Conrin Salesforce Contact validation chart

Data Hygiene

Best Practices for Economic

Development Organizations

Everyone knows economic development organizations must maintain accurate company, contact, project, and BRE data. Protecting and nurturing this information is critical for the long-term health of the organization.  A well-managed CRM is the only way to capture and manage this mission-critical data.

Frequently, CRM is the first thing moved to the backburner when the unexpected occurs.  And, in most cases, that is the correct decision. Last-minute site visits or RFP requests are high visibility and time-sensitive. The challenge is to make sure CRM isn’t completely forgotten.

Where to Start

Forbes magazine’s “Best Practices For Data Hygiene” article details the process of auditing and maintaining an organization’s contact records.  Based on my background with CRMs in the economic development space, I would like to offer my best practices.  It all starts with “The Audit”.

The Audit

The audit doesn’t require an overly complex analysis of the entire data set.  A sample will provide insight into the overall data hygiene of the CRM.  A series of basic reports are a great place to start:

  • Created date: Companies created more than three years ago may need updating in areas such as new/improved products and services; primary contact information; expansion locally or abroad and new worker counts.
  • Last modified date: Contact information that hasn’t been updated in more than three years is likely to be inaccurate.  These days, contacts are likely to have moved on to new roles or actually left the organization.  According to CNBC, at least one in four people quit their job this year, and the share could grow before the end of 2021.
  • Email verification:  Invalid email accounts are a sure sign that contact has left the organization.
  • Conrin’s email verification service identifies contacts with invalid email addresses.  Records with bad email addresses  – are tagged as “Inactive” in Salesforce.com.

Data Cleansing

Conrin Salesforce Contact validation chart

 

Your CRM data has been entered by many people over the years, so don’t be surprised if there is a lot to do.   Don’t, however, bite off more than you can chew.  Data hygiene is a continuous process.  Look for low-hanging fruit and move on from there.  The best place to start is with your contact records.

Contact information is typically the largest “bucket” of dirty data within a CRM (see above). Review the reports created during the audit:

 

 

  • Start with the highest priority records by criteria
    • Companies and contacts associated with projects
    • BRE-related contacts
    • Investor contacts
    • Contacts related to companies within key industry sectors
  • Take advantage of Conrin’s new contact validation service.  Contact email addresses are validated using an automated process.  The service provides both a dashboard and status report email status for all contacts managed within the CRM database.

Upon client approval, Conrin electronically tags records as “Inactive” within the contact record in Salesforce.com.  This process provides the ability to leverage email validation to quickly identify and update invalid contacts.

Conrin Data Hygiene Contact ValidationData Quality Guardrails

Now that you have made the first step into the world of data hygiene, be sure tovimplement guardrails to ensure ongoing data hygiene.

  • Leverage Salesforce’s dupe blocking feature. It helps prevent duplicate entry in real-time (and it’s free!).
  • Analyze field utilization.  Simple is good.  If a field isn’t needed, remove it.
  • Search for multiple fields with the same purpose. Example:
    • County picklist – Morgan County
    • County text – Morgan Cty; Morgan; Morgan County
    • Disable and remove the text field (this can be done electronically)
  • Remove unused tabs and page components to simplify navigation and data entry.
  • Training – Do not underestimate the importance of training team members on the importance of quality data entry compliance.
  • Ongoing review – Running reports every six months is a great place to start.  You will be able to spot areas that need to be addressed before you fall back into the data hygiene nightmare!

 

Repeat.  Data hygiene is an ongoing process!

Free Data Hygiene Audit

Conrin is offering a complimentary audit that includes the following:

  • Recommendations on formatting Salesforce to support ongoing data hygiene – Replace with “Field and page layout analysis and recommendations to improve accurate data entry
  • Summary contact verification based on email deliverability report
  • A formal report outlining findings and recommendations for moving forward
  • A follow-up call to review findings and recommendations

 Contact us today to schedule your free audit!

tsmithee@conrin.com

616-340-4519

Conrin INC CRM Economic Development audit

CRM for Economic Development Organizations

CRM for Economic Development Organizations

Less” May be Part of the Best Solution

 

Conrin INC CRM Salesforce auditWe’ve all heard it.  A vendor reaches out to tell you about their company’s latest feature enhancement The new app will (supposedly) provide amazing benefits, such as:

  • Increase sales by 30 percent
  • Customer satisfaction scores will double
  • ROI will improve by 25%

Before signing the contract, ask yourself a couple of question:  How many software add-ons have you implemented during the past five years?  Are any of them actually being used?  How many have delivered the promised results?  Do you even remember all of the apps you already have?  Maybe it’s time to consider a new option.

Sometimes “less” is your best option.

A recent study published by the University of Virginia found that people tend to add solutions when problem-solving.  The study found that when people are trying to improve something, they frequently default to the “what can I add” mindset.

