De-Duplicating Salesforce Records

Bring Data Source Into Single Source To Prevent Duplicating Salesforce Records

De-duplicating Salesforce Records is a prevalent problem we see with a lot of businesses. Many have issues with duplicate records in their Salesforce. Duplicate leads, duplicate contacts, duplicate accounts, or companies, or other duplicate records.

The best way to deal with duplicates is to identify all your data sources, bring them into a single source, Salesforce, and then maintain a clean database by first de-duplicating all the records and setting up a program block duplicates going forward. If you can’t block the duplicates in the future on a one at a time basis, if, for example, you are importing lists of data, then you can set up auto deduplicating scenarios to run in the background.

We have checked out, tested, and reviewed several de-duplicating salesforce apps. Our favorite is Demand Tools from CRM Fusion. They also have an awesome dupe blocking program called Dupe Blocker.

De-duplicating salesforce records in a manual way or sorting alphabetically is usually not good enough. What if a company name is entered with a ‘Co.,’ or ‘Company,’ or ‘Inc’ or without the ‘The’ in front of the name. What if the full name matches the address but not the phone. That is why de-duping your Salesforce records using some program that has sophisticated algorithms for finding and merging duplicates is way more efficient and effective.

When using a program like Demand Tools and deduping your Salesforce data, you will dedupe each object one at a time, starting from the top master object. Usually, in Salesforce, we start with Accounts. Then work our way down to Contacts, then Leads, Leads to Accounts, then Leads to Contacts. That is the best order for a standard dedupe. You need to consider the data you are deduping to Salesforce to build the strategy, and although there are many similarities with business data, it’s all different. There are several data sources usually, and the business knows their data the best, so we like to ask many questions before starting a project like this to understand the data and why there are duplicates to figure out the method of deduping it correctly. Some data we want to keep as the master data. There is also the logic to consider when merging two duplicate records. What record is the master record, which record is the most important? It might depend on the data source which record was modified most recently or who owns the record, etc.

For your salesforce deduping scenarios, you want to start with a “Rigid” deduping scenario. This means that you set up criteria of matching duplicate records that are strict. For example, in Accounts, you would say that the Account name matches, the Address matches, the city matches, the phone matches, the state matches. That means it should be pretty darn safe that they are duplicate records. You can pretty much auto-merge all those matching records. Then you go with a “Semi-Rigid” scenario where perhaps the Account Name matches and the phone matches. You might glance through those records to check if you need to review them before auto merging them. Then you do a “Loose” scenario where maybe just the Account name matches. Usually, this requires you to review the dupe records, each one at a time to confirm that they really are duplicates. Often this stage can leave some duplicate records that some third party who doesn’t know the account records very well is not sure if they are duplicates or not and will require someone intimately familiar with the company data to confirm and check.

Another concern when de-duping a lot of records is reaching your API limits. The Demand Tools program uses the Salesforce API and uses API calls. You have a limited amount of calls you can make each day depending on your edition and how many licenses you have. If you have a ton of data and a ton of de-duping to do, you may need to segment your data to do it in small batches. Try to think of a way to segment the data that still allows you to find duplicates. For example, you can filter all Accounts that start with the letter A, B, C, D. Dedupe those, then move on. You may also need to dedupe records over several days in some cases. You may also purchase additional API calls temporarily from Salesforce for this project.

Once your data is clean, the best thing to do is to have a process to avoid duplicates in the future. This is where setting up a dupe blocker-type program is awesome and very helpful. There is a free program called Dupe Catcher which works in the Professional edition of Salesforce. This program is good if you have a professional edition and don’t want to spend money, and your needs are just for manual records being created in Salesforce to be blocked for duplicates. But Dupe Blocker from CRM Fusion is a very sophisticated dupe blocker program. Their matching algorithms are more advanced. You can also set up auto-merge or auto block rules for records created from a web 2 lead form or any record created from any form or API integration. It doesn’t cost that much, and it’s worth it if you need it. You can set up all sorts of different scenarios to automatically handle potential duplicates.

Love it, share it!

Get the latest articles right in your inbox

Explore our posts

Brion Schweers, Board Observer

Brion Schweers is a Senior Vice President of Product Management at Salesforce, currently managing the Revenue Cloud Solution Excellence team. During the past 30 years, Brion has assisted enterprises around the world in transforming their business by focusing on their Product-to-Cash processes. Prior to joining Salesforce Brion was VP & GM, CPQ at Apttus, VP, Sales & Success at A5 Consulting, served on the OAUG ConfigSIG Board and spent 15 years at Oracle in various roles related to their CX and CPQ products. Brion is also the executive Sponsor of Vetforce – Carolinas and is actively involved in the Salesforce Military program where he mentors Veterans and their spouses with actionable, personalized career advice.

