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Converting all Leads to Contacts

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Converting all Leads to Contacts

My company just started using SFDC this year. We've always targeted accounts, not leads so the leads and contacts definitions have been extremely difficult to get used to. Therefore, we are transitioning everyone to accounts & contacts.

I'm concerned how this may affect the Marketo and Salesforce system. If you have any insights or know of any unintentional effects that this process may cause, I'd appreciate your sharing them with me.

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Re: Converting all Leads to Contacts

In terms of how this affects your systems, it shouldn't. In fact, it might even help. Marketo considers leads/contacts in salesforce as "leads" for smart lists/segmentation. By converting all leads to contacts, you'll now be able to have standardized data from the account that would by default append to the lead. The only issue you might find is if you try to update account-level info like address, employees, or annual revenue. This company-level data would need to be updated in Salesforce or through third-party tools.

I know it's on the roadmap for Marketo ABM (Q1 2017?) to release the ability to convert leads to contacts in flow steps, however this functionality is not supported right now. My recommendation in the meantime to batch convert leads into contacts would be to review 3rd party tools like DemandTools (PC only) or Cloudingo. If you're looking for something on the automation side, I would check out Engagio or Lean Data - both predict lead to account matching based on criteria you define.

Hope this info helps.

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Re: Converting all Leads to Contacts

In terms of how this affects your systems, it shouldn't. In fact, it might even help. Marketo considers leads/contacts in salesforce as "leads" for smart lists/segmentation. By converting all leads to contacts, you'll now be able to have standardized data from the account that would by default append to the lead. The only issue you might find is if you try to update account-level info like address, employees, or annual revenue. This company-level data would need to be updated in Salesforce or through third-party tools.

I know it's on the roadmap for Marketo ABM (Q1 2017?) to release the ability to convert leads to contacts in flow steps, however this functionality is not supported right now. My recommendation in the meantime to batch convert leads into contacts would be to review 3rd party tools like DemandTools (PC only) or Cloudingo. If you're looking for something on the automation side, I would check out Engagio or Lean Data - both predict lead to account matching based on criteria you define.

Hope this info helps.

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Level 4

Re: Converting all Leads to Contacts

Hi Aubrey,

Very helpful. Thank you. I didn't think it would affect the Marketo a lot, but wasn't 100% sure. Your post helped clarify what I've found in my research. 

Have a great week,

Megan

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Re: Converting all Leads to Contacts

Hey Megan,

We operate the same way in Salesforce, however there are some complexities to our lead conversion in SFDC. We required a valid Company name (excluding things like "#N/A", "Unknown", "asdf", "test", etc) and Country to convert the lead to a contact and account. If the lead does not have those two field populated correct, the conversion will fail and the record will stay as a lead. The auto-conversion process was written by our Salesforce developers using Apex.

I've worked in both situations: leads and contact, or contacts only. Personally, I prefer working solely out of the contact and account objects because it simplifies the lead flow process.

Good luck!

Katie

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Re: Converting all Leads to Contacts

Katie, could you possibly go into more detail about how your developers created the auto-conversion process? Did you go through SalesForce directly or do you have an inhouse developer? What do you do if the contact is already in your system, does it create a new account or is it merged with the duplicate contact? In addition to that, if the contact does not exist  in your system but the company they work for is, will they be added to the company contact list?

My company operates identically to yours and I would love to find a solution!

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Anonymous
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Re: Converting all Leads to Contacts

late to game here, but if you're looking for auto-conversion based on super-granular business logic, you have to check out LeanData.  Their routing and auto-conversion