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Duplicate records in Salesforce can cause chaos for your organization, but in this post we’ll specifically look at the problems that duplicate records cause in the measurement of your marketing efforts.

2013-05-16-salesforce-duplicates-memeWe’re going to start with a very simple example that is almost certainly happening within your Salesforce org hundreds if not thousands of times over.

Let’s say I’m your prospect.

You have me stored in Salesforce as a Lead with my email address as We talk about your products, but ultimately I decide not to go with them right now because I have Gregg, Michael, John and Matt asking me for help in a variety of different projects. I clearly don’t have the bandwidth to make this decision right now, so I hold off.

About a week later, I decide I’m ready to buy. But I forget who I spoke to at your company because I’m frazzled from pulling a few all nighters to get all of those projects finished. So I fill out a new contact form, but this time I use, which is my business-casual email address.

Your standard Salesforce Web-to-Lead form and the web forms that you’ve built with Marketo, Eloqua or Pardot will not prevent a duplicate record from being created. Why? Because all of these systems use exact-match email address duplicate prevention.

Now you have my information in your system (or systems) as two or more different records.

Let’s take a look at how this exact scenario would play out.

1. Deflated Email Open Rate

Over the next few weeks, months or years, your company is probably going to send me a lot of email. Except now that you have me in your system(s) twice, you’re going to be sending each email twice.

Again, you have as the email address for one of your Leads, and for another Lead. The problem is that I’m only going to open one of those emails. Now your open rate for me, personally, will be 50%. If you can imagine the potential for this to happen hundreds and thousands of times within your own database, you can imagine why you have had such a low open rate on your expertly crafted emails.

2. Deflated Lead Conversion Metrics

At RingLead, we are most definitely numbers driven. We have a monthly review of a whole slew of key performance indicators (KPI’s) and on the marketing team, we look at the gross number of Leads that we’re getting and how they track throughout the conversion funnel. At the final level of this conversion funnel, you have the number of Leads that have converted to a sale.

Let’s pretend for a second that these are the only two Leads in your system – and Only one of these Leads would actually make it through to a sale (well, if your sales team is doing a good job, that is) while one Lead would remain in the ether of your marketing automation or CRM system.

So now your Lead-Sale conversion rate would be 50%…although it really should be 100%.

The more duplicate Leads that you have, stagnant and decaying in your databases, the lower your Lead-Sale conversion rate becomes.

3. Mixed Messaging to Engaged Prospects and Existing Customers

Continuing with the example from above, let’s say that you’ve marked as a Customer. I’ve signed a 1 year deal with your company, I’m now using it for a few weeks, and things are going great.

A few weeks later, I receive an automatically generated email to from one of your sales reps asking if I’d like a demo of your products. Why? Because that record,, is still registered as a Lead in your system!

This is may sound like a minor incident, but this makes your company look unprofessional, and can quickly turn off prospects and users to your organization.

What can you do?

If you’re now biting your nails and wondering if this is happening within your own Salesforce org, take a minute and install Dupe Dive, RingLead’s free duplicate diagnostic app that gives you some great insight into the state of your data quaity.

Install Dupe Dive from the Salesforce AppExchange

Your Dupe Dive results will tell you one of two things. The first possible outcome is that you have a database infected with duplicates. In this case, you’ll want to take a look at Data Cleanse, a powerful yet easy-to-use application to identify and merge existing duplicate records in Salesforce. The second possible outcome is that your database is already pretty clean. If this is the case, you’ll want to ensure that it stays clean with the help of our duplicate prevention suite, which prevents the creation of duplicate records via the three main entry points: manual entry, list import and web form submission.

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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.