Salesforce.com lead conversion. It would seems that the built-in lead conversion process would be a true blessing but it is full of caveats that are, of course, not acknowledged let alone documented.
How did I learn this? By getting burned. By insisting that I use as much native functionality as possible before looking to apps or custom configuration. I pay enough in licensing that this function should be built in.
SEE MY 1-PAGE GUIDE HERE Lead Conversion Considerations
Scenario: Lead comes in. Lead gets converted. But what happens to the Lead record’s field data when…
- the person does not have an existing Contact record? (Easy peezy)
- the person has an existing Contact record and the lead fields that map to Contact are already populated? (Central issue of this blog post)
When the person has an existing Contact record the answer depends wholly on two conditions:
- Field format
- If field on existing Contact record is already populated
This is evil. Here’s why. Even though you can map a Lead picklist field to Contact picklist field, there’s nothing to warn you of the way the data will behave during lead conversion. (See above link to Lead Conversion Considerations doc for details.) Likewise, there is no warning that a checkbox field when blank is technically populated with a “0”. Meaning if your Lead checkbox for product A is checked on your web-to-lead form and your matching Contact checkbox for product A is not checked, after conversion the existing Contact’s product A field will still read blank (unchecked). Serious sorcery.
Net Net: Either your Lead Conversion protocol needs to always have a new Contact record created and then ask the user to manually Merge Contacts so the newer, incoming field values can be adopted or you can throw your hands up and go get a beer.
LEAD CONVERTED TO NEW CONTACT (IN EXISTING ACCOUNT)
LEAD CONVERTED TO EXISTING CONTACT WITH ALL MAPPED FIELDS ALREADY POPULATED (IN EXISTING ACCOUNT)