Deduplicate HubSpot and Salesforce While Keeping the Sync Active

deduplicate salesforce and hubspot

How to Merge Duplicates across HubSpot and Salesforce While the Sync Is Active

Your sales team is using both HubSpot and Salesforce and is running into problems with duplicate records in one CRM or the other, and sometimes both. 

You have a data sync set up between the two systems, but don't know how to deduplicate effectively to ensure the cleanup effort is consistent across CRMs. In addition, HubSpot doesn't allow you to deduplicate companies while the sync is active from within the HubSpot app.

With Insycle's Merge Duplicates module, you can flexibly merge duplicate people and companies in bulk and automatically (including through workflow automation right when visitors fill out a form) even when the HubSpot-Salesforce sync is active, and keep the master records syncing after the merge. You can also control the merge process by defining rules for picking the master record and master fields values (for example, retain owner from the contact that was created first).

Process Summary

  1. Set up your HubSpot-Salesforce sync settings.
  2. Create a custom field in each CRM to identify the master record.
  3. Deduplicate your Salesforce records.
  4. Deduplicate your HubSpot records.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Setup Your HubSpot-Salesforce Sync Settings Correctly

First, make sure your HubSpot and Salesforce sync settings are set up for this process to work. 

In HubSpot, navigate to Settings > Integrations > Connected Apps > Salesforce "Actions" Button > Go to settings.

HubSpot Connected App Settings for Salesforce

On the app settings page, click the object tab

HubSpot sync settings

To ensure that duplicates are not automatically deleted when you merge in Salesforce, under Deleting [Objects], verify that the settings are as follows:

  • When a Salesforce contact is deleted Do nothing In HubSpot
  • When a Salesforce lead is deleted Do nothing In HubSpot

When a Salesforce object is deleted settings

2. Create Custom Fields in Your CRMs to Tag the Master Record

To label records that are deemed the master for each set of duplicates, you'll need to create a custom field in both platforms. In each CRM, Salesforce and HubSpot, add a custom field named “Deduplication Master Record.” This needs to be added to any synced record/object type that you plan to deduplicate.

Insycle will automatically populate this field with the correct value. To prevent users from accidentally changing its value, you may want to hide this field from the default layout or make it non-editable from the view.

Add the Custom Field in Salesforce for Each Object Type

In Salesforce navigate to Setup > Objects and Fields > Object Manager. Select the object type, click Fields & Relationships, then click the New button.

Enter the following properties:

  • Data type: Checkbox
  • Field Label: Deduplication Master Record
  • Default Value: Unchecked

Salesforce Object Manager

Repeat these steps to add the Deduplication Master Record field to each object type synced with HubSpot that you'll need to deduplicate.

Add the Custom Field in HubSpot for Each Object Type

In HubSpot, navigate to Settings > Objects > select the object type > Manage [object] properties, and click the Create property button. 

Enter the following properties:

  • Label: Deduplication Master Record
  • API name: deduplication_master_record
  • Data type: Single checkbox

HubSpot property fields

Repeat these steps to add the Deduplication Master Record field to each object type synced with Salesforce that you'll need to deduplicate.

Set Property Mapping for Deduplication Master Record Field

Next, you need to set the object settings to copy the value of the custom field from Salesforce into HubSpot (one way).

In HubSpot, navigate to Settings > Integrations > Connected Apps > Salesforce, and select the object type tab. Click the [Object] property mappings tab.

Click the Add new field mapping button and use the dropdown menus to select the "Deduplication Master Record" HubSpot property and Salesforce fields. 

For the Sync Rule, select Always use Salesforce.

HubSpot object property mappings

Follow the same process for each synced record/object type.

3. Deduplicate Salesforce Records in Insycle

Now you can start the process of merging Salesforce duplicates with Insycle.

Navigate to Data Management > Merge Duplicates, select the Salesforce database and record type.

In Step 1, choose Salesforce fields and criteria that the values must meet to be considered a duplicate.

In the example below, we are looking for Salesforce contacts with the exact same First Name and Last Name and Email Domain.

step-1-salesforce-contacts-first-last-email-domain-exact.png

Under Step 4 on the Record tab, configure the rules that specify which record from each set of duplicates should become the master—the record that will remain after the merge that all the other duplicate records will merge into.

merge-duplicates-salesforce-contacts-step-4-record-tab-5-rules.png

After Insycle has identified the master record, it will use the selection rules from the Field tab to automatically pick which values from a duplicate group will be used in the master record.

For each field you want to control the data retention for, you need to tell Insycle where the data for the field should be taken from. This is merged into the master. Any data that is not in the master or not copied to the master is lost when the record is merged.

merge-duplicates-salesforce-contacts-step-4-fields-tab-6-rules.png

As part of the merge process, Insycle will automatically populate the Deduplication Master Record field with the value “True” for the record that is chosen as the master.

For further instructions on configuring your deduplication, see the Bulk Merge Duplicate People, Companies article.

To finish deduplicating your Salesforce records, continue with the 5. Preview Deduplication Changes then Apply Merge to CRMs step below.

4. Deduplicate HubSpot Records in Insycle

After the merge in Salesforce, the Deduplication Master Record values will automatically sync from Salesforce to HubSpot. This field can then be used to identify the same record as the master in HubSpot.

Under Step 1, use the same criteria as for Salesforce deduplication to determine which HubSpot records should be considered duplicates.

step-1-contacts-first-last-email-domain-exact.png

Under Step 4 on the Record tab, configure one rule—records with a Deduplication Master Record value of "Yes" (or "True," depending on the setup) should be selected as the master.

Step 4 Master selection using Deduplication Master Record field

This will ensure that the master record on HubSpot aligns with the master record on Salesforce. Due to the sync, the “Deduplication Master Record” value is available in HubSpot.

5. Preview Deduplication Changes, then Apply Merge to CRMs

Preview Merges in CSV Report

After you have the deduplication rules set up for each CRM, you should preview the changes you are making to your data. That way, you can check to ensure your merge configuration is working as expected before those changes are pushed to your live database. 

Under Step 5, click the Review button and select Preview mode.

Select Preview mode

Click the Next button to go to the Notify screen, where you can select recipients for the email report. You can also add additional context to the message.

On the When tab, click the Run Now tab, and select which records to apply the change to (in most cases this will be All), then click the Run Now button.

On Run Now tab select All

Insycle will generate a preview CSV and send it to your email. Open the CSV file from your email in a spreadsheet application.

merge-duplicates-hubspot-contacts-first-last-name-email-csv.png

The Duplicate Group ID indicates which records will be merged together. 

The Status column indicates:

  • Duplicate – The record is part of a duplicate group.
  • Master The master record chosen for the duplicate group based on default behavior and your Record rules. Review the selections in this row to determine whether the appropriate records are being chosen.
  • Master (After) – This appears only if at least one or more fields have been specified in Step 4 on the Fields tab. For each duplicate group, the Master (After) row shows the values the final record will contain based on your Field rules and the default behavior. 
  • Error – If Insycle is not able to determine which record would be the master, an error message will appear here. See the Troubleshooting section below for more details.

If everything looks good, return to Insycle and move forward with applying the changes.

Apply Changes to Your CRM Records

When you're satisfied with the results in your preview, you can merge the records in your CRM.

Under Step 5, click the Review button, and this time select Update mode.

On the When tab, you should use Run Now the first time you apply these changes to the CRM.

Run Now

Save Templates and Setup Automation to Maintain Formatting

After you've seen the results in the CRM and you are satisfied with how the operation runs, you can set up ongoing automated deduplication for HubSpot and Salesforce records with Insycle templates, or integrate with Workflows on the HubSpot side.

With automation, you'll save time and ensure that HubSpot and Salesforce are consistently deduplicated while keeping the sync active.

Schedule template to run automatically

Advanced How-Tos

How the Deduplication Master Record Field Works

Deduplicating across HubSpot and Salesforce while the sync is active is a bit tricky. 

When you merge duplicates, you combine the record data into a single master record. If you merge records in two platforms, you must ensure that all duplicates in both platforms are merged into the same master record. When the master record differs, this breaks the sync between the two platforms. At the same time, you need to keep all of those records synced throughout the process.

By creating a custom field synchronized across both CRMs that effectively says, "This is the master record!" you ensure both CRMs use the same master record when the deduplication process is run in Insycle.

