The Impact of Duplicates in Your CRM System


How did those duplicates get in your Oracle CRM On Demand? Maybe it was when two CRM systems were integrated, or maybe a trade show list was imported multiple times. It could even have happened like a slow leak; a few from one rep, a few from customer or tech support and then, BOOM! before you know it, there are too many to count! The problem is that duplicates waste your time and cost you money. A lot of time and money.

The Impact of Duplicates in Your CRM System


We know from years of experience that bad data can cost time and money. The statistic that comes up over and over is that users will spend a few, say 2 minutes, searching through the database for a contact. Those two minutes of wasted time searching for a name adds up over the course of a year. If you think of that wasted time as money lost, you could lose up to 5% of your revenue a year.

In a company that makes $20,000,000 in sales revenue a year, that’s $1,000,000 per year lost simply because of bad data quality.

Studies have shown that if you don’t actively go after your duplicates, your list will develop up to 20% duplicate records in a year. And while most CRM on Demand users have some sort of plan in place, let’s show you some quick and easy solutions to getting your data back in order.

Photo Credit: Danielle Hawk

Photo Credit: Danielle Hawk

Do An Assessment - Rip Off the Bandaid

It’s a classic head in the sand problem. But without an idea of how many duplicates are in the system, you won’t know how to attack the problem. We have a solution for you. Run your database through our free assessment tool, the Data Quality Report. In just a few minutes, you’ll get a pretty good idea of how surprisingly dirty (or clean) things are.

Once you have the knowledge, then you’ll have an opportunity to be the hero - and show your boss how you turned the CRM system from a hot mess to a fast acting gem of a product. Don’t worry, it’s free, and very secure. And we promise we won’t tell a soul what the results are.

So, We’ve Got (a few) Duplicates? Now What?

Manual deduping is one option. You could also cobble together a report, find the duplicates, and delete them one by one, or make the summer intern do it. It will be long and tedious.

There is an easier way - you can use CleanCRM. There are lots of deduping third party applications out there. Some are free, but they may not do a good enough job at finding all the duplicates. But you’ll probably want one that will know that Bob Symthe at AT&T is the same as Robert Smith at At&t. Or that Rebecca MacIntire at International Business Machines might be the same as Becky McIntyre at IBM. For that kind of advanced logic, you’ll need the strength of CleanCRM.

CleanCRM is embedded into your CRM system, so it’s not a one-time fix. You can use it right away to get rid of a bunch of duplicates, and then schedule regular tune ups so the problem stays in control.

Ok, Phew. We Are (mostly) Duplicate-Free. How Do We Prevent Them From Coming Back?

5 Good Ways To Prevent Duplicates

1. Create Good Data Entry Practices

  • Make sure that when your users search for contacts, they take into account misspelled names, nicknames (Robert vs. Bob) and abbreviations like IBM vs. International Business Machines before entering in a new name.

  • If you have a lot of international names, watch for accents, middle names entered into either the first or last name fields, or phonetic spellings.

  • Find a system that has fuzzy logic written into it, so that instead of your users having to think of all the variants, the software does it for you and presents you with choices before you decide to create a new record.

2. Watch Your Outside Lists

Don’t enter twice. Make sure that when there is a trade show or event the list only gets entered in once. Have a single point of entry, or be sure that your system is capable of finding records right away, even if several people are entering in at once.

3. Have a Plan

Know what you will do if you only have partial information. Groupon, for example, in their training video instructs their users to put a title into the name field if they don’t have one. You could also use a handy application, like CleanVerify, to enrich and update fields like zip codes or verify that emails are valid.

4. Create regularly scheduled dupe checks

  • Schedule deduping runs on a regular basis so the problem doesn’t spiral out of control again.

  • We suggest running a dupe check once a month at minimum. Some of our clients use our scheduler, which allows you to run automatic recurring scans.

5. Educate The People Who Are Entering The Data

Make sure that everyone who has access to the CRM On Demand system is following the same set of rules. This will ensure that leads are entered both correctly and consistently. In the Groupon video, the instructor mentions that they should use upper and lower case, not upper case, but we have also heard of clients who use all caps. Whatever you choose, just make sure everyone is doing it.

Now that you’ve taken the step to clean up your database and put preventative measures in place, you should be running faster and cleaner. Less headaches, less complaints... and a better, more productive company.

Get all the tools you need to clean up your database, find records, and prevent duplicate entries at

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