An Exciting DemandTools Announcement at Dreamforce 2021

Validity has had a long, storied history at Dreamforce, dating back to the CRMfusion days when DemandTools was still in its infancy. We’ve come a long way in two decades, and in parallel, have seen Salesforce grow in unprecedented ways.

The evolution of Salesforce and DemandTools

In March 1999, Salesforce was created so businesses could store customer data in a shared space rather than in disparate systems. By July 2000, this innovative way of storing customer data took off and over 5,000 businesses were using Salesforce.

However, working in a shared space meant more opportunities for bad data to be entered into the system—sometimes more than once. To combat this issue, CRMfusion launched DemandTools at Dreamforce 2004, which empowered users to deduplicate data in bulk and gave them more control over the management of their data and its quality.

Since then, both Salesforce and DemandTools have evolved significantly and have completely transformed the way we manage our data. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • 2005: Salesforce introduced the AppExchange at Dreamforce 2005, upgrading itself from a software to a platform.
  • 2008: DupeBlocker was released as the first real-time duplicate prevention tool for Salesforce.
  • 2010: Salesforce started connecting to other systems (i.e., Finance, Customer Success, and more).
  • 2021: Salesforce’s customer base has grown to include over 150,000 businesses.

Watch our Salesforce+ on-demand session

Although this year will be very different than in years past, we are extremely excited to be Gold Sponsors of Dreamforce 2021. While we won’t have team members in San Francisco attending, we do have a really exciting on-demand content session waiting for you starting September 21st.

Our very own Chris Hyde (SVP, Global Head of Data Solutions) is joining me to present a fantastic on-demand session as part of the inaugural slate of Salesforce+ content for Dreamforce. Our session, “Five Lessons from Automating Over 80 Million Data Quality Jobs” (and yes, we really did!), is a lesson-packed walk down memory lane, from the dawn of Salesforce through to the modern age and future of CRM data hygiene and much more.

We fit a lot of great content into 18 minutes and hope that you’ll join us for the session. Be sure to register for Dreamforce here for FREE!

…and one more thing

It wouldn’t be Dreamforce without some big and exciting news. We’ve got something years in the making that we’re thrilled to be announcing in our Salesforce+ session. Here’s a hint: It’s going to bring something critical into DemandTools itself for the first time. Be sure to tune in to see what we’re unveiling, and after the session, don’t forget to join our VIP list so you’re first in line to receive exclusive access and updates on this exciting launch!

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Top 4 Reasons GridBuddy Cloud is the Most Productive User Experience for CRM

Let’s face it, terms like data unification, data quality, and data analysis cause most people to run in fear. Actually, putting “data” before any word can make the most innocent thing sound menacing. 

Why is that?  

It’s because the options we have for working with data consume a lot of time and focus and ware expected to be precise, timely, and accurate when updating recordsIt’s a tall order, and it requires organizations to implement tools that quicken data navigation and make data modifications happen as if they’re second nature.  

GridBuddy Cloud can help. It’s our solution for unifying data by connecting records from separate data into one view, making analysis across systems possible. Why is that important? Here are the top four reasons you should be adding GridBuddy Cloud to your tech stack. 

  1. Most business systems were designed around the business, not the end user.

    The most problematic part of using a CRM or any business system is jumping from record to record, screen to screen, or browser tab to browser tab to view all the data needed for customer engagements. Since it’s difficult to enter information accurately when youre surfing between so many screens, attempting to modify or create new records in this capacity only leaves room for poor quality data to be entered. GridBuddy Cloud grids make it possible to work with specific pieces of information across one or more systems in a single, editable view. Imagine being able to reference and modify account, contact, and opportunity information for all your open deals in one Excel-like interface. 

  2. Different roles require different workspaces. 

    We know sales and service teams fulfill separate purposesThey rely on some of the same information in your databases, like account and contact details, but how and when it’s used differs. Sales is focused on leads and opportunities while service is zeroed in on cases, so trying to make them function in the same workspace because of how your databases are configured doesn’t make much sense. It also leaves users guessing which fields are for them to manage. GridBuddy Cloud role-based workspaces ensure the right information is front and center for each user based on their goals and responsibilities for frictionless, focused work. 

  3. Increased productivity should come with less effort. 

    Most pieces of technology implemented for your teams use come with the promise of increased productivity. My question to this claim is always, does this productivity boost come with more or less effort? With GridBuddy Cloud, it’s definitely the latter. In addition to its spreadsheet-style arrangement of data and role-based workspacesthe out-of-the-box ReadyGrids address common sales and service use cases for an immediate increase in productivity. Couple that with their ability to be customized and you’ve got yourself a productivity powerhouse. 

  4. No more rushed data migrations. 

    I know more than a few of us have encountered the chaos of acquisitions. When you welcome a new organization into your own, you’re also inheriting their databases. Cue the mad dash and hair pulling of the IT team as they plan how long it will take to clean up and migrate business system data. With GridBuddy Cloud, you give everyone breathing room to adjust to the new normal and migrate data in a way that supports the business instead of stressing it. Because GridBuddy Cloud aggregates data from multiple systems into one user-centric interface, end users can continue to focus on their goals and IT teams can strategize without halting current business processes. 

Improving your teams’ productivity, data quality, and adoption doesn’t have to be a challenge. Bridge the gap between your data sources with GridBuddy Cloud. Find out more here.

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Taking the CRM out of sCReaM

Your customers are the most important part of your business. This is why most organisations choose to implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. However, only 47% of businesses with an implemented CRM have an adoption rate of over 90% in the business. Interested to see how your business can be one of them? Let’s explore some practical approaches to better manage the data in your CRM and boost user adoption. 

What are the challenges?

As a Salesforce CRM user on Validity’s Service team, my needs from the system are quite simple: a list of accounts containing some basic information on team members, ARR, state, and country. For active accounts, I also need to see contract start and end dates, contract value, product groups, and all open cases and opportunities my team is working on.

Duplicated Activity

Unfortunately, while Salesforce CRM does have all of this information, it’s not displayed on one page. In my case, things are even more complex because due to our company’s recent acquisition, the information is stored in two different Salesforce instances. This means I must log in to the correct Salesforce instance, run my reports, and export the data to a spreadsheet. Afterwards, I need to arrange the data the way I like, using conditional formatting for ARR, renewal date, case priority, and opportunity status. Now the data I need is in a format I can use, but there’s a problem: within a day, this data will be outdated!

For example, when I review my NSW accounts, perhaps to assign a new team member, I may not be able to trust my data. The ARR may have changed, new contracts may have been added, and new cases or opportunities may have been opened. So, I’m forced to go back to Salesforce, open each account one by one, click on the relevant tabs, check all the pertinent information, and act accordingly. If I could magically plug my spreadsheet into Salesforce CRM, I could do everything in one click and save myself tons of time!

Sales Inefficiency

Imagine I work in Sales for a business that makes lots of phone calls, and I’m responsible for documenting all interactions in real-time and concurrently organizing follow-ups. The time spent on each click matters because it affects both my success and the company’s revenue. If the CRM doesn’t help me to be efficient, I won’t use it. Instead, I will use notebooks and spreadsheets to cope with this dynamic sales environment. The result of my alternative process is outdated data, lower long-term adoption, and reduced sales productivity—all of which negatively impact the company’s bottom line.

Manual Data Manipulation

I spoke with my Marketing Manager and asked what challenges she faces when using CRM data to run a marketing campaign. Her biggest challenge is data that is captured from multiple sources, meaning she spends hours on standardisation (NSW or New South Wales, Australia or Aus) and removal of duplicates. This simple work really consumes her time!

… and many more!

By this stage, I’m ready to scream, and I’m sure you are too! Our recent State of CRM Data Management report quantified the challenges posed by poor data and low adoption: 95% of participants report having some CRM data quality issues, only 27% of them have a true 360-degree view of their customers, and 75% of them agreed CRM data issues negatively impact the performance of multiple departments.

How can you drive end-user adoption?

CRM end-user adoption is more to do with changing behaviours. Human nature means people are hesitant to accept change. When they do need to do something, especially if they don’t like it, humans naturally follow the path of least resistance. Therefore, to achieve adoption, processes should be as frictionless as possible to ensure people get what they need to do their jobs.

