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Cross-Object Duplicates in Salesforce

By October 1, 2020February 25th, 2021No Comments

Duplicates are a constant issue that companies grapple with. If the necessary amount of attention is not given to the data quality, this problem could easily spiral out of control. Many organizations assume that the out-of-the-box Salesforce duplicate management features will take care of this problem, but as we have discussed previously, the built-in features do not go far enough. Another aspect that is not covered by Salesforce is the need to look for duplicates across objects. For example, what happens when a new Lead comes in but that Lead is already an existing Contact or Account? In this post, we will take a deeper dive into comparing and identifying duplicate records between different objects.

What’s Included in the Off-the-Shelf Product?

Salesforce offers you three matching rules (Accounts, Contacts, and Leads), but there are all kinds of scenarios that are not covered by these rules, and the error messages they produce are not all that helpful to the users. Companies usually solve this problem by creating their own rules to catch the duplicates. However, this is a time-consuming activity and as new data is introduced, new duplicate variations will be identified. Salesforce administrators will need to spend time on maintaining the existing rules or adding new ones as necessary. This is why a lot of companies choose to implement a third-party tool to check for duplicates.

Another consideration is the different sources of the data flowing into your Salesforce instance. Salesforce rules may catch duplicates that are entered directly, but what if your data is automatically or manually imported from external sources? For example, what if you are importing a large spreadsheet or CSV file into Leads? You may catch a duplicate if the same Lead already exists, but if the same record already exists in Contacts, it is unlikely that it will be flagged. Even most third-party apps that check for duplicates only do so after you import all the data into Salesforce. As you can see, the problem is compounded as more data is brought into your environment.

Why Should You Find Duplicates Across Salesforce Objects?

Let’s start by taking a look at all of the time and hassle you will save if you look for duplicates across Salesforce objects. When you have two separate records for the same account in different objects, each of these records may potentially contain critical information about a prospect. Your sales professionals need a comprehensive view, but since the information is spread out across multiple records, it becomes a process of tracking down every piece of the puzzle. In fact, one of the main benefits of Salesforce is supposed to be a holistic view of the customer. But if you have pieces of data scattered across objects, you are defeating this purpose.

Now let’s think about the fallout of having duplicate records in different objects. Your sales team relies on the data in Salesforce when communicating with a prospective client. Yet, imagine what would happen if the data in one record was erroneous and the correct information was in another record. After a bad call or two, the team will second-guess the information in other records and will start double-checking it, which is a huge waste of their time. In fact, the same scenario will be played out with your marketing teams and anyone else who contacts the client directly.

Cross-Object Duplicate Check Saves You Money

Duplicate records have a negative impact on your bottom line, and it is even greater than you might think. We mentioned the marketing teams above, but poor marketing data costs US companies $611 billion every year. If you are wondering if this can be possible, consider the cost of inadvertently sending the same marketing message to a person multiple times. You may be running campaigns that are pulling personalization data from the wrong record, effectively diminishing your chances of converting a prospect to a lead and wasting your ad spend. And of course, these figures do not even include the time it takes to deal with all the duplicates rather than spending that time more constructively.

As a rule of thumb, consider the 1-10-100 rule. It will cost $1 to prevent a duplicate, $10 to remediate the effects of that duplicate, and $100 for each duplicate if you fail to take any action. For companies with hundreds of thousands or even millions of records, the costs add up very quickly. Being proactive with your duplicate prevention strategy will pay off quickly and prevent many negative consequences.

Achieve Greater Personalization

Nowadays, customers expect greater personalization from brand touchpoints, offers they receive digitally, and even from the occasional sales call on the phone. If you rely on Salesforce for data personalization, eliminating duplicate records for the people that you are contacting should be part of your marketing strategy. A good way to think about the records in Salesforce is like a snapshot of the customer at a particular point in time. For example, a record in Leads may reflect a time when they first came into contact with your company; while a record in Contacts may reflect a time when they were making a decision on whether or not to purchase your product or service. In addition to personalizing your communication based on the client’s business needs, it is also important to consider where they are in their journey through the buying cycle. Getting personalization just right may be the difference between a conversion and a lost opportunity. While you may have a great message or sales pitch, it will completely miss the mark if it is delivered at the wrong time.

Save the Perception of Your Brand with Data Cleansing

All the automation that your company uses to personalize the communication will only be effective if it is based on accurate information. If you are making mistakes and misclassifying your audience, you may lose a prospect or a customer forever. Even what may appear to be small mistakes can add up over time and make the customer feel like you are not treating them with the respect they deserve. Such poor and inaccurate personalization is also simply confusing. When you send out personalized offers and messages containing outdated or inaccurate information, clients will simply unsubscribe or tune out your messaging.

A great practical example of this is your email marketing and sales campaigns. If you have a negative brand reputation, your emails, at best, will not get opened. In a worst-case scenario, emails will get marked as spam, which effectively closes a very important channel for communicating with a customer or prospect. If you have duplicate records in separate objects, you are more likely to deliver the same email over and over again, which increases unsubscribe rates and the probability that your messages will be labeled as spam. Customers have a low tolerance level for these types of mistakes, making it crucial that you conduct a duplicate check across all of your objects.

Improve Your Decision-making through Better CRM Data Management

Every progressive company today has a goal of becoming more “data-driven”, to build a more solid foundation for making business decisions. However, this only works if you have confidence in your data. If you have lots of duplicates and other errors, how can you rely on the information to make mission-critical decisions? For example, you may notice that you have a lot of customers in a certain geographic area. This leads you to focus even more of your marketing and sales resources to attract new business in that particular area. However, if the data is inaccurate, you are squandering resources that may be better applied elsewhere.

Manually identifying duplicates across objects is a challenge, requiring an individual to manually open and compare records. This is a big drain on time and productivity and impractical in the long run. If you haven’t done the analysis, chances are that you have more duplicates than you think, and the problem will only continue to expand as new data flows into Salesforce. This is why many organizations turn to third-party tools, like DataGroomr, that are specifically engineered to look for duplicate records both inside and across Salesforce objects.

DataGroomr Does the Heavy Lifting for You

As opposed to Salesforce’s internal duplicate management tools or other duplicate management apps, DataGroomr does not require you to set up any complex rules. DataGroomr uses machine learning algorithms that are more accurate and effective in identifying duplicates. If you rely on CSV imports, the same methods are used to scan import files for duplicates prior to uploading data into Salesforce. We can describe how the algorithms work, but seeing is believing! Try it for yourself and download DataGroomr today to get started on your free 14-day trial.

Steven Pogrebivsky

Steve Pogrebivsky has founded multiple successful startups and is an expert in data and content management systems with over 25 years of experience. Previously, he co-founded and was the CEO of MetaVis Technologies, which built tools for Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and other cloud-based information systems. MetaVis was acquired by Metalogix in 2015. Before MetaVis, Steve founded several other technology companies, including Stelex Corporation which provided compliance and technical solutions to FDA-regulated organizations.