Back to Basics: Account & Contact Record Merging

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Welcome the third edition of the Back to Basics series!  The Back to Basics series comprises the topics that will help get you to get started in your Salesforce journey but will also serve as a reminder for seasoned users who want to revisit Salesforce core functionality.

Last week I wrote about Page Layouts (creating, editing and assigning).  This week’s edition is about merging Account and Contact records for those situations where you have dreaded duplicate records!  This is just one of the options you have to ensure your Org is “healthy” with regards to quality data.  For me, more importantly, good quality data and a single source of truth ensures that users trust the system.  If users don’t trust the system and the data that’s in it, user adoption will rapidly decline.

Data quality is a huge topic with many solutions and tools available to Salesforce Admins and one that certainly warrants a separate Blog.  This is being worked on and will be published soon.

So back to merging duplicate Account and Contact records.  This is a function available to Salesforce Admins and to those users who have the “Delete” permission on Accounts and Contacts.

Scenario

The scenario for this example is:

Phil Smith works in the Sales team for ACME Corporation.  Phil has returned from a meeting with a potential new client and he wants to create a Contact and Account record in Salesforce immediately to allow him to enter the contact details, meeting notes and that all important Opportunity.  So far, so good…….

The next day when he goes to enter additional account details which he realised he hadn’t entered yesterday, Phil searches for his Account (named L&D Corporation) and gets this result:

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He can see his Account, but he can also see that Rob Davidson also has a record for L&D Corporation.

Problem

From looking at Rob’s record in more detail, he can see that there is a Contact but no Cases, Activities or notes etc. and the record seems to have been created as a placeholder some time ago.  Phil contacts Rob and the decision is made for Rob’s record to be deleted and for Phil to be the Account Owner for L&D Corporation.

As there is a Contact in Rob’s Account, we can’t (shouldn’t!) delete the record therefore, the option we have is to merge the records.  This means that all related information in Rob’s record will be added to Phil’s record.

Merging Accounts

To merge the duplicate Accounts, Phil needs to contact a member of the Salesforce Admin team as he doesn’t have the required permissions to merge Accounts (the “Delete” permission on Accounts is required to merge Account records).

The Salesforce Admin goes to the  Account tab and selects Merge Accounts [1] from the Tools menu:

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The Salesforce Admin then types L&D (the first part of the Account name) into the search box [1] then clicks Find Accounts [2].

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There are only two records for L&D Corporation however, it is possible to select up to three records to merge in this step.

When the Salesforce Admin clicks next, they see the two Account records side by side in a vertical view.

Tip: When I am merging records, I always select the Master Record [1] and scroll through all the fields to double check that any information that may be on the record to be deleted, will be captured and saved on the remaining record.

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Once the Salesforce Admin is happy they have all the necessary data in the Master Record, they click Merge [2].  A warning message is always presented before the merge is completed and you can still cancel the process at this time.  If you are happy to proceed, click OK.

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Now when Phil searches for L&D Corporation, only one Account record is returned in the search results.

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However, there’s a problem.  Phil can see there are two Contacts [1] named Jeff Storrie related to this Account and there should only be one!

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Merging Contacts

To allow Phil to log his Activities, Notes, Tasks, Emails etc. against the correct Contact record, the records need to be merged.  Phil knows he needs to contact a member of the Salesforce Admin team as,  like with Account record merging, he doesn’t have the permissions to merge Contact records.

The Salesforce Admin can get to the merge Contacts page from the Related List on the Account record [either hover over the Contacts Related List then click Merge Contacts or click the Contacts Related List and click Merge Contacts].

From here, the process is the same as when merging Account records.

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The Salesforce Admin types the name of the Contact into the search box [1] then clicks Find Contacts [2].

When the Salesforce Admin clicks next, they see the two Contact records side by side in a vertical view.

Tip: When I am merging records, I always select the Master Record [1] and also scroll through all the fields to double check that any information that may be on the record to be deleted, will be captured and saved on the remaining record.

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Once the Salesforce Admin is happy they have all the necessary data in the Master Record, they click Merge [2].  A warning message will again be presented before the merge is completed and you can still cancel the process at this time.  If you are happy to proceed, click OK.

Now when Phil searches for Jeff Storrie in Salesforce, only one Contact record is returned.

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I hope you enjoyed this weeks Back to Basics edition.  Look out for the next Blog of this series titled “Publisher Actions and Utilising Search Options”.

Useful links:

Merging Duplicate Accounts – https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewHelpDoc?id=account_merge.htm

Merging Duplicate Contacts – https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewHelpDoc?id=contacts_merge.htm

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