Tag Archives: Salesforce Consulting

3 Steps To Guide Your Org Out of a Dirty Data Disaster

Today’s guest post comes from my friends Jack Pereira and Stephanie Gaughen of Nuvem Consulting, a Salesforce consulting partner based in my hometown of Omaha, NE.   

 

Dirty Data new

 

Strong governance and oversight of your Salesforce solution is absolutely critical. Without that, your org can quickly become the wild west. From your sales reps entering in basic Leads data with no standard process to downloading apps at will from the AppExchange, in the blink of an eye, you can have a data disaster and a nightmare for reporting.

But not everyone has the luxury of a strong governance committee from day 1 of their implementation. There’s many reasons organizations go without a governance strategy, and it doesn’t take long for data issues to proliferate. But the longer you let them go, the harder they are to clean up. Remember, big data isn’t getting any smaller.

So whether you’re switching jobs and inheriting this wild west, or you’ve come to the realization where you can no longer manage this sort of Salesforce anarchy, we put together some basic governance principles applicable to businesses of any size and industry.

 

1. Establish your Salesforce governance committee

Whether you call it a Center of Excellence, a change committee or a Salesforce governance committee, the concept is the same: bring together a team of people involved in processes touched by Salesforce to oversee the ongoing maintenance and long-term vision for the solution.

Your governance committee should include an executive sponsor, department leaders, administrators and an end-user champion. If your solution touches departments beyond sales and marketing, leaders at those departments also must be involved.

One Clear Owner

And even with the guidance of an oversight committee, it is absolutely critical that there is clear ownership of the solution with one individual. It’s common in many organizations that multiple people are responsible for Salesforce but no one person has clear ownership. But that goes against a fundamental principle of management that a leader be designated for such endeavors. If there are multiple owners, nobody is responsible for the success of the solution.

Great Salesforce “owner” will act as the key facilitator, champion and cheerleader of the solution. They’ll be committed to continuous improvement, system optimization and coaching of other team members.

 

2. Establish data standardization early and audit often

You must have accurate and complete data to create accurate and meaningful reports, which is the whole reason you bought Salesforce in the first place. If you aren’t getting the reports you need, you aren’t getting the insights you need to sell more and make better business decisions.

When establishing a data standardization strategy, it’s best to start with a data map listing all the critical fields necessary per Object and where the sources are for that data. You also must understand if all the sources providing that data are accurate and complete.

When considering the reports you need to manage your process or business as a whole, reverse engineering your reports helps you understand what data you need to get those reports and what Objects will help organize that data.

Data standardization among integrated systems

If you’re integrating to a marketing automation system such as Pardot, the importance of having a data standardization strategy may finally be coming to light. Marketing automation systems can only talk to your CRM when the data fields match. And public-facing forms must capture data in the same format. Using picklists to minimize inconsistencies and spelling errors, as well as making certain fields required are common ways to ensure a smooth sync.

With marketing automation, you must also consider the completeness of your data. Making certain fields required for your sales reps will help ensure the marketing team has the data they need to effectively segment Prospects onto Dynamic Lists. After all, you can’t quickly grab a marketing list of all your local customers for an upcoming event if only 30% of your Leads and Contacts have that field completed in their records.

The same goes for other systems connected to the main Sales Cloud database such as Communities or Steelbrick CPQ. The more systems you have integrated to your core solution, the more oversight and consideration will be needed to ensure data quality.

Cleanse, audit, repeat

After you have developed a standardization strategy, then comes the dirty work of cleaning up the existing data to match it to the standard. There are many tools in the AppExchange and admin tricks to do this efficiently. You can also enlist the help of a consulting partner if you don’t have the resources or expertise to do this internally.

Finally, once the database is in good shape, you must put in place regular data audits to make sure you stay on track. These can take place monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Any proposed changes to the data standardization strategy can then be evaluated by the governance committee.

 

3. Establish release and application management plans

Salesforce Sales Cloud has three major releases a year with new features that must be rolled out and managed according to your needs and unique configuration. Sometimes Salesforce replaces major tools and stops supporting older features, which calls for action and planning.

Depending on the complexity and extent of new features, as well as your number of users, it may take time to configure and roll these out to your org. This needs to be accounted for to allocate resources. Plan governance committee meetings after release notes are made available so you can discuss new features with your team.