Joseph Truhe, Board Member

Joseph Truhe has over 20 years of investing experience. Prior to joining Jefferson Capital in 2013 Joseph was a Portfolio Manager with Whitney Bank in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he oversaw the company’s Trust accounts and served as the Energy sector analyst for the Hancock Horizon Funds. Prior to Whitney, Joseph worked as an analyst and member of the investment committee at HFR Asset Management, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund platform in Chicago, Illinois. There, Joseph reviewed and maintained investment discretion over the firm’s Event Driven and Asia-focused hedge fund allocations. He was also responsible for the expansion of the firm’s Asia-focused fund offerings.  Joseph holds a BA in Economics from Yale University.

Steve Swartzman, Board Member

Steve Swartzman is a Principal and co-founder of CPC. Previously, as a co-founder of C3 Capital, he helped originate and manage over 35 investments, including national brands such as American Apparel, Traeger Grills, and Grunt Style. Steve’s chief focus remains consumer brands and e-commerce enablement businesses, and he currently serves on the boards of Grunt Style, Accel Clinical Research, Spoke Custom Products, Warne Scope Mounts, and New World Natural Brands.

Prior to C3, Steve structured and managed subordinated debt investments at KC Venture Group, and he spent 7 years as a Vice President with Citibank in New York, managing client relationships for emerging markets clients and structuring over $1 billion in complex trade financings. He is a past President of the Midwest chapter of the Small Business Investment Alliance, and he serves on the board of the International Center for Music at Park University in Kansas City.

Steve received a MBA from Columbia Business School and an AB in History and Literature from Harvard College.

He resides in Kansas City, where he was raised, with his wife Evelina and two sons, Harrison and Zandy. When he’s not working, his favorite activities are fishing, golfing, and eating.

Charles Scripps, Board Member

Chad has over ten years of experience investing in dynamic, growing businesses in diverse industries and geographies. His private equity experience includes HIG Capital, which has over $12B in capital under management, and AEA Investors, which manages over $3B of invested and committed capital. While at HIG and AEA, Chad led diligence, structuring, and financial analysis of potential and existing investments, and completed transactions in the industrial products and consumer services industries. Chad also has experience investing in the public equity markets, most notably as a Managing Director at Fox Point Capital, a $1B fund seeded by Julian Robertson of Tiger Management. He invested across a number of industries, including industrials, financials, technology, and consumer products, and led Fox Point’s international research. Prior to focusing his career on investing, Chad was a management consultant at McKinsey and Company, solving strategic problems for the world’s leading companies. Chad earned an MBA with Honors in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS with Distinction in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lester F. Alexander II, Board Member

Les Alexander is a partner with Jefferson Capital Partners where he provides mezzanine and equity capital for growth and buyout transactions. Mr. Alexander is a member of the firm’s investment committee and serves on the board of directors of several portfolio companies where he is actively involved in strategic planning and corporate governance. Prior to joining Jefferson Capital, he worked at Advantage Capital Partners where he completed several portfolio company investments and served on the investment committee. Before becoming a private equity investor, Mr. Alexander served as president of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc., a leading fire truck and emergency vehicle manufacturer. At Ferrara, he was responsible for managing a workforce of 450 employees producing over 300 vehicles annually for its domestic and international customers. As an investment banker for 15 years with such firms as Howard Weil, Southcoast Capital, and J.C. Bradford & Co., Mr. Alexander completed over 50 public offerings of debt and equity securities, private placements, and merger and acquisition transactions totaling more than $7 billion for public and private companies in a variety of industries. Mr. Alexander is an adjunct professor at Tulane University and Loyola University where he teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in investment banking, private equity & venture capital, advanced financial management, investments, and entrepreneurship. He is also the board president for Benjamin Franklin High School, a public charter school in New Orleans. Mr. Alexander is the former Chairman Finance of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and served on the global Board of Directors. He is a founder of the Louisiana chapter of ACG and was a recipient of the ACG global Meritorious Service Award and the Louisiana chapter’s Outstanding Service Award. Mr. Alexander received his bachelor of science in Commerce from the University of Virginia in 1989 and his MBA from the University of North Carolina in 1993.