The CRM you deduplicate first will set the master, so you'll set up complete master selection rules in Step 4 of the Merge Duplicates module. When you run this merge duplicates operation, Insycle will set the "Deduplication Master Record" field value to "True/Yes" on the record identified as master.

When you run the merge operation on the second CRM, all you need to select the same master record is create the Record rule, "Deduplication Master Record" value of "True/Yes."

Step 4 select master using Deduplication Master Record field

Step 1: Setting Up the Fields to Find Duplicates

Each row in your matching fields setup is cumulative, so records must meet all of the criteria. For example, looking for records that have the same First Name and Last Name and Phone Number returns only results where all three values are the same.

  The minimum required length for the matching values is four characters or more. Values such as "Joe" or "Ace" will be disregarded.

Field Name Comparison Rule Ignored Match Parts

Pick a field that you think has some duplicate values.

Running a very simple match operation like just First and Last Name is okay for giving you an idea of what you have, but it is too broad to use for reliable analysis and deduplication. There may be legitimate duplicate names–different people with the same first and last name. You need additional, unique criteria to narrow it down.

Choosing Unique Identifiers

Matching duplicates requires unique identifiers—data that is unlikely to be shared by any other record unless it is a duplicate. If you don't use unique identifiers, you are likely to identify unrelated records as duplicates and may accidentally merge them.

Many CRMs match first names, last names, and email addresses. If all of those match, or are similar, you can confidently determine that the record is a duplicate.

Other unique identifying fields that are commonly used in deduplication include:

    • Phone number
    • Domain name
    • Mailing address
    • ID number
Step 1: Allowing Empty Values When Matching

When using two or more fields to identify duplicates, records can still be considered matches even if one of the field values is blank. You just need to specify which field(s) allow a blank value.

Under Step 1, configure your matching rules in the Simple tab, then click the Conditions tab.

step-1-conditions-tab-arrow.png

All the matching fields you included will automatically appear with the Value Required in All Records condition selected. Change the condition to Empty Allowed in Any Record to allow empty values for certain fields. You can also use the At Least One Record with Non-Empty condition to help you determine which is the master record. Make sure at least one field remains required and is a reliable unique identifier to ensure the records are really duplicates.

step-1-conditions-empty-not-empty.png

For example, on the Simple tab, you may have the matching fields: First Name, Last Name, and Phone Number. But on some of your records, the Phone Number field may be empty. Using the Empty Allowed in Any Record or At Least One Record with Non-Empty, all records with the same name, same phone number, and no phone number will be considered duplicates.

step-2-group-w-empty.png

Step 1: Find Duplicates Created within 15 Minutes of Each Other

When customers encounter an issue when trying to make a transaction, they often seek help from one of your support channels. However, whenever a contact is created from a chat, like Facebook Messenger, Hubspot Chat, and others, very little information is provided—usually just a name and timestamp. This makes finding other instances of the same contact, such as their customer record, difficult.

With the Merge Duplicates module, under Step 1, you can use the Conditions tab to match contacts with the same name that were created or modified within the same period of time.

First, select the fields in the Simple tab. Then, on the Conditions tab, select the Within Timeframe condition and set the Minutes, Hours, or Days criteria. 

merge-duplicates-hubspot-contacts-step-1-conditions-created-within-15-minutes.png

Step 4: Considerations When Picking a Master Record 

For contacts, it's often useful to pick master records based on engagement. For example, the highest number of email clicks or the most recent email opened. You can also use other statuses to pick a master record, such as the furthest along in your sales lifecycle or the most recently updated record.

merge-duplicates-hubspot-contacts-step-4-record-tab-7-rules.png

For companies, it's often useful to use associated records to determine the master record, such as the highest number of associated contacts or deals.

merge-duplicates-hubspot-companies-step-4-record-tab-5-rules.png

When setting up your Hubspot deduplication, you'll use the Deduplication Master Record field to match the Salesforce master selection.

Step 4: Selecting Priority Match vs Absolute Match

step-4-priority-match-no-arrow-2023-06-01.png

Priority Match: Looks through the master selection rules in order, one by one. As soon as a record meets one of the criteria, Insycle makes the master selection and skips the rest of the rules on the list. The vast majority of duplicate templates should use Priority Match.

