Contact Management Best Practices

Over the years, we have seen companies struggle with effectively managing contacts. How do I manage contacts who are no longer active? What happens when a contact changes companies? Or if they retire? What is the best way to manage duplicates? How do you setup your contacts so you can easily find the ones you want to target for a webinar invite or email communication? We will cover all of this and more!

Contact Status Management

The first step in effectively managing Contacts is by making sure you have a way to identify a Contact as inactive. People retire or change companies all of the time. You need a way to identify which contacts are inactive and why they are inactive.

We recommend creating two fields for this:

  • Contact Status - picklist field with values = Active or Inactive -> make the default status Active
  • Inactive Reason - this field is required if the Contact Status = Inactive -> create a field dependency between these two fields so the user has to enter a value.

Primary Contact Management

Often times you will want to send a communication to the primary contacts for your customers. Do you have a way to manage these people? If not, it will make these types of communications difficult to send because your sales reps will need to develop a target list every time you want to send an email which is not an effective use of their time.

We recommend creating a checkbox field called Primary Contact on the Contact. This will allow your users to identify more than one Primary Contact per company and give you an easy way to filter for these Contacts in reports or list views.

Contact Changes Companies

This happens a lot and we have seen people just update the Account Name on the Contact to move them from their old company to their new company. We should NEVER do this. The reason is because the historical information for that contact is now incorrect. All of the activity history, emails, opportunities look like they occurred when the Contact was at the new Company which is not correct.

Instead, we recommend doing the following steps:

  1. Update the Contact Status on the old Contact to Inactive and update Inactive Reason
  2. Do not remove the email address from the record. We have seen people do this as a way to clean things up. But now you do not have a record of this email being inactive.
  3. Create a new Contact under the new company with Contact Status = Active.

Department & Management Level

Additional fields that could be helpful are Department and Management Level. Oftentimes we want to target people who have a certain title with our email communications. If we only have a title field on the Contact, it is impossible to filter for these people in a report.

We recommend creating two picklists and making them required to add a new Contact:

  • Department -> these values could be different depending on your industry. Insurance companies would also need Claims and Underwriting. Typical values are:
    • Sales
    • Marketing
    • Operations
    • IT
    • HR
    • Legal
    • Product
  • Management Level -> if you use ZoomInfo, you will see the following Management levels:
    • C-Level
    • VP-Level
    • Director
    • Manager
    • Non-Manager

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About the Author

Cheryl Fernandes

Cheryl is a certified Salesforce Application Architect and is the Founder and Lead Salesforce Consultant at Blu Ninjas. She has been working with Salesforce for 12 years and has helped companies in financial services, insurance and beauty industries implement solutions on the platform. Flow is her favorite Salesforce declarative tool, it is a game changer for anyone who does not know how to code.

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