The Eight Dangers of Bad Data Quality in Salesforce

Gijs Hovens
Written by Gijs Hovens in Whitepapers
The Eight Dangers of Bad Data Quality in Salesforce
September 03, 2021
Reading time: 5 minutes

Good data quality naturally feels like an essential attribute for any organization. Calling duplicate leads, emails that bounce, undelivered packages, useless reports, and forecasts that are way off are all caused by bad data.

Research from scientists and consulting firms shows that data quality is an important factor for your organization’s success. And with the emergence of new technologies like cloud computing, AI, Machine Learning, and social media, the importance of data quality becomes even more prominent. This article will discuss eight proven areas where good data quality will offer a substantial competitive advantage.

Bad data is entering your Salesforce org through poor data migration processes, external data sources like web forms or lead lists, or employees’ data entry. Data decay results in your existing data becoming less useful over time.

You might think that improving your data quality is a costly, tedious, and time-consuming task. It is not. With the right solutions in place, cleanse your existing data in Salesforce automatically. Better yet, prevent inadequate data from entering, regardless of source, and make your sales, marketing, and support teams happy and more productive.

1. Inefficient sales, marketing, and support teams

Just ask your sales team, and they will tell you that dealing with duplicates or inaccurate contact data gets them out of ‘the zone’. Instead of just calling, they need to verify contact details and check for duplicate records first. That is if they check. In the worst situation, they could skip the checking and contact an existing customer as if it were a lead. This leads to a lot of lost time, angry employees (more on that later), and a poor customer experience.

Precisely the same goes for marketing teams. Bad contact data leads to many bounced emails, which, in turn, harm your sender reputation. Bad sender reputation leads to emails ending up in the SPAM folder of your contacts. It is tough to engage existing leads if they don’t even get to read your email - the benefits of clean, formatted data are plenty in this example.

2. Low Employee Satisfaction

Which Salesforce admin at one point didn’t want to throw their laptop out the window after hours of data transformations in Excel to get data imported in Salesforce? Which salesperson has not thrown down the telephone in anger after yet another call to a non-existent telephone number?

Scientific research shows that working with high-quality data improves employee satisfaction significantly. Bad data scares away your best employees. We all know how difficult it is to find talent, so let us make sure we hold on to the best colleagues we have onboard.

3. Bad CRM adoption

Since the beginning of CRM systems, users have always returned to their trusted spreadsheets, lists, and notebooks to enter and find their data. Why? Because users don’t trust the data in the CRM or can’t find what they need to perform their job.

Gartner found that inadequate data was the number one reason for failed CRM implementations and we think we can all agree on why.

“ I really like the flexibility of Duplicate Check. It gives us exactly what we need in identifying and merging duplicates, without having to build, test, and maintain a large codebase. ”
Anuj Kapoor
Anuj Kapoor Sr. Project Director at EF Education First

4. Bad collaboration

Cooperation often involves sharing data between teams and staff or interpreting data together. When data quality is bad, this creates mistrust between colleagues and teams. Research has widely shown that trust and performance are positively related.

Lead ownership and sales commission conflicts can occur on even the best of sales teams. But with duplicate leads in your system, you are asking for trouble. The same goes for empty or unvalidated addresses; these will lead to territory conflicts down the line.

5. Unnecessary Spending

Everyone can agree that inferior quality data incurs costs and that the reverse is also true: high-quality data leads to cost savings. These costs can be defined in many different ways but are generally distinguished in direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are immediately visible and known to management, whereas indirect costs are unknown.

Direct costs include things like delivering a parcel to an invalid address, leading to an undelivered package or lost shipment, increased postal fees, and worse even, canceled orders. Many software solutions or services base their pricing on the number of records or users, so having duplicate records leads to higher software fees. Take email marketing software or Salesforce Marketing Cloud, for example.

Indirect costs are less easy to define and quantify. They include (opportunity)costs for making decisions based on flawed data—more on this in the next paragraph.

6. Indirect Costs: Bad decision making

Bad data equals bad decisions. Think of uninformed pricing policies, focusing on the wrong customer segments and poor planning. Duplicates and incorrect address data can throw a wrench in the works for allocating the optimum sales capacity to each region. Forecasts will be off, and reports will be hard to generate and not suitable for data-based decision-making.

7. Compliance & risk management issues

In recent years, many laws regarding privacy and data portability have been put into effect. Most famous being the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the UK Data Protection Act (DPA), and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in Canada.

Common in all those regulations is the right to personal data access, deletion, portability, and the concept of consent.

Having duplicates in your database makes compliance with these laws near-impossible. If a lead opts out of email communication and you change the setting for one record but leave the duplicate record on opt-in status, your lead will still get a commercial email. The same goes for access, deletion, and personal data exports.

8. Bad user experience

Last, but in our opinion, the most crucial factor: the user experience. According to Deloitte, consumers are continuously raising the bar and are more likely to share bad experiences online. This is true for both consumers and business buyers.

“ Many of the savings of Duplicate Check come in the form of time or a more informed team member when speaking with customers. ”
Kelly Michael Skelton
Kelly Michael Skelton Director of Digital Transformation, Fiber Optic Center
About the Author
Gijs Hovens
Gijs Hovens Marketing Manager
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