The Evolution of Data Entry – Automatic Data Capture

01/25/2019

Data quality and user adoption are two of the most common problems with Salesforce. Since both relate to data entry, it’s not surprising that Salesforce constantly iterates on their user interface to make it easier to enter data. These interface innovations typically allow the sales rep to enter the data faster, but what if that’s not the right problem to solve? What if we’d let the computer do the repetitive work and let our people focus on adding real value?

Automatic Data Capture

Thanks to solutions like Salesforce Einstein and Thrive, this evolution in efficiency is becoming reality. With Automatic Data Capture, your sales reps will save around 15% of their time on entering data manually, and the data in your CRM will be consistent across all customers and up-to-date at any given time.

Problems With The Status Quo

The struggle to keep the data up-to-date in Salesforce is nothing new. The sentence “If it’s not in Salesforce, it didn’t happen.” is actually a sad confirmation of the continuous friction around data entry.

The fact is, manual CRM data entry always comes at the cost of more sales. If you’re registering contact details, you’re not doing outreach at the same time. This means the sales rep is incentivized to do the bare minimum of data entry.

It’s also hard to manage data entry, because you can’t measure if it has been done. How would you know that something is missing? And even if the data is entered, if it’s not related to the right objects in Salesforce, it will still not show up where you expect it.

As long as this is done by people, the will inevitably be data missing.

How Automatic Data Capture Is Different

Instead, let’s consider a scenario where all data is captured by computers. The benefits to this approach are clear, but then why isn’t everybody doing this yet?

Well things work slightly different when data is captured automatically. It for example means less filtering, which is something not everybody appreciates. Some managers still let sales reps curate the emails that get synced. But think about it: Would you prefer to miss half of the data but have it look nice and clean, or have all data and figure out the challenges around how to display it?

Automatic Data Capture is being more widely adopted in the past years. The capturing of relevant emails, meetings and contacts works well, especially for companies that typically have one open opportunity per contact. But it has challenges too. For example, if there are two open opportunities for a contact, it’s hard for a computer to figure out which one is the right one to relate data to.

Current Market Developments

The sales industry is infamous for relying on gut-feeling for key decisions. This tendency is shifting though. After seeing the results from the scientific approach in marketing, sales is adopting more of the same principles. The adoption of Automatic Data Capture is therefore not a question of if, but a question of when.

With Einstein, Salesforce opened the door to the wider adoption of automatic data capture. It still misses some basic functionality (e.g. reporting on captured emails), but you can expect Salesforce to add this in the upcoming releases.

At Thrive, we have built a company around Automatic Data Capture and offer services for emails, meetings, and contacts. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to think about data entry at all. And according to our customer feedback, our “set it and forget it” solution achieves just that.

What’s Next

In the next few years you can expect the boundaries of data capture to be pushed further. We are for example already working on creating and updating of opportunities fully automatically and more players can be expected to enter the market.

Ultimately, I believe it will change the way Salesforce is used. After all, many licenses are mainly used to enter data, so what will happen if this is not necessary anymore?

If you’re interested in learning more, we’re hosting a free webinar on how automatic data capture can help you improve your sales results.

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