Absolute Match: The master record must meet all of the listed rules in the Record tab in Step 4. If a record does not match every rule listed, no master record will be identified. Absolute Match is appropriate for less flexible master selection.

For example, if a company wanted to ensure the chosen master record is in their sales pipeline and already has a sales rep working the record, they can choose Absolute Match and set the Record rules:

  • Lifecycle Stage is lead
  • Contact Owner exists

Choosing Absolute Match can often result in no master record being identified since the record has to match every rule listed, so in most cases, you should select Priority Match.

Step 4: Control What Field Data is Retained

Though it's possible that duplicate records may be exactly the same, often there is only partial data overlap between them. When data is split between two different records, both records may contain unique and important information about the customer you'd like to keep.

The Merge Duplicates module allows you to control the values saved in the master record after the merge, regardless of the default merge behavior. By adding each field you want to control the data retention for and selecting a Condition, you can tell Insycle where the data for the field should be taken from and how to handle it.

Under Step 4, on the Fields tab, the Criteria dropdown gives you various options for choosing the data to keep:

merge-duplicates-salesforce-accounts-step-4-field-rules.png

  • From master record – Use the value that exists in the master record.
  • From master record (even empty) – If the field on the selected master record is blank, keep it that way. Don’t automatically fill it in with a value from the most recently updated record.
  • Most frequent value – If the same value appears in multiple records, use the one that appears most frequently.
  • From record where value – Select data from one of the records in the duplicate group based on the values. These options vary depending on the field type. For example, retain the data from the Annual Revenue field that has the highest value.
  • From record based on other field value – Look at the value in a different field to decide which value from the duplicate group should be kept. The example above highlights how a Last Modified Date value can be used to determine which Account Owner value to use.
  • Combine and append all values – You can merge the values from the selected field for all records in the group. For example, if there is some type of Notes field, you could keep the notes from all of the records in the duplicate group.
  • Collect all values from other field – Select a destination field to copy and combine values into, then select what field the data should come from for each record in the duplicate group. For example, this could be used to keep the read-only Record ID values of all duplicates in a group and combine them into a custom field.
  • Collect non-master values from other field – Aggregate the values of all the duplicates that are not the master and not the same as the master, meaning all instances of that value are excluded from collection. This can be especially helpful if you want a record of the object IDs that were removed, so you can also remove them from another system. Select a destination field to copy and combine values into, then select what field the data should come from.

For example, if merging Salesforce accounts, you may want to save all of the Account IDs from records that are merged together and deleted. You can add a new custom field, “Merged Account IDs” to your CRM.

salesforce-field-merged-account-ids.png

Then in the Merge Duplicates module under the Fields tab of Step 4, add a rule to override the default merge behavior. Select the "Merged Account IDs" field, the "Collect non-master values from other field" criteria, and "Account ID" as the other field. 

step-4-fields-salesforce-accounts-2.png

You can use the Preview to see how this will preserve the Account IDs of all the duplicates in each duplicate group.

merge-duplicates-salesforce-contacts-collect-account-IDs-csv.png

Troubleshooting

Insycle isn't finding any duplicates

Most of the time, when Insycle can't find duplicates, it is due to your matching rules in Step 1. It is important to analyze the underlying data to better understand how to set up your rules. A useful exercise can be to set up a simple filter to look for exact matches of Website or Company Domain Name.

step-1-website-exact.png

When you click Find, these rules can show you a broad overview of what duplicates are potentially in your database and what fields might be useful to include in your matching fields. These settings are just for discovery and should not be used for a final merge operation; many people can have the same first and last names and are not duplicates. 

To get further context, on Step 2, click the layout gear button on the right side of the title bar. Here, you can add any field in your database as a column to the duplicate group review to better understand the data inside these records. 

Gear button

"Change rules in Step 4 'Master Selection'" Message in CSV

If the Message column of the CSV report displays this text:

Change rules in Step 4 'Master Selection'. Failed to pick master record because multiple records (X) meet the selection criteria. In 'Master Selection', change, add, or reorder the rules such that only one record matches (if cannot determine master based on field values, use 'Record ID is lowest' as the last rule).

merge-duplicates-salesforce-accounts-csv-w-error.png

This means that based on all the rules, Insycle could not figure out which record in the duplicate group would be the master. None of the records meet more of the rules than others.