Patrick F. Healy, Board Member

Based in Kansas City, Mr. Healy is a co-founder of C3 Capital. He has been an active private equity investor since 1985 and was a co-founder of C3 Holdings in 1994. Prior to this time, he sponsored and structured equity investments in real estate. He gained extensive workout and restructuring experience as chair of the creditor’s committee of a $1 billion bankruptcy and from being called upon to rescue a publicly-traded company from a major fraud. Mr. Healy was a senior tax partner at Mayer Hoffman McCann, a regional CPA firm, for eleven years. He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kansas.

Chris Waters, VP of Strategic Sales

As Vice President of Strategic Sales, Chris guides and influences all strategic sales activities at A5 , starting in presales activities, successful sales methodology, sales process, and continued revenue generation and expansion opportunities. Furthermore, he will provide oversight in strategic sales function for the company and develop strategic sales plans that will promote growth in sales and customer satisfaction. Chris has proven his commitment to sales leadership and organizational success through field leadership as National Sales Manager at Deluxe Corporation, Field Sales Manager within the Social / Analytics Cloud at Oracle, US Regional Manager for CPQ Major Accounts at Oracle and now as Vice President on Sr. Leadership Team at A5.

Keith Fox, GM Salesforce Canada

Keith Fox is a software and consulting veteran for the past 34 years. Keith started his career at EDS which was followed by 4-year stint offshore in Bermuda. Keith then returned to Canada where he held a number of progressive sales and technical positions with software companies such as Sybase, BEA, and Oracle. After his stint with Oracle, Keith founded Cloudware Connections, a premier Salesforce consulting partner. 11 years down the line, Cloudware was acquired by A5, and Keith joined as GM for Canada.

Tarun Sharma, Vice President Delivery

Tarun Sharma is Vice President Delivery at A5 and is responsible for customer success, project operations, recruitment, resource utilization, and sales operations functions for Oracle practice. As a business and technology leader Tarun helps businesses develop solution strategies to streamline the sales process and improve customer relations to drive revenues, profits, and build brand loyalty. Tarun has led customers through digital transformation journeys. He has commanded strategic and tactical initiatives to shorten sales cycles, increase deal values and productivity, improve brand awareness and help organizations become easier to do business with. He has helped customers modernize their sales enablement tools and present a single source of information to support an omni-channel sales approach. This includes global roll-out for multiple business units included multi-currency and multi-language. Tarun graduated from Texas A&M University with a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering.

Adam Rosenfield, VP of Salesforce Practice

As Vice President of A5’s consulting practice – Adam is responsible for both strategic alliances with partners and expanded sales growth through the entire portfolio of A5 services. With over 20 years of Sr. level management consulting expertise – Adam has worn multiple hats in his career including practice development, sales, and client advisory. He has sold & delivered countless enterprise transformational initiatives creating a measurable competitive advantage for his customers. In addition to various technical software certifications, Adam holds an undergraduate and master’s degree in Accounting & Information Technology from the University of Texas at Austin and resides in El Paso Texas with his wife and 3 children.

PJ Alfrejd, CFO

As the CFO, PJ is responsible for all things financial at A5. With over 20 years of experience in financial leadership positions, PJ has worn all the hats required of a growing tech business. His extensive knowledge of the consulting industry, experience with M&A, and strength in operational finance is another catalyst to take A5 to the next level in its growth trajectory. PJ is a CPA with a BS in Accounting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has held various finance leadership positions at Exodus/Savvis (acquired by Centurylink), Neohapsis (acquired by Cisco), and mFoundry (acquired by FIS).

Vinay Kruttiventi, President & CEO / Chairman of the Board

As the CEO of A5, Vinay plays an active role in all aspects of day-to-day business operations. He is also actively involved in establishing a strategy and vision for the company. As a true customer advocate with Salesforce and Oracle product development, Vinay is actively engaged in various industry user/special interest groups. Since founding the company in 2004, Vinay has grown the business into a leading Salesforce, and Oracle partner focused on multi-cloud transformations.

Vinay has successfully implemented and architected CPQ solutions and multi-cloud complex transformation projects for various Fortune 500 companies since 1996. He has a strong authority over industry, process, and technology in Configure-Price-Quote and ERP applications. Vinay graduated from Osmania University with a Bachelor of Engineering degree and JNTU (Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University) with a Master in Technology degree.