Oracle Sales Cloud Info

Data Cleanliness Looks Hard, But It Doesn’t Have to Be

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As a CX specialist,  I’m asked almost daily about inputting data. Where’s the best source? What’s the best way to coax an unwilling sales rep to spare precious moments inputting valuable information? Which device? 

However, the most important question is always missing.  How long will it last?
The shelf life of a contact or company’s data is not often considered until well past its expiry date.  The general rule of thumb in CRM systems is that data degrades at a rate of roughly 2-3% per month.  This means your carefully gathered, expensively acquired data is only about 65-75% accurate in the space of one year. Combine that with an ever increasing number of  studies confirming people are switching jobs with more frequency than ever before, and you have a perfect storm for out-of-date information. If that doesn’t seem scary enough, consider this: The Big Nasty Surprise in Every ERP to CRM Integration.
Fortunately, in recent years, we have new technology to combat data decay. These innovations recognize of the power of social media, in data sources like LinkedIn.  Still, how can you harness that power? Sales reps can be skeptical of new technology that doesn’t deliver the promised results.
In the five years I’ve spent considering this problem, I’ve watched countless plug-ins scrape data from the LinkedIns of the world and add it easily to your CRM system.  But there we were again, only looking at the inputs.  What about the upkeep?! Finally at long last, in comes Colabo, with a real solution to the question never asked but always felt.  Founded by a trio of data junkies, this tool creates a live feed between social data sources and your CRM system, continuously enriching and updating your data.  Your CRM system stays fresh and  your sales reps can finally start prospecting in the cloud.
Best of all, now there’s an answer to ‘How long will it last?’

Business Intelligence Gets Smarter When You Dumb It Down


For 11 years I've prided myself on my business intelligence acumen. There is no Excel model, no database, no BI reporting tool that I have not found exciting. When I've had a hard day, I like to stay late and build a new report in my CRM.  (Yeah, I realize that's a problem, but that's for a different article.) And yet I have found that if I am not careful, I am susceptible to over reporting and under thinking.  After awhile the reports start to gel together – I stop synthesizing the data and looking for the story and just sort of look at the reports for the reports' sake. I'm not alone. I've seen lots of organizations claim that the warning signs were always in the data, it just didn't become clear until after the big calamity, surprise or missed opportunity. There are lots of names for this condition, but "Paralysis by Analysis" seems to fit best.  

(Note: For other Nasim Taleb Black Swan Fans, I'm not talking about the big unforeseen tragedies like 9/11 and the housing crisis, I'm taking about run of the miss stuff, like 'Fred missed his quota last quarter and we could have stopped that from happening if we'd just been paying attention!')  

For me, I realized I had Paralysis by Analysis when I was merely getting out of the shower one morning. As you might expect for a data junkie, I have a Fit Bit and I use a slew of apps like Run Keeper, Sleep Cycle, Freeletics and MyFitnessPal to keep track of my overall fitness life. Yet my tech savvy wife (who is even more of a data pro than me) has a very simple system; She has a poster board in the bathroom. Every Tuesday she plots her weight. By hand. When she hits her goal we plan to celebrate with a trip.

It is so simple. And it works.  She looks great. Me? I'm struggling.

Clearly this is not a data issue; I am not lacking in information. I know what behavior I need to adopt, I can measure its adoption, and I can hold myself accountable.  Everything should work just as well, right?


I'm not saying that all the data I track isn't helpful, useful or worthy. It is all of those things, but its lacking one thing: Physical connection.

No matter how tech savvy and sophisticated we become, we are still human beings.  Our brains are hard wired to make decisions based on emotions and back them up with data. It's true in our personal choices, its true in business.  So no matter how much we want to be data driven, if we cannot connect our feelings to a resolution we will stay undecided. We can make inconsistent choices. And the solution to the problems was staring me in the face every morning in the bathroom. 

If you want to connect to your data, take the most important metric(s) and plot them by hand. 

What? Did I just really write that? Me? The cloud BI guy who loves databases, Excel, apps and all that?  


The good news is that you do not have to plot everything by hand- just the most important metric(s). It takes time and so one of the really interesting things about this exercise is that it really forces you to focus on just a few essentials that matter. In one's personal life, one can track weight, BMI, lean body mass, cholesterol, whatever. Plot it by hand and you will "feel" the data in a way that influences decisions you'll make for the next day or even week. In business, its the same thing. Track your revenue, your costs your profits, your cold calls your . . .  and you'll feel the data.  You'll get mad when it goes the wrong way. You'll feel joy when it goes the right way.  It will permeate your thinking.  Before you know it, your level of commitment, your choices and your mind will be fully focused.

So here are some steps to getting focused and feeling your business intelligence data.

1. Pick the goal.

This part is obvious. It helps to make it a SMART goal.  (There is a lot written on SMART goals, I like Peter Economy's article on SMART/CLEAR goals:

2. Pick the Metrics.

Brainstorm two or three metrics that will help you predict your success on the goal. So if your goal is to beat sales quota, it's obvious that total sales is a good metric, but think about the behaviors that you can measure that will help you reach the goal. For example, the number of cold calls, number of client meetings, etc. that help you get there.

3. Track the Metrics

If your CRM or other apps are not configured to track the metrics, come up with a way to track your metrics easily. Note: Hang on, this glaring contradiction is about to be remedied.

4. Make an Appointment.

This is when you are going to set down and run the report. It has to be on your calendar if you're serious. Every day. Every week. That's up to you. 

5. Plot the Metric by Hand.

Now here is the big step: Plot the metric by hand. Be honest. Make a nice chart or graph.  Make it neat. Don't skip if the data is bad. Face the music at every appointment and plot away. 

6. View the Metrics Daily.

Keep the poster where you can see it. The bathroom is great for the personal, the office or cubicle wall is fine for the business stuff.

Whatever your goal is, you will be amazed at what happens by connecting with the data on a more physical level. Neuro psychology has proven that the act of physically writing something down is more effective in making a mental connection with what is being written.  In a recent study* published in Intech they noted,"..handwriting is also a slower process than typewriting. Moreover, the visual attention of the writer is strongly concentrated during handwriting; the attentional focus of the writer is dedicated to the tip of the pen, while during typewriting the visual attention is detached from the haptic input, namely the process of hitting the keys" Which is really just a fancy way of saying that sometimes to make business intelligence smarter in action, you just need to dumb it down. 






Top 10 Tips for Attending OpenWorld

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Oracle’s OpenWorld is a great opportunity for you and your company- but how do you get the most out of it? We here at SFCG have a few tips to help ensure that your staff gets the most out of the experience. 10) Figure out why you are going Going to OpenWorld takes a lot out of you physically as well as being an investment in both time and money; so make sure you know WHY you’re doing it! Here at SFCG we’re big fans of SMART goals. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.) For example instead of saying you’re going to network with people, say you’re going to network with at least 10 Oracles Reps who specialize in Eloqua and work in the Northwest region. Knowing why you’re going will help greatly with #9 9) Prioritize OpenWorld has a whole lot of things going on at once and it can be overwhelming trying to see everything. Read the conference agenda thoroughly, (available at and select the events that best help you fulfill your SMART goals. Once you’ve figured your ‘must do’ list, you can fill in any available time slots with your ‘like to’ list. Be sure to leave enough time to get from one event to another without sprinting and give yourself enough time to grab a bite to eat. 8) Participate Ask questions, make comments, and get involved. Becoming an active participant makes the show better for you and everyone else. An insightful question during a Q&A can make an impression on everyone there and might help folks who have a question but are too shy to ask. 7) Take care of yourself Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, don’t forget to eat, and use hand sanitizer whenever you can. (If you’re doing it right you’re going to be shaking a lot of hands and those hands will have been shaking a lot of hands and so on and so on; sanitizer is a must.) By taking care of yourself during the show, you’ll have a better experience at the show and be able to get right back to work after. 6) Connect your team ahead of time If you’re going with a group, get everyone connected ahead of time with a group messaging service like Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, or Line. This will allow you to hit the ground running and still be able to keep everyone coordinated and connected. 5) Avoid Autopilot Making connections at an event like OpenWorld can be challenging at the best of times as everyone there is busy, but don’t fall into the trap of hastily reciting the same prepared elevator pitch to everyone you meet. The idea is to start a conversation, not make a presentation. Listen to the other person, be yourself, and (as hard as it is) force yourself to slow down. If you don’t have time to say everything you want to right then, that’s what the follow up is for! Speaking of… 4) ALWAYS follow up I’ve worked in the past with folks who came back from shows with a stack of business cards 6 inches high who then set the cards in a drawer to wait for the next spring cleaning. This is such a lost opportunity. When you get back to the office, send a ‘nice to meet you’ email that reminds them of who you are and why they liked you in the first place. You’ve made the connection, so now build on it! 3) Wear Comfortable Shoes I know this is a basic one, but you’d be surprised how often I’ve seen people miss this. You’re going to be on your feet and walking from event to event pretty much all week, so make sure your shoes are up to the task. Comfortable, broken in shoes with inserts can be the difference between a good show and a miserable death march so plan ahead. 2) Pace Yourself There’s so much to do and so many people to meet that you can easily fall into the trap of running yourself ragged trying to do everything- and as a result of trying to do everything, you end up doing nothing well. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Just accept that you’re not going to be able to do everything- but since you already prioritized what you need to do, you can be a bit more relaxed about what you can do (which will help you get the most out of those things.) 1) Don’t forget to have fun Yes, it’s a work function and we’re all there for business reasons, but that’s no reason not to enjoy yourself. We’re all getting to visit a beautiful city and spend a week with awesome people who have interests similar to ours. If you remember to enjoy yourself, you’ll smile more and be more relaxed- and relaxed, smiling people enjoying themselves are the types who others WANT to meet and hang out with.