When's the last time you did a deep clean of your CRM? What did you find?
Chances are there were at least a few contacts repeated in there.
Were you aware that those redundancies can actually be holding your business back? Duplicated data can be a nuisance, especially if it gets out of control.
That's why it's important to practice data deduplication.
What Is Data Deduplication?
Data deduplication is the process of eliminating redundant (or duplicate) data in a database, like your CRM. Extra copies of a contact, submission, or record are deleted or merged so that only one copy is stored.
Think of it like this: Each contact in your phone has several copies with different name variations for the same person and phone number.
Even though it's all relevant information and technically accurate, you don't need four different contact entries for your mom, right?
So, the logical thing to do when cleaning up your contact list is to delete the excessive entires and keep the most accurate ones in your phone. This saves you storage space and it's just nicer to look at.
How Duplicate Data Can Hurt Your Business
Unfortunately, duplicate data happens to even the best of us. It can happen for a wide variety of reasons too.
It may seem like a rather empty problem, but duplicate data does have an actual impact on your business's efficiency and productivity.
It Clutters Your CRM.
Calling back to your phone's contact list, a messy CRM isn't good for anybody. It makes keeping up with leads, managing workflows, and understanding your company's audience overly complex.
Your HubSpot CRM can do a lot for you with its incredible functionality and integration capabilities, but you're definitely tying one arm behind its back if you have a ton of duplicate data.
It Can Negatively Impact Your Brand.
Your customers are what fuel your business. But what happens when you cut the gas line?
If you can't effectively manage communication with them because your contact data is all out of sorts, then you'll lose credibility and relevance in their eyes.
No one likes receiving multiple emails, calls, or mail with different names addressed, even though the content is the same.
But that's what can happen as a result of duplicate data. You're just setting yourself up to appear disorganized. Which, in reality, you are.
It Decreases the Efficiency of Your Sales Team.
It's not productive for your sales reps to reach out to the same prospect under the guise of two or more contacts in your database. And it isn't fun for the prospect either.
They'll likely get annoyed and drop out of your pipeline.
Your CRM is meant to give you a comprehensive overview of your customers, so duplicate data pretty much defeats the purpose.
Salespeople have to manage their time wisely, and it's no good if they're chasing their own tails because they have multiple records of the same contact.
It Delivers a Poor Customer Experience.
Speaking of annoying your customers, inaccurate data makes it much harder for customer service reps to respond to customer issues in a timely and effective manner.
Customers are all about personalized care and high quality experiences. If they present a need or a complaint to your service team, they aren't going to take "Sorry, I couldn't figure out which John Doe you were" as an acceptable excuse.
They'll just move on to one of your competitors instead.
It Confuses Analytics.
It's wise to use your data to build strategies and make decisions, but what happens when your data isn't accurate?
All metrics, analytics, and forecasting becomes unreliable if your database is cluttered and ineffective. You won't be able to make informed decisions, which has a direct impact on the development of your business.
It Wastes Marketing Resources.
Sending out repetitive messaging to the same contact every time you launch a new marketing campaign is a waste of your marketing team's time and hard work.
Eventually, recipients will stop opening emails, which eventually lands your outreach in the dreaded spam folder. That's a marketer's worst nightmare, especially when a lot of time has been put into a campaign.
Data Deduplication Techniques
Thankfully, there are different techniques and processes you can follow to try and eliminate as much duplicate data as possible. Your business doesn't have to suffer from cluttered databases if you practice these methods:
Copy Data Management (CDM) Platforms
These are products designed to both protect data and organize it as well.
CDM platforms enable users to re-use static data and optimize their databases to be more efficient and effective.
Powered by deduplication technology, users can confidently back up their data without the concern of saving multiple entries for later import.
Pre-duplication is the process of actively deduplicating data before sending it across the company network and confusing the entire organization.
It's a matter of mindfulness, where you check your work after manual entry, to save yourself time and headaches later.
If you can curb the issue before it hits an even larger scale, like your company's network, then you'll be able to avoid some of the problems we listed above.
5 Ways You Can Deduplicate Data in HubSpot
HubSpot has features that automatically deduplicate contacts, companies, deals, and more when they're created through a form submission or an import.
You can also manually manage any duplicates that may have slipped through the cracks. You can deduplicate data the following ways:
1. By Usertoken
A usertoken is created when a new contact is added to HubSpot via form submission. HubSpot can detect usertokens that come from the same browser and computer via cookies, indicating duplicated contacts.
HubSpot allows you to merge those submissions into one contact.
2. By Email
You can locate matching email properties after a new contact is added from either an import or form submission.
If a contact already exists in the CRM with that email address, then the existing record will be updated with the new contact information.
3. By Company Domain Name
Companies can be added to your database, and HubSpot will recognize them as a company domain name property value.
If a company domain name already exists when you're importing contacts, then the existing record will be updated with the new company information.
Be careful, though! If you don't include this field in your import, then each row of your import file will be imported as a new company record, making the problem worse.
4. By Object ID
This applies to any new contact, company, deal, ticket, or product added through import.
Use a unique object ID to match new records with existing ones in HubSpot. By searching for an object ID, you can locate duplicate records and deduplicate them during the import process.
5. By Merging Contacts
For HubSpot users at Professional and Enterprise levels, you can navigate to your contacts and companies database and click on the "Action" dropdown menu. Select "Manage duplicates" and review your records' properties.
Once you've reviewed and updated the desired records, select the contact or company you want to keep and click "Merge" to merge all duplicates of that record together.
How to Keep Your CRM Data Clean
Keeping your CRM clean as a whole is a great practice, even beyond the concern of duplicate data. It just benefits every department if you can manage a simple, organized database.
Here are some tips on maintaining a clean CRM:
Make Sure Data Is Formatted Before Importing.
It's not uncommon for data and fields to get confused while exporting from one software system and importing into another, especially when it comes to spreadsheets.
Make sure that the exported file aligns with the requirements of the new system's import process by matching titles, headers, and formatting.
If you don't, you'll likely see a lot of errors and duplicate data enter the system.
Only Import the Important Stuff.
You don't have to drag in every detail of every contact imaginable.
When importing leads, be aware of where the data is coming from and how much data there is. It should align with the necessary fields that your CRM utilizes.
If you find fields that are no longer relevant, delete them. You don't have to hold onto everything just for the sake of posterity.
Keep your CRM organized by prioritizing important data that your business will actually leverage.
Verify Visitor Information.
Avoid people entering false contact information to gain access to your content by using validation technology on your email and phone number fields.
Most CRMs today can verify if a submitted email address is active or not. This will spare you from a cluttered database full of fake or dead leads.
You can also defend against bots with reCAPTCHA added to your forms!
Purge Dead Contacts.
Removing unresponsive contacts is just as necessary for a healthy CRM as deleting duplicates.
When a contact has unsubscribed or frequently has emails bounce, it's a pretty good indication that they're no longer interested in your business.
If that's the case, then you don't have to feel bad clearing them out. You'll be able to focus your efforts on engaged and active leads instead.
Data deduplication is key to keeping any CRM in functioning order. Thankfully, services like HubSpot take the pain out of the process, making it easy to get yourself back on track.
Take a look at your database and see if there's any work to be done!