Data Deduplication Software Guide

Table of Contents

    With such a large amount of important data saved in our computers, making routine software backups is critical. This includes everything from our emails to Word and PDF documents, from revenue spreadsheets to user activity logs, and so much more. 

    But storing large amounts of duplicate data isn’t the answer. 

    Because most revenue operations teams work with and manage large amounts of contact and account data, and many tools capture data automatically, it’s not difficult to miss just how much has been resaved and recopied. This leads to data storage burdens. 

    Let’s explore the challenges of cross-system data management, what deduplication is, how it works, how to select the best data deduplication software, and some options to choose from. 

    Why duplicate data is such a gigantic problem

    Here are the top challenges of having redundant records in your CRM, marketing automation, and other sales and CS tools: 

    • Ops bandwidth suffers. Ops teams can certainly keep the systems clean manually with Python scripts or Excel wizardly, but no one wants that job. It’s exhausting, imports are error-prone, and scripts are static, occasional tools for managing data.
    • Sales gets frustrated. Or worse: ignores the duplicate error notifications in Salesforce. But seriously, who can blame them? Duplicates are someone else’s problem. That is, sales teams tend to ignore the errors until they come back to be deeply problematic, like when opening up an opportunity, only to discover there’s already an opportunity somewhere else in the business with that account. 
    • Marketing channels suffer. Email newsletters with duplicate contacts can seriously harm domain health and the ability to maintain a marketable database.

    However, the main problem with too many duplicate records in your CRM, marketing automation, or customer success tools is that resolving it requires lots of manual cleanup. This is required to fix duplicate errors and to prevent inaccurate records from jeopardizing your customers’ experience.

    For example, let’s say two leads exist in Salesforce. They’re the same person, but that person has different emails. As a result, two sales reps contact the same person via those emails, or the marketing newsletter goes to that person twice. That person will likely mark your email as spam.

    [Related: Salesforce deduplication and beyond: How to dedupe leads across your stack]

    What is data deduplication?

    So, what exactly is data deduplication? It’s simply the process of eliminating redundant records.

    Anytime you add new data to an existing record, whether an account or contact, or create a new record, you’re filling in some number of fields with available information. A small number of these fields are required for matching new information to existing records. And only if there are no matches can a new record be created without risk of redundancy.These “match IDs” are things like email, physical address, phone number, first and last name for contacts, or website domain, HQ address, company name for accounts. Generally, the most reliable match fields are considered email for contacts and web domain for accounts.

    Any business looking to grow should consider deduplication software to improve its Go-To-Market efficiency when pulling data from a source. Your entire growth strategy will slow if your teams are working with different information, and some data won’t even reach them if it fails to merge due to sync errors.

    [Related: Defining data excellence with Eliya Elon (interview)]

    How does deduplication work?

    Data deduplication isn’t as complex as it sounds. You can use deduplication software to eliminate most (or even all) manual work. These tools rely on match IDs like email or web domain to merge duplicate records. Often there are normalization rules, such as removing “https://” from web domains, or forcing lowercase on all emails, to apply before running duplicate lookups. Then once a duplicate is identified, logic needs to be in place to determine which record’s data to prioritize for which fields, given certain assumptions about the reliability of the data in each record.

    Let’s say you use HubSpot for your CRM. Your team wants to dedupe data, such as its marketing contacts, before syncing it with Salesloft. HubSpot has deduplication features you can use, which might work fine if the only thing you were looking at was a single bi-directional sync.But because these features live inside of HubSpot itself, a problem arises for almost every operator in today’s tech teams: there are just too many systems to manage duplicates only in one of them. When your GTM stack extends to CRM, sales engagement, marketing automation, and then into CS and ERP or billing tools, you’ll need more deduplication firepower to get the job done in real time. 

    But this isn’t necessary when using a RevOps automation platform such as Syncari. You can dedupe records while each one syncs rather than manually in batch jobs. And you can run deduplication across your entire GTM stack

    [Related: Limitations of data integration methods: ETL vs. ELT. vs. Reverse ETL]

    How to select the best data deduplication software

    Depending on how your deduplication is performed, the best way to select, implement, and integrate data will vary. Here are some general principles to follow to select the right deduplication approach. 

    1. Know the nature of your data.

    Most SaaS Go-To-Market tactics rely almost exclusively on email, which means most deduplication efforts can count on almost every record having an email to check for uniqueness. 

