Salesforce Data Relationships

Salesforce.com data records are a view of the world.  If you are looking at an Opportunity record, you want to focus on deal information.  An Account record reveals the details of how a company or organization is structured based on the people and deals involved.

If you are looking at a Contact record, you are seeing the details around a person.  Depending on what you are looking at, you will see the related information relevant to your chosen view.

Salesforce.com is a relational database and allows for relationships between these various data objects (Contacts, Accounts and Opportunities) or custom objects created to support your sales, marketing or service delivery processes.

The relationship between one record type and another needs to be carefully considered in the design of your system.  Here are some considerations we offer from our Salesforce consulting work:

  • Establish the master-detail relationship.  Consider the many-to-one nature of a relationship.  There may be many contacts to one account, but not the opposite.  This condition would have to be met in the design and customization of the specific data object which is the master and the other record types which are subservient in the relationship.
  • Use Lookup Fields for organization.  One massive record does not make sense.  Different record types contain different information.  Separate fields into the respective data objects and create relationships using Lookup fields.  This allows a click to move you over to another record with further stored information.
  • Account for roll-ups and calculations.  There may be data in various records which need to roll up to the master relationship record.  Use equation fields and custom programming to capture metrics in a master record field.  For example if a project custom object has been created, you may have detail records called “Project Time” which contain time tracking information.  If five of these records are associated with their respective master project record, then an equation field showing the total current project billable time would capture such details.

As records are related to one another, how your team is able to see the information and take action is the primary goal to keep in mind.  Make it easy for them to see the details for taking action.  The layouts of fields and sections will help greatly in this regard.

What data relationships do you have to consider?

Want more insight, feel free to contact me for Salesforce Consulting.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I am a management consultant to business owners, executives and entrepreneurs. I write and speak on systems, strategy and leadership on my blog and help empower business clients to achieve their goals for revenue and efficiency. I live a life of adventure and work with business clients all over the world from remote locations to help them start and grow their businesses.

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