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If you create it in SFDC first, you risk creating a dupe in Marketo later, which is what you are experiencing.
I'm not sure why Marketo is creating a new lead in SFDC in this process. Perhaps it is because it hasn't yet seen the Contact if it hasn't yet made it to Marketo.
Most firms that I've heard that do this now send the info via API to marketo.
I guess I'm wondering why you are writing the email address to Marketo before they even finish the fill out process. Why not wait until they finalize their registration? Are you trying to retain the email address before they abandon the form?
Perhaps you can write the email to Marketo, sync it over as a Lead, then write the rest of the data to both Marketo and SFDC, having SFDC pick up the lead/contact and do its thing.
I'd ask some SFDC folks. Maybe the guys at Perkuto or OpFocus can help here.
Could this be because the record (when entered manually) doesn't have a Munchkin attached to it?
Marketo does de-dupe by email address, but my understanding is that this is only because of the Munchkin being able to track the lead's activity. If the record is already in the database and someone with the Munchkin cookie fills out the form, Marketo would recognize it as two records.
When a lead is entered into Marketo, you could trigger an email with a link to the form you'd like them complete. By clicking on the link, they'd be forced to visit a landing page with the Munchkin to install and any future activity would be appended to their record.
Might be worth a shot. Otherwise, I'm not sure why it'd create a duplicate.
Rebekah, we have a similar use case with a SaaS app and have experimented with a two-step registration.
Our process was similar to what Josh suggested -- create the lead record in Marketo via the API with whatever information you collect in the first step (even if just an email address), then supplement the record with more fields as you receive them using the email as the key.
Your Marketo rules should handle when the lead is synched to SFDC, ideally only once you have the minimum fields (name, company) in addition to email.
Then you can auto-convert the SFDC lead to Account/Contact if that is your preferred structure (we have a simple apex trigger that does this without creating irrelevant opportunities).
It sounds like your app is creating Accounts/Contacts directly in SFDC -- I would suggest taking a Marketo-first approach here so you have the cookie associated with the record and then let Marketo drive the creation of records in SFDC.
You then have the problem of reconciling the two databases. We pass back the SFDC Account and Contact IDs to Marketo as custom fields, and from there into our app, so our app can match the accounts in its own database with the records in SFDC for further updates.
So yeah, we do write the initial lead into Marketo, and all we have is the email address. it does not at that point have munchkin associated to it since the first page is not a domain we own, but on step 2 of the process, it is a page we own and we are able to tie the cookie back to that record. i don't know how it works, it's magic. To answer Josh's question, we capture them at step 1 for exactly what he suggested, so we know who started the process (and who completed it or didn't complete it). it's been a good marketing tool for us so, i wanna keep it.
anyway, the only other complication is that we live out of accounts (not contacts/leads), which is why we have that last action of writing it to sfdc as an account/contact. pardot was able to sync it just fine without creating duplicates. i like justin's idea of creating it on completion in marketo (the lead) and then doing the apex trigger after, if that would solve it that would be amazing.
i just need to find someone who can help me with that. anybody know a guy?? i have someone on my team who's doing all the work from the product, but he doesn't know SFDC as well. :/
Josh suggested a few names above and I think either would serve you well. Good luck!