Duplicates cause all sorts of problems for all groups that use the CRM. Having duplicate records in your CRM has a negative impact on all departments. Marketing may send an email to the same person twice. Different sales reps may contact the same company without realizing. Analysts will double count leads and this list can go on forever.
Regardless of the program you use, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, MySQL database or a custom CRM, your data should be deduped on an ongoing basis.
Here is what you can do:
- Identify what data you want to dedupe. You may want to start with your account data, lead data or contact data. Keep in mind, it is advisable to not only dedupe contact data and lead data but dedupe between leads and contacts.
- Figure out how you want to identify duplicates. You may be certain that an account is a duplicate if the website is the same or it is a duplicate only if the website, country and company name are the same.
- Figure out how to identify which record is going to survive your merging. You may decide that an account with the most contacts is going to be the master ‘surviving’ record. On the other hand, you may want to keep the record with the most complete data.
- Preparing and deduping. It is time to export all the data including a unique identifier into a .csv or .txt file. You can either dedupe on your own using Excel and manually identify duplicates or you can find a tool that will do the deduping for you using your own business rules. One tool that may be used across all systems is StrategicDB’s Deduping Tool.
- Implementing changes in your CRM. Prior to deleting any data or making any live changes it is important to backup your system. The second step is to either merge the deduping data or simply delete all the ‘merged’ records from your CRM. For this step you should use your CRM admin’s knowledge on how best to make live changes.
Now that you have deduped your data it is time to implement some data governance processes in order to avoid the same types of duplicates in future. It is important to educate your CRM users on how to check for duplicates prior to creating a new record. Analyze the sources of duplicates it will help you find out if there are any processes that need to be changed.