Salesforce Activity Best Practices

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I recently found myself in a situation where one of our Red Argyle clients needed information about Salesforce Activity best practices. Specifically, they needed guidelines about defining relationships/links between records and activities, and what happens after that relationship has been established. I couldn’t find any already written best practices for what I was specifically looking for, so I decided to create an outline of my own. My goal with this outline is to  give our clients the opportunity to select the option/method that works best for them in order to match their goals and needs.

Option 1: Salesforce Activity Related to the Account

If a logged Activity should always follow the Account, then the Activity should be created from the Account record page. Look at Image 1 below. The “Related to” Account name (red arrow) was auto populated by Salesforce because this Activity was created from the Bob’s Burgers Account. Since you want this Activity to stay with the Account, do NOT fill in the “Name – Contact” lookup field.

Salesforce Activity

By NOT filling out the “Name – Contact” lookup field, you are ensuring that the Activity stays with the Account. For an example, look at Diagram 1 below. Activity 1 is related to the Bob’s Burgers Account and NOT Joe Contact. When Joe Contact moves from Bob’s Burgers to Frank’s Franks, Activity 1 stays with Bob’s Burgers.

Salesforce Activity

Option 2: Salesforce Activity is Related to BOTH Account & Contact

If a logged Activity needs to be viewable on the Account record AND the Contact record, then the Activity needs to be related to both. To achieve this, you can create the Activity from the Account record OR the Contact record. Salesforce will auto populate one of the fields, as shown in Image 2 below, but you will need to manually fill in the other field to ensure the new Activity is owned by both the Account and the Contact.

Tam2

By filling out BOTH the “Name – Contact” lookup field and the “Related To – Account” field, the Activity will be seen on the Account record, as well as the Contact record. However, if the Contact needs to be deleted, or moves to another Account, the Activity will follow it. For an example, look at Diagram 2 below. Activity 1 is related to the Bob’s Burgers Account AND Joe Contact. When Joe Contact moves from Bob’s Burgers to Frank’s Franks, Activity 1 follows it. At this point Activity 1 can be seen in 3 places: It can still be seen at Bob’s Burgers, because it is directly related. It can still be seen on Joe Contact, because it is directly related. And now it can also be seen at Frank’s Franks, because it is indirectly related through Joe Contact. On a very important note: If Joe Contact is deleted, then Activity 1 will also be deleted.

Salesforce Activity

Option 3: Salesforce Activity is Related to the Opportunity

If a logged Activity should always follow the Opportunity, then the Activity should be created from the Opportunity record page. Look at Image 3 below. The “Related to” Opportunity name (red arrow) was auto populated by Salesforce because this Activity was created from Test Opp 2/12’s record page. Since you want this Activity to stay with the Opportunity, do NOT fill in the “Name – Contact” lookup field.

Salesforce Activity

By NOT filling out the “Name – Contact” lookup field, you are ensuring that the Activity stays with the Opportunity. For an example, look at Diagram 3 below. Activity 1 is related to Opportunity A and NOT Joe Contact. When Joe Contact moves from Bob’s Burgers to Frank’s Franks, Activity 1 stays with Opportunity A. Because it’s still directly related to Opportunity A, Activity 1 can still be seen Bob’s Burgers.

Salesforce Activity

Option 4: Salesforce Activity is Related to BOTH Opportunity & Contact

If a logged Activity needs to be viewable on the Opportunity record AND the Contact record, then the Activity needs to be related to both. To achieve this, you can create the Activity from the Opportunity record OR the Contact record. Salesforce will auto populate one of the fields, as shown in Image 4 below, but you will need to manually fill in the other field to ensure the new Activity is owned by both the Opportunity and the Contact.

Salesforce Activity

By filling out BOTH the “Name – Contact” lookup field and the “Related To – Opportunity” field, the Activity will be seen on the Opportunity record (and therefore the related Account record), as well as the Contact record. However, if the Contact needs to be deleted, or moves to another Account, the Activity will follow it. For an example, look at Diagram 4 below. Activity 1 is related to Opportunity A AND Joe Contact. When Joe Contact moves from Bob’s Burgers to Frank’s Franks, Activity 1 follows it. At this point Activity 1 can be seen in 4 places: It can still be seen at Opportunity A, because it is directly related. It can be seen at Bob’s Burgers, because it’s indirectly related through Opportunity A. It can still be seen on Joe Contact, because it is directly related. And now it can also be seen at Frank’s Franks, because it is indirectly related through Joe Contact. And here’s that important reminder again: If Joe Contact is deleted, then Activity 1 will also be deleted.

Salesforce Activity

Option 5: Salesforce Activity is Related to the Contact

If a logged Activity should always follow the Contact, then the Activity should be created from the Contact record page. Look at Image 5 below. The “Name” Contact lookup field (red arrow) was auto populated by Salesforce because this Activity was created from Joe Contact’s Contact record. Since you want this Activity to stay with the Contact, do NOT fill in the “Related To – Account” lookup field.

Tam5

By NOT filling out the “Related To – Account” lookup field, you are ensuring that the Activity stays with the Contact. For an example, look at Diagram 5 below. Activity 1 is related to Joe Contact, and NOT DIRECTLY to Bob’s Burgers. However, you will still see Activity 1 roll up to Bob’s Burgers’ Account record because they are indirectly related through Joe Contact. When Joe Contact moves from Bob’s Burgers to Frank’s Franks, Activity 1 stays with Joe Contact. You will no longer see Activity 1 at Bob’s Burgers. You will now see Activity 1 on Frank’s Franks Account record page because it is indirectly related to Activity 1 through Joe Contact. And, of course, if Joe Contact is deleted, then Activity 1 will also be deleted.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.10.27 PMOption 6: Salesforce Activity is Unrelated

A logged Activity can be created with no record relationships (typically great for general to-dos). The easiest way to do this is to add the “Tasks” related list to your homepage, and hit the “New” button. However, you can also do this by creating an Activity from another record. Look at Image 6 below as an example. The “Name” Contact lookup field was auto populated by Salesforce because this Activity was created from Joe Contact’s Contact record. But since you want this Activity to have no record relationships you need to clear out this field, and also make sure you do NOT fill in the “Related To – Account” lookup field.

TamImage6

By NOT filling out the “Name – Contact” or “Related To – Account” lookup field, you are ensuring that the Activity stays unrelated to any other records. For an example, look at Diagram 6 below. Activity 1 is not related to Joe Contact or to Bob’s Burgers. You will not still see Activity 1 roll up to Bob’s Burgers’ Account record or to Joe Contact’s record. When Joe Contact moves from Bob’s Burgers to Frank’s Franks, Activity 1 remains unaffected.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.28.56 PM

Linking a Salesforce Activity to the right Accounts, Contact, and Opportunities is not difficult at all. It’s really all about knowing who needs access to the information now and anticipating who will need that access in the future as personnel make moves between accounts or leave the network altogether. Taking just a few minutes to set up these connections in the correct way early on can pay off big time in the future as these types of changes happen.

 

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