Skip to main content

When it comes to your Salesforce Org, growth is a double edged sword. 

On one hand, more data collection means more potential opportunities. On the other hand, it means more data to govern, clean, and organize. 

But growing your Salesforce org blind of the necessary upkeep leaves your organization vulnerable to serious consequences. And we can all agree the last thing you want is to deal with data silos, tech debt build up, regulatory non-compliance fees or exposure to security risks.  

That’s where a data dictionary provides a variety of benefits for your revenue operations team. 

If you’re feeling the five growing pains listed below, it’s time to implement a data dictionary for your Salesforce org.

5 Growing Pains That Signal It’s Time for a Salesforce Data Dictionary

As you grow, having a single source of truth for your Salesforce data will help foster integrity, reduce the risk of data leakage and ensure consistency in data use.

However, in many cases, you may not even know you need to build better data processes until you’re feeling the growing pains that come with not having them. If you’re feeling any of the below, it’s a sure sign that now’s the time to implement a data dictionary. 

1. Your GTM Teams Aren’t Speaking the Same Language

Your revenue operations team relies on your GTM teams to enter data in Salesforce so that it can clearly paint a bigger picture of overall performance through reporting. However, if your teams aren’t all aligned on metadata definitions and how to properly input that information, you’re going to see a multitude of issues– silos, tech debt and inaccurate reporting to name a few.

A data dictionary provides clear definitions around your Salesforce metadata helping to improve these circumstances:

→ Eliminate Silos: With a data dictionary, you can improve data literacy, reduce tech debt and make smart decisions faster by providing cross-departmental visibility into Salesforce data.

→ Reduce tech debt: Multiple admins and a complete lack of visibility into your Salesforce metadata… it’s the perfect recipe for tech debt. This is because when people don’t find the data they’re looking for, they resort to recreating it.  If tech debt is hurting your organization, a data dictionary can help by giving your teams easy visibility into the metadata that already exists. 

→ Allow data analysts to make informed decisions faster: Data consumers waste an estimated 24 hours per week on discovering, preparing and protecting data rather than analyzing it for valuable business outcomes. Since your data dictionary will keep your teams on the same page, reporting will be more accurate, allowing decisions to be made quicker. 

2. Require Data Governance Programs for Regulatory Compliance 

From mitigating data breaches to avoiding non-compliance fines, data governance is an area of focus for companies of all shapes and sizes for a variety of reasons. 

When building a data governance program, a company typically includes the development of common data definitions and standard data formats that are applied in all business systems, boosting data consistency for both business and compliance uses. 

This means that having a data dictionary prior to building your data governance process can streamline the process. But if you already have a data governance process, a data dictionary will only help to keep your teams on the same pages as you onboard new team members. 

3. Ramping New Operational Team Leadership

Churn is an unfortunate, yet inevitable part of building a business. In fact, the average Salesforce administrator tenure is just 12 months. We can all agree that your operations can’t come to a halt every year as you onboard new team members. 

With that being said, you can’t give someone the keys to your Salesforce org if they are going in blindfolded. What we mean by that is, walking into a Salesforce org with no understanding of what the previous admin built not only creates a massive learning curve for your new hire, but it could lead to massive breaks that hinder or hault your GTM team’s efforts down the road. 

By implementing a data dictionary, you can automatically capture and document Salesforce objects, fields and more and apply context that can help ramp up your new hires faster. 

4. Deploying a New Salesforce Instance

When implementing Salesforce, it’s important to consider that the average contract term is 3-5 years. And with the average Salesforce admin tenure only being 12 months, it’s safe to say your first admin won’t be your last. That’s why adopting and implementing good management processes is a best practice when deploying your Salesforce.

Building out an automated data dictionary from day one gives your team a major advantage. Not only will every piece of metadata be documented and stored for business users to align on, but it will provide context to key stakeholders into why you originally made certain implementation decisions.  

5. Undergoing a Merger/Acquisition

If your organization is about to undergo an M&A, there is a huge emphasis on understanding customer overlap and CRM data to ensure the success of:

→ Customer retention: A primary reason many businesses undergo M&A activity is to gain market share where there is already customer overlap. Speed to understanding and identifying customer CRM data is mission critical for successful customer retention.

→ Process optimization: As part of expense reduction, it’s important to identify optimizations to align business processes. A data dictionary provides the acquiring business the context behind Salesforce fields and flows and a way to spot where new automations could be implemented.

→ Headcount reduction: The sad truth is that reduction in staff due to position overlap is typical during M&A activity. Systems owners may be retained for a period post close to provide knowledge transfer and ensure a successful hand-off of key technologies. Optimize the transition by establishing a data dictionary for future teams to rely on post-close.

A well kept data dictionary is an executive team’s dream in any M&A instance since business reporting is accurate, allowing business leaders to make decisions faster.

Conclusion: Stop the Pain: Automate Your Salesforce Data Dictionary 

Whether you’re building out your very first Salesforce instance or you’re about to undergo an M&A, having a data dictionary can ease alot of pain along your growth journey. And the best part is, it’s never too late to implement one as the benefits of having a data dictionary will impact your teams for the remainder of your organization’s existence. 

If you’ve tried to maintain a data dictionary in the past but found it to be challenging, you’re in luck. Sonar’s dynamic data dictionary automatically captures and enables you to apply context to your complete Salesforce metadata. Say goodbye to manual labor and hello to reduced costs and improved agility for the team supporting effective change management for your business. See what everyone is talking about – try Sonar for free today!