All new apps must be put through a rigorous discovery process

You also need to consider new releases for other apps you have in your Salesforce ecosystem, as well as general management principles for applications connected to Sales Cloud. New apps, whether large or small, must be fully vetted and approved before they are downloaded and added to the org. And there must be a process for ongoing maintenance and support of these apps.

 


About the authors
Jack Pereira [@jackpereira10] is the co-founder of Nuvem Consulting and works with leaders worldwide to refine their business processes from lead generation to cash in hand using the Salesforce platform.

Stephanie Gaughen [@sgaughen] is a Pardot Certified Consultant at Nuvem Consulting and co-leader of the Salesforce Nebraska Women in Tech group. 

Nuvem is a Salesforce consulting and development partner that transforms businesses for the future with streamlined processes, integrated technologies and a delightful customer experience. 


An Interview With Garry Polmateer!

Garry Polmateer

Garry Polmateer [@DarthGarry] is a Salesforce Community legend. He’s one of the original Salesforce MVP’s that poured the foundation to help make the Salesforce Community as awesome as it is today.   He’s been an inspiration to me for over 5 years, so I was honored that he was willing to answer some questions for my blog. 

He’s currently Managing Partner at Red Argyle, a global Salesforce consulting company specializing in development, consulting, and administration.

Red Argyle                    RedArgyle.com      @redargyledotcom

 

Salesforce Bullet:  When did you get started in Salesforce?  How did it happen?

Garry: I started a new job as a business analyst for website design projects.  I happened to start working there about a week after Dreamforce ‘08, and my boss was totally fired up and decided to start a new Salesforce.com team and asked me if I’d be on it.  So I asked for a day to think it over, spent the night digging into the technology, showed up to work the next day and said “I’m all in”, and been all-in ever since!

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:  How has learning Salesforce changed from then to now?

Garry:  A lot.  My first Salesforce learning experience was from a book!  I felt totally alone with nothing more than that book and a developer org.  That changed as soon I discovered Twitter a few weeks later and got very involved with everyone tweeting about Salesforce at the time.  That’s where I met some of my first friends including Jeff Grosse, Mike Gerholdt, and Becka Dente.  Ever since, the power of the community has made it easy to keep learning, not to mention all the great resources that the community has cooked up since then!

 

 

Salesforce Bullet: These days, where do you go first when you need help figuring something out?

Garry:  I check with my team first in our internal “Technical Stuff” room on Hipchat.  Answers community next.  And, insert obligatory SteveMo nod, about half the time he’s chimed in on whatever thread my search results have returned.  Twitter third or for more esoteric questions.  There’s a very diverse and smart group of people camping out on #askforce that has saved my butt on more than one occasion.  Beyond that I’ve got a few “phone a friend” folk on speed dial!  Of course I’ve met them all on Twitter or otherwise through the community!

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:  You’ve been an MVP since 2010. What does being an MVP mean to you? Has that changed over the years?

Garry:  Being an MVP has been an amazing and rewarding experience that has truly been life changing.  Most of my best friends, I’ve met through the Salesforce community and it’s truly a world class group of people.
My love for Salesforce, the community, and the MVP program has never waned over the years, but my life situation sure has!  As an owner at Red Argyle, and recent Dad of two kids, I had to make some tough choices, and one of them was to accept moving into MVP “Emeritus” status at the beginning of 2015.  Even though the badge is a bit different, I still love the community, contribute where I can, speak, and still blog regularly.  Even though I’m no longer an active MVP, I’m continuing to work hard to carry the Salesforce flag wherever I go and see no end to that in the future.  And as my kids get a little older, who knows!

 

Salesforce Bullet:  What is your advice to aspiring MVP’s?

Garry:  Don’t aspire to be an MVP.  Just be a good person.  Participate in the community, help people out and be consistent over time.  Do whatever you can to contribute and share your knowledge and wisdom.  Seek a community mentor and work with them on how to best focus your contributions to help the most people.  Find a user group, speak at it regularly, or start a user group in your town.  Do all that, and the badge will likely follow.  And whether or not you’re an MVP throughout that journey, we’re all here for you!

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:   You were recently featured in the opening of the DF15 keynote with your awesome lego rendition of Moscone.  What do you like about Legos?

