Head to Head: Deduplication Infographic
One of the most-maligned aspects of the Salesforce admin’s life is managing duplicates. Some set strict data import rules to head duplicates off at the gate, some develop a work-around, and most invest in a data management solution. We recently reviewed two of the more common deduplication tools: DemandTools by CRM Fusion and Cloudingo by Symphonic Source. Let us know what you think in comments below - have you used these or other deduplication tools?
Note on Salesforce Duplicate Merge
Salesforce does come equipped with the native ability to merge contacts or accounts if necessary. However, there are no tools for doing so in bulk across many unique groups of records. Native Salesforce allows you to merge Contacts associated with a common Account, while the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) comes with a Contact Merge tab which lets you search by name for Contacts to merge. While this is not a bad start, you’ll find it difficult to discover potential duplicates across the whole database (and quickly merge them) without an additional tool like one of the above. You can read more about the NPSP Contact Merge tab here.
Note on Salesforce Import Wizard
If you need to load many records at once into Salesforce, the Import Wizard gives you some basic duplicate prevention options. The wizard can import Contact and Accounts, Leads, Solutions, and Custom Objects. With Contact import, you have the option to prevent duplicates based on Salesforce ID, Name, or Email. If a match is found, then the existing Contact will update, otherwise a new Contact will be created. Note that Contacts are only matched within the same Account. This could be problematic for those using Person Accounts rather than the Individual bucket account.
Finally - with the Spring '14 update, Salesforce is releasing a new "unified import wizard" which looks to be a substantial improvement over the existing import wizard. Take a look at the Spring '14 Release Notes to learn more.