September 12, 2021

How To Merge Accounts In Salesforce

Learn how to merge accounts in Salesforce to streamline data management and avoid duplicate records.

I. Introduction

Salesforce users encounter numerous problems as a result of duplicate records. This issue can seriously harm sales operations and users' trust in the system, resulting in mismatched records, distorted data analytics, and flawed team communication. Maintaining an organization without combining accounts can be challenging, particularly when handling substantial volumes of consumer data.

An industry-recommended practice is to avoid having duplicate contacts in your CRM. It allows for more time to spend on selling rather than handling administrative duties. We've put up thorough instructions on how to merge accounts in Salesforce.

II. Understanding Salesforce Accounts

Salesforce accounts are one of the core components of the platform and are used to store information about the companies or individuals that a business interacts with. They come in two types:

  1. Person Accounts: a record that represents an individual customer or contact typically used by businesses that primarily deal with consumers rather than other companies. These accounts contain standard information fields such as name, contact information, and address, as well as various custom data fields that can be defined and added by the org.
  2. Business Accounts: a record that represents information about a company or organization frequently used by businesses that sell products or services to other companies. They contain standard information fields as well as custom data fields.

III. Reasons to Merge Accounts

Merging duplicate accounts in Salesforce may be necessary for several reasons:

  • If your Salesforce database fills up with unnecessary or out-of-date accounts over time, combining them can aid in maintaining accurate and clean data. It also guarantees everyone on the team has access to the same information and helps clear up any confusion.
  • If you want to keep the information in your records up to date, you can merge a user's account with another user when they change roles or leave the firm.
  • If two departments in your business conjoin, you can reorganize and streamline data to make it easier to access. To guarantee that all of your data is in one location and to reflect the change, you will need to merge the respective accounts for each department.
  • If your company buys another Salesforce-using organization you might need to join the accounts to combine the data.

IV. Preparing for Account Merging

A prerequisite for advanced analytics in the modern day is high-quality data. You need to ensure that there are no duplicates and that all the information in Salesforce is accurate and up-to-date. This process can be time-consuming, but it is crucial for data reliability. Fortunately, Salesforce provides matching and duplicate rules that help you keep your data clean. The matching rule compares records and detects duplicates based on pre-defined criteria and algorithms. The rule can compare records on the same object, such as leads or contacts, or one other object. When activated, the matching rule uses one or more match keys to identify duplicates among records with the same key.

This process eliminates the need to compare all records against each other, which can be time-consuming and ineffective. Instead, it focuses on the most relevant and likely duplicates, resulting in a more accurate and reliable set of match candidates. Once a match is detected, the duplicate rule or job takes over and handles the duplicates. The rule alerts the sales rep, while the job generates a list of duplicates across the organization.

Reviewing and consolidating account information helps to ensure that all relevant data is transferred accurately from one account to another. The process involves consolidating data such as addresses, phone numbers, and account owners. Changes to account information should be made in a controlled environment, following a well-defined process to ensure data integrity. All stakeholders, including Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service teams, need to understand the process and its impact on their efforts. Communicate changes in a timely and transparent manner, highlighting the benefits and limitations of the merging process while involving stakeholders in the decision-making process.

V. Steps to Merge Two Accounts in Salesforce

Salesforce has two interface types: Lightning and Classic. Each has a different merging method.

Merging Accounts in Salesforce Classic

Navigate to the Accounts tab in Salesforce Classic. Once there, locate the Tools section and click on Merge Accounts. If the Merge Accounts option is not available, check with your admin account to request permission.

Next, you will need to enter a search string to find potential duplicate accounts. The system will display a list of accounts that match your search criteria. You can select up to three accounts to merge and click Next. You will need to choose one of the accounts as the master record. This record will be the primary account, and all data from the other selected records will be added to it. You will also need to choose the specific fields that you want to retain from each duplicate record.

Finally, click the Merge button to consolidate all data into one master account. Salesforce Classic will merge the records while maintaining the integrity of all associated data, such as open tasks, open opportunities, and open cases. Once the process is complete, the duplicate accounts will no longer exist, and all associated data will be consolidated into the master account.

