Data validation is a process for making sure that entries into a database are both meaningful and correct. In other words, data validation helps prevent bad information from being entered into a database, including a CRM system database.
Because of CRM’s role in an organization, some types of data CRM validation can actually increase revenue.
What is Data Validation?
A common example of data validation exists on almost every online signup or registration form. That is, a valid email address is required:
A drop down list is another form of data validation. A field or cell value must be selected from a predefined list. This form of validation can be added to something as simple as a spreadsheet.
Most CRM systems have some built-in data validation. Requiring a properly formatted email address is an example.
However, not all CRM systems have the ability for an administrator to add custom validation rules. This capability may be a part of your CRM requirements.
The ability to apply specific data validation logic that matches your company’s business processes helps with the overall success of your CRM implementation. Benefits include:
- More meaningful reports
- Higher system adoption
- Improved customer service
- Increased revenue (examples below)
Here are 8 examples of use cases for data validation rules.
Examples of Custom CRM Validation Logic
Enforce a two character U.S. state or Canadian province abbreviation – Display an error message if “Mass” is entered for Massachusetts rather than “MA”, for example.
Ensure that all ten digits of U.S. or Canadian phone numbers are entered – Prevent users from taking shortcuts and entering only the seven digit portion of a telephone number that is within their area code.
Require proper formatting of an Employer Identification Number – Ensure that an EIN is entered in the XX-XXXXXXX format.
Require a reason for lost opportunities – If a sales opportunity was lost, the salesperson must enter the reason it was lost. “Why we lose deals” is valuable information for marketing and for sales management.
An opportunity close date must be in the future – Prevent a salesperson from entering an opportunity close date that’s in the past. If a salesperson edits an opportunity that has a past close date, require them to update the close date with a future date.
Allow only the record owner to change certain fields in a record – Specify fields within a record that can only be edited by the owner of that record.
Disallow discounts over a certain percentage – Display an error message if the discount added to a product line item is over a specified discount limit.
Ensure that a billable task includes the time spent – If a task is billable, time spent on the task must be added before the task is completed.
Data Validation Capabilities of CRM Vendors
Here are some of the CRM vendors that allow for customized validation rules:
Zoho allows users to create a wide range of custom validation rules. Users can create rules with conditional logic (if this/then that) and create alerts when conditions are either correct or incorrect.
Zoho provides a detailed overview of how their data validation system works on their website.
Creating data validation rules in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a bit more complicated than in other CRM solutions. It requires users to use a combination of synchronous workflows and business rules to create an effective validation loop.
For more information about how this is done, there is a beginner’s guide available on the Dynamics community site.
Basic data validation is possible in bpm’online, but it is not an “out of the box” feature. Enabling data validation requires users to modify some of the default settings and code in bpm’online.
This task is ranked as “medium” difficulty (one rank below the most difficult) on the bpm’online academy web page.
Salesforce allows users to create custom data validation rules using formulas. Users can specify custom error messages when validation fails. There are a number of example data validation formulas on the Trailblazer community site to help users get started.
An overview of how data validation works in Salesforce can be found here.