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Dirty data has a way of silently infiltrating your organization, creating frustration, inefficiency, and dismal user adoption in the systems themselves. It can affect marketing, and each department and group of stakeholders in a very different way.

colored pencilsOftentimes, the problem is not brought to the forefront of the organization’s collective psyche.

The good news is, as marketers, you are not alone and there are solutions to find, remove, and prevent bad data as well as enhance the data you already own. Here are four steps to do it right.


Step 1: Find the duplicates

Use an application (there are free ones out there) to see a dashboard of your duplicate situation. From there, select where you want to focus. For marketers, focusing on leads might be more important than other objects in Salesforce, for example.

Notifications when duplicates arise is important to ensure duplicates are stopped and prevented going forward. Depending on the data deduplication vendor, you can have many different templates to notify the owner of the lead or contact that there’s a duplicate. Typically, the account owner is alerted first, but for new leads, you can route it through your assignment rules in Salesforce. Consider using your active assignment rule or even a hidden inactive assignment rule just for your data deduplication vendor.

You can also change the owner of a lead, and reroute it through the assignment rules. For email, you can trade tasks with an email notification.

marketing duplicatesStep 2: Remove the duplicates

Use an application for duplicate removal which finds your existing duplicates and merges them together. Duplicate removal merges the duplicates and cleans up the database quickly. For every minute that goes by, there will be fewer duplicates until finally, no duplicates will remain.

To make sure the duplicate is merged with the right contact, you’ll need to set master rule settings. This way, all new data matching the original record, or master record, will automatically match and merge. If you have five records in Salesforce, you likely only want to keep the lead source from the first/master record, but use all of the current title and phone number fields from the most recent entries.

How accurate is data deduplication? The more fields you have, the more information you gather. That means, the data quality platform can do a better job at removing duplicates. In other words, the more fields, the better. More fields and more data establishes the groundwork for data enrichment, which I’ll discuss in Step 4.

Step 3: Prevent future duplicates

Once your data is clean, you want to keep it that way. Duplicate prevention stops the bleeding, and ensures you’re not simply putting a cap on that leak. Dirty data will continue to infiltrate your system as your contact data changes, but with strong prevention apps specific to marketers, your data will be checked before it enters your system to avoid duplicates.

Duplicate prevention checks your new data against your existing data to make sure that it’s unique. Whether you’re loading the data in or it’s coming from a web form, duplicate prevention acts as like a gatekeeper to make sure all data going in is unique.

Step 4: Data enrichment

Just-in-time contact and company data provides real-time data to marketers in a similar way that Google provides real-time search results for websites. This technology comes into the Salesforce world and creates a great tool for marketers.

This goes beyond finding duplicates because once you have your unique data, you’re going to want to augment it or enhance it. That’s where data enrichment comes in. It scours the web to fill in the empty fields in your lead or contact data.

Data enhancement boosts the data you already have. For example, a contact’s URL can help identify other team members at that company, the company address, social profiles, etc. Now that your data is clean, your enrichment opportunities are endless.

Learn more about getting rid of duplicate data in your marketing program with the free ebook below.

Marketing Duplicates Ebook

The author:

RingLead offers a complete end-to-end suite of products to clean, protect and enhance company and contact information, leading to improved organizational efficiency, reliable business intelligence, and maximized ROI on CRM and marketing automation investments. Since 2003 RingLead has helped solve the dirty data problems of large enterprises, Fortune 500 companies and small businesses across the globe.