Handling Contacts which have multiple accounts in salesforce

If you sell to businesses, franchises or involve in B2B accounts, one of the common scenarios is that a contact will be in multiple accounts as a business owner or a decision maker in multiple accounts. So the question is should i create duplicate contacts for each account, or use account contact role or what is the best way to manage these contacts which would allow the marketing team to quickly run campaigns on these accounts and still reach each account owner individually for cross selling campaigns? Here are some simple steps to do this.
1. Never duplicate your contacts.
One of the most important reason for decrease in adoption is that users slowly lose trust with the data in salesforce and so care should be taken to prevent duplication of contacts. So creating one contacts for the business owner and associating him with multiple accounts as account contact role would work for you. This would ensure that there is always a unique contact and campaigns can be run out of acccount contact roles.
Pros
a. You leverage out of the box capability in salesforce and can easily add roles to the account to identify the role each contact plays with multiple accounts.
Cons
a. If you want to track activities on each contact for each account, it is not possible to track them using this solution.
2. Creating junction objects for flexibility
Another solution which would work more effectively is to create a custom object which is a junction object. This object will have a look up relationship with account id, contact id and product id and a picklist called roles which can be custom populated.
Pros
1.Now the flexibility on using a custom object is that it can easily be populated from external systems and it is easy to track which contacts in that account are using your product.
2.So if you are an isv and sell software, your current software users can easily be populated in the junction object.

Cons
1. If want to track activities on the same contact for multiple accounts or use webbased tracking, it becomes hard to track it on a contact/account basis. But this can be overcome using tasks on the junction object.

3. Marketing solution impact
If you are using Marketo, Exact target or any marketing solution to run your campaigns, you need to make sure that your marketing solution is capable of extracting the leads using account contact roles or the junction object easily and create campaigns for it. So before considering the above 2 solutions, talk to your marketing product vendor and ensure that you can run the campaigns on these contacts easily and track them.
So using the above 3 guidelines, you can create your own solution and easily market to these contacts on there accounts effectively. If you like this post, please click like on the post and post any comments which i would be glad to answer it for you.

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