Batch people search is a convenient way for you to append phone numbers to a list of names and addresses. Some people call this “batch skip tracing” or “bulk skip tracing”. Typically you’ll manage your list in a master spreadsheet that contains other columns of data about your customers. Merging batch people search results back into your master spreadsheet, so you have all your customer data in one place, can be challenging, even for people comfortable working with spreadsheets.
There are two ways to merge your batch people search results, the manual way and the easy way. Let’s go through the manual way first, so you understand how it all works.
In my examples I’ll be using Google Sheets, but you can easily do the same work with Microsoft Excel.
The Manual Way to Merge Batch People Search Results
Most batch search services require you to use their spreadsheet template or format your file with only the columns they need for the search. It’s inconvenient for you and it’s the source of most merging problems. Even so, you can still successfully merge results. Here’s how to do it.
1 – Add a Record ID Column to Your Master Spreadsheet
If you do not have an ID column in your master spreadsheet which contains a unique number for each row, add one to your file. This column will be used as the key column to merge your results.
To do this, add a column to your spreadsheet and title it Record ID. Put a sequential number in the first cell of each of the first three rows, e.g. 1, 2, 3. Select all three cells then double click on the small square at the bottom right corner of the selection. Doing this will fill every cell in the column with the next sequential number for as many rows as you have.
If your batch search provider doesn’t allow you to include the record ID column in the file you upload, you can also us your address column as the unique identifier. As long as you have no addresses which are duplicates and your search provider will include the original address you search in the results they return you, the address method can work.
2 – Delete Your Extra Columns
In your spreadsheet editor, select the column to be deleted from your master spreadsheet and choose Delete Column from the edit menu on column header. To select multiple columns at once you hold SHIFT while clicking each column, then choose Delete Columns from the menu.
3 – Save Your Spreadsheet as a .CSV File
Most likely your batch search service will require your file to be in the .CSV format. CSV stands for comma separated value. Once you’ve deleted your columns, go to File > Save As or File > Download in Google Sheets and choose .csv as the file type.
4 – Merge Your Batch Results
Once you’ve received your batch search results, open both your master spreadsheet and your results spreadsheet.
To merge the results into your master I recommend you use the Merge Google Sheets add-on from Ablebits.com. This is a paid add-on that is available for Microsoft Excel, too. I guarantee you this is the fastest way to quickly and accurately merge two spreadsheets. The time this add-on will save you makes worth it the small cost you pay.
With both files open, copy the data from your results file and paste it into a new sheet, in your master spreadsheet. Then open the Merge & Combine add-on and choose Merge Sheets. Follow the instructions to complete the merge.
Presto! People Search Results Merged
Merging your batch search results manually can take a little time and practice, and of course you’ll need either Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel with the Ablebits add-on. Of course, there is a satisfaction that comes from doing it yourself, but there is an easier way.
The Easy Way to Merge Batch Search Results
When we created the BellesLink batch people search tool, we wanted to eliminate all the spreadsheet hassles you typically deal with when uploading and merging your files. In fact we think we’ve created the easiest-to-use and most accurate batch search out there. Here’s how it works.
1 – Upload your .CSV File
Save your master spreadsheet as a .csv file and drop into our uploader.
– You don’t have to delete your extra columns.
– You don’t have to include a record ID column in order to merge results.
2 – Choose Your Columns
Choose which columns you want us to use for each of the required fields: first name, last name, address, city, state, and zip. We will ignore all the other columns in your file. If you want to use your record ID column that’s an option.
3 – Review and Submit
We’ll show you a preview of the file you uploaded so you can check to be sure the correct data is assigned to the correct column. If any spreadsheet rows had errors we show you which one so you can fix them. Then submit the file.
4 – Export Merged Results Automatically
When your results come back, you can choose to export only your search results or you can choose to export your results automatically merged back into the original master spreadsheet you uploaded.
When you upload your master spreadsheet we save a copy of it in your account so your search results can be merged with it, with all your original columns of data.
You don’t need to manage separate spreadsheets or buy an add-on for Excel or Sheets. You just click the export button and all the work is done for you.
It’s very common for people to make a mistake with a manual merge and put the append the wrong search results into the wrong row. Once that happens your list data is no longer accurate. Using BellesLink, there is no change of your data being corrupted by a merging error.
Results Automatically Merged
The beauty of BellesLink batch people search is, not only does it provide accurate credit bureau-level data, it completely eliminates spreadsheet hassles. I don’t know about you, but I’m always nervous about deleting columns and saving versions of the master customer spreadsheet I worked so long to build. With BellesLink column selection is easy and merging is automatic, so you don’t have to do any of that risky stuff.
At the beginning I told you there was a manual way and an easy way to merge batch people search results. Now that you’ve seen both, you know how to do an accurate merge no matter which provider you use for batch people search or batch skip tracing. I hope this helps you put batch search to work for you business.