Garry:  Well, it was also in the 2011 keynote, but who’s counting :)
Legos represent a structured system that allows you to take predefined forms and turn them into whatever your imagination can conjure up.  I’ve had them since I was a kid and loved building stuff!  Always had fun playing with them, and if I were on a Lego blog right now, they’d ask “what do you like about Salesforce” and I’d answer “Salesforce represents a structured system that allows you to take predefined forms and turn them into whatever your imagination can conjure up”.  Get the similarity?  It’s perfect!  I now have a whole rack of Legos at the Red Argyle office and smile every time I look over at them, and I’m currently building set 42043.  Who said we had to act like grown ups?

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:  You post a lot of your home DIY projects on twitter.  What project are you most proud of?

Garry:  My current project is restoring a 1930’s Gerstner machinist chest that was my Dad’s since I was a kid.  It was severely water damaged and I am in the process of making new wooden parts to restore it to its original function.  Most proud?  Probably when I replaced the circuit panel and rewired my whole house because I saved so much dough!  Of course now I’m “that guy” everyone in my family calls when they need some electrical work done.  I firmly believe that keeping a hand in the physical world helps me be a better IT professional, as it’s always easier to keep the real results of business operations in mind.  Probably why I work with a lot of manufacturing folks now.
Gerstner
The Gerstner chest project

 

Salesforce Bullet:  You’re currently managing partner of Salesforce Consulting firm, Red Argyle. What inspired you to get into Consulting and start a firm?

Garry:  I spent 2000-2008 as an IT and Database administrator.  Around the end of that time, I got realized I loved project work.  What better way to always be rocking projects than to work at a consulting company?  So I made the jump, and after a few years I decided life wasn’t crazy enough and helped build Red Argyle with my friend and super cool guy, Tom Patros.

 

 

Salesforce BulletHow did “Red Argyle” get its name?

Garry:  That, my friend is a story only shared over a beer.  :)

 

 

Salesforce Bullet: What do you like most about your job?

Garry:  I always relished the feeling of the first day on a new job.  It’s a new beginning.  Everyone’s super nice, you’re seeing new things, learning new processes, and also learning about problems that need solving.  So in consulting, we pretty much get to experience that newness all the time.  Always a new project with new, awesome people.  I also love being involved in an entire project lifecycle; being able to hunt for work, win it, and deliver it.  And now we’re into our 5th year with over 575 projects…. time flies!

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:  What are the biggest challenges of running a consulting firm?

Garry:  No doubt, “work life balance” is the biggest challenge.  Consulting can be an all-consuming business.  Owning a consulting company is that plus a bunch more. I am still a practicing consultant with 50% of my time on the line and the rest divided between Sales, HR, and all the rest…  and now I am married and have two very young kids.  I’ve definitely made a lot of changes to my schedule most notably cutting down on travel, but there’s no shortage of guilt from working late more than I’d like.

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:  How does Red Argyle compete with the giant Salesforce consulting firms?

Garry:  We don’t really compete.  As a boutique shop, we partner with other companies just as much as we are bidding against them.  And with a lot of SMB customers, we’re often flying “under the radar” anyway.  I like to think that we provide a unique service that works well with a niche of customers.  We’ve got loads of work in our backlog and leave happy customers in our wake, so I really don’t feel like we’re competing, just being good to our customers and anyone else we come across and treating everyone fairly.  I also push hard during prospect qualification to save everyone time.  If we’re not going to work together, I try to determine that quickly.

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:  What are some things you’ve learned as a consultant that you wish you knew sooner?

Garry:  There is no magic.  The most difficult enterprise jobs are run by regular people trying to solve extraordinary problems.  Approach things like an average person, and say “no” when something does not sound right.  Trying to be a hero is the cause a lot of project failures.  Don’t hesitate to call support or reach out for help!  Too many times I’ve tried to go it alone when there was help available.

 

 

Salesforce Bullet:  What advice would you give to new Salesforce Admins?

Garry:  Learn the business.  Salesforce is amazing technology and, learning how to wield it to serve business needs will give you the one-two punch to bringing a lot of value to your company.  Working hard to establish a business driven mentality, not a technology driven one will set you up for success.  By doing that, you’ll get exposed to more projects, complexity, and responsibility within your organization.  Don’t jump into consulting too fast if you’re an admin, learn the ins-and-outs of your company and treat them like your first customer.  Then determine if consulting is right for you.  Finally – if you want to be in this business, find a mentor.  Either a community mentor as mentioned above or someone in the industry that you respect and can have a relationship with.  A mentor-mentee relationship is priceless.