As you use Salesforce, you will eventually have Salesforce contacts that leave an account. Maybe they resigned, retired, or got hired at another company. What happens if they are now with another account in your Salesforce database? How do you track them? What do you do?
Salesforce does not have a built-in process for this so you have to come up with your own way to track when a Salesforce contact leaves an account.
In the paragraphs below, we will share some of the most common ways of dealing with contacts that have left an account in Salesforce and the consequences of each. There is no single Salesforce best practice for this issue so you should always select a solution that meets your business needs.
Use a Checkbox
This is our personal favorite! Create a Salesforce checkbox called “No Longer With Company” and place it on the contact page right under the Name. Your users can easily see it, you can add it to report or list view criteria, and it is easy to spot in related lists or list views when added as a column.
If you have access to workflow, you can even set up field updates that can populate the “Do not Call” or “Email Opt Out” fields when checked. Workflow field updates can even clear the phone and email fields if you like.
If the contact does show up at another account in your Salesforce database, you are better off creating a new record under that account instead of reassigning the original Salesforce contact. Remember, when you reassign a Salesforce contact to a new account all related records follow. This will result in in your having emails, tasks, etc. associated to the new account instead of the old one.
Edit The Name
We see this solution s a lot. Edit the first or last name of the contact and add “Left Company” or something like that. This is an easy approach and allows your users to quickly see if the contact is not active anymore.
But be careful with this solution. You run the chance of including these contacts in mass emails or reports.
Even if you filter out “Left Company” in your reports or lists, the name fields are text fields so typos can happen, possibly resulting in an accidental error.
Assign the contact to a holding account like “Orphaned Contacts”
We see this option used as well. Then, if the contact pops up at another account, you can just assign them to the new account they are working at. This seems simple but is actually the worst thing you can do to a database.
When you associate a contact to another account, all associated records, like emails, activities, etc. transfer as well. Generally, you want to keep these associated records with the account where they were generated. Moving them can confuse your users when they look up historical information.
Whichever solution you choose, be sure to test for likely scenarios before deploying so you do not end up building yourself into a corner or worse, moving data that should not be moved.
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