify that the data entered in a specific field meets certain criteria. For example, you can ensure an Account’s Tax ID is formatted as xx-xxxxxxx, or that a phone number field contains a specific number of digits. Long Term, this will ensure meticulous, high-quality data that is trusted to be used both internally and externally.
Record-Level Validation Rules assess the values of multiple fields on a single record to enforce certain conditions. You can use record-level validation rules to verify relationships between different fields on the same record. For instance, use record-level validation rules to ensure that the Amount of the Opportunity is populated when the user changes the Opportunity Stage to Closed Won.
Manage Duplicates One at a Time
By activating duplicate rules and the Potential Duplicates on the Contact and Account object lighting page component, you can control whether and when users can see a warning that the current record is a potential duplicate. You can also permit them to merge the duplicate records right then and there.
Manage Duplicates Globally
If you are administering a Performance or Unlimited Salesforce database, within the Setup Menu, you will find the ability to define, run, and take action on mass merging duplicate records. Use these reports to share job results with others and use duplicate record sets to merge the duplicates. Use information about completed jobs to track your progress in reducing duplicate records.
Customize Duplicate Management
Configure duplicate management to align with other customizations and data collected and stored within your Salesforce platform. For example, if you never store an Account’s Tax ID, do not use it in your duplicate rules as a key.
Customize duplicate rules with logic and even run multiple levels of ‘fuzzy’ and ‘rigid’ rules as numerous passes at a single record.
Customize the user interface for handling duplicates: For example, leverage the ‘Block’ functionality with a Duplicate Rule to block users from creating duplicates instead of just sending warning notifications.
Alternatively, if you cannot ‘Block’ the records from being created due to external integrations, consider customizing different duplicate rules for different users or profiles based on their job functions within the database and/or the data set they are responsible for maintaining.
The best way to accomplish deduplication in Salesforce is by following the five-step process below.
1. Establish your data management strategy by identifying the objects and the fields that need to be deduplicated. Indicate matching key(s)for all fields and include a list to ignore.
2. Focus on the process requirements. For example, what is your budget? Do you need a one-time cleanup, prevention, or both? Do you need process automation, and would you allow merges? Are there compliance and legal issues to consider, such as GDPR?
3. Select the tools you would like to use. In addition to Salesforce Duplicate Management, the AppExchange offers many other deduplication tools with advanced features like auto-merging.
4. Before you automate the process, make sure to test the matching and merging rules properly. Usually, merging records is not reversible and should be done carefully.
5. Single cleanup is great, but it’s not enough. If your business goals include the longevity of a healthy CRM solution, you must consider long-term maintenance with prevention and scheduled cleanups and establish best practices for future data import and data export workflows.
Ongoing Data Integrity Strategies
As your business changes, so should your data management strategy to ensure that you’re evaluating your data as it pertains to your current data collection and integration methods.
Despite having any of the above implemented, the ongoing commitment to reviewing your data on a quarterly or annual basis will increase the lifespan of your organization’s Salesforce database and provide your organization’s stakeholders with high-quality, complete, and accurate data.
Data Governance Committee
Governance could be broadly defined as the rules or policies by which companies are run and how decisions are made. Large companies in particular, have had to be mindful about governance, especially if they are subject to industry regulations.
Data governance applies that concept to the information that companies of all sizes collect, manage, and store.
Data Governance Parameters
Whether you operate in a sector like retail, manufacturing, or a vertical market, the general principles of data governance are largely the same. The policies or rules you establish need to cover the following five areas:
Access: Who is authorized to view, edit, or use the data?
Accuracy: What provisions are in place to ensure the data is error-free and up to date?
Privacy: How does the way data is handled ensure it remains private (especially in the case of customers’ personally identifiable information, or PII)?
Security: What safeguards are in place to ensure the data will not be threatened by cybersecurity attacks from external third parties or even rogue actors from within the company?
Retention: How long does the company need to retain this data based on legal or business requirements? Once it’s no longer needed, how can it be disposed of safely?
The governance of a company’s data matters because it’s essential to how companies deliver excellent customer and employee experiences with trust at the heart of every interaction.
Data governance is simply the ethical way to manage a digital-first business. It speaks to the values of some of the most successful companies, and it’s something even the smallest firms can adopt.
Data Quality Dashboards and Reports
To easily assess the quality of your data, you can install a free app from Salesforce Lab— Data Quality Reports and Dashboards. The best way to assess data quality is to look at the data (or lack thereof) holistically, and there’s no better place within Salesforce to do this than a Dashboard.
Building data quality reports and dashboards is a low-cost, effective data management tool that can empower any level of Salesforce admin with metrics to take action on.
Consequences of Ignoring Data Integrity
Data integrity is the accuracy, completeness, and quality of data as it is maintained over time and across formats. Preserving the integrity of your company’s data is a constant process that cannot be ignored.
Ignoring data integrity might lead to lost sales opportunities, increased marketing costs, compliance issues, decreased customer satisfaction, and decreased employee productivity.
The Competitive Advantage of Maintaining Data Integrity in Salesforce for Sales Organizations
When data integrity is correctly implemented within your Salesforce ecosystem, your organization has a foundation for effective marketing taxonomies. This helps when connecting data-driven insights with digital content as a part of the customer journey.
Data integrity ensures sales reps can better qualify and score leads as legitimate. Sales reps also depend on marketing taxonomies to support their sales cycles.
Being able to measure marketing campaign performance accurately means businesses can identify and pursue the activities that have an impact as well as forecast and predict the success of upcoming projects, increasing their overall return on investment.
Whether your organization has 2 data sources or 50, it’s crucial to the success of your organization’s CRM solution to take the importance of data integrity seriously. Whether you are collecting and maintaining customer data, support Cases, portfolio details, or leads, your organization’s business processes rely on accurate data to propel forward.
To ensure your Salesforce implementation is, or was, done with data integrity and long-term data management in mind, contact The CRM Firm.