How to merge duplicate records in bulk
The bulk merging tool can be used to clean up duplicate records in bulk. Before beginning, it’s important to know that merges are extremely difficult, and often impossible, to undo, so you should always take care when running merges. Additionally, merges can take a long time to run and you should not run multiple merges at the same time in different windows or tabs.
By default, the bulk merge page will detect duplicates based on a shared email address and/or phone number. This means that any contact that shares a phone number or email address with a different contact will appear in the detected duplicate list.
Using an email or phone number can sometimes lead to false duplicates being detected. For example, two different people may share a phone number because they work in the same office, but those two are not true duplicates and should not be combined. In order to allow you more flexibility with merging, you can elect to instead find duplicates based on email address only, or by phone number only.
Identifying duplicates by matching email addresses only
By choosing to view duplicates based on email address only, you may see a smaller list of duplicate records. Duplicate emails are often, but not always, a strong indicator that the contacts are true duplicates, since most people use a unique email address.
Identifying duplicates by matching phone numbers only
If you select to view only duplicates by phone number you may also see a smaller number of duplicates. However, there may be more overlap between different contacts sharing the same phone number, since two people may share the same office or home phone number.
Once you’ve decided whether to identify duplicates by email address or phone number, email address only, or phone number only, you can proceed with merging duplicates. If you select the button “Merge non-conflicting duplicates” the CRM will merge all duplicates that are exactly the same. These are duplicates that have the same values in contact fields (the same name, title, birthday, etc). If you select to merge non-conflicting duplicates, you’ll get a confirmation when the merge is completed, letting you know how many pairs were combined, and if there are any remaining duplicates.
If there are any remaining duplicates, you can return to the bulk merging page. The duplicates you see at this point are contacts that have different values saved in fields. For example, they may have differently spelled names or different job titles. There are two ways to handle the duplicates with discrepancies from here.
Back on the bulk merging page, you’ll see a “Merge” button to the right of each duplicate pair. This option will provide some additional detail during the merge, and you can use it to merge each pair individually.
If you select the “Merge” button for a pair, a new dialog will open that lists some additional detail for the contacts. You can double-check the details here to make sure that this is a true duplicate, and you do want to combine these two records.
Next, select “Merge these two contacts.” There you will be presented with options based on the differences between the two records. You can select the option you want preserved going forward, and then finalize the merge. For example, if the two contacts have differently spelled names, you can select which spelling you want to keep going forward.
Once you’ve made the appropriate selections you can finalize the merge, and the two duplicates will be combined, using your selected option(s) for any discrepancies. You’ll need to repeat this process for each pairing separately.
Alternatively, you can select the “Merge duplicates” button to combine all of the remaining duplicates at once. If you select that option, you’ll get a listing of the duplicate pairs with minimal detail, and you’ll need to select one option to preserve going forward. For example, if the duplicates have differently spelled names you’ll need to select which is the correct name or choose not to merge those contacts.
Depending on the number of duplicates, this can give you a long list that you need to go through to make selections, so if you select this option make sure you have plenty of time set aside to go through the entire remaining list carefully.