What Are Accounts in Salesforce + How to Maintain Them in 2024

Let’s begin.

What Are Accounts in Salesforce & Why Are They Important?

Accounts are a fundamental part of the Salesforce ecosystem, serving as a central hub for organizing and storing important information related to your customers, partners, and other entities. 

This information can include contact details, business information, related contacts, opportunities, activities, and custom fields tailored to your business processes.

Here are 5 big reasons why accounts in Salesforce are so crucial:

1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

As the title suggests, accounts are perhaps the core reason why Salesforce exists. They provide a structured way to manage information about customers and prospects, enabling businesses to build and maintain strong relationships. 

By having a centralized view of all account-related data, companies can better understand customer needs, preferences, and behavior.

2. Sales Pipeline and Opportunity Tracking

Salesforce allows you to link opportunities (potential sales and deals) to specific accounts. This helps in tracking the progress of sales deals, forecasting revenue, and identifying upsell or cross-sell opportunities within existing accounts.

3. Collaboration and Productivity

By storing all relevant information in one place, accounts facilitate better communication, collaboration, and visibility among sales teams, customer service, marketing, and other departments. 

Teams can access up-to-date information about customers and prospects, improving response times and the customer journey overall.

4. Customization and Integration

Salesforce accounts can be customized and extended through custom fields, record types, and page layouts to fit the specific needs of a business. 

Additionally, accounts can be integrated with other systems (such as marketing automation, customer service, and ERP systems) to provide a unified view of customer interactions across different touchpoints.

5. Reporting and Analytics

Accounts are crucial for generating insightful reports and analytics that help businesses make data-driven decisions. Salesforce reports can analyze account data to track sales performance, customer demographics, market trends, and more, enabling strategic planning and targeted marketing efforts.

Accounts in Salesforce play a key role in helping businesses of all sizes to improve their operations, customer relationships, and revenue growth.

 They aren’t the most complicated aspect of Salesforce, but if you fail to properly maintain them, they can lead to some of the largest problems for an organization which is poor data quality and visibility so maintaining their health and accuracy is key.

4 Challenges in Maintaining Accounts in Salesforce

Maintaining accounts in Salesforce, like maintaining anything in Salesforce, comes with its own set of challenges that every organization needs to address in order to ensure that your Salesforce investment is worth it. 

Below are some common challenges that you need to be aware of:

1. Data Quality and Duplication

One of the biggest and most common challenges with managing data of any kind in Salesforce is ensuring that that data is high-quality, accurate, and up-to-date. 

Unfortunately, most sales and customer success teams struggle to achieve this because despite Salesforce’s immense power and capabilities, it’s simply hard to use.

For example, sales reps and leaders will resort to disconnected note-taking apps, spreadsheets, and other one-off tools to record information during customer interactions, but fail to copy and paste this data into Salesforce or miss a few critical details when doing so.

This can lead to duplicate accounts, confusion, inefficiencies, and missed opportunities and sales forecasts that hurt your bottom line. 

2. Data Security and Access Control

With sensitive information stored in accounts, setting up appropriate access controls is crucial. It's important to manage who has access to what information, to ensure data security and compliance with regulations.

3. Customization and Scalability

As businesses grow, their needs change. Customizing account structures to adapt to these changes while maintaining usability and performance can be challenging. Too much customization can lead to complexity and slow down the system.

4. User Adoption and Training

For any CRM to be effective, users must actively utilize it. Ensuring that all team members are trained on how to use accounts in Salesforce and understand the benefits is essential for maximizing its value. 

While these are huge challenges that nearly every Salesforce customer faces, we have the perfect solution for you to avoid these pitfalls.

4 Strategies for Maintaining Accounts in Salesforce

Maintaining or fixing data in Salesforce requires a combination of proper habits and modern tools that are designed to work for your sales and customer success teams. 

Fortunately, there’s a Chrome extension called Scratchpad that not only improves your data quality immediately, but  it also promotes proper habits and process adherence that you need from your customer-facing reps. 

