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Why Salesforce Deduplication Is Not Enough

By November 17, 2022No Comments

You need to have confidence in the data you collect to help your organization run efficiently. This is especially true when you are accessing the powerful data management capability of Salesforce. But there’s a caveat: The out-of-the-box version of Salesforce comes with fairly limited deduplication capabilities. For example, the Salesforce deduplication function is only able to merge three records at a time. Should you just start by reviewing your data one record at a time? No business has the resources or time for that. The truth is that duplicates introduce time-consuming tasks that prevent your teams from getting the most value out of the data they have.  

Duplicate data inside a Salesforce environment is a big issue for companies across industries. Many sales professionals trust Salesforce to cleanse the duplicates from their data, but the fact of the matter is that it just can’t. This is where a third-party tool from the AppExchange can be extremely helpful for quickly identifying and eliminating duplicates in your data and, thus, restoring confidence in the data you collect.  

Salesforce’s Built-In Deduplication Functionality

Salesforce duplicate management is one of the core components that is available in all editions and consists of the following elements:  

  • Matching rules—This requires you, the user, to create a definition of duplicate records. This can be something like First Name + Last + Email Address, or any combination of fields of your choosing. Salesforce will then use this matching rule to match a record inside a single object or multiple objects. There are different matching rules for each standard object: Leads, Contacts, and Accounts.  
  • Duplicate rule—This is a rule that springs into action when a user is about to create a duplicate record. It can simply alert them that they are creating a duplicate or block them from editing the record altogether. However, what do you do with the duplicates you already have? This is where the third element comes in. 
  • Duplicate job—This is a feature that is only available to users who bought the Unlimited edition, so if you bought a cheaper edition, there is no way to run a duplicate job. This is where each individual matching rule you created will be executed individually, and once everything is complete, you will get a Duplicate Record Set.  

As you can imagine, there are many issues that Salesforce users and admins will have to grapple with if they rely solely on the built-in deduplication functionality. Let’s look at the first one.  

1) Issues with Duplicate Management

With rule-based deduplication, most companies find themselves in the following quandary: an employee finds a duplicate in their Salesforce, they notify a Salesforce admin about this duplicate, and the admin will create another rule to prevent such duplicates from reappearing. Consider all the possible variations of “fuzzy” duplicates. Each time a new “fuzzy” duplicate is discovered, a new rule will have to be created. This means that your Salesforce admins are on a wild goose chase to account for every possible type of a duplicate. 

By relying on rule creation, you are wasting your Salesforce admin’s time. In real-life situations, admins just don’t have the capacity to create and constantly maintain rules in addition to managing all the other Salesforce responsibilities. When admins leave an organization, the knowledge of why the rule exists often leaves with them. 

2) New Duplicates Constantly Enter Your Data

As we mentioned earlier in this article, Salesforce could prevent users from creating new duplicates, but there are so many other ways duplicate data can appear in your system. For example, let’s say one of your sales reps uploads a spreadsheet with new contacts, or leads come in automatically via an integration with the company’s marketing automation system. Neither Salesforce nor existing rule-based deduplication apps on AppExchange can entirely prevent new duplicates from coming in.   

DataGroomr’s engineers have addressed this issue by leveraging the power of AI. During data imports (or copy), DataGroomr has the ability to compare and detect duplicates using machine learning models. Duplicates are clearly identified and prevented from entering, while clean data is allowed to pass through.

DataGroomr can even put your duplicate data to work. When this data contains more up-to-data or additional information, it can be automatically extracted and used to update Salesforce without creating duplication issues.  

3) Mass Merge Limitations

If your Salesforce contains hundreds of thousands or even millions of records, you are likely to have thousands of duplicates. The built-in Salesforce deduplication functionality is limited to manually reviewing and merging no more than three records at a time. Imagine how much time it will take to clean your data at three records at a time!  

Some organizations have created custom Apex scripts to automate these merges, but this can cause additional unintended consequences. For example, a common user complaint is that a lead, contact, or an account has suddenly disappeared. The likely culprit of course is the Apex script which likely erroneously preformed a merge. Once that is done, the recovery process is time-consuming and may not always work.  

4) Limited Matching Algorithm

When creating a matching rule in Salesforce, you will be asked to provide a weight (importance) for each field. For example, if your matching rule consists of First Name + Last Name + Phone Number + Street Address, you will need to assign a weight to each field on a scale from 1-100. Although there may be someone in the organization that can say that a Phone Number is more important than a Street Address, it is simply a guessing game to estimate how much more important one field is versus another. 

DataGroomr constantly identified duplicates and provides a clear view of Leads, Contacts, and Records, as well as verification capability.

5) No Support for Custom Objects

Salesforce deduplication tooling limits support to Leads, Contacts, and Accounts. However, most companies use other related objects, such as Opportunities; or create their own custom objects to store information that is unique to their organization. These non-standard objects cannot be deduplicated within Salesforce. 

6) Not Suitable for Handling Large Data Volumes

According to the Trailblazers Community, duplicate jobs will fail in an organization with “many records.” Therefore, if your company has hundreds of thousands or potentially millions of records, you cannot not rely on Salesforce’s deduping jobs. When we combine this issue with those mentioned earlier, such as the mass merge limitations, you can see just how limited Salesforce is when working with large data volumes.  

Your Business Needs a Comprehensive Solution for Duplicate Data in Salesforce 

As we have seen from all of the issues and limitations Salesforce has with duplicate management, it would be best to implement a comprehensive solution to solve all of these problems. Here are some of the features that make DataGroomr the best deduplication solution on the AppExchange:  

  • DataGroomr leverages machine learning for deduplication instead of relying on matching rule creation. 
  • No rules to create means no complicated setup prior to onboarding. Just connect DataGroomr to your Salesforce and start deduping right away.  
  • DataGroomr scans new uploads for duplicates prior to import. That means duplicates do not ever touch your environment. 
  • The algorithm used to identify duplicates is customizable, so you can adjust it to your individual workflows.  

If you have been let disappointed by rule-based deduplication tools, consider switching to a machine-learning approach. Remember, the rule-based deduplication apps only enhance Salesforce’s limited built-in deduplication functionality. They don’t resolve the underlying issues of rule-based deduplication. One of the great things about DataGroomr is that the machine learning algorithms take all of the hassles out of the deduping process.  

Try DataGroomr for yourself with our free 14-day trial

Il'ya Dudkin

Ilya Dudkin is a Business Development Manager at Softwarium. He is a frequent contributor to popular Salesforce outlets such as SalesforceBen, Force Talks, SFDC Panther and many others as well.