Three Keys to Your System Success

A successful CRM system is critical for most organizations nowadays. However, the foundation of your system’s success is built upon sound strategy and strong processes. While the following three keys to success are true in any information system, I’ll use this post to highlight ways to achieve them in Take a moment to share your experiences by writing a comment on this post!

1. Make Your End Users’ Jobs Easier

With a tool like, we have many ways to make our end users’ jobs easier. Doing so in as many areas as possible will increase adoption and satisfaction dramatically. Start by hiding all unnecessary apps, tabs, links, and fields. In EE and UE, review Profiles for unneeded features to be turned off. Use folder permissions to show only relevant Reports and Dashboards. Provide Home tab shortcuts to important Views and Reports, and record short step-by-step training videos for each important process that users are asked to do.

Be vigilant in finding ways to reduce the number of clicks required to complete important tasks in the system, such as by leveraging Visualforce layouts that allow data entry for more than one object, and buttons that complete multiple steps in a process at the same time. Keep in mind Apex triggers, which allow us to write totally custom business logic that can update many records at the same time, often reducing repetitive tasks.

Be sure to regularly test out the experience of your end users, as an end user, using their profile. Shedding your system administrator status every now and then will keep your eyes open to finding ways to streamline your system.

2. Continuously Work Toward Clean Data

While I am a believer that it “takes a village” of all your users to keep your system’s data clean, I also feel that there is a lot that admins can do to further the cause. Provide users with a Data Dictionary and Help Text with expectations for each field. Define data governance standards, especially those that deal with pre-data import prep and review. Write Data Validation Rules to enforce these data entry standards before bad data is saved to the system. Leverage tools like CRM Fusion’s DemandTools for deduplication on import, data fixing scripts, and regular deduplication passes. Investigate other options, such as JigSaw, for data match and append services that can add depth to your data.

Once you have gained some ground in your ongoing data fight, maintain it by using Reports and Dashboards to measure and track your data health. In your steering committee meetings, your system’s data should be a set topic, as well as a discussion around upcoming data needs and activity. Without clean data, the greatest functionality and reporting in the world is worthless.

3. Make Decisions Based on Data in the System

While the cat’s away, the mice will play… or rather, the mice will just ignore the system you’re spending all this money on. To have a successful system, management must be making business decisions based on data in the system.

Figure out what is important to management and provide ways for them to track and make decisions on it in Salesforce. Sit in on a management meeting to experience the tools that they are currently using to run the business, and pay close attention to how they are using the tools. There are often ways to streamline report creation and distribution, such as through emailed Reports and Dashboards. Trend graphs, which are so critical to management in all areas of a business, can be achieved on a foundation of Analytic Snapshots- which are comprised of a Custom Report, a Custom Object, and a snapshot mapping.

Keep in mind that each dashboard you create is like another new system, which needs to be thoroughly explained before anyone will use it. Make it your best practice to use the Footer in all Dashboard Components to explain in clear language what the chart or graph is showing. Beyond that, you will gain insight into how you can improve and expand upon your efforts by revisiting the same management meeting and watching how your reporting is being used.

Now It’s Your Turn

How are you gearing up for success with your system? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo credit: kevinthoule

David Carnes - Founder & CEO

about the author

David Carnes

David’s role as Chairman & Chief Digital Evangelist is centered around driving meaningful client engagement and business development. The key to this is serving as an advisor to OpFocus’ SaaS clients as they scale their revenue operations and embrace digital transformation.

In his early career, David worked in IT and operations for software companies, developing an interest in CRM, marketing automation, and analytics while building out systems, processes, data, and reporting for the business teams he supported. He earned a Masters in Software Engineering and credits a Harvard summer class in database management for opening his eyes to what systems could do to support operations. In founding OpFocus in 2006 David took another step toward focusing on business operations, seizing on Salesforce’s vision and never looking back.

David is a frequent speaker at Salesforce and Salesforce community events around the world, mentors through the Trailblazer Mentorship Program hosts Dashboard Dōjō, and serves as a Platform Champion and a Pi-TaP board member. Due to his involvement in the trailblazer community, David’s recently been awarded the position of Salesforce MVP!