Merging Accounts in Salesforce Lightning

Navigate to Account record within Salesforce Lightning Experience. If there are any potential duplicates, you can easily find them by clicking the View Duplicates button. However, it's important to note that Lightning Experience only recognizes exact account names as potential duplicates. If the duplicates you want to merge aren't recognized, switching to Salesforce Classic and using the Merge Accounts tool may be necessary.

Once you have identified the accounts that need to be merged, the process is exactly like in Classic: select the master account, and the field values, hit Next and you are ready to merge. Note that it's only possible to merge business accounts or person accounts together, and these two account types can't be mixed.

Note: you can use the Salesforce Sandbox environment to test the merging process and ensure that it works correctly. Once you are confident that everything is working correctly, you can begin the merging process and enjoy the benefits of clean, reliable data in Salesforce.

VI. Best Practices for Merging Accounts in Salesforce

Here are some best practices for a smooth merge:

  1. Perform a full backup of your Salesforce data before initiating the process. While account merging is reversible within a certain time frame, having a backup adds an extra layer of safety - you will be able to recover your data in case any issues arise during the merging process.
  2. Inform users and stakeholders about the merger to ensure that they understand its potential impact on their workflows and are aware of any changes that may occur. Providing training and support throughout the process helps users understand the benefits and responsibilities of using the Account Merging feature.
  3. Document the merging process for future reference to easily refer back to the steps taken, any challenges encountered, and how they were resolved, in case of any future need.
  4. Audit and clean up accounts regularly to identify duplicates. Utilizing data cleansing tools or validation rules to prevent the creation of duplicate records in the first place can help reduce the frequency of account merging.
  5. Manage user permissions properly providing access to Account Merging functionality to trusted users who have a good understanding of the implications. Security controls should also be put in place to prevent any unauthorized access.

VII. Troubleshooting Common Issues

One of the most common issues that arise during Accounts Merging in Salesforce is data conflicts - when two accounts contain conflicting information. To resolve this problem, you need to

  1. review the information in each account to identify the conflicting data;
  2. determine which of the two accounts contains the correct information;
  3. update the conflicting data in the account with incorrect information;
  4. merge the accounts.

Consider which fields are a priority and decide on a set of guidelines to follow when handling conflicting information during the process. For instance, fields such as name, address, and phone number should be a priority while merging accounts. However, less apparent fields such as any custom fields or formulas can also have an impact on reporting. Rely on the data from the master account and discard information from the account being merged.

System errors or issues may also arise during the merging process. Here are some steps to follow when troubleshooting them:

  1. Check the Salesforce error log to determine the cause of the error or issue;
  2. Depending on the error, resolve it by either updating the data, correcting the system error, or seeking assistance from Salesforce support;
  3. Continue with the merging process.

If the issues you encounter are beyond your skills, you can always seek assistance from Salesforce support or resort to community forums for tips and guidance.

VIII. Considerations for Large-Scale Mergers

Currently, Salesforce only allows users to merge up to three accounts at a time, which can be immensely time-consuming if you're dealing with a large number of them. Fortunately, some tools can deal with the process in just a few clicks. One of them is Cloudingo - an app with a 4.8 AppExchange rating that allows mass updates, deletes, and mergers.

Another good tool is ZaapIT. It offers features like mass cloning, creating, converting, and merging leads. ZaapIT's auto-scheduled merge helps schedule account merges in advance, saving time and effort.

XLConnector is another powerful tool that enables users to perform mass updates, inserts, deletes, merges, and lead conversions. With its flexible and intuitive Excel-based interface, users can easily manage their data and merge multiple accounts in just a few clicks.

IX. Ensuring Data Integrity Post-Merge

Once you’ve successfully merged accounts you are ready to check data accuracy. Firstly, verify the merged account details, like contact information, addresses, and any other relevant data. Next, check the related records and data associations - opportunities, cases, and campaigns associated with the merged accounts. This will eliminate any misunderstandings regarding the new account data.

Lastly, we recommend running reports to confirm the accuracy of the merged data. Salesforce offers a variety of reporting options that allow users to generate detailed reports and gain insights into their data. Running reports can help to identify any discrepancies or errors that may have been missed during the verification process.

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