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Managing duplicates can be a big deal. Most businesses these days are collecting larger and larger amounts of data, however, too much data, especially if it lacks organization or management, just becomes a whole lot of noise that can be more confusing than helpful. 

If your Salesforce instance has tens of thousands of leads and contacts, you know exactly what I am talking about. In this article, we want to quickly talk about some of the main issues that arise from having unchecked duplicates in your CRM. Following that, we will discuss the default duplicate checking and prevention rules in Salesforce, and give you a few tips on using them.

Issues Related to Data Duplicates

Prevent Multiple Reps from Contacting the Same Leads 

This is obviously a big no-no, and makes your company look pretty bad. Duplicates of your accounts, contacts, and leads can make it impossible to track who has done what, no matter how diligent your team is with updating their activities. The ugly scenarios are many, including sales calls being made to current or former clients. 

Automation Nightmares

You probably want to automate as many processes as you can right? But duplicate data can put a wrench in the works. If you use automated lead assignment, multiple reps can get assigned different versions of leads, creating many extra phone calls, and unhappy customers. If you have duplicate records, your reporting will certainly be off and make it impossible to get good metrics on sales pipelines and more. Even works, dupes could cause repeated transactions, processes, or info requests creating plenty of extra work and possibly even losing you money directly. 

Disconnects Between Marketing and Sales

If you are using Salesforce and one of the marketing programs out there, Marketing Cloud, Pardot, HubSpot, etc. you will be sharing those leads and contacts. Most people unsubscribe pretty fast if they receive the same marketing email 2 or 3 times in a day. Beyond that, if you have a large volume of duplicate records, you can actually negatively effect your marketing performance, either by slowing down the works with too much volume or by getting your emails marked as SPAM by various email filters. 

Duplicate Management in Salesforce

If you type the word “dupe” into the AppExchange, you will a plethora of powerful, functional apps. If your system is riddled with duplicates and suffering from significant problems, we recommend looking into these apps, or even hiring a consultant who specializes in data de-duplication.

However, for those who aren’t suffering from critical data issues, Salesforce comes standard with duplicate management options that, with a little time and effort, should get the job done. It needs to be noted that these rules are geared at leads and contacts, with accounts being an option as well.  

If your org was purchased after 2015, your duplicate check rules come automatically activated, while those who purchased earlier, you need to activate them yourself. Watch this video for a quick guide on setting up your duplicate rules. 

These rules will allow you to do a couple of things:

1) When someone manually enters a new lead, a notification will pop up if the matching rules register the lead or contact as a dupe. You can also block matched duplicates from being entered here. 

2) On an already created contact or lead page, the system will automatically check for possible duplicates, and the lead page can be set up so that users can quickly see and merge possible dupes.

Not bad right? Well, there is one more bit of info here to be aware of, and that is what the criteria are for the matching rules. Different companies all look for different data points when entering leads, such as, company, location, email, etc. Salesforce has defined a small series of their most common rules that would flag a lead as a possible dupe, such as First Name, Last Name, Title, and Company. This is obviously important, because depending on your business practices, the default rules may give you too many dupe hits, or not enough. For a full list of what Salesforce looks for, click here.

Of course, Salesforce being pretty darn customizable, you can also create your own matching rules if you find that the default rules are not effective enough for your org. Simply find “matching rules” under your Salesforce Setup menu – click New, and define your own custom set of criteria!


-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team


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