Clean Data is Happy Data

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When I started at EverTrue, one of the first things I worked on was our internal Salesforce.com instance.

How could EverTrue, a company focused on building great communities with great data, have a messy CRM!?

I’m an unapologetic CRM nerd. I’m also a little obsessed with data quality. I wanted to share a couple tactics that have worked particularly well for us. These helped fill in more than 70% of missing data while actually reducing the amount of manual work we need to do.

Keep it Simple, Stupid

I’ve tried a significant number of  changes with our Salesforce.com database, as I’m sure you have with your constituent database. The only changes that are still around are changes that made the system simpler. Here’s an example:

EverTrue Data Trophy

We work with many different types of organizations: private high schools, nonprofits, colleges, MBA programs, K-8 schools, and so on. Some high schools have a post graduate “PG” year, some schools are grade 7 – 12 instead of 6-12. Initially, I converted our somewhat messy text annotations about this to a set of almost 20 checkboxes, not to mention a few fields for gender, boarding, or other parameters, that allowed us to completely describe an institution in this regard.

You know what? That’s not how we worked. We didn’t do any targeted marketing to girls only day schools that include a PG year. Having all those extra fields didn’t help us support those partners.

We now have just one dropdown for type of organization.  Changing to this approach has helped make our reports much simpler, and has also streamlined the integrations with Insight Squared and HubSpot.  When someone fills out an inbound marketing form with us, the exact same values are presented for organization type that we report on in Salesforce and that surface in our reports in Insight Squared.

“It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Notita Optimo

Once our validation rules were humming along and most of the missing data was filled in, I decided to try a little… friendly competition.

Now, every month, the EverTrue Salesforce user with the best data not only gets a handsome trophy to show off, they also decorate the office of the user at the bottom of the pile.

I imagine gift officers or prospect researchers might respond to this reward system as well.

What kinds of things has your organization done to help keep data clean?

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