    But maybe you’re a big cold calling shop, or maybe you’re creating contacts for an ecommerce site prior to collecting an email; you’ll have to find alternative ways of uniquely identifying your records. The right tool will be able to support your particular dataset.

    2. Know you will have outliers.

    Sure, every record has an email. But what if groups or aliases are hiding among those emails? So two contacts have the same email address, but are truly two different people? The software you select needs to allow you flexibility to write your own rules, such as, in this example, a set of email handles to check and flag for exception handling – like info@, contact@, etc.

    3. Make sure you’re not creating a problem while trying to solve one.

    Some tools, like Zapier, can theoretically be leveraged for deduplication. But this tends to create more sync errors due to timing issues, not to mention a web of no-code logic that is unsustainable at scale.

    Seven top data deduplication software options

    Here are our top seven picks for data deduplication software.

    1. Syncari

    Syncari is unique because it performs a multi-directional sync across as many systems as you connect. This could be Hubspot, Salesforce, Outreach, Zoho, Netsuite, or any other mixture of tools in your revenue stack. 

    The connectors in our library (we call them “Synapses”) do more than dedupe data. Once integrated, Syncari actively monitors and manages changes to data in all connected systems. So, once your data is deduplicated with Syncari, it stays deduplicated. This is a “stateful” sync operation, as opposed to stateless.

    You can build your own business logic into Syncari, such as in minute 24 of this No BS Demo our co-founder/CTO Neelesh did with MarketingOps.com. Choose which fields from which tools take precedence, so that your data is handled correctly. This deduplication then happens in all connected system, not just one.

    Note: this is a major difference from a tool like LeanData, which only lets you use its own logic, and only works with Salesforce.

    Once your deduplication logic is in place, you can also audit any changes made and revert back whenever there are issues.

    No other tool on the market provides this multi-directional, ongoing capability, which we’ve actually patented.

    2. HubSpot’s deduplication feature

    You can use HubSpot’s deduplication feature to keep your contacts database up to date and clean. This is a useful feature if you use HubSpot’s CRM to manage your contacts. 

    Your HubSpot contacts rely on a user token set with an email address or web browser cookie to be deduplicated. Using a unique object ID, you can deduplicate your HubSpot contacts, companies, tickets, and deals. 

    3. Ringlead

    Ringlead is a platform that will integrate with your marketing automation platform and your CRM to help you achieve clean, deduplicated data in your system. 

    They also offer a preventative feature to stop “dirty data” at its source. Their perimeter protection sits at all data entry points into your CRM and MAP database. 

    The problem most companies face when evaluating Ringlead is the cost. Not only is it expensive, but in order to leverage it fully you need other tools from OperationsOS to sync data.

    4. Cloudingo

    Whether you’re migrating data or deduping it to import into your database system, Cloudingo simplifies the process. You can better manage your customer data by clearing out what doesn’t need to be there as well as ensuring your files are accurate, not off. 

    Other features they offer to optimize your stored data include managing and maintaining, updating, finding and exporting, as well as syncing and integrating. 

    5. Openprise

    Openprise is a RevOps automation platform with solutions spanning from sales, marketing, and data operations to funnel your workflow. 

    Its single data foundation solution allows you to unify your data so you can cleanse and dedupe it. Openprise also offers features pertaining to data enrichment, segmentation, integration, privacy, and compliance. 

    6. Zapier

    Zapier is a software product that allows its users to integrate their web applications. This specifically helps in automating workflows. 

    Once your data is synced and integrated with Zapier, you can transform it to match your style needs. This also involves deduping and cleansing to ensure your operations are organized and simplified. 

    7. Dedupely

    Dedupely is appealing because it automatically finds and merges duplicate data. This saves you time if you store large amounts of data across various systems within your go-to-market teams

    Using an automated deduplication process is beneficial if your business is on the current side or plans to scale operations significantly in the near future. 

    Deduplicate your entire stack with Syncari

    If you are a revenue, sales, or marketing operator, you’re probably dealing regularly with large amounts of contact and account data. Investing in integration software to accurately dedupe data will simplify the process and benefit your operations, rather than trying to maintain a dedicated workflow with custom scripts.

    Syncari’s software dedupes data accurately and promptly, in real-time. It’s stateful, codeless and the only tool on the market with patented multi-directional sync. Get started with a free 30-day unlimited trial or request a demo