We frequently see this when working with clients who have been using Salesforce.com for some time.

When working with clients such as these, we conduct a detailed audit to identify “digital clutter” that has accumulated over the years.  Areas of focus include:

  • Third-party applications
  • Field usage per page layout
  • Page layout and ease of use
  • Application-wide navigation
  • Login history
  • Data integrity

Upon completion, the audit is reviewed with our client.  They are typically surprised about the number of unnecessary fields, features, page layouts, etc.  We integrate information gathered during the audit with the overall development process.  This process provides the client with the ability to focus on key metrics and manage day-to-day activities, without having to navigate an endless maze of unnecessary fields and business processes.

Contact us today for a complimentary audit of your Salesforce.com configuration.  We’ll provide our findings and make recommendations on how you can add productivity using the less is the best solution for your economic development organization.

Conclusion:  The next time you are faced with a problem, ask yourself, “is adding additional capabilities is the best avenue to solve the problem.  Or is simplification the way to go?” 

Contact Conrin for a complimentary Salesforce.com audit.

616-340-4519

tsmithee@conrin.com

 

SALESFORCE CRM FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

IT’S ALL WE DO.

 

Conrin Economic Development CRM infrastructure

The Role of Infrastructure in Economic Development

Infrastructure and Michigan’s Pothole Hotline

888-296-4546

Conrin Economic Development CRM infrastructure

Potholes are part of everyday life in Michigan. It’s so bad that the Michigan Department of Transportation created the “Report a Pothole Hotline.”

It’s a given. We need to improve our roads, bridges, and transportation networks. The proposed infrastructure bill provides the financial investment needed to address all of these. In the twenty-first century, we have another important infrastructure need: High-speed internet.

In the 1800s, railroad easements were used for installing telegraph and telephone networks across the country. The same concept should be considered today: Install fiber networks simultaneously with highway infrastructure improvements. This will allow for a cost-effective network buildout.  The construction teams and equipment will be there anyway. Employees, employers, and the environment will all benefit from this strategy.

As work from home becomes more popular, cloud-based technologies such as Salesforce and Zoom are must-haves for companies and workers.

Company Benefits:

  • Greatly expanded access to workforce talent.
  • Reduced operating expenses such as office space and internal IT support.
  • Talent retention based on improved employee job satisfaction.

Workforce Benefits:

  • More flexible schedules improve work-life balance.
  • Reduced commuting time and associated expenses.
  • Continue to reside in their area of choice instead of uprooting their family and moving to company headquarters.

Environmental Benefits:

  • Reduced carbon emissions associated with transportation (per the EPA, 28 percent of emissions are associated with transportation)
  • Improved local air quality.
  • Potential to minimize the overall number of cars per family.
  • Less highway maintenance required over time.

CONCLUSION:

Improvement in infrastructure is on the way. As always in economic development, multiplier effects must be considered within the decision-making process. Broadband must be an important part of the discussion. It’s just as important to us today as telegraph lines were in the 1800s.Implementing and managing CRM is an important investment that can quickly provide significant dividends. Real-time information capture delivers a framework for data-based decision-making.  Selecting the appropriate implementation partner is critical for an on-time, efficient rollout.

Conrin has implemented Salesforce.com for economic development since 2003, with clients in 27 states and provinces. Our industry knowledge allows us to hit the ground running, while simultaneously sharing best practices. We also understand the importance of EDO-specific metrics.

  • Company and Contact Management
  • Projects
  • Incentives
  • Business Expansion and Retention
  • Workforce Development
  • Investor Management

While the initial implementation provides the foundation for a successful CRM program, it is not the end of the process. End-user and system administrator training is necessary for long-term success. Regular “health checks” ensure feature use is maximized. Conrin partners with its clients for the long haul, long after the initial rollout has been completed. We are there for you today and in the future.

Please contact us today and let us show you see how we can help!

 

Salesforce.com for Economic Development.  It’s All We Do!

Conrin Inc Salesforce EDO Data security

Salesforce Data Security Webinar

Data security.

What happens if……..

  • Your password and username are stolen and your online banking accounts are compromised?
  • Your password and username are stolen and your credit cards are maxed with fraudulent charges?
  • Your password and username are stolen and the your company’s data is held hostage, pending payment of a “ransom”

Data security needs to be part of any company’s business continuity plan.

How many of us use one or two passwords for all of our accounts?  It can be hard to remember 75, 50, even 10 passwords. But when we use the same password over and over, we leave ourselves open to hackers.

We’ve seen identity thieves take advantage of people in all kinds of ways. In the last couple years, I’ve had to deal with fraudulent international flights, credit card purchases, and tax returns. It is no wonder why so many companies are offering identity theft insurance.

