Skip to main content

Grow your business with Salesforce Starter

Deepen customer relationships with sales, service, and marketing in one app.

Start your free 30-day trial
Time Estimate

Improve Data Quality

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Name the data standards defined in a typical management plan.
  • List ways of using Salesforce to implement a data management plan.

Develop a Data Management Plan

You now know how important data quality is to business growth. Bad data is linked to lost revenue, missing insights, and reputational damage—to name just a few things. Good data, on the other hand, is the cat’s pajamas. It lets your company do things fast and accurately, like prospect and target new customers, identify cross-sell opportunities, and plan territories.

Your director of sales asked you to lead the effort to improve data quality at Gelato. It’s time to turn your knowledge into action.

From your research, you remember the first step to improving data quality: Develop a data management plan.

Fortunately, you already know which customer data is needed to support Gelato’s business objectives. You already know who’s using the data and how they’re using it. All that’s left is to create a plan.

A typical data management plan includes standards for creating, processing, and maintaining data. Check out this useful reference table.

Data Standard




Set naming conventions for records. Always include suffixes (Inc., Corp.)? Abbreviations?

Make sure that company names are never abbreviated except when the abbreviation is the standard name.


Figure out how dates and money are represented.

Use dd/mm/yyyy for all date formats.


Determine processes for record creation, reviewing, updating, and archiving. Determine all the stages a record goes through during its life cycle.

Route service requests associated with California companies to reps in California.


Set appropriate standards for data quality, including the ability to measure or score records. Put a value on age, completeness, usage, accuracy, consistency, and duplicates, along with any other quality or value metrics specific to your business.

Active leads are updated at least once per month.

Roles and Ownership

Determine who owns records, who’s accountable for changes to data, and who’s notified when there are changes to data.

Assign leads associated with California companies to sales reps in California.

Security and Permissions

Determine the appropriate levels of privacy for data. Make sure to comply with regulatory, legal, and contractual obligations.

Make sure that only regional team members can view confidential information on their leads.


Outline a process for ensuring quality control of data. Determine the frequency, scope, owners, and checks, including ways for updating data, preventing duplicates, merging records, adding records, and archiving records. Determine metrics that can be easily monitored in a dashboard.

Review leads without industry information on the first day of each month.

You show your plan to the director of sales. She loves it, but she wants to know one thing: “Just how can this improve our data?”

Implement Your Data Management Plan in Salesforce

The final countdown. You’ve learned how important data quality is to a business. You’ve assessed your company’s data quality. And you’ve put together a great data management plan. That’s certainly hunky dory, but all that knowledge and planning isn’t worth as much as an umbrella on a submarine if you can’t put it into action.

How do you do it?

The answer: Salesforce.

The power of Salesforce lies in its flexibility. You can easily customize Salesforce to support your company’s data management plan.

Make Salesforce work for you! Specifically, make it easier to create, update, and maintain customer data with a few key Salesforce features. (For specifics on how to set up these features, check out the Resources section.)

Required Fields

You already know which fields are necessary to support Gelato’s business objectives. It’s in your data management plan. Make those fields required. For Gelato’s leads, you make several custom fields required, including fields related to important dates and industry information. Then leads can be properly scored, assigned, and converted.

New Custom Field


Validation Rules

Want to make sure that phone numbers follow a particular format? Set up validation rules for any field. Then, when records are saved, the data is checked to make sure that it follows the format. Validation rules are super versatile. For example, to make a standard field required, you can use a validation rule that checks to see if the field is blank. You set up validation rules for phone, credit card, and customer ID fields. You also set up validation rules to make standard lead contact info fields required.


Automation is the magic wand in your Salesforce implementation act. Flow Builder lets you automate standard internal procedures and processes to save time across your company. You can build flows that route leads to the nearest rep. You do the same to assign service requests, too. Now Gelato's reps can focus their time on growing business—not assigning records.

Page Layouts

Some records have a zillion fields that you know your reps aren’t using. Ditch ’em! That’s right, you remove them from the page layout for your reps. In fact, you create customized page layouts for different kinds of reps and managers across Gelato, to give them the fields they need when they need them. While you’re at it, you put the most important, required fields at the top.


Why make your reps and managers wade through the swamp of reports and records? Instead, create simple dashboards to support business objectives. For Gelato, you create a series of dashboards for managers across Gelato to show things like lead assignment and missing campaign data.

Data Enrichment Tools

Data is obsolete almost as soon as it’s entered. That’s why it’s important to regularly match your data against a trusted source. A number of products in Data Apps on AppExchange help you with this task.

Duplicate Management

Duplicate records are the bane of any rep’s existence! Which record is the right record? You make sure there’s one account record for each Gelato customer. Then you use Duplicate Management, Salesforce’s built-in duplicate management tools, to prevent duplicates from now on.

Custom Field Types

You know the format your company wants to use for dates and currency, so you employ field types on custom fields. You make sure to assign all custom date fields to Type = Date and all custom currency fields to Type = Currency. For fields that have a standard list of values, you use Type = Picklist. And, speaking of picklists, you set up state and country/territory picklists. That way, your reps enter addresses by choosing from a standardized list of states and countries.

After implementing your data management plan, you meet with the director of sales. She reviews all of the new processes. With a smile on her face, she has just one thing to say: “Promotion?”


After basking in the glow of everything you accomplished, you spend two glorious weeks on a tropical vacation, away from the hubbub of Gelato. You’re struck by how sand gets into everything you touch. You realize that data is a lot like that. It touches everything—every part of your business, in places you didn’t think about before.

That’s why it’s key to foster a data-centric culture. Luckily, Salesforce is here to help. You’ve achieved much success. The director of sales loved your implementation, reps and managers across Gelato showered you with praise, and you earned a huge promotion. Wonderful! Yet the work to improve data quality never stops. In fact, you’ve got a few more ideas you want to implement.


Keep learning for
Sign up for an account to continue.
What’s in it for you?
  • Get personalized recommendations for your career goals
  • Practice your skills with hands-on challenges and quizzes
  • Track and share your progress with employers
  • Connect to mentorship and career opportunities