Salesforce CRM

This advice applies to any “solution” that provides info and function via data-based decisions.  Example:  Send Mail Template2 to Client List 4A attaching Disclaimer Doc3.  This could be done with a CRM, with a mix of Office products, with index cards and copy machines.

Salesforce is a powerhouse of connectivity and you need to discipline the use of it if you want to gain the best from it.  I have just participated in a site conversion to Salesforce that reinforced how valuable planning and attention to detail are in terms of the all-important “user adoption”.

The Field Guide / Data Dictionary RULES

Salesforce is a CRM, CRMs are databases, and databases operate on a fundamental truth.  In a database, each field of information is defined by type, length, function.  Best practice is to first establish the need for information:  note the variables on forms, in your accounting and billing software, and whenever possible match your fields to those exactly.

If a field value is named DiscountNet in your billing system, call it that in your CRM too.  This helps connect the dots in design and also streamlines training.  For advanced users, it simplifies data imports and exports when you can map fields from different sources by matching field names.


Field Name Data Name Type Size Notes
First Name F_name Text 50
Last Name L_name Text 50
Street1 Add_street1 Text 50 Address+
Street2 Add_street2 Text 65 Address+
City Add_city Text 35 Address+
State Add_state Text 2 Address+
Zip Add_zip Text 10 Address+
Email Add_email Text 50 Address+
Phone Phone Text 15
DiscountNet DiscountNet % 3 Purchases – Returns

Your data dictionary has to take into account current use, former legacy use, and future use.  Consider this a scientific exploration and not a matter of opinion and speculation.  What data needs to appear where on your business reports?  What business reports would you add if you had the data for it?  Be specific.

The Field Guide will not only specify what you are collecting but will also note how it is being used.

 Field Name Annual Article Quarterly Report Monthly Invoice Daily Bulletin Email Notice
First Name * * * * *
Last Name * * * * *
Street1 * * * *
Street2 * * * *
City * * * *
State * * * *
Zip * * * *
Email *
Phone * *
DiscountNet *

Fields with many stars are used frequently; a field like DiscountNet is rarely used yet has direct connection to billing.

Knowing how the field is used allows you to make adjustments to the relevant forms and reports if that field changes.

The trick is using hundreds of fields to pinpoint what you need without losing track of how they interact.

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