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Prevent And Manage Duplicates in Salesforce

Author: Francesco Scariolo - Nexell Senior Consultant.
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Why you should care about the unicity of your data

After completing this read, you’ll be able to:
  • Understand the impact of duplicated data in a system
  • Understand best practices for keeping the level of duplicates at the minimum
  • Get more details at a dedicated Webinar that you can follow live on May 11th or watch its video recording later on on our Youtube channel.

         All data can contain duplicates. In this article, we are going to focus on Account duplicates. The same concepts can be applied and contextualized to other objects as well, i.e., Contacts, Leads, Products, etc.

Duplicate Accounts

Lisa and Sam just faced it (watch the video again) Duplicate data is a nightmare for all users, including sales users, service users, super users, and admins, as well as you!
As a comparison, data are the ingredients in your recipe, while the recipe itself is your business: The higher the quality of the ingredients (data), the better your recipe (your business) will be.

Impact areas:

  • Compliance
  • Efficiency
  • Adoption
  • Reporting
  • Internal communication
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Cost reduction
  • Corporate image
  • Reputation
  • Trust
  • Leads qualification
  • Conversion rate
  • Upsell opportunities
  • Cross-sell opportunities
  • Strategy

Read the examples below to discover real situations impacting the Shark Industries business. Do not feel bad about these examples. The good news is that we can avoid all of them (read more after this section).

Destroying the customer 360-degree view
  • The customer 360-degree view is important in each organization and helps you to have a comprehensive view of all customer-related activities and interactions.
  • Imagine that, for the same customer, Shark Industries stores two different purchase orders in two different accounts. It will be hard to understand the 360-degree picture of the account when you open one of them because you will see only one purchase order and not have the visibility of the other purchase order.
  • Having duplicates simply destroys this purpose.
Slowing down efficiency – higher service costs
  • Melissa Robinson calls the service desk of Shark Industries to complain about her new hairdryer, which does not work properly. She is very frustrated. Peter is a nice guy and works as a service rep at Shark Industries. For him, it takes five minutes to locate Melissa in the system, as her name appears three times in the system within the same city and multiple products purchased in the last months. It will turn out later that those are all duplicates.
  • As a result, Melissa Robinson’s frustration grows, Shark Industries' reputation is damaged, and the cost for service increases because it takes more time to locate the customer.
Compliance issues
  • Vivian Foxdy does not want to be contacted anymore by Shark Industries, so she fills out a website form and asks Shark Industries to remove her from its databases.
  • A communication rep at Shark Industries removes Vivian from Salesforce and sends her a confirmation email.
  • Unfortunately, Vivian was in the system twice and continues to get emails from Shark Industries. What would Vivian’s reaction be to the continuous unwanted emails?
Polluting sales reporting and driving the organization to make the wrong decisions
  • Shark Industries has 50,000 accounts in Salesforce. Its data is not cleaned much and about 10% of the data is duplicated.
  • Arnold, the senior sales manager at Shark Industries, struggles to generate his Year over Year account sales reporting, as for that 10% of accounts, Opportunity Amounts are inconsistent.
  • Ultimately, the poor quality data impacts Shark Industries' ability to make reliable reports. The state of the business cannot be accurately assessed, and informed judgments and decisions cannot be made.
That’s a lot of bad stuff, but the good news is that we can avoid all that pain!

What are the best practices to keep duplicates at a minimum (zero)?
  • Raise users’ awareness
    • of data uniqueness.
    • of searching before creating new data.
  • Set up duplicate rules in Salesforce, including alerts and reporting
    • Duplicate rules look into your data to prevent the creation of duplicates at both the Creation and Edit actions and can be tailored to any specific business case.
    • Standard Matching rules are available and super easy to set up by any System Administrator. They are perfect for standard systems. If you have lots of customized fields, you might need to change to tailored matching rules instead (this requires some more knowledge).
  • Set up a process to regularly review possible duplicates
    • A business process managed from the Data Steward of your Master Data that includes a regular check of the duplicate records reports (yes, there you can build them; learn more at our webinar).
A few technical “watch-outs”
  • In some cases, duplicate rules must be fine-tuned, especially when machines and humans are writing data.
  • Duplicate rules might influence your integrations and, in some cases, stop them.
Technical explanations of how duplicate management works in Salesforce (with real cases!)
  • Join the webinar on May 11th to find out more about duplicate management with Salesforce. We’ll go through real cases and explain best practices at a technical level.
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