If there was a prayer that would automatically de-dupe all the leads and contacts data in your Salesforce.com or other CRM applications, would you say that Prayer? Everyday? If you answered yes to that, we'd love to talk to you today. Unfortunately, as we all know there is no such prayer but answering the question above will help every marketing manager realize and take notice of this grave problem that is eating away at your campaign effectiveness and sales team productivity every day. See this post and this report for more on how bad data can be bad for business.
Duplicate records are one of the most critical problems in CRM databases today and I am positive that majority of organizations who have this problem have not yet figured out a good solution for it. Before researching any tools and service providers, I think it is important for marketing managers to first define how they want to attack the problem and what logical methods they think they can live with. Figuring this out is a great first step to the problem and here are some of the best ways to look at your de-duplication problem:
- De-dupe and merge all records that have the same email addresses.
- This is perfect except that you must account for common problems with this logic and exclude all [email protected], [email protected] and such other email addresses.
- Another way is to first look at all [email protected], [email protected] records and see if that are of any value to you and purge those records.
- In the absence of email addresses in contacts and leads tables, the next best way is to de-dupe and merge based on "first name + last name + company name" and this will most likely work. One thing you must do is to export the list of such records as you merge them so your marketing operations team can eyeball them to find any discrepancies.
- For all new leads that are being added to the database, the best way to avoid an ongoing problem of duplicate records being created is to use a product or service that compares and remove duplicates from any list before it is added to the CRM system. The ReadyContacts service or RingLead or CRMFusion tools are an example of this.