If your company is like many others struggling with duplicates in Salesforce, you are actively looking for solutions that can solve this problem. When you finally find something that works for you it can be tempting to implement the tool without getting a complete understanding of its functionality and its benefits for your company. If you do not plan accordingly, you can run into usability issues that may discourage your employees from using the tool, entering data into the system or something critical might break. This is why we created some tips that will guide you during the tool implementation process.
Understanding the Limitations of Salesforce’s Deduping Rules
It is important to understand the limitations of Salesforce rules in deduping your data because you will need to select a tool that addresses these gaps. First of all, the built-in deduping functionality is not suitable for large volumes of data. So if you have 100,000 records or more, it is a good idea to look for something that can dedupe the needed volume. Also, it will not perform a duplicate search across objects. For example, if you have one record in Contacts and the same one in Leads, it will not be able to find it. Most tools out there offer a cross-object search, even custom objects as well.
Also, you need to keep in mind the edition of Salesforce that you are using. The most comprehensive deduping features will only be available in the Unlimited version, which is the most expensive one. The good news is that there are plenty of tools out there that can help you catch all of your duplicates without requiring an upgrade to Salesforce itself. As you go about your search and implementation, be sure to keep in mind the following five tips for implementing a Salesforce deduplication tool.
Don't forget to check out: Salesforce Duplicate Management: How does Salesforce Help in Managing Duplicate Data?
Assess the Current State of Affairs
Before you begin the implementation process, you need to understand how severe the duplicate issue is and how they are coming into Salesforce. This information will allow you to measure the effectiveness of the tool after you implemented it. For example, if you have integrations that are creating or updating records on objects with rules, you will need to test them to make sure that leads will not get lost due to the introduction of the tool. This is especially true if you have Web to Lead enabled since you will have to be careful about creating additional rules.
Also, you need to consider how data is added to the system. If users are making manual edits, importing contacts, or using third-party integrations, these could all be a source of duplicates. Based on this information, you need to determine whether a particular tool addresses the issue you are experiencing. A lot of products out there will require you to upload your data into Salesforce and then run a duplicate check. This could only exacerbate the problems you are already experiencing so look for something that does the duplicate search prior to import.
Learn How the Tool Works
While this may appear to be common sense, a lot of companies implement a deduplication tool without completely understanding how it works. This refers to both the technical aspects of the solution and how it meets your business needs. For example, a lot of products out there require you to set up to catch the so-called “fuzzy duplicates.” This could become extremely burdensome and time-consuming if you have to keep setting up new rules for each type of scenario and the entire thing might become too complicated to manage. Therefore you need to understand how much time and effort you will need to put in in order to make the tool function correctly.
A good alternative to such a rule-based approach is to use tools that leverage machine learning to dedupe the data. The huge benefit here is that the system will automatically learn to identify duplicates on its own, without being explicitly programmed to do so. Imagine how much time and resources such a tool could save your company since the setup time will be greatly reduced and there will be less system maintenance required.
Teach Your Employees How It Works
Regardless of the product you choose, your employees will have an opinion on it one way or the other. This is why it is important to tell your users why this is such a good change and how it will help them in their day-to-day jobs. Beyond simply showing your employees how the tool works, you need to make sure that there is somebody they can turn to for help to overcome usability issues. All of this will minimize the pushback you will receive. A lot of companies offer a free trial of their product which allows you to get employees involved in the process since nobody understands the problems of duplicates quite like the people working with the data on a daily basis.
When you collect all of the feedback, there will undoubtedly be a list of things they would like to see improved. Be sure to relay this information to the service provider to see if they can address these issues with an update or they plan to release new features in the future that address your concerns. The last thing you want to do is implement a solution and ask your employees to figure it out for themselves. This is a recipe for disaster.
Follow Good Change Management Practices
While a lot of attention has been given to the technical and business aspects of the tool itself, the transition will entirely depend on you. Thesis does not have to be a painful, cumbersome process especially if the old deduplication tool was not getting the job done. It would be best to approach the transition from one software to another the same way you would approach the start of a new project. It will take up time to study all of the aspects of the tool to make sure it fits your needs, make adjustments, teach people how to use it, and other things that need to be accounted for.
One of the most critical factors you need to consider is timing. Your employees are working hard to meet deadlines and contacting customers and if you make a sudden change, this could cause them a lot of troubles. You always need to keep in mind that the reason you are implementing the tool, to begin with, is to simplify the lives of your employees. So be sure to pick out the right time for the transition and make sure to plan for all of the training testing and training as well. While it may all seem costly and time-consuming, a failed implementation will be even more expensive.
Check out an amazing Salesforce tutorial video here: Campaigns in Salesforce | Salesforce Tutorial
Tracking the Results
The only way to know if you made the right decision in implementing the tool is to keep track of key metrics which goes beyond simply counting how many duplicates you have. For Example, look at things like the sales activity of each representative. Are they more productive after the transition? In addition to tracking numbers, be sure to ask for feedback from the employees as well. A lot of times there will be usability issues that cannot be tracked by statistics alone or processes that are not efficient from the employee perspective. The people on the ground who speak with customers on a daily basis will have a better understanding in terms of whether or not a particular tool is useful.
It is important to have continuous feedback because you may be receiving complaints about particular issues, relaying them to your admins and they are always fixing or customizing some aspects of the tool which may be too costly from a time standpoint. For example, if you keep having to set up new rules to catch duplicates, this is not sustainable since it means you will have to keep creating more and more to address each issue. Therefore it is important to keep track of all kinds of data that will give you a complete picture of how you’re doing from the technical, usability, and cost perspectives.
The Options are Endless
When you log onto the Salesforce AppExchange, there are lots of different deduping apps for you to choose from. When conducting initial research, it may be difficult to get apples to apple comparison since the strategies each tool uses will differ from one another. While a lot of websites will offer a lot of information about their product and how they compare with the competition, the best way to truly find out how effective it is would be to try it for yourself.