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I'm having an issue where I'm getting multiple Subscribers in my 'All Subscribers' list with the same email (same person) but different subscriber ids because I'm using Salesforce reports and Journey Builder to send emails to both Leads and Contacts. I have a set of nurturing emails that go out to Leads in a Journey, then follow up sales appointment emails that go out regularly through a scheduled automation to Salesforce Contacts, which means a subscriber that starts as a Lead then converts and receives a follow up email will be duplicated in my 'All Subscribers' list.

I would prefer not to switch my subscriber key to email because that just makes it more difficult to read/write data from Salesforce. Should I script detecting duplicates and deleting the earlier version? I think I would lose all the engagement data from the earlier Subscriber, is there a merge function?

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There's no merge functionality.

This is a bad scenario that's happening all over SFMC-land.

It's bad because it opens up the possibility that unsubscribes will not get honored -- since Subscriber Key is how SFMC keeps track of status.

Either you unify your model and have everything flow through your SF integation or you proactively deal with the duplicates in SFMC.

On the SFMC side, the best solution I've seen is to identify the subscriber keys to delete with a Query Activity (including a status column that contains "unsub" for everyone), export the DE and import into All Subscribers in the parent business unit. This would need to be done in a scheduled Automation.

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  • Thanks Adam, helpful to know that this is a common problem in SFMC. Can you elaborate a bit on 'unifying your model'? Wouldn't this mean only using SFDC Contacts for subscribers so that the subscriber id never changes?
    – ZackB
    Mar 15, 2017 at 14:22
  • Yes, only using SFDC Contacts. Mar 15, 2017 at 14:32
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    I was reviewing this in terms the connector, and their documentation stated that there was an Alternate Key Store, which should soft-delete the lead subscriber in all subscribers, add the new contact id as the subscriber key and add the lead id as an alternate key. Based on your issue, it does't sound like this is happening or ? Mar 27, 2017 at 11:18
  • @KennethWagner do you have a link to that section of the documentation? I couldn't find anything on the Alternate Key Store
    – ZackB
    Apr 6, 2017 at 0:34
  • @AdamSpriggs sorry, can you elaborate a bit on how you would use the query activity to identify offending keys?
    – ZackB
    Apr 6, 2017 at 1:37

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