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What are some best practices for data purging?
A few types of leads you can usually safely delete:
1. Junk leads - invalid email address, fake/funky demographic data, temporary email addresses
2. Stale leads with generic email addresses - did not engage with you in any way for over 1- 1,5 years
3. Records marked "Inactive" by data enrichment tools if you use any - this usually means they no longer work in the company, we usually try to find where they moved, but if that is not possible we delete them
I'm trying to think of cases in which I could un-sync leads from Marketo, but leave them in Salesforce. But, if they take an action, how do I get them to re-sync to Marketo?
If you delete a record from Marketo, but keep it in SFDC, and then this person comes back and fills one of your forms, Marketo will create a new lead for this both in Marketo and SFDC, so you will end up with 2 records of the same person in SFDC and 1 record in Marketo. Without using any third party tools there is no way to sync records from SFDC to Marketo when a deleted lead takes action.
We did this in many different ways over the years, I would say there are 3 main approaches:
1. Delete leads from Marketo, keep them in SFDC + no restrictions on the sync between SFDC and Marketo
Pros: The easiest and least time consuming to implement, implementation only on Marketo side
Cons: Not very reliable - deleted record will sync back into Marketo the moment someone updates that record, i.e modstamp date changes
Will work for a time as long as you don't have any batch jobs updating large parts of your SFDC database; some of the records will eventually trickle back into Marketo, you will have to repeat this exercise fairly regularly if you need to keep your database size under a certain limit
2. Delete leads from Marketo, keep them in SFDC + restricting Marketo access to deleted records through sharing rules
Pros: Allows to delete records from Marketo and reliably prevent them from syncing back
Cons: Requires implementation on both SFDC and Marketo side, setting up sharing rules correctly might be tricky, will create more duplicate records than usual in both systems
Will work well if you have SFDC resources and some kind of deduplication solution to regularly dedupe your SFDC database.
3. Delete leads from both Marketo and SFDC
Pros: Saves the trouble of having to repeat Marketo cleanup or constantly dedupe the database, THE most reliable way to get rid of the old records
Cons: Loss of data; usually meets a lot of resistance from SFDC admins
This is by far my favorite approach, I tried everything above and everything in between and came to a conclusion that if you can safely delete a lead from Marketo in many cases you can safely delete this lead from SFDC as well. I know many marketers are reluctant to delete any leads as it costs a lot of sweat and blood to generate them + we want historical data, but it is very unlikely that junk and stale leads will generate any revenue for your org, the cost of Marketo database + resources required to maintain solution 1 or 2 are usually higher than potential revenue/benefits from keeping old leads in the system.
It usually takes a few rounds of Marketo only cleanups to arrive to solution 3, so if it's your first time doing something like this try solution 1.
Last but not least, no matter what approach you choose always create a back up of your data (back up your production instance to SFDC sandbox if you are doing it on SFDC side, export Marketo leads data into spreadsheets, etc.), it's safer and will make all the parties involved feel more comfortable with deleting records.
Also here is a good discussion on a similar topic - Deleting Leads From Marketo Only and not Salesforce
Iryna, thank you SO much for your response!
Solution 3 is what I think I will go for, because we are way over on storage for both platforms. I'm curious to hear your thoughts/workflows when it comes to Unsubscribed leads/contacts. Do you feel it's necessary to keep them? I was thinking my first wave of purging would be to remove anyone who is unsubscribed and hasn't taken any web action in over a year. What do you think?
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Hey Sarah, sure, my pleasure! My first choice is usually to delete records with bad data; unsubs with no activity are also good candidates for deletion, as you can't really reach them anyway.