There are a few things you can try to resolve this:

  1. Under Step 4, on the Record tab, experiment with reordering or adding additional fields that are likely to have unique values.
  2. In the Step 4 heading, check to ensure that you have Priority Match selected and not Absolute Match.

    step-4-priority-match-w-arrow-606px.png
    With Priority Match, your master record only has to match one rule. Using Absolute Match, your master record would have to meet all of the rule criteria. The majority of the time, it is best to select Priority Match.

    If Priority Match was used, then none of the records in the duplicate group meet any of the criteria on the list more than the others. In this case, you'll need to experiment with the Record tab, reordering or adding additional rules for fields likely to have unique values.

  3. As a last resort, you can add a rule on the Record tab of Step 4 that says Record ID is lowest, or Create Date is earliest.
    merge-duplicates-hubspot-contacts-step-4-record-tab-last-resort-rules.png
It's taking a long time for Insycle to find duplicates

It can take a while for Insycle to find and match duplicates if the fields being used to identify them have very long values. The longer the values, the longer it takes Insycle to process the data and generate the results. This might come up when looking for matches based on long ID numbers, LinkedIn bio links, or other URLs with long strings attached (ex, https://www.linkedin.com/in/svadin%C3%ADr-n%C4%9Bmec-1234b31a3/).

You can speed this up by limiting how much of the value Insycle looks at.

If the beginning or ending portion of the values are all unique, you can limit the comparison to the first or last several characters using the Match Parts parameter under Step 1

merge-duplicates-linkedin-bio-step-1-match-parts-last-9-chars.png

merge-duplicates-linkedin-bio-step-2-last-9-chars.png

Or use the Ignore Text (Substrings) parameter, then click the Terms button.

merge-duplicates-linkedin-bio-step-1-ignored-text-terms-button.png

On the Ignored Text tab of the popup, add the common portion of the URL or text string.

merge-duplicates-linkedin-bio-step-1-ignored-text-popup.png

Tips for Bulk Merging Duplicates

  • Begin with easy-to-find duplicates. Iterate through fields and rules you know will surface duplicates. Don’t expect to resolve all your duplicates by setting up and running this process once. You will need to run this process multiple times for different fields or nuanced variations.
  • Each time you get a Merge Duplicates process to run the way you want in your database, save it as a template. When you have a solid set of templates that reliably resolve most of your dupes, you can put them together as a Recipe that can run on a regular, automated schedule.
  • You may also need to look for edge cases that fall outside your standard rules. These may be templates you run manually so you can make adjustments based on what you find.
  • Do some experimentation. Use the Preview mode CSV report to analyze patterns in the duplicates. You may learn what is causing the duplicates and learn how to avoid having them in the first place. You may also want to explore your data in the Grid Edit module to understand what you have so you can design templates that catch all potential variations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I merge HubSpot and Salesforce companies and accounts without breaking the sync?

Yes. You can use Insycle to merge records while the sync is active, even though this isn't supported within the HubSpot app. To learn more, see the article Deduplicate HubSpot Companies and Salesforce Accounts.

Does it matter which platform I run the original deduplication process in?

No. You can deduplicate either HubSpot or Salesforce records first—the "Deduplication Master Record" field will be populated automatically.

Do I have to create the Deduplication Master Record field for this to work?

Yes. The Deduplication Master Record field is a key requirement for deduplicating across HubSpot and Salesforce without breaking the sync. Keeping the master records consistently labeled across both platforms keeps the sync active.

Some of my duplicates have attachments. Will these be preserved?

Yes, if your HubSpot objects have attachments, they will be merged into the master record. Note that there may be a short delay before the attachment appears in the merged record.

I used the “From master record (even empty)” retention rule. Why does HubSpot say Insycle deleted it?

When merging HubSpot contact records using the “From master record (even empty)” Field rule in Step 4, the property history in HubSpot shows that Insycle set the value to “empty.” This is a nuance of how HubSpot manages the history of empty values. You can verify that the master record value before the merge was indeed empty by reviewing the Activity Tracker report in Insycle.

Additional Resources

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