In Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, importing data has always been an area of contention. Many people have a false notion that importing data should be as easy as clicking a button and magically seeing all of your data in your Dynamics system. Well, although imports do not have to be complicated, they often are because they are not done correctly. Every system handles data differently so naming conventions are usually not the same in other systems as they are in CRM and that can cause problems. Secondly, data is only as good as the person who provides it. If you have someone manually entering lots of data on a spreadsheet there is quite a bit of room for manual errors. Lastly, the issue of data duplication is often overlooked or not thought out.
In Dynamics 365, often times Leads are the largest source of data imports. Many times, an organization’s leads come from a bought list and contain thousands of records needing import. When importing thousands of records, it would be nearly impossible to manually comb through all of you new records and check for duplicates, thus you must rely on duplicate detection rules. Leads and duplicate detection rules are tricky though because you want to detect duplicate leads, but you also may want to detect duplicate contacts so that you do not import a lead who may already be a contact. For years, Microsoft had no way of accounting for this. Now though, there is a way to set up a rule to check your lead import for a duplicate against your Lead entity, and also your Contact entity which I will demonstrate in this blog.
What you will need to do is navigate to your duplicate detection rules to create 2 rules, one to check your lead duplicates and one to check your contacts. First go to Settings - Data Management - Duplicate Detection Rules.
When you first set up your Dynamics 365 system you will see that there some duplicate detection rules already set up for you for a few entities. None of these rules are published though, so you need to hit the green publish button if you would like these rules to become active. One of the preset rules is the one you will want to use for your lead duplicate detection and this is called ‘Leads with the same e-mail address.’ What this rule says is that if the lead being imported or created has the exact same email address as an existing lead then do not allow the lead to be created. We have found that email address is a great attribute to create your rule on. Sometimes people use First and Last name as the attribute for detecting duplicates, which is okay, but we have seen that is much less likely that someone will have the same e-mail than the same name.
Once you have published this rule it is active. Now, notice in the image above that the ‘Base Record Type’ and ‘Matching Record Type’ are both Lead. This is saying to check for the same email address on the imported record (Base) as on the existing (Matching) record. The user did not always have the ability to choose which matching record they wanted.
Now, we can choose the matching record to be the Contact. To do this click ‘New’ to create the next rule. Let’s Name this rule ‘Leads with the same e-mail address as existing Contact’. Next, select ‘Lead’ as your Base Record Type from the dropdown and ‘Contact’ as your Matching Record Type. Then, choose ‘Email’ as the base record and matching record field and for Criteria select Exact Match. For this, I would not suggest any other settings, you can keep Case-sensitive and Exclude inactive matching records unchecked. Save, Publish, and you are done. You now have a failsafe against importing duplicate leads and contacts for a Lead import.
If you think that a Microsoft CRM system is your next best step for your business, contact Logan Consulting your Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner of Chicago.
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