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Backstop CRM: Identity Search

Have you ever noticed the prevalence of Backstop Party ID field? It virtually lives everywhere in Backstop, from landing pages to URL addresses. Does the Backstop team love partying that much?

While I cannot provide any clarity to the question above from merely attending one Backstop User Conference, let’s figure out how best to leverage that piece of data to our advantages. In order to further entice you into completing this post, I promise the following benefits:

  • Maximize data integrity and accuracy
  • Minimize data loss
  • Maximize work-life balance and time for leisure activities

Choosing Identities

Backstop comes with two built-in ID fields: Backstop Party ID and Other ID. The former is a system-generated field that is numeric and indexed. Search and sort operations on Backstop Party IDs are computationally more efficient than other text fields (e.g. Other ID).


Other IDs are not automagically inserted but are also indexed. A prime usage of this field is to link records to external applications. One key differentiator is the lack of uniqueness guarantee, unlike Backstop Party IDs.

As a side note, all other Backstop objects (e.g. Note, Document, Email, Meeting/Call, and Relationship) have separate ID fields. Differentiating them may be a little daunting at first but will become a second nature as soon as you get oriented in Report Center.

In my humble opinion, a streamlined model with only Contact IDs and Activity IDs would tighten up the framework. The tradeoff, however, would be much longer Activity ID values to account for more records.

Entity Search

Entity Search occupies the most coveted on-screen real estate for good reasons. Most user journeys begin there, and the Backstop UI/UX team has optimized that pathway. Learning how to effectively search entities is an integral step to Backstop proficiency.

Combining wildcard (*) and sub-search dropdown earns you a novice batch. How do you elevate your game? Wherever applicable, use Backstop Party ID (most optimized) or Other ID (slightly less optimized) in Entity Search to land on the exact chosen entity. Don’t you wish relationships (the lovey-dovey kind) would work the same way?

Merge Contacts

The Merge Contacts utility mashes two entities, fuses the majority of built-in fields (see BUC 2018 slidedeck). As a result, the Winner emerges triumphant, and the Loser vanishes into the abyss. Supposedly, Tinder works the same way, but multidimensionally.


The Loser is identified using Entity Lookup. Imagine you have multiple entities by the exact same name! Picking the right one is a guessing game (no more Tinder analogy). Simply punch in an ID value, and you will be guaranteed to be matched with the Chosen One.

Report Center

Report Center is the single best tool to derive actionable intelligence out of Backstop. As your dataset grows, report run time could increase exponentially. I trust the Backstop team has been working tirelessly to get us huge performance gains in near future 🙂

The natural development lifecycle of reports requires iterations. The more rapid and efficient development gets, the merrier. Narrowing down report results to a small handful of records by filtering by Backstop Party IDs will dramatically accelerate run time.

Let’s look at a concrete example

  • 200k Contacts in Backstop
  • 88k Organizations and 112k Persons
  • 18k Organizations categorized as Prospect

Cranking out a report with 18k rows takes 3-8 minutes, which might be acceptable for a patient bunch of overachievers in a financial institution (rare as unicorns).

Add a filter and feed the report with a small subset of Backstop Party IDs (preferred) or Other IDs, the report comes back quicker than you can microwave a Lean Cuisine.

Once development concludes and the report fully meets the business objectives, you remove the ID filter(s), gift wrap and share the report with the intended consumers.


With the newfound understanding of Backstop Party ID over various use cases, you can navigate around your entire Backstop dataset with ease and elegance. What you do with the extra time is entirely up to you though. Perhaps come partying with us at Connect Hong Kong or BUC 2019?