Is Salesforce Heading for a Data Crash?

If you have the wrong information or are misusing it, then you will draw the wrong conclusions.

As data moves increasingly towards the heart of business strategy, the risk of bad data in your business also grows.

Step back a decade and everybody was talking about the opportunities for big data and a gold rush for customer information followed.

CRMs effectively became enormous storage lockers. They were activity counters, glorified call lists and bragging rights for the size of the prospect database you could leverage.

It often resulted in businesses having one-way conversations with their data because big data actually meant big problems.

The information was inaccurate, incomplete, uncontrolled, duplicated, outdated and depreciated. Very often without knowing it.

Sales, marketing and CS can’t expect to move closer to a customer with the wrong information.

Our CRMs became the wild west of data. The information we’re trusting to direct our activity is often built on a vast amount of questionable information going in.

New conversations about the same problem

In 2019, everybody is now talking about the opportunities for artificial intelligence in Salesforce.

Pichai thinks it will have a bigger impact than fire and electricity, Benioff suggests its advantages make it a human right and Musk thinks it poses a bigger risk than North Korea.

Just look at the direction and number of acquisitions to support AI that Salesforce has been making since 2016.

AI might have replaced big data as the exciting topic of discussion, but the conversation we should be having is still exactly the same.

How are we ensuring data quality and how can we turn the data in Salesforce into useful information to benefit the customer.

Bear in mind that if the data is bad then the AI won’t be good.

Turning the right data into real customer value

After inheriting an enormous amount of bad practices it’s time to address our relationship with data.

The fallout from Cambridge Analytica, Ashley Madison and Facebook were our Watergate moment and kick-started the move to an age of data clarity.  

There are three standout considerations for me:

  • What do we do to unlock the historic relationships that already exist in Salesforce, the lifetime engagements that we’ve built with customers?
  • How do we ensure that all the useful information we encounter in our sales, marketing and CS activity actually makes its way into the CRM?
  • How do we then optimise that combined information and communicate that into actions to benefit the customer?

If you don’t have the entire 360-degree story of your customer then you can’t expect to build the right narrative to engage with them.

I’ve heard the comparison of Salesforce as a gold mine that you’re responsible for extracting the value from.

Before we move forward we have to look back at a strategy to delivering data quality.

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