Some of the largest enterprise account-based marketing (ABM) teams in the world rely on Salesforce to execute their ABM strategy.
For many, ABM represents a more structured way to engage with companies and generate more valuable B2B leads. Companies that embrace ABM find that it outperforms other strategies. In a recent survey, 73% of B2B marketers agreed that ABM had exceeded their company’s expectations.
But your Salesforce ABM strategy is only as effective as your ability to organize data. Your ability to track many stakeholders across an organization plays a critical role in closing new deals. A well-maintained CRM makes it easy to identify influential stakeholders and deliver messages that resonate.
Having proper associations in place is key to good maintenance. Your leads and contacts need to be associated with the right organization, or else you will fail to engage with them. Both organizations and contacts need to be associated with the correct opportunities as well. These links are critical for engaging with the entirety of an account and understanding the big picture.
Associativity issues bog organizations down and keeps them from reaching their full potential in ABM. While 92% of B2B organizations plan to start an ABM program, only 19% are confident in their ability to execute it.
But maintaining these associations is more complicated than it would seem on the surface.
Why Associations in Salesforce Are Critical For ABM
Properly linked leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities in Salesforce are critical to ABM success. Effective ABM requires what is known as a “single customer view,” which is the confidence that your data tells the whole truth and nothing but for every record. In the case of ABM, the better term may be “single account view.”
No CRM database is without errors or issues. But when your teams have confidence in your data, they can execute. Processes are freed from onerous checks for duplicates or accuracy. You can more easily and effectively segment and analyze your data. Sales and support conversations have accurate context. Automation can be used to its potential. Top-level decision-making sees benefits, too.
Unassociated contacts, or contacts wrongly associated with duplicate account records in Salesforce, erode the single account view. Without them, you’ll fail to engage with important stakeholders in both nurturing and sales processes. This causes you to miss important connections and opportunities with each impacted account.
Missing Salesforce associations render your teams less effective while hurting the customer experience.
The Painstaking Salesforce Association Process
Unreliable associations hurt ABM operations, and dealing with them is time-consuming and tedious.
In the default Salesforce data model, contacts can be associated with accounts, while leads cannot. This inherently causes association issues for organizations that use the lead object in Salesforce.
As a result, some organizations choose to abandon lead records altogether and only use contact and account records. Others find that using leads in Salesforce is a better fit for their sales process. Both approaches are legitimate and can work well.
Converting leads into contacts and linking them to existing accounts is a manual process within Salesforce. It is a time-consuming task that many companies must perform frequently.
Importing Data Can Make Matching Difficult
This problem is compounded if you are importing leads, contacts, or account lists from .CSV files or through integrations. Most Salesforce data transfer tools let you add new records and associate them with companies based on the data in your .CSV file. But most tools require precision and are prone to creating duplicate records.
For instance, if the account name in Salesforce is “Acme, Inc.” and in the .CSV file it’s “Acme,” you are likely to end up with a duplicate account record. Then, contact associations may be split up between both records, creating further data knots to unravel. Consider how complicated these processes become when you have to associate a contact with multiple accounts.
So how do companies deal with these issues? The hard way, typically.
Many companies have to convert leads into contacts one by one, manually setting the associations. The conversion process takes the lead and converts it into an associated account, contact, and opportunity.
If there are duplicates between leads and contacts, you may have to pick and choose data from both records to ensure the end record has the richest data in each field. Often, such issues require outside consultants or internal development help.
Alternatively, some companies use custom lookup fields as a workaround to link Salesforce leads and accounts.
Using Custom Lookup Fields to Associate Salesforce Leads and Accounts
Leads are not associated with accounts in Salesforce, by default. Luckily, there is a very simple workaround that will let you create that association yourself.
This is done by creating a custom lookup field for leads.
Here’s the process:
1. Create a custom “Lead” field called “Account Name”
This is the field we will use to create the association within the database. Here is the information you’ll need:
- Field Label: Account Name
- Field Name: AccountId
- API Name: AccountId__c
- Data Type: Lookup
- Related Object: Account
- Related List Label: Leads (account)
- Child Relationship Name: Leads
2. Add the new “Account Name” field to the lead page layout.
3. Add the “Leads” related list to the “Accounts” page layout.
Navigate to SETUP>OBJECT MANAGER>Account>Page Layouts.
That’s it. You can now successfully associate leads to accounts in Salesforce.
While the custom lookup field workaround does allow you to associate leads and accounts, you still have to manually set the link in Salesforce. In the end, it doesn’t save you much more time than if you had just converted the lead to a contact. But there is a way around this, too.
Bulk Salesforce Association with Insycle
With Insycle, you can associate contacts and leads with accounts in Salesforce, in bulk, flexibly, and automatically. You can match links using any field in your Salesforce database, including account names, website domains, and addresses.
When you sign up for Insycle, the system will analyze your Salesforce data and will generate your Customer Data Health Assessment. That report will detail the common data errors that exist in your Salesforce customer data and track them on a daily basis.
The report includes categories for association and linking records, and identifies contacts that are missing account associations. You can manually add your template using your custom lookup field for lead to account association to the Customer Data Health Assessment.
Additionally, you can set Salesforce associations in Insycle when importing new data.
You can also deduplicate across leads and contacts in Salesforce using Insycle. This will help you to consolidate duplicate leads and contacts and ensure those records remain accurately linked.
Improve Account-Based Marketing with Flexible Salesforce Association
Salesforce leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities that are missing associations will hamper your ABM efforts. These data issues slow your teams down, reduce their effectiveness, and hurt the customer experience.
Insycle allows you to link both contacts and leads with accounts in Salesforce, in bulk, using rules for automatic association.
But this is just one small piece of a larger data maintenance puzzle. Your CRM is likely filled with thousands of data issues. Insycle is a complete data management app that enables operations teams to fix CRM data quality issues in bulk and automate data maintenance. Without Insycle, the cost of bad data is a major blind spot for marketing and sales leaders and a roadblock for execution.
Are you tired of having to manually convert leads to contacts and associate them by hand? Learn more about Insycle’s Salesforce association features and discover how you can automatically associate Salesforce records using flexible rules.