4 Tips for Managing Duplicate Contacts in a Large, Legacy CRM

3 min read
February 22, 2022

Duplicate contacts in your CRM are hurting your marketing efforts as well as your budget. Duplicate contacts are two contact records for the same person. This creates a problem in accurately segmenting contacts, an important part of the inbound marketing strategy. This issue is usually worse in legacy CRM, because predecessors may have imported the same, earlier version of contacts without essential unique identifiers, such as an email.  Unfortunately, without proper knowledge of CRM functions, either by you or your predecessor may have caused a large influx of duplicate contacts. For a lot of CRM software, clients pay based on the amount of contacts. And if you have a large amount of duplicates, then you are needlessly paying more. Here are some tips for dealing with duplicate contacts as well as tips for preventing duplicates in the first place. 


Tip 1: Find out if your CRM has a built-in way to deal with duplicates. 

Duplicate contacts are a running problem in CRM software, even with best CRM practices. So, most CRMs have features built in to deal with the issue. HubSpot, for instance, allows users to either merge contacts that HubSpot software has determined are most likely duplicates or reject a merge and keep contacts separate. 

We love this feature on HubSpot because you can choose what contact property fields that are important for your company to best determine if two contacts are, indeed, duplicates. For instance, you can choose properties such as which subscriptions each of the duplicate profiles are subscribed to. If one of the duplicates is subscribed to your emails but the other isn’t, then you will know which of the two duplicates should be the primary email. Most CRM software requires that a contact has only one primary email,this is the email address that your marketing content will be sent to.  


Tip 2: Find a Deduplication Tool that works for you 

If your legacy CRM does not have a built-in feature to deal with duplicates, then fear not  because there are hundreds of apps, software, and plugins to help. You will need to do some research to determine which deduplication software is best for your company. But here are some of the most popular deduplication software: 

Deduply: This software works on Salesforce, HubSpot, and Pipedrive. It’s simple layout and easy to use features make this app number one in external deduplication software. 

Ringlead: This software works on Salesforce, Pardot, Eloqua, and Marketo. This software is popular because of its one click integrations with the above marketing softwares. It is a powerful data cleansing tool.  

DemandTools from Validity: Along with its capabilities of finding and purging bad data, this software also has bulk email verification. Which is great for avoiding duplicates in the first place.  


Tip 3: Use an unique identifier for each import. 

When importing bulk contacts, and potentially updating new contact profiles, you need a unique identifier to help your CRM determine if the contact is new or is an update to an existing profile. Most obviously, this would be an email. Emails should be unique to an individual person and most CRMs are geared towards using email as a contact’s unique identifier. Many marketing professionals make the mistake of uploading an import that lacks the contact’s email, thinking that the CRM will update the contact’s profile based on the contacts name. This is not the case. Instead, this creates a hoard of duplicates that you or your team will have to go through to deduplicate.  

Tips 4: Watch Your Contact Count 

Most CRM software charges account holders based on how many contact profiles they have saved. In HubSpot for instance, charges per 1,000 contacts. This could potentially be a problem if you are not keeping up with duplicates. That’s right, by managing duplicates you could potentially be saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. So, make deduplication a regular part of your monthly marketing plan–– to save time and money! 

By merging contacts you are reducing contacts each time, but as for best practice try to avoid creating duplicates in the first place. This consistently keeps your contacts at the same level, making it easier to track your CRM investment.  


Duplicates and merging duplicates can seem like a big headache. But by taking the appropriate steps towards an organized CRM, your CRM will be working to its full potential all while saving you money. You will find that your marketing efforts will be improved and contacts will be more engaged. Even though your predecessor may have used importing techniques that were inefficient, and created a mess of duplicate contacts, this is luckily a mess that can be easily cleaned.

Get Email Notifications