Zoho CRM Import without Duplicates

Zoho CRM Import

Most people have a sense of foreboding when importing a list.  This causes procrastination.  Now imagine the feeling of running a Zoho CRM import that you know has no duplicates.   This article explores ways Zoho CRM import can happen without duplicates.

Not covered in this Article

The cost associated with bad or duplicate data is not discussed here. There are many great articles on it like:  https://www.zoho.com/crm/blog/hop-skip-and-jump-over-the-pitfalls-of-duplicate-data.html

Merging duplicates that are already in the system is not covered here. Zoho CRM has powerful ways to detect and merge duplicates once they get into the system.  For more information on detecting and merging duplicates you can read.

Zoho CRM Import Out of the Box Options

Unique fields is the main way Zoho reduces duplicates coming into the system. For example, if an email field is set to be unique, any imported record with the same email addresses will be rejected.
If the unique field is in Leads it can also check into Contacts provided you set this up, and the Contacts were converted from Leads.  This will help when doing a Zoho CRM import and also when adding records.
I highly recommend you read the below article and do this easy set up.

Limitations of Zoho Out of Box Option

  • Unique fields only works for some fields
    • for example: Phone number in Contacts can not be unique because there can be multiple contacts from the same company with the same phone number
  • Single Module
    • only checks for that module, except the Leads and converted Contacts mentioned above
  • Single fields
    • if you have 3 email fields it check them independently
  • Fields need to have the same format
  • Solution1: Use Zoho CRM API

Zoho CRM API give you access to all the modules you need.   This means you can compare across modules and fields before doing a Zoho CRM import.  All you or your software developer needs to do is write some code.  I know this is possible because that is what I did as described below.

Solution2: WebSalesDesign Offering

We created an app that removes all duplicates before the Zoho CRM import as described below.


Some records need to be double checked for duplicates.  The question is which ones.  This solution takes your list to be imported and returns 2 lists.
One with no duplicates which can be imported as is right away, and the other needs to be reviewed.

Reviewing a List

You may start getting that foreboding feeling again because you have to make decisions, but this is different.
This new way of reviewing takes less time and is more accurate.
The reason for that is that the review list has less records which means less decisions and the potential duplicate records are right next to each other for easy eyeball analysis.  With the non duplicate list already imported you may decide that the imported non duplicate list is enough leads for now and you will cycle back and review this list if and when you have the time.

Key Features
  • Detects duplicates between the list and the CRM
  • Detects duplicates from within the imported list
  • Detects duplicates across modules like Leads, Contacts, Accounts and any requested module.
  • Detects company names that are spelled differently yet have same website or phone number  (Otherwise Zoho creates a new account even if only one letter is different)
  • Compares multiple fields as one. (For example, it’s a duplicate if one record has me@abc.com in the email field and another record has the same value in the secondary email field)
  • Detects and displays parent company data to help you decide if it is a duplicate or not
  • Fuzzy logic to check email, url, phone and company name

The above works great for new lists, however the same process can used to find duplicates in your CRM.  Also an interesting side effect is that the duplicate list can expose garbage data in your system that you were not expecting.  Not fun but important.

Future Plans
  • Reduce the setup time for importing by make this more automated
  • Include Address in the de-duplication comparison
  • One potential feature for future version is to allow for merging duplicates similar to what Zoho does. That is a bigger undertaking and will only happen if there is enough demand.
Bottom Line

It is possible in Zoho CRM to import lists with no duplicates and it takes a fraction of the time it used to take.