Before we get into what makes Scratchpad such a great tool for maintaining accounts and data quality in Salesforce, let’s talk about the approach and mindset you need to have as an organization.

1. Establish Clear Guidelines

Develop a standardized process for creating and updating account information. This includes defining what qualifies as an account, how to handle duplicates, and who is responsible for data entry and maintenance.

2. Customize Thoughtfully

Tailor the account structure to meet your business needs without overcomplicating it. Use custom fields, record types, and page layouts judiciously to keep the system efficient and user-friendly.

3. Monitor and Review

Regularly review account management practices and system performance. Use Salesforce reports and dashboards to monitor data quality, user activity, and the overall health of your accounts.

4. Integrate Carefully

Plan integrations carefully to ensure data consistency and minimize disruption. Use Salesforce’s APIs and third-party integration tools to connect Salesforce with other systems in a way that supports your business processes.

Now for the real strategy…

Scratchpad is an AI powered workspace for sales teams to work faster, collaborate, and improve visibility for leaders. It automatically syncs to Salesforce so you can even create and manage Salesforce accounts without even opening a new tab in Salesforce.

The real reason why it’s so successful for maintaining accounts and high-quality is because it’s so easy for sales reps and leaders to use and collaborate with it so they no longer resort to one-off note-taking apps, or spreadsheets, or other tools that are disconnected from Salesforce. 

Instead, by working in Scratchpad, they automatically ensure that Salesforce data is up-to-date and accurate.

Here are some key features that make Scratchpad such an effective tool:

  • AI Sales Assistant: Auto-generate call summaries, notes, shareable video clips, and even required fields in Salesforce like next steps or for methodologies like MEDDIC.
  • Command: A simple shortcut that lets you search and update any Salesforce field from anywhere on the web.
  • Deal Rooms: Automatically create and manage Deal Rooms in Slack for better collaboration and visibility into all aspects of your deals at each stage ensuring faster sales cycles, smoother handoffs, and a better customer journey.
  • No-Code Automations: Help your reps update Salesforce faster and give you and your sales leaders insights into gaps in your open pipeline.
  • Deal Spotlights: Conditional Highlighting and Deal Spotlights let leaders and reps inspect entire pipelines in one place and gives them the ability to spot gaps or missing information in a certain deal at a glance. This leads to better visibility and proactive collaboration among leaders and reps to avoid missed opportunities and forecasts.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Scratchpad so if you’d like to learn more, schedule a conversation to see if it makes sense for your organization or simply try it out for free today.

3 FAQs About Accounts in Salesforce

Here are the answers to some FAQs about accounts in Salesforce:

1. How do I merge duplicate accounts in Salesforce?

Check out this similar article all about how to merge accounts in Salesforce.

2. Can I customize account fields in Salesforce?

Yes, Salesforce allows extensive customization of account fields to tailor the CRM to your business needs. 

You can add custom fields to store unique information relevant to your business, modify existing fields, and even create custom page layouts to control how information is displayed to different users. 

Customization can be done through the Setup menu, under the Object Manager for Accounts. 

Here, you can use various field types like text, picklists, checkboxes, and more. Customizing account fields ensures that your Salesforce environment closely aligns with your business processes and reporting requirements.

3. How do I control access to accounts in Salesforce?

Salesforce provides a robust security model to control access to accounts, ensuring that sensitive information is protected and only accessible by authorized users. 

Access control can be managed at different levels:

  • Organization-Wide Defaults (OWD): Set the baseline sharing settings for how records are shared across roles.
  • Roles and Role Hierarchies: Define roles within your organization to control record visibility in a hierarchy, where users at higher levels can access records owned by or shared with lower levels.
  • Sharing Rules: Create sharing rules to make automatic exceptions to your organization-wide defaults for particular groups of users, allowing more granular sharing based on record criteria.
  • Profiles and Permission Sets: Control access to objects, fields, and specific features within Salesforce. Profiles define a user’s permissions to perform different tasks within Salesforce, while permission sets grant additional permissions without altering the user’s base profile.

Effective use of Salesforce's security model allows for detailed control over account access, ensuring data security and compliance with internal policies and external regulations.