Quality Salesforce data is as good as gold when it’s used to maximize revenue potential and improve the customer experience from first-touch to renewal.
On the flip side, “dirty data”—missing, duplicate, or outdated data in Salesforce—can lead to long sales cycles, stalled deals, inaccurate forecasts, poor customer experiences, and churn.
When you consider the clear upsides of making quality Salesforce data accessible to revenue teams, it’s surprising that a 2021 study by Salesforce revealed only 32% of companies have access to a “single source of truth” for customer information.
Why is the goal of a clean, single, up-to-date view of sales and customer data still elusive for so many orgs?
Because the go-to solution has long been to implement stricter, more complex processes to push reps to get customer data into Salesforce. But in doing so, companies inadvertently push revenue teams to work in docs, note-taking apps, task managers, spreadsheets and easier, more familiar tools instead of Salesforce workflows that are now more complex than before.
Companies mistakenly treat the symptoms and not the source of the problem, neglecting to build empathy with reps first, learn how they actually work, and make that work faster and easier.
Effective RevOps solutions take a systems approach to this problem, addressing the following root causes that keep companies from leveraging Salesforce data to its fullest potential:
- The “Shadow Sales Stack” of faster, more familiar tools where reps work outside of Salesforce
- Manual sales processes break at scale
- “Franken-Stacks” result in silos, fragmentation, and duplication of data
- Priorities, gaps, and inconsistencies are buried in Salesforce data
- Learnings aren’t leveraged for better sales calls because they don’t make it into Salesforce
1. The “Shadow Sales Stack” of faster, more familiar tools where reps work outside of Salesforce
Salesforce data quality may be the shared responsibility of the revenue team, but RevOps can often feel like its sole champion when the reps accountable for the data entry are (understandably) more focused on hitting the quota their livelihoods depend on.
Ask any rep where they record their Salesforce notes, and you’ll hear Google Docs, Evernote, Mac Notes, One Note, Notion, a physical notebook, post-it notes, or another tool that isn’t connected to Salesforce.
Ask reps, sales managers, and sales leaders where they manage their pipelines and you’ll hear Google Sheets, Excel, or another tool that isn’t connected to Salesforce.
So, how does that data get back into the CRM? In most cases, it doesn’t.
This “shadow stack” becomes a black hole for valuable customer data as:
- Reps input all their notes from customer calls into an intermediary space, like a physical notebook, that may or (more likely) may not make it into Salesforce in time for the next forecasting meeting.
- Customer context is shared ad hoc between managers and reps in email threads, Slack messages, Zoom calls, Google Docs, spreadsheets, etc.
- Every time a rep manually transfers their notes over to Salesforce there’s a risk of duplication, typos, and omissions——assuming it gets transferred at all.
And if the rep leaves the company, so does their tool in the shadow stack along with all the valuable customer context that never made it into Salesforce.
RevOps can reduce the impact of the shadow stack by integrating a revenue team workspace that is:
- Directly connected with Salesforce to integrate rep activity with the associated Salesforce record without the risk of duplication.
- Faster than working in Salesforce and “Shadow Stack” tools—otherwise reps will only continue to side-step it.
- Centralizes task management and task execution for reps so there’s less bouncing around to different tools in the Shadow Stack.
- Accessible wherever reps actually work, whether they’re on LinkedIn researching a prospect or a Zoom call taking sales notes—without opening Salesforce or a new tab.
- As secure as Salesforce, protecting your customer data with the same security protocols and encryptions you’d require from a CRM.
- Set up to encourage reps to capture the right information in every customer interaction.
- Can be tailored for the workflows of different roles so it becomes a habitual part of their day-to-day.
“It's helpful to have all of your notes, contacts, and accounts on one browser tab and be able to seamlessly move between screens with a click rather than (4+ clicks). Admin is always a nightmare and this allows us to take care of it in minutes versus hours.”
— Cameron Vens, Director of Growth at Aetion
Revenue teams often use Salesforce’s custom page layouts, validation rules, and required fields to try to tailor the Salesforce experience for Account Executives, Business Development Reps, and Customer Success Specialists. But it doesn’t change the multiple clicks, load times, and slow navigation that make it Salesforce.
In fact forcing the entire revenue team to work in the same interface only creates more of the friction that leads to defaulting back to The Shadow Stack where data grows outside of Salesforce.
A shared workspace made for revenue teams and connected to Salesforce allows you to design individual workspaces around their workflows and priorities, driving the desired behaviors for each specific role.
Ironically, it’s when you stop trying to get reps to work in Salesforce that you achieve better adoption of your processes and the CRM.
2. Manual sales processes break at scale
Sales processes that rely purely on coaching and tap-on-the-shoulder reminders from sales managers work well enough at smaller companies.
