Top of the mind: steps to Cleaning your CRM

“What is the first step to take to clean up your CRM data”?

Nearly everyone I pose this question to gets it wrong.  The typical answer is “dedupe the CRM”.

This list was for a client:  A stream of consciousness cut & paste from an email.  He needed something to discuss with his team.  He no longer believes dedupe (alone) will solve his data problems.

The real list is longer, but you only get that if you are my client.

  1. Silo Identification – Identify the sources of data.
  2. Structured Capture – Pool data from CRM, lists & databases.
  3. Unstructured Capture – Extract & Datamine.  Email archives,  etc.
  4. Data Assessment – Getting the facts about the data.
  5. Assessment Review –
  6. Consultation –   blah blah
  7. Data Standards Plan – Design a strategy for future data standards.
  8. Data Normalize – Standardize according to Data Plan.
  9. URL Fill – Complete URL’s to disambiguate target objects.
  10. Data Mapping – Define and align data from all sources.
  11. Concatenate Silos – Combine into unified destination
  12. Duplicate Detection Rules -Define what constitutes a duplicate
  13. Resolution Plan –
  14. Scoring Plan – Develop weights for conflicting data sources
  15. Silo Merge – Merge data according to weights in scoring plan
  16. Automated Dedupe – auto
  17. Duplicate resolution – manual
  18. Data Actions – what happens w/ data
  19. Clean Review
  20. Address Correction
  21. Company Profiling
  22. Email Fill
  23. Enhancement Review






Love and the Clean CRM

Do you remember your first time?  I do.  How could I forget?  I was in love.  The anticipation of being alone,  just the two of us,  was something I had been thinking about for weeks.   When we all met our new team member,  it was like every sales rep in the company was distracted.  I couldn’t get any one-on-one time.  Finally a holiday approached and I planned to be in the office, long after everyone had left.  We would be alone.

The egg-nog was gone, the lights were dim and the office was empty.   I opened up my browser and we were alone.  Just the two of us: me and my

The first thing I noticed, my new love was unhappy.  We had transferred all our data from a old Siebel CRM.  My beautiful Salesforce was full of non-standard data and tons of duplicates.

So I took action.  Here are the steps I took:

1. Develop a Normalization Plan. 

(In the past I’ve called it a Data Plan), but the phrase has evolved.  A Normalization Plan is a set of standards for your data.  For example: for job titles, do you want them list verbose, such as “Vice President of Sales” or compact like “VP Sales”?  Removing extraneous spaces and punctuation is also something to decide upon.  Do you always go with “Incorporated” or “Inc”?

2. Normalize your CRM

Don’t even think about deduping your data before normalizing.  This is a mistake of the uniformed.  If a consultant wants to dive right in and dedupe, they are not skilled in the art of loving their CRM.

Dedupe without normalizing first is akin to putting underwear over your pants.

3. Pick your dupe matching rules

It’s got to be the right time and you must do some testing to make sure you’ve got it right.  Use one of the tools from RingLead that provides customizable dedupe logic to match your business requirements. RingLead is a pro at removing Salesforce Duplicates.

4. Dedupe

It’s not the first step, it’s the last.  When you really love your CRM you take care of everything else first.  At this point, you’ll have a plan, you’ll know about all the little nuances and dedupe will be natural and successful.






Dreamforce and a single Pen for an entire year

Dreamforce and a single Pen for an entire year

One Pen : One Year

Single Pen

Dreamforce is on my mind.  The RingLead team is cooking up some interesting (and fun) initiatives for the biggest tech show in the universe.  What will Marc Benioff launch this year?  Every year the industry leadership of Salesforce has stood out.  I’m excited to be going.

What’s with the pen?  First, it is a compact Fisher Space Pen. It is awesome and I have not used another single pen for an entire year.  It was a personal challenge to myself.  I keep it on my keychain and always have it with me.   It writes  upside down and does not stop working like 98% of the pens you typically get from tradeshows.

I just walked around my entire office asking for a bunch of pens (to take a picture) and no one had any from tradeshows.  The sales reps had collected a bunch of them; I knew this.  When asked, it was simple:  “I threw them out Donato.  They stopped working”.

Tradeshows, Dreamforce and advice to vendors:

Dont’ give away crappy cheap, pens

When I get back with a low quality pen that does not work.  Guess what?  I associate that with YOUR company.  I have never had a pen from a trade show last.  Really ask yourself… have you?

We are teaching our children to recycle and not to waste, to have a better world.  I paid around $20 for my space pen and I regularly give them as gifts.  After a year it is more cost effective, process efficient and cutter free way of using a writing instrument.  Think long term, think quality.  My appeal:

It’s doesn’t have to be a space pen, but here is a picture of mine.

spacepenupdate: May 2016:

it’s now been 2.5 years