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Top 7 Tips for Better Salesforce Contact Management

Top 7 Tips for Better Salesforce Contact Management

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Contact management is a vital part of maintaining a healthy CRM.

But it’s easier said than done.

Salesforce is a great CRM in most regards, but it comes with certain contact management challenges.

To overcome these issues, you need to dive deeper into Salesforce contact management. Let’s take a closer look at tips, tricks, and best practices, from CRM data cleansing to Salesforce reporting.

Understanding Salesforce Contact Management

Salesforce contact management allows businesses to store, track, and manage interactions and customer details in one place. This includes sales data about decision-makers, key buyers, and relevant influencers for each account. Every contact should have a few key fields filled out such as:

  • First and last name
  • Account name
  • Job title
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Address

Then, you can add custom information about each contact. For example, the contact owner, the person the contact reports to, the lead source, and more.

The real value of Salesforce contact management features lies in its ability to provide a comprehensive view of your customers and prospects. This 360-degree view can help reps sell more effectively and help managers have better sales performance management.

Salesforce contact management also promotes team collaboration and efficiency, as it ensures every team member has access to complete and up-to-date customer information.

The Importance of Organizing Contacts in Salesforce

Managing contacts in Salesforce without proper organization can quickly become overwhelming and counterproductive. Disorganized contact management can lead to duplicate entries, misinformation, and missed opportunities. On the other hand, a well-organized contact database leads to efficiency and accuracy.

Proper organization of contacts in Salesforce allows for streamlined communication, timely follow-ups, and personalized customer interactions that go beyond simple sales email greetings. It enables sales reps to target specific customer segments and tailor their approach to meet individual customer needs.

How to Improve Salesforce Contact Management

Improving Salesforce contact management involves more than just adding or removing contacts. It has to include strategies around CRM data hygiene, segmentation, effective use of contact roles, and proper leveraging of custom fields.

Tip 1: Keep Your Data Clean

It may sound obvious, but step 1 is all about data cleansing. That means eliminating duplicates, inconsistencies, and outdated information. That lets sales teams have an up-to-date view of their contacts.

Clean data also enhances reporting, providing reliable insights for strategic decision-making.

To keep your data clean in Salesforce:

  • Establish a routine for cleaning and updating data to remove duplicates, correct inaccuracies, and delete irrelevant or outdated information.
  • Regularly review and validate contact details, ensuring accuracy and relevance.
  • Set up rules to validate email addresses, phone numbers, and other critical data fields, ensuring that only accurate and valid information is entered.
  • Educate sales teams on the significance of data cleanliness and provide guidelines for data entry and maintenance.
  • Offer training sessions to ensure that everyone understands the importance of accurate and up-to-date data and knows how to properly manage contact information.

Crucially, this should be automated as much as possible. Any manual steps introduce the possibility for human error. And any automation should be done with tools that are trusted and known for their accuracy and precision. Reading up on reviews should help as you look at sales data capture or salesforce data sync tools.

Tip 2: Segment Your Contacts

Segmentation lets you tailor your messages and target specific audiences. It helps you understand the unique needs, preferences, and pain points of different contact segments, enabling you to provide more personalized and valuable solutions.

By segmenting your contacts, you also allocate your resources more efficiently. You can focus your efforts on high-priority groups and optimize your message for every segment.

To segment contacts efficiently:

  • Identify the key characteristics or attributes that differentiate your contacts, such as industry, company size, location, or purchasing behavior.
  • Use Salesforce's built-in features — such as custom fields, tags, or campaigns — to categorize and tag your contacts based on your segmentation criteria.
  • Analyze your contact data to uncover patterns, trends, and behaviors that can inform a signal-based selling strategy.
  • Use Salesforce's reporting and analytics capabilities to gain insights into your contact segments and adjust your segmentation approach accordingly.

This is an area where sales AI in sales can help. For instance, machine learning in sales can highlight commonalities in your prospects and customers and assist in churn analysis. It can spot which groups you’re having the most success with. And it can automatically tag contacts based on their job titles, functions, and roles.

Other AI use cases like ChatGPT for sales or sales chatbots can add additional automation, further improving efficiency.

Remember that audience segments aren’t set in stone. You will need to continuously assess and refine your contact groups as your business evolves.

Tip 3: Utilize Contact Roles

Contact roles in Salesforce are assigned to individuals who play specific roles within a sales opportunity or account. These roles can be things like decision-makers, influencers, or gatekeepers.

By assigning contact roles, your team can track and understand the key contacts in a deal. That way reps can focus their efforts on the right people.

