How to Merge Accounts in Salesforce in 2024

Let’s get started.

How to Merge Accounts in Salesforce (Step-by-Step Guide)

Merging accounts in Salesforce is a critical process for maintaining data quality and providing a unified view of customer interactions. 

Here are the most important things to know about how to merge accounts:

1. Permissions Required

To merge accounts, users need the "Delete" and "Merge" permissions on accounts. This ensures that only authorized personnel can perform merges, protecting data integrity and preventing some users from losing data or creating an even messier situation.

2. Identifying Duplicates

Before merging, accurately identify duplicate accounts. Salesforce's duplicate management features can help automate this detection, but manual review is often necessary to confirm duplicates based on business-specific criteria. 

For example, some companies or individual accounts might have the same names and automations might not be able to detect the same account name.

3. Selecting Master Record

When merging, you'll choose one account as the "master" record. The master record's information can be prioritized during the merge. This is critical because the master account's record ID is retained, and its details can be selected to prevail in cases of conflicting information.

4. Field Values Selection

During the merge process, Salesforce allows you to choose which field values to retain from the accounts being merged. This step requires careful consideration to ensure that the most accurate, complete, and relevant information is preserved in the master account.

5. Impact on Related Records

Understand that merging accounts will also affect related records (contacts, opportunities, cases, etc.), re-parenting them to the master account. Ensure that this re-association aligns with your business processes and data integrity needs.

6. Data Loss Consideration

Be aware that the non-master accounts will be deleted after the merge. While related records are preserved by being associated with the master account, any unique data on the deleted accounts' records that wasn't chosen to be retained will be lost.

7. Testing in Sandbox

Before performing merges in your live Salesforce environment, it's advisable to test the merge process in a sandbox environment. This helps you understand the implications of the merge and ensures that your process works as intended without affecting live data.

8. Audit Trail

Salesforce logs merges in the audit trail. This documentation is crucial for tracking changes, understanding the history of merges, and potentially reversing changes if needed.

9. Bulk Merge Considerations

While Salesforce primarily supports merging accounts through the UI on a case-by-case basis, larger data cleanup and mass merge efforts may require bulk processing. 

This can be more complex and might involve data tools or custom Apex scripts, necessitating a deeper level of Salesforce expertise.

10. Training and Guidelines

Ensure that users involved in the merge process are trained and understand your organization's policies and guidelines for merging accounts. This helps maintain consistency in how data is managed and ensures adherence to data quality standards.

So, why is all this merging necessary?

7 Reasons Why High Quality Data in Salesforce is Critical

The purpose of merging accounts in Salesforce is to improve the quality of data that your sales, customer success, and marketing teams rely on. 

High-quality data in Salesforce, or any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, is critical for sales and revenue operations for several reasons:

1. Accurate Forecasting

High-quality data allows sales leaders to more accurately forecast future sales. In reality, without high-quality data and clear visibility into that data, sales leaders might as well be forecasting by holding their finger in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing. 

With complete, accurate, and up-to-date data on sales activities, customer interactions, and market trends, sales leaders forecasts are more reliable which allows the company as a whole to make more informed decisions about strategies, resources, and budgets.

2. Optimized Processes

Sales and revenue operations depend on high-quality data to identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement in their processes. 

Without accurate data, decisions may be based on assumptions or outdated information, leading to missed opportunities or inefficient processes and methodologies that lead to slower sales cycles, poor customer experiences, and sometimes even a snowball effect of even worse data.

3. Improved Customer Relationships

High-quality data enables sales teams to understand their customers better, tailor their communications, and meet customer needs more effectively. 

Accurate records of customer interactions, preferences, and history allow for more personalized and timely outreach, smoother handoffs between teams like sales and customer success, and most importantly enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty.

4. Efficiency and Productivity

Clean and organized data helps sales teams work more efficiently. Time is not wasted on correcting errors, searching for information, or dealing with duplicates. This efficiency can lead to more time spent on revenue-generating activities such as prospecting and closing deals.

5. Compliance and Risk Management

For businesses in regulated industries, maintaining data integrity is essential for compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Accurate data helps in auditing, reporting, and ensuring that the sales practices meet the necessary standards and regulations, reducing legal and financial risks.

