How do you handle "Contacts" that move to other companies?

I'm going to piggy-back on Feras' discussion about SFDC moving from Leads & Contacts to People a bit (I wholeheartedly agree that SFDC needs to make that change BTW).

I'm curious how you handle existing Contact records when a person moves to another company. More specifically, when an existing Contact moves to a company that you want to sell into, but have not qualified (i.e. all you have is Leads for that company). Do you deactivate the existing Contact and create a new Lead? Do you create an Account for a prospective customer company that you've not qualified and then move the existing Contact record? Or is there another approach that I'm missing?

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    • I’d also love to hear the Ferasophy on this… @ferasabdel?

    • GREAT question Josh. I’m going to look at this from 2 different lenses. 1: Current state of Leads/Contacts objects 2: Nirvana state of “People” object.

      1: Current State – In general my thought is if you have company information for a person then you should convert them into an Account/Contact. Accounts are going to give you much better infrastructure to be able to increase the data you have about that company without having to manage it across multiple Leads. I think the days of “only convert a Lead when its qualified” are long gone. How to use the different objects should be viewed as database management not pipeline management. You can properly manage your pipeline no matter how you choose to use the different objects. Happy to dive deeper here if needed.

      2: Nirvana state – Simple straightforward approach here. A company is an attribute of a person. Meaning you can have multiple companies listed under the “person” with one being the most active. This will give you the ability to track the different companies a person has worked for.

      In short, never a fan of deleting records to recreate new ones.

      • Awesome insight! I think I’ve been stuck in the Lead > Opportunity mindset for too long. Your response prompted some great conversations with some of my peers at the office. I’m starting to think that we could ‘hack’ SFDC by simply not using the Lead object any longer. The biggest challenge I see with that though is the Lead is great at capturing that “moment of interest” and taking the person through that moment in a structured way.

        Do you think it would make sense to use the Lead as a sort of “child” object to the Contact with the focus being on managing the person’s experience through that moment of interest? We couldn’t get past how well Leads work with Campaigns while thinking through other solutions (custom objects).

    • From a technical perspective – there are a few approaches I’ve seen, although I’ll caveat that I’ve not seen any done particularly well in the sense that we are 1) not affecting data negatively and 2) keeping the history of the Contact intact.

      1. You can turn on “Contacts to Multiple Accounts” in Salesforce, and build your process around that. The tricky part is that you may have some processes/reporting that are based on the contact’s primary Account, so that doesn’t usually work well. But, it’s a path:

      2. ‘deactivate’ or otherwise flag the prior-company Contact as ‘left company’ with however you normally flag Contacts (like a Contact Status). Then create a new Contact record at the new company. I prefer this approach as it avoids the reporting issues you can encounter in #1, but you lose the history of the Contact without adding additional customizations. I feel like there’s a way to combine this with the ‘contacts at multiple accounts’, but the tricky part is doing so without affecting company-specific customizations/process/reporting.

      • I hadn’t thought about using Contacts to Multiple Accounts. In my scenario, I’d need to be able to have a status for each ContactAccount relationship, but definitely a solution to investigate.

        My initial thought on the subject was to go the ‘deactivate’ route as well, but the more I’ve thought about it the less I like it primarily because we lose that history.

        As I’m thinking through this, a linking object (maybe called Contact Role) that allows you to set statuses (and other fields/attributes) could be a solution.

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