• Journey Builder

Main Problem:

  • Dealing with deleted / unsubscribed and never existent subscribers inside a journey. These kind of subscribers shall not receive emails from E-Mail Activities inside a journey.


  • Leading CRM System adds subscribers into salesforce via file import activities into the contact / subscriber model of salesforce.
  • It also daily overwrites a "master subscriber dataextension" that is linked to the data designer.
  • SubscriberKey one to one relationship toward CRM uuid value.
  • Main enterprise Business Unit used (no sub Business unit in place)

Problem and Solution with the environment:

  • Added Subscribers that are no longer inside the "master subscriber dataextension" but still exist as subscriber.
  • Solution to fix the problem with the environment via Automation, without touching functionality inside the CRM, i created a SSJS activity that removes subscribers that are no longer inside the main dataextension.

Testing manually before taking the productive deployment of the "environment solution"

Journey Builder:

  • Journey Setting: Use email attribute from Contacts, "Email Address" "EmailAdress" from the standard functionality inside of salesforce.
  • Journey activities: Send Email

Case 1: Non existent subscriber, not existent in master data table, was never in salesforce. Start a Journey with a dataextension where this particular non existent subscriberkey is inside.

Behaviour: Enters Journey, goes inside the email activity, does not send it.

Case 2: Search for a particular subscriber that was once in the main dataextension, but is not any longer. Delete the subscriber in salesforce manually. Contact deletion method inside the contact settings is set to 0 days. Start a Journey with a dataextension where this particular deleted subscriberkey is inside.

Behaviour: Subscriber goes inside the email activity, sends it.

Do you have an idea why these behaviours differ? My only "guess" is that subscribers that were once inside the subscribermodell still exist inside of it and that the deletion process is not fast enough.

Solutions that i dislike and would not like to use, because they need to be inserted multiple times (either per Activity or either per Journey):

  • Decision split activity that checks if subscriberkey is inside the master data table in front of every email activity
  • Exclusion script inside each email activity that checks if the subscriberkey is still in the main dataextension
  • An Exit criteria per Journey that checks if a subscriberkey is inside the master data table
  • Rewrite a "goal" into an exit criteria per Journey

How is the real behaviour from salesforce for these cases? Is there a different solution to those i outlined above?


1 Answer 1


This should be due to deletion "after 0 days". This skips the suppressing phase which would block the send. Got this from Salesforce a long time ago:

Contacts that are currently in the middle of a journey will be ejected (exited) from the journey. You will not be able to view these contacts in Journey History. Searching for these deleted contacts in Journey History will return results but with a Contact Key of "Contact Deleted".

The Contacts Delete process has two phases:

The Suppression Phase and the Deletion Phase. The Suppression Phase defaults to 14 days. While on the Suppression Phase:

  • contacts cannot be sent to (ie email, mobileconnect, mobilepush, journeys)
  • contacts cannot be injected into journeys
  • contacts cannot be re-imported or manually created

After the suppression phase, the deletion phase will kick in. After the deletion phase, you will be able to inject the contacts again into Journey builder. Please note that all previous attribute data and tracking will no longer be associated with the new contact.

So the intent of the suppression phase is to give your surrounding infrastructure time to make sure that the data is not coming back into your system from other sources. As that reads, journey builder is not designed to validate against past deletions, it only does so in the suppression phase.

  • Does this really describe the behaviour? Why does a deleted contact (no information present any longer, deletion manual with 0 days) sends an email but a never existing one doesnt? Shouldn't they be the same? It makes no sense that a never existent subscriber differs from a contact that has been completly wiped from salesforce. Feb 4, 2021 at 9:16
  • If you are on the partner community, i can send you the source link for this quote. Feb 4, 2021 at 12:01

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