With the intentionally created dupes, it may be appropriate for bits of the losing record to survive (such as a new phone number or additional email address). If you're going to be using standard merge logic, then, you'll need to copy these valuable parts of the losing record into "spare fields" to the merge. We typically do this with a long-text field, concatenating the extra bits of data using an "XML-lite" style (e.g., "OtherPhone:800-555-1212, AssistantEmail:firstname.lastname@example.org"). However, there are situations where a more explicit "extras" field works better.
The underlying issue: make sure that all updates are increasing the total information value of the CRM database, rather than blindly making sure it's "up to date with the latest values." Because sometimes, the latest ain't the greatest.
David Taber is the author of the new Prentice Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of Success" and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, Europe, Israel, and India, and David has over 25 years experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above.
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