EDOs need to make sure they’re protecting their data and not leaving themselves open to serious security issues.

 

A great way to learn more about this is at Salesforce’s multi-factor authentication (MFA) webinar on March 9 at 12:00 EST.  Here’s the agenda:

  • Introduction to MFA
  • Your Enablement Journey
  • Demo: Setting Up MFA
  • Demo: How to Monitor User Adoption
  • Resources
  • Q&A

To register for this event click here.

Data security is something your organization needs in order to stay safe online. It’s time to stop using Password123 for all of your accounts.

Email Marketing Apps for Economic Development Organizations

So you need to get email marketing off the ground and running yesterday.  Your boss wants to leverage your investment in Salesforce to promote your EDO.  Requirements include:

 

  • Manage campaigns targeting key contacts associated with potential projects.
  • Build awareness with site selectors.
  • Provide stakeholders and investors with regular updates on your activities in areas which they might find of interest.
  • Promote your organization and its ongoing record of success to your community.

 

Salesforce logo Conrin INC CRM for economic development

Salesforce.com’s AppExchange is the best place to start.  Similar to the Apple App Store and Google Play, the AppExchange provides more than 5000 ready-to-install apps designed to integrate with Salesforce, including email marketing tools provided by MailChimp and iContact.  Both apps provide a robust feature set, including:

 

  • Real-time update of campaign member records, providing insight into email history.
  • Synchronize records with Salesforce, ensuring a single, updated contact database.
  • Cost-effective solutions that are easy to implement and use.

However, before you jump in feet first with a new email marketing app, you may want to consider utilizing features already available within Salesforce.com.  Benefits of this approach include:

  • Leverage existing Salesforce.com functionality at no additional cost.
  • Same-day rollout allows you to quickly launch your first campaign.
  • Identify detailed feature requirements prior to investing money and time in email apps that might not fully meet your needs.
  • Who knows – you might even find that existing features fully meets your needs!

Conrin Inc. is 100% dedicated and devoted to utilizing Salesforce CRM for EDOs.  Please feel free to contact us if we can be of assistance with Salesforce.com CRM, application selection, and integration. We are here to help!

 

 

To schedule a conversation/demo, please click here.

Conrin-Economic-Development-Data-Security

“Work From Home”

Data Security for Economic Development Organizations

By now, it’s obvious:  Work from home (WFH) is here to stay.  The number of WFH employees has been trending upward for years.  New COVID-19 regulations have accelerated the migration to this new business model.  Now more than ever, data security needs to be a top priority for all organizations.  EDOs, are no exception.  EDOs depend on irreplaceable data: Company records; activity history, and project information.  Loss of this data can be catastrophic, and result in loss of capital investment, jobs created, and jobs retained.

At the end of the day, security is the responsibility of IT.  That said, there are steps that can mitigate potential threats.  Here are five, easy to implement, security precautions I recommend to all of my Salesforce for economic development clients.

Password Policies

No one wants to change their passwords.  It’s not uncommon for individuals to use the same password for every application they use for years!  EDOs using Salesforce are no exception.  The solution to this one is easy.  Configure Salesforce.com to require more frequent password updates (quarterly), while increasing the required number and type of characters.

Also, be sure to deactivate users who no longer need access to Salesforce.com.  I have seen many examples of EDOs with active accounts for users who left the company two to three years ago.  Your organization, and the previous employee, will be better off for it.

 

Conrin-CRM-Economic-Development-IT-Security

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has been around in the banking and healthcare industries for some time.  We are recommending that all of our economic development clients implement MFA.  It is easily enabled in Salesforce.com.  All that is required of Salesforce users is to enter a short code, sent by text or email when they log in.

 

 

User Privileges

One of the most often missed security risk is incorrectly configured user privileges.  Economic developers have sensitive data that must remain confidential.  Salesforce.com allows you to set your own security protocols at the user level.  Controls include:

  • Ensure only appropriate users have “view all data” permission
  • Eliminate users’ ability to delete or export records
  • Restrict access to confidential project and investor data-specific data

These profile privileges can be quickly customized for any EDO using Salesforce.

Backup Your Data!

Incremental backups are a life raft for all economic development organizations and a must have “insurance policy”.  Salesforce backup procedures provide the following benefits:

  • Restore data that had been inadvertently deleted or overwritten
  • Mitigate the risk of ransomware. Including as much data as reasonable within Salesforce.com provides double redundancy.  The file is available on-demand on Salesforce.com.  It is also available in another secure location.

Data backups are absolutely necessary for all EDOs.  It is inexpensive insurance for data loss and security risks.

 

Economic Development data security is so important, Conrin offers a complimentary security audit.  For more information, contact Todd at 616-897-4325 or via email at tsmithee@conrin.com.

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