• Add a reason-for-dead (not "reason for loss" which will scare the reps off) in association with dead or lost deals.
• As soon as an opportunity is marked with these values, make it automatically disappear from reports, views, and searches, so that reps won't be reminded about the negatives. This is done using CRM workflows, access control, and page layout features.
• Create management reports for the VPs of sales and marketing that help them understand the failure patterns, so the business processes in both groups can be improved.
Creating and Deleting Accounts
The sales team typically believes that Accounts are their exclusive domain as well. But in an organization of any size, this just isn't true. If you're serious, CRM is connected to the accounting system, and creating an account can trigger all kinds of processes in accounting, finance and legal. So the reps should be allowed to create prospective accounts (that are not transferred outside of the CRM), but only sales operations, accounting, or finance personnel should be able to create full-fledged accounts.
Deleting accounts is even more of an issue. The basic rule again is "no," except by a system administrator or other data professional who understands the ramifications. This can be a big issue if you have duplicate accounts in your CRM/accounting system caused by linkages to your partners or channel. In some situations, you can't delete duplicates -- all you can do is rename them and create a parent-child relationship with the main account in your Accounting system's database. Make sure the people running your deduping and data cleansing tools are properly trained on these issues!
Creating and Deleting Leads (or Contacts)
The marketing team is typically charged with Lead generation, and their campaigns may create leads by the hundreds on a daily basis. At least they hope so. And there's really no harm in creating lots of leads: with the right deduping tools and processing protocols, the history of customer interactions will be properly preserved even if a lead has been deduped dozens of times.
The marketing team, for obvious reasons, has no interest in deleting leads. But the Sales team often does. They want to get the worthless ones out of the way...and if there is a political war going on, they often like the opportunity to make marketing look bad. You want to look out for this: if you find a lot of leads being deleted, or if you find the "lead source" being changed, this should raise red flags about room for improvement in cross-organizational processes.
The hard reality is that 95% or more of leads may be no good: it does not help to hide this. You need to optimize your sales and marketing investment to fit with the yield and conversion patterns of your target market. So, like opportunities, leads should never be deleted: only hidden. The steps here: