The Quick & Easy Way to Manage Duplicates in Salesforce

Duplicate record sets can be a low-lift, high-impact feature for maintaining your org’s Salesforce data. Here’s why you should set them up ASAP.

If you’re a new Salesforce org, or one with a tight budget, make sure you know about duplicate record sets.

Duplicate record sets are a Salesforce feature/object that can detect duplicate records in your instance. They’ll appear as flags on individual records, and can also be included in reports.

Here’s how it looks on an individual Salesforce record…

…and here’s how it looks in a report.

The record count is showing that there are 2 Contacts tied to a single “Duplicate record set”. This is how I typically stay on top of merging duplicates in my org.

Now, we all know duplicates are a pain. They’re a pain from the moment they enter your system, and a pain to stay on top of as well.

But if you’re not using a third-party de-duping tool, here are 3 good reasons why you should absolutely set this up in your org today.

1. It’s a free, solid option for maintaining your data.

Many of us can’t justify the budget required for a fancy (expensive) duplicate cleaning tool….especially these days! In the meantime, manual duplicate management – even if occasional – is better than none at all.

2. It’s not complicated to set up, and even easier to act on.

You don’t need a consultant or someone highly technical to set up this feature. It just takes a bit of self-learning – which you can definitely do if you follow the links towards the end of this post.

3. If used reliably, it can go a long way.

In my org, I’ve merged at least 2,500 duplicates since I started using duplicate reports. That type of cleanup is what makes our database usable, reliable, and cost-effective.

Pro-tip: Even if you’ve got tons of storage in your Salesforce org, remember that records always cost in some way. This is especially true of duplicates.

Now, here are the steps to start using Duplicate Record sets.

1. Configure your Matching Rules.

Matching rules are what you use to set the “matching” logic for two, like records. They tell Salesforce which fields (and what level of exactness) it should consider when flagging a record as a duplicate.

Your matching rules can be found by going to Salesforce > Setup > Matching Rules.

2. Next, configure your Duplicate Rules.

Think of a Matching Rule as your key, and a Duplicate rule as the ignition to your car. Create a new duplicate rule, select your desired matching rule, map the fields (this will make more sense once you’re there) and determine which actions need to take place whenever a duplicate triggers that rule.

Your duplicate rules can be found by going to Salesforce > Setup > Duplicate Rules.

3. Create a custom report to track duplicates.

Custom reports are super easy to create. Just add a new report type for the Duplicate Record Set object, and then build a new report using that type. That report can then be used to stay on top of the number of dupes in your system. (My team checks this report daily, but you can also subscribe so that you get reminders straight to your inbox.)

You can set up a custom report type in Salesforce > Setup > Report Types.

For step-by-step instructions on each of these steps, check out the Duplicate Management Trailhead Module offered by Salesforce. (If you’re short on time and don’t need the added context, skip ahead to the Resolve and Prevent Duplicate Data module.)

4. Once you’ve identified your duplicates, get to merging!

Assuming your duplicate rules are primarily for Accounts, Contacts & Leads, then you can merge those records in a matter of clicks. Here are instructions for merging Contacts in Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic.

p.s. if you’re still on Salesforce Classic, you’ll want to move over to Lightning real soon.

And there you have it! One step closer to a cleaner Salesforce org. If you’re brand new to Salesforce, here are 4 other things you can start getting a handle on.

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