February 10, 2010, 8:49 PM — CRM systems are designed to be user friendly, not imposing undue security in the interest of usability and fast adoption. CRM users are business people who aren't likely to put up with sound arguments about the need for data hygiene. After a few months of disappearing data and incomplete reports, they're more likely to listen...but not at the beginning.
So for most CRM vendors, the default settings for access control, feature availability, and field-level C/R/U/D privileges are "wide open." It doesn't take the Sales and Marketing types too long to figure out why they need to limit visibility of the opportunity pipeline or the lead queues, and they'll soon be asking to tighten up that level of data visibility. But they typically want far more privileges than is really good for system health.
As I wrote previously, a classic symptom of this is an excessive number of people with System Administrator privileges. Just say no. Instead, use delegated administration, field sharing controls, sales teams, or other advanced CRM features to give power users the access they need.
In this article, I'm going to dig into some more subtle access control issues, particularly around creating and deleting records.
Creating and Deleting Opportunities
The opportunity pipeline is almost the exclusive domain of the sales organization. So it stands to reason that they should be able to create opportunities at will. (Although, I'll argue that in a complex sales organization, the individual rep shouldn't be doing even that -- see chapter 9 of my book for more on this).
Once an opportunity has been created, though, it really should never be deleted. The rep will want to, for emotional reasons. But that's the wrong thing to do: whether the opportunity is dead, has gone into no-action purgatory, or was completely unqualified (read: make-believe) in the first place, you'll never be able to improve your sales process if you delete these opportunities. Deleting opportunities not only masks the truth, it makes it un-knowable.
The right thing here to do here:
• Remove the delete button from opportunities for all users except the system administrator.
• Create new opportunity stage values for outcomes like unqualified deal, no action, budget withdrawn, politics, and bad data. (The wording here is important, so that reps and management don't interpret these as "sales rep failure.")