Best practices for using contact roles include:

  • Clearly define the responsibilities and expectations associated with each contact role.
  • As the sales process progresses, make sure to update contact roles to reflect any changes in the stakeholders' involvement.
  • Utilize contact roles as a means of collaboration within your sales teams.
  • Encourage team members to communicate and share insights on their interactions with specific contacts, fostering a collaborative approach to sales.

Again, automation is your friend here. As much as possible, you don’t want reps updating or filling out contact roles. Seek out AI sales tools, CRM writeback tools, and other automated sales technology.

The right approach to contact roles lets you engage with the right stakeholders and maximize your chances of success in closing deals.

Tip 4: Use Custom Fields

Custom fields let you capture and store additional information beyond the standard fields provided by Salesforce. This allows you to track and manage contact details that are specific to your industry, products, or unique business requirements.

By leveraging custom fields, you can have a more tailored view of your contacts, enabling more personalized and targeted sales efforts.

To use custom fields effectively:

  • Clearly define the custom fields you need and prioritize them based on their importance and relevance to your sales processes.
  • Avoid creating too many custom fields to prevent clutter and confusion.
  • Establish guidelines for naming conventions and data formats to ensure consistency and standardization across custom fields.
  • Periodically review and clean up your custom fields to remove any outdated or unused ones.

Consider providing detailed training to your sales teams on how to effectively use and fill in custom fields. Take the time to document the purpose and usage guidelines for each custom field to ensure consistency.

And once again, strongly consider automation here. Manual updates are highly error-prone. For technology writing to custom fields in particular, though, the devil is in the details. Make sure the tools you’re looking at can handle writing back to custom fields in a consisten manner. When in doubt, as for customer references.

Tip 5: Regularly Audit Your Data

The sales data you put into Salesforce can become outdated or inaccurate over time. People can move jobs, get promoted, change departments, or update their email address.

Regular data audits help identify and correct these issues, ensuring that your sales teams have access to accurate and reliable information.

To ensure the efficiency of data audits:

  • Leverage data quality tools and applications that integrate with Salesforce to automate the data audit process.
  • Implement data governance policies and guidelines to ensure data consistency and integrity. This includes establishing data entry standards, defining roles and responsibilities for data management, and enforcing regular data audits.
  • Involve key stakeholders, such as sales teams, data administrators, and management, in the data audit process.

Constructive data audits help maintain data quality, enhance reporting and analytics, and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations.

Tip 6: Use Salesforce Dashboards

Salesforce dashboards provide real-time visibility into important contact metrics, such as lead conversion rates, pipeline stages, or customer satisfaction scores. This allows you to quickly assess the health of your contacts and identify areas that require attention.

Tracking the number of contacts in your database is a basic but important metric. Dashboards can be great for this. They can also show how many of those contacts have a certain title, how many deals have specific contacts engaged, or how much contact data you’re missing. 

Whatever contact data you want, there’s a pre-built dashboard or a custom dashboard for you.

Best practices for using Salesforce dashboards for contact management include:

  • Identify the key contact management metrics that align with your sales goals and objectives.
  • Customize your Salesforce dashboard components to display relevant charts, graphs, or tables that track contact metrics.
  • Configure email notifications to receive real-time updates on specific dashboard metrics or changes.

Set aside regular intervals to review and analyze your dashboard data. Look for trends, patterns, or anomalies that can provide insights into your contacts or important deal analysis. AI can also help with this kind of analysis, especially when combined with automated deal alerts that notify you to any issues regarding contacts in your deals.

Tip 7: Implement Automation Where Possible

Implementing automation in Salesforce contact management can significantly improve efficiency, productivity, and accuracy. Automation streamlines repetitive tasks, eliminates manual data entry errors, and enables your sales teams to focus on building relationships and closing deals.

Recommendations for automation within Salesforce include:

  • Automate routine activities, such as updating contact records, sending notifications, or assigning tasks based on specific criteria.
  • Use both standard and custom fields to personalize your email templates and nurture sequences according to certain contact characteristics.
  • Use AI to automate data entry, contact enrichment, lead scoring, and fill out MEDDPICC or MEDDICC analyses.

You can also consider integrating Salesforce with other systems and leveraging the vast range of applications available on the Salesforce AppExchange to automate data syncing, lead capture, and contact management processes.

Making the Most Out of Salesforce Contact Management

Managing contacts effectively in Salesforce is crucial for successful business operations and long-term customer relationships. Salesforce admins and RevOps professionals can leverage the above-mentioned tips to optimize their contact management tactics.

By taking full advantage of the built-in Salesforce tools, automation, and AI sales tools — alongside best practices — you can streamline contact management and achieve your sales and marketing goals.

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