Managing the relationships with your Salesforce accounts is at the core of what Salesforce does. As such, it gives you a complete view of all your customer data and your interactions with your customers. And when you have a complete view of your customers, you’ll serve them better.
However, to get the most value out of the platform, there are certain key concepts you’ll need to understand. In this post, we’ll look at Salesforce Accounts, one of these key concepts, in more detail.
What Are Accounts in Salesforce?
In Salesforce, you use accounts to store information about the customers or people you do business with. There are two types of accounts:
- Business accounts. As the name implies, business accounts store information about the companies you do business with.
- Person accounts. Similarly, personal accounts store information about individuals you do business with.
(However, there are some key differences between personal accounts and business accounts that you should be aware of. We’ll look at these differences in more detail later.)
Apart from the different types of Accounts, it’s also important to distinguish Accounts from two other key Salesforce concepts – Contacts and Leads. Contacts also allow you to store information about the people you work with, but they’re usually associated with Accounts.
For example, you might be selling your products or offering your services to several people at a company, and each one of them might have a different role at the company. In this instance, the company would be the Account, and the people you sell to would be the Contacts.
On the other hand, Leads allow you to track prospects before they’re qualified. Once they’re qualified by your team, you can convert them into Contacts or create Accounts for them. In this sense, qualified means that they need your products or services and have the budget.
The Information Stored in Salesforce Accounts
Now that we’ve seen a broad overview of Accounts and how they differ from Contacts and Leads, let’s look at what information you can store in Salesforce Account objects. Some examples include:
- Account Name. The name of the company or the individual. In Person accounts, you won’t be able to edit this field directly because Salesforce derives it by combining the First Name and Last Name fields. Also, if you entered a Middle Name and Suffix, these will also be added to the Account Name.
- Account Owner. The assigned owner of the account.
- Account Number. The tracking or reference number assigned to the account. Here, it’s important to remember that only up to 40 characters are allowed in this field.
- Account Currency. The default currency to be used for all currency fields in the account. Any amounts will be displayed in this currency and will also be converted to your personal currency. This field is only available in orgs that use multiple currencies.
- Annual Revenue. The amount of reported annual revenue of the company or individual.
- Industry. The primary business of the account. In this field, you’ll be able to select an industry from a list of available values that your Salesforce admin determines. In this list, every entry can have a maximum of 40 characters.
- Type. This field indicates the type of account. As such, it will show if it’s, for example, a Customer, Competitor, or Partner. As is the case with the Industry field, you’ll select an account Type from a list of available values that your Salesforce admin determines.
Remember, though, that these are just some examples of key fields in both Business and Person Accounts, and there are many others. Also, the fields you’ll see depend on your specific layout and security settings.
It’s also worth noting that there are some fields that are unique to either Business or Person Accounts. Some examples of these fields include Assistant, Birthdate, Do Not Call in Person Accounts, Parent Account, Partner Account, and Ticker Symbol with Business Accounts.
When Should You Use Person Salesforce Accounts?
We mentioned earlier that there are some differences between Business and Person accounts. Before enabling Person accounts, it’s important to be aware of these differences.
The main difference is that Person accounts store information about individuals by combining certain account and contact fields into one Salesforce record. In practice, this means that the account stores information you’d typically use for a Contact rather than an Account.
In addition, there are several other key implications when using Person accounts:
- Storage. Unlike Business Accounts, when you create a Person Account, Salesforce automatically creates a Contact. As a result, a single Person Account record will use storage for both the Person and Contact objects. This is a relevant consideration when you have many individual customers.
- Resources. When you create or edit a Person Account, all the Account Workflow Rules and Process Builders will be initiated. In turn, this could result in performance issues when you use a lot of automation for your Account objects.
- Security. Before you enable Person Accounts, your organization-wide sharing settings must be changed so that Contact is set to Controlled by Parent, or both Account and Contact must be set to Private. This might not align with your current security and sharing setting, which could have a security implication based on your requirements.
- Hierarchy. Person accounts can’t be included in account hierarchies. Likewise, they can’t have any direct relationships with other accounts or objects. As such, Person accounts don’t have fields like Parent Account, View Hierarchy, and Reports To. More importantly, because these hierarchies help you understand the relationships of contacts within a wider business, you won’t be able to do this when using Person accounts.
Depending on your specific needs, your business might benefit from using Person Accounts. For instance, if you sell mainly to individual customers, you’d be better off using Person Accounts.
However, you should carefully consider everything mentioned above before you start using them. Once you enable Person accounts, you can’t disable them. It’s for this reason that Salesforce recommends that you try them out in a sandbox first to see what effect they will have on your business.
How to Create Accounts in Salesforce
There are three ways you can create Accounts in Salesforce. Firstly, you can create accounts manually by clicking on the Accounts tab and selecting New. You can then enter all the information by completing the fields. Once done, you can click Save to create the Account.
You can also create accounts by importing a list of Accounts or Contacts from a data provider, or you can create an opportunity when a lead is converted. In this case, when a lead is converted, the lead will become a Contact, and the company the lead works for will become the Account.
In addition to creating accounts, Salesforce also offers several other features and settings that simplify account management. These include:
- Merging. You can merge any duplicate accounts to ensure that your data is accurate and free of any duplicates. When your sales team has accurate data, they can maintain better relationships with your customers.
- Sharing. Generally, your Salesforce admin will define your organization’s sharing model and default account access levels. You can, however, also share accounts by extending sharing privileges on an account-by-account basis.
- Importing and updating with third-party data. You can import new accounts or compare your account information with data available on Lightning Data, a collection of third-party applications available on AppExchange, or Data.com. This ensures the accuracy of your data and higher productivity for your sales team (they won’t have to check accuracy manually, so they’ll be more productive). Keep in mind, however, that this depends on how your Salesforce admin sets up these features.
- Account-related lists. These lists make it easy to see and keep track of any changes to accounts.
- Automated Account fields. You also have the ability to enable automated account fields to make it easier for your sales team to create business accounts. With this feature enabled, when your sales team enters information into the Account Name field, they will be given a list of possible matches. When they then choose one of these options, many of the Account fields will be automatically filled.
- Account hierarchies. As mentioned earlier, Account hierarchies help you understand the relationships between accounts within a wider organization. As such, when you enable this feature, your sales team will have a bird’s eye view of the relationships between parent and child accounts and their subsidiaries.
Take Control of Your Accounts in Salesforce
Hopefully, this post helped illustrate what Salesforce Accounts are and gave you some insights into how Salesforce helps you manage your accounts. By using Salesforce and these features for your business, you’ll manage all your accounts in one place, ensure accuracy, and help your sales team be more efficient and productive!