But as an organization scales, data hygiene only becomes exponentially more time-consuming and difficult to maintain without RevOps process automations.
Through automation, RevOps can create guardrails for the entire revenue team to:
- Nudge reps through automated Slack alerts that only trigger when specific conditions are met, such as missing fields for an open opportunity
- Share high-priority pipeline activity and updates with the wider team or specific stakeholders
- Drive process adherence and encourage desired behaviors from reps without putting that responsibility entirely on their managers
Automation removes the need to rely on human memory as it creates guardrails for reps if they forget any steps without the need for sales managers to manually intervene every time.
Automated processes also make change management more seamless as the organization grows. Instead of re-onboarding the entire team after every process change, losing valuable time and momentum during the transition, RevOps can simply update the workflow on their end and roll out the process immediately to anyone in the affected roles.
3. “Franken-Stacks” result in silos, fragmentation, and duplication of data
The revenue team uses different tools from Sales to Customer Success to manage customer relationships, from dialers to help desks.
Most sales tech stacks alone consist of 4 to 10 sales tools, according to a GetAccept survey.
Not only does the shadow stack add further complexity with the dozen other tools used by individual reps, there’s also the monster of multiple CRMs at the team level—with Salesforce research showing 1 in 3 organizations employed more than one CRM across marketing, sales, and support.
Faced with a problem, a shiny new tool is often the first solution considered. And when tools cost $20 to $100 per seat (throw in a 20% annual discount), it’s easy for a team to decide locally and go from procurement to implementation in a matter of weeks.
The result over time as each team does this is a Franken-Stack: disparate solutions pieced together into a technically functioning whole. Fragmentation and silos become inevitable with misaligned teams operating on their own source of truth.
This tech sprawl adds up to an operating system that’s incredibly expensive to maintain and support, and a nightmare for RevOps to solve. The solution? A shared workspace connected to Salesforce, layered across the entire tech stack, accessible at the press of a button for reps no matter what tool they currently have open in front of them.
4. Opportunities, priorities, gaps, and inconsistencies are buried in Salesforce data
Consistent data entry is one half of producing more actionable Salesforce data. The other is making data once entered accessible and actionable to everyone on the revenue team—not just the analytics savvy.
In a Salesforce survey of CRM users, 61% of respondents reported having “plenty of analytics, but no actionable insight into data”.
When you have a specific question or goal (e.g. What high-value deals are in the pipeline? What accounts haven’t seen any movement in two weeks?), finding actionable insight might be about as intensive as locating Waldo’s striped candy cane shirt on a crowded page.
When you don’t know what you’re looking for, “actionable” data becomes a needle in a haystack.
That’s why most members of the revenue team struggle to find value in Salesforce data.
Conditional highlighting is a simple-yet-elegant RevOps solution that makes Salesforce data easier accessible for everyone.
RevOps can automate conditional highlights based on the needs of specific roles, while also enabling individuals to apply their own conditional highlights for one-off queries to make their pipeline work for them.
With conditional highlights, above-the-line sales leaders who spend time in Salesforce can get proactive visibility into deals and rep activity in the pipeline such as:
- Accounts stuck in a stage for 14 days, highlighted in yellow
- Opportunities missing next steps, highlighted in blue
- Opportunities with expired close dates, highlighted in red
Color-coded pipeline data becomes much easier to parse, allowing reps and managers to find Salesforce data that’s directly relevant to their role.
5. Learnings aren’t leveraged for stronger sales calls because they don’t make it into Salesforce
Leveraging Salesforce as your source of truth is as much about addressing the leaks that keep quality data from getting into Salesforce as it is about creating data-driven loops that allow Revenue teams to make smarter decisions over time.
It goes without saying, when new learnings from deals don’t make it into Salesforce, there’s no way revenue teams can use them in future sales calls.
Learnings that do make it into Salesforce become competitive intel and sales playbooks. But they aren’t being fully leveraged by reps because they’re buried in Google Docs, PDFs, or Google Drive.
Becoming a truly data-driven revenue team means making quality Salesforce data available to reps, not just in its raw form, but as readily-available sales enablement that reps can pull up in real-time during sales calls.
“Good ops teams should be figuring out how to make it easier for salespeople to sell and enablement is about providing the training, guidance, and coaching to make sales teams really effective.”
—Jonas Taylor, GTM Enablement Effectiveness at Lattice
Address the systems, not the symptoms
Realizing the promise of Salesforce as a source of truth is about more than creating better habits across the sales team. Maintaining a trustworthy CRM for your org means giving your sales teams—the real “source” behind your source of truth—a better way of working in Salesforce that can pull them away from the shadow stack, eliminate manual reminders, and surface intel that aligns with each role’s actual priorities and incentives instead of burying it.