6. Enhanced Team Collaboration

High-quality data in Salesforce ensures that everyone in the organization, from sales to marketing to customer service, is working with the same accurate information. This enhances collaboration and ensures that teams are aligned in their goals and strategies. We’ll get deeper into cross-team collaboration to guarantee transparent and accurate information later

7. Competitive Advantage

In today's data-driven world, having reliable, accurate data can provide a competitive edge. It allows businesses to quickly adapt to market changes, understand customer needs better, and optimize their sales processes more effectively than competitors working with lower-quality data.

Let’s now introduce you to an easier way to maintain your Salesforce data:

How to Ensure Salesforce is Your Single Source of Truth

Salesforce is an amazingly powerful CRM for sales, marketing, and customer success. 

However, it can prove extremely difficult to use and force sales reps and others to resort to one-off applications like note-taking apps, spreadsheets, and others that are easier to operate during their day-to-day workflows, but are disconnected from Salesforce. 

This means that the data in Salesforce suffers because it’s either incorrect by the time it gets in there or missing altogether.

While Salesforce is an amazing tool, it’s only as powerful as the data that’s in it. Fortunately for you, Scratchpad is the perfect solution to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Salesforce investment.

Scratchpad is a simple Google Chrome extension that functions as an AI powered workspace for sales and customer success teams to update Salesforce faster, collaborate, achieve better data standards, and massively improve visibility. 

No more stale spreadsheets, struggles to adopt your sales process, or frustration in understanding what’s changed in your pipeline. 

Every update in Scratchpad is instantly reflected in Salesforce to make sure that you have a single source of truth for your business. When sales teams use Scratchpad, it greatly reduces the need to merge accounts or clean up data in Salesforce down the line.

Here are some key features that make Scratchpad such an effective tool for sales teams:

  • AI Sales Assistant: Auto-generate call summaries, notes, shareable video clips, and even required fields in Salesforce like next steps or for methodologies like MEDDIC.
  • Command: A simple shortcut that lets you search and update any Salesforce field from anywhere on the web.
  • Deal Rooms: Automatically create and manage Deal Rooms in Slack for better collaboration and visibility into all aspects of your deals at each stage ensuring faster sales cycles, smoother handoffs, and a better customer journey.
  • No-Code Automations: Help your reps update Salesforce faster and give you and your sales leaders insights into gaps in your open pipeline.
  • Deal Spotlights: Conditional Highlighting and Deal Spotlights let leaders and reps inspect entire pipelines in one place and gives them the ability to spot gaps or missing information in a certain deal at a glance. This leads to better visibility and proactive collaboration among leaders and reps to avoid missed opportunities and forecasts.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Scratchpad so if you’d like to learn more, schedule a conversation to see if it makes sense for your organization or simply try it out for free today.

3 FAQs about Merging Accounts in Salesforce

While we’ve answered a few of these questions above, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about merging accounts in Salesforce:

1. How do I merge duplicate accounts in Salesforce?

To merge duplicate accounts in Salesforce, you typically need to have the appropriate permissions. 

The process usually involves navigating to the "Accounts" tab, using the search functionality to find duplicate accounts, and then selecting the accounts you want to merge. 

Salesforce will guide you through a step-by-step process where you can choose which account will be the master record and specify how you want to merge the details (like contacts, opportunities, and custom fields) from the duplicate accounts into the master account. 

Finally, you confirm the merge. It's important to note that this process is irreversible, so make sure you're merging the correct accounts.

2. What happens to related records when accounts are merged in Salesforce?

When accounts are merged in Salesforce, the related records (such as contacts, opportunities, cases, and activities) from the duplicate accounts are re-associated with the master account you've chosen. 

Salesforce allows you to select which account's information takes precedence during the merge process. However, it's important to carefully review how these related records are merged, as the specific outcomes can depend on your Salesforce configuration and customizations. 

Generally, Salesforce tries to retain as much data as possible by combining the related records, but it’s wise to understand the specifics of how each type of related record is handled.

3. Can I undo a merge if I make a mistake?

Once accounts are merged in Salesforce, the action cannot be undone through standard Salesforce functionality. This is why the process includes several prompts and confirmations to ensure that the user is certain about the merge action. 

However, if a mistake is made, you might be able to manually recreate the deleted account and re-associate the related records to it, depending on your organization's data backup solutions or using Salesforce's data recovery services, though these options can be time-consuming and may not fully restore the original state. 

It's crucial to proceed with caution and ensure that you're merging the correct accounts to avoid the need for such measures.