12 Replies Latest reply on Jul 7, 2017 2:21 PM by Grégoire Michel

    Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads

    Tom Kerlin



      I was wondering if someone could share their process for handling possible duplicate leads. I currently have 6,500+ leads in my Possible Duplicates system smart list (using just the default Duplicate Field Name is Email Address) and wasn't sure if there was a better way to merge lead records aside from going through the list manually or using a third party service. Is there a certain number figure or percentage (of total database) for when duplicates should be considered a major issue? Do you manage these leads on a monthly or annual basis and if so, how?


      I found a Product Docs article that relates: Automate an Alert for Possible Duplicate Leads - Marketo Docs - Product Docs

      Has anybody tried implementing this approach? If so, please share your thoughts!


      Thanks for your help,



        • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
          Grégoire Michel

          Hi Tom,


          You are reaching a volume where the help of a third party tool might make sense. Look into Ringlead or Leadonnace, both are available in the launchpoint.


          I am afraid that an automated alert is going to overwhelm your mailbox...



          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
            Wyatt Bales

            Hi Tom,


            Having more than 1,000 duplicates usually means more than a couple days work using the manual merge tool within Marketo which isn't cost effective. Marketo Professional Services offers the EasyMerge service which provides you a report of all the merge changes before flipping the switch. It's an affordable one-time fix that can also help you dig into the root cause.


            Before completing the merge, I recommend using a 'Lead is Created' trigger, a short wait step, evaluate if it's a possible duplicate, and add it to a static list. Then once a week merge the records on the list (or have your college intern do it if you're lucky enough to have one).

            4 of 5 people found this helpful
            • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
              Leanne Persang

              Data quality assurance is essential. Why is yet another third party tool required for Marketo? We also have a large amount of duplicates, but I find it hard to justify additional spend on something that should be built into Marketo. Tom, did you explore the costs for the third party tool or EasyMerge service?

              • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
                Jeff Coveney

                Tom, as others have suggested, look at a 3rd party tool to help you with this one-time merge. But this could just be like putting a bandaid on the problem. Your 6,500 dups suggest there is a bigger picture problem that's happening on an ongoing basis.


                Once you get the dups gone/reduced, consider evaluating your lead input processes. A few areas to look at:

                - Make sure all lead forms flow into Marketo first. This will auto dedup on email address. If you have any APIs or SF Web-to-lead forms, those can create dups

                - Make sure that your CRM and Marketo are in sync as much as possible. Otherwise, a new lead can enter one system and populate to the other as a dup.

                - Enforce best practices with the Sales team. Before they enter a person into SF, they should check to see if the record already exists. 3rd party apps like Ring Lead help with this process.

                - Stop the madness of importing people into Salesforce.....that can create dup.

                - Look for 3rd party apps (Zoom info, Data.com, etc) that populate SF w dups when names are brought in automatically.

                Good luck and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
                    Dan Stevens

                    Hi Jeff - to keep entry into CRM to a minimum (at the lead entity level), is it realistic to potentially prohibit the entry of leads by Sales and everything flow through Marketo?  We're throwing this idea around and getting some resistance (since Marketing isn't the source of all leads as Sales runs their own "sales campaigns" without Marketing involvement). We too have a duplicates issue that we are trying to get under control. Getting creative with the custom sync filter is another area we're focusing on (and will be the basis for my Summit session in April).

                      • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
                        Grégoire Michel

                        Hi Dan


                        This is good question. We have many customer that do exactly what you suggest: prohibiting the sales to enter leads and have them to entre only contacts as they are supposed to know enough to be able to create also an account if necessary. It really depends on the roles you assign to the sales in the lead management process, and more precisely in the prospection tasks: If the sales are supposed to do cold call prospection, then letting them entering leads so that they can start logging info from the early beginning of their prospection work will be necessary.



                        • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
                          Shannon Kelly

                          Hi Dan,

                          We spent a lot of effort getting rid of hundreds of duplicates that were in both Dynamics and Marketo when we started with Marketo, but now have it under control, although we have to monitor constantly. And some problems have remained persistent. (Old duplicates that are Inactive still interfere with sync.) We have emphasized with sales that they should look for duplicates before creating any new records.

                          If one is at the point of not allowing Sales to create new leads, what about the option of a customized Marketo form for Sales to enter the new leads? I haven't set this up, and can certainly think of some cons, but it could cut down on duplicates since Marketo sees the info first.

                          Best, Shannon

                            • Re: Best Practices for Managing Possible Duplicate Leads
                              Dan Stevens

                              You bring up one of our key pain points that we've been experiencing - and that's "inactive" leads in CRM remaining visible to Marketo.  We never delete in real-time - instead, when a lead is disqualified or qualified (contact created; or merged into existing contact), that lead is deactivated.  Once Marketo records the status, it should never have access to those inactive leads again.  We have a working session next week to figure out ways around this.


                              I'd also be interested in the strategy/tactics you used to get both of your environments under control.