Remember, CRMs are not simple systems with everything on one page. If they were, we wouldn’t have these common challenges. A quick win is to use easily connectable, third-party solutions to transform your CRM into a seamless and intuitive end-user interface.

Make your CRM as easy-to-use as possible!

First, if you haven’t already checked out GridBuddy Cloud, now is the time. GridBuddy displays all the data you need from multiple objects, in multiple Salesforce instances, as a single, editable grid. One of our APAC customers referenced GridBuddy Cloud on review sites G2 and TrustRadius, saying it helped boost their CRM’s Return on Investment (ROI) simply by allowing their salespeople to make more outbound calls and handle more concurrent tasks!

Second, “easy-to-use” relates not only to the CRM’s interface, but also to the utilities needed to maintain high-quality CRM data. How do you perform mass data manipulation with minimal manual work to avoid human error and increase efficiency? This is the major benefit of DemandTools, a powerful CRM data suite that easily integrates with your CRM system. DemandTools instantly solves our Marketing Manager’s pre-campaign data standardisation challenges.

Want to learn more?

I experienced these challenges myself when using CRM. GridBuddy Cloud and Demand Tools help me solve these problems easily, and I highly recommend you use these tools too! If you transform your CRM platform into an easy-to-use system, adoption and ROI will increase significantly. It’s the simple things that can make the biggest differences!

Ready to get started? Contact us now to learn more about how we can help your business reach its goals.

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Data Quality: The CReaM of the Crop

In Validity’s State of CRM Data Management report, 44% of businesses estimate poor quality data can mean losses of 5% to more than 20% in revenue. A vicious cycle develops, with lack of trust in the data reducing CRM adoption, which in turn drives down productivity.

The report also considers positive factors—for businesses managing data quality really well, full-time responsibility of a cross-functional team is a regular underlying theme. An obvious example is marketing, which has evolved into a primarily data-driven function, with many companies now hiring marketing technologists to combine IT and marketing skills to deliver high-performing programs.

Of course, marketing technology is powered by data, which poses questions around how marketers think about their data quality, and how it impacts the effectiveness of their programs. To learn more, we’ve collaborated with the DMA to conduct new research, with thought-provoking results:

  • The majority of marketers monitor their data quality (77%) and have KPIs for this (61%).
  • Most have defined budget for data quality (84%), usually as part of their marketing budgets (51%). It’s a significant allocation too, at between 16-23% of the total budget.
  • However, only 14% consider their data quality practices to be “excellent” when measured against established practices, while 33% report themselves as “average” or “poor”.

The type of data platform being used reflects differing approaches to data quality. Here’s the breakdown.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system: 53%
  • Email Service Provider (ESP) platform: 50%
  • Customer Data Platform (CDP): 33%
  • Note: These responses aren’t mutually exclusive – businesses could be using two or even all three of the solutions in conjunction with each other. Read our article on the “Rise of the CDP” here.

CRMs remain the most popular solution, and names like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho, HubSpot, and SAP Sales Cloud are recognised around the world. When it comes to data quality, there are specific trends we see from these users.

  • More Likely to Monitor Data Quality: 84% of CRM users monitor their data quality (1.1X higher than the report benchmark), and 72% have data quality KPIs (1.5X higher). The size of investment in these solutions means this isn’t surprising. One new client has spent the past two years preparing his data for migration into their new CRM platform. In his own words, ”We absolutely didn’t want to populate it with bad data!”
  • Data Acquisition: Businesses using CRMs are more likely to source new customers from “In-person/Virtual events” (44%—1.3X higher). In UK/Europe, e-receipts (from in-store shopping) are now the single biggest driver of acquisition, and the ability of CRMs to integrate with point-of-sale (POS) solutions means these businesses are well placed to harness this opportunity.
  • Compliance: ”Compliance with legislation and industry standards” is more likely to be reported by CRM users as a data quality best practice (51%—1.2X higher). Data governance will be strongly enforced at these businesses, but it also reflects a degree of pragmatism. GDPR effectively wrote many established data best practices into law, and DMA analysis shows 68% of marketers have reported increased conversions since then.
  • Customer Engagement: “Engagement rates” (37%) and “Conversion rates” (31%) are commonly reported as data quality metrics by CRM users. They understand the relationship between good data and responsive customers, and that data needs to be correct and complete. CRMs are more likely to collect additional data like demographics and interests, building a fuller picture of their customers enabling more accurate targeting, and greater relevance.
  • Return on Investment: Unsurprisingly, CRM users report better average Return on Investment (ROI) from their programs (1.1X higher). Their strong focus on data, ability to generate greater responsiveness from prospects and customers, and accuracy in calculating important financial outcomes like CPA and LTV means these businesses are well-positioned to maximise their ROI.

We also couldn’t help noticing CRM users are significantly more likely to use “Deliverability monitoring/3rd-party solutions” as part of their programs (32%—1.5X higher than benchmark). These businesses invest significantly in best-of-breed solutions like Validity’s DemandTools suite to deliver their data quality objectives, and our Everest email success platform to measure and fine-tune program performance.

These businesses understand great data builds great relationships, and they are clear on the benefits they gain from this. Want to be like them? Contact us today to learn more.

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Email Data Quality: The Rise of the CDP

In our new report “Email Data Quality: Compliant, Correct & Complete,” we viewed data quality practices through the lens of what type of data platform was being used. We asked marketers, “Where does your organisation currently store customer and email data?” They responded:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system: 53%
  • Email Service Provider (ESP) platform: 50%
  • Customer Data Platform (CDP): 33%
    Note: These responses aren’t mutually exclusive – businesses could be using two or even all three of the solutions in conjunction with each other.

The scale of the CDP response stood out to us. While this approach to managing customer data is not brand new, it’s been on the periphery of marketing conscience—but not anymore!

What is a CDP?

According to Gartner, customer data platforms evolved from a variety of mature markets, including multi-channel campaign management, tag management, and data integration. Wikipedia provides a good definition:

A collection of software which creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems. Data is pulled from multiple sources, cleaned and combined to create a single customer profile. This structured data is then made available to other marketing systems.

At the risk of massive over-simplification, the CDP is a solution enabling businesses to get all their customer data “under one roof,” while also allowing the definition of customer data to evolve. CDPs are built to handle multiple data points from many sources. They collect both online and offline customer data, and could include anonymous visitors as well as personalised, specific customer identifiers.

There are already many established vendors in the CDP space, and G2’s excellent summary lists well-known names including Exponea, Emarsys, Listrak, Tealium, Optimove, and Salesforce Interaction Studio (among others). Users of these platforms clearly understand the important relationship between data and technology. Recent analysis showed Emarsys customers who also use Validity’s Certification allow-list see average open rate uplifts of 28% and click-rate uplifts of 35%.

Armed with this understanding, there’s an implicit assumption CDP users are more sophisticated when it comes to managing their customer data, thinking of it as a business asset, and looking to maximise their return on investment. The report supports this view:

Businesses using CDPs are significantly more likely to use double opt-in as their email permissioning model (1.5X higher than the benchmark response). They are also more likely to use real-time validation tools like BriteVerify (1.7X higher). Having made a significant investment in their customer data capabilities, CDP users are strongly focused on populating their platforms with high quality data.

Use of preference centres is an extremely important part of CDP users’ toolkits for customer data collection (1.6X higher). This highlights the value of progressive registration – re-visiting customers regularly to learn more about their needs and interests, then using this to craft relevant content and offers.

Even more importantly, CDP users actually harness this data to drive their communications. Remember the core GDPR principle of “minimisation.” In short, don’t collect anything you’re not going to use! Use of subscriber preferences to drive customer segmentation is 1.5X greater from these respondents.

This also informs how CDP users measure data quality, with use of “engagement” as a primary key performance indicator (KPI) almost 10% more likely. These businesses intuitively know declines in engagement may have poor data quality at their root, and appreciate the importance of this metric.

Because these businesses have such a strong handle on their data, they are better positioned to measure the financial impact of their data-driven marketing. CDP users’ ability to calculate email cost per acquisition (CPA) is 1.15X higher, while ability to calculate return on investment (ROI) is 1.2X higher.

What does this mean for marketing effectiveness? Since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives, businesses have been rethinking the way they communicate with customers. As the recent DMA awards highlighted, being able to use high quality customer data to implement these shifts authentically and credibly is vital. The additional breadth and depth of customer data CDP users have unquestionably put them in pole position when dealing with this challenge.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our next webinar, when we’ll consider the rise of the CDP, plus many other fascinating data quality insights, with expert guests Tim Bond (Data & Marketing Association) and Kate Barrett (eFocus Marketing).

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Tips to Accelerate Your Email Programs

Our February 3 State of Email Live featured two special guests! We start with our own Sridhar Chandran, solutions architect, sat down to discuss the latest email data we have, while later, Sarah Jones, senior CRM manager at Auto Trader UK, shared her email expertise with the class.

First, some interesting data to share.

Email volume is stabilizing. Though, to be clear, it is still wildly higher than email volume this time last year…which was just one month before the pandemic reared its ugly head. We keep hearing about “the new normal,” and perhaps, this is it for us email geeks.

Finally, here are my favorite learnings from Sarah. I don’t want to steal her thunder, though, so please watch the recording below. There’s so much you can get from her conversation with Guy!

Their messaging changed from suggesting active buying and selling to researching and saving for later.

This seemingly small pivot makes a world of a difference. By acknowledging the changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic, they’ve created a relatable persona, becoming a brand who is in touch with their audience and not focused entirely on sales and revenue at all times. Genius.

They changed their frequency from less, to more!

This felt counter-intuitive to me, knowing the data we’ve seen from the last year. However, Sarah reported their engagement went up! Auto Trader UK sent one email per week or two, then increased their frequency to two or three emails per week, which is a significant increase in attempts to connect with their subscribers. This is a really important takeaway for email marketers: You cannot make assumptions about your consumers, you need to test to confirm (or disprove) your hunches.

Here’s the full video. I only shared two things out of more than a dozen, so get your notetaking tools in gear and speed off to watch:

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Speed Up Your Sales Cycle with Data

Let’s be honest, 2020 was not a great year for many businesses. With COVID-19 still ravaging economies around the globe, finding ways to improve sales continues to be top of mind for many.

Thankfully, there are some simple steps businesses can take to help enhance their sales processes and customer engagement efforts. Making sure customer data is up to scratch is one of the best places to start.

Appreciate the power of data

It’s great to have lots of data, but it’s equally important it is good quality. Accurate data is critical for deriving value from KPIs such as conversions, call and win rates, as well as response times and sales cycle lengths.

Low quality data can result in poor decision making across lots of areas of your business including marketing, sales, customer service, and product innovation. If your data isn’t reliable, you can’t be sure your marketing efforts are successfully reaching and engaging your customers. And without this, good sales results are hard to come by.

Locate your data

It’s likely you’re already using a CRM to manage your company’s data, but knowing you’re capturing all data properly to begin with is critical in determining how effective you’ll be when using it.

To ensure you’re collecting all the data available to you, start by performing an audit of any places data could be hiding. This might include website analytics, Google Analytics, email subscription details, and sales and inventory records. Also consider your daily interactions with customers to see how you might be able to glean extra intel.

Clean your data

Common data quality issues include duplicate data, incorrect data, invalid data, incomplete or inconsistent data, and poorly defined data (sectioned in the wrong category). You can prevent bad data from becoming a recurring issue by looking at how it enters the system initially.

Establish protocols for keeping data accurate and educate all employees who interact with the system on how to correctly input and manage data. Rules for adding data should include using standardised naming conventions and formats (including abbreviations), inputting all required fields for a record, and updating customer details as they change.

Prevention should also include evaluating third-party tools to help ensure data quality. For example, Validity’s DemandTools suite offers DupeBlocker, a useful tool that finds and prevents duplicate data from being entered into the system.

Don’t forget about your CRM system

A good CRM helps you go deeper with your data and metrics, allowing you to collect, collate, tabulate, organise, interpret, and use your data more efficiently to improve and accelerate the sales cycle.

Your CRM system is an incredibly powerful tool and it’s likely you haven’t discovered all it has to offer. Take some time to explore your CRM features so you can maximise its value and take advantage of its clever functions that could save you time and generate even more sales leads. Most CRMs work seamlessly with third-party data quality tools and other software designed to support your business activities, so take advantage of this.

By making the most of your data and the tools available to you, you’ll be in a much better position on the journey to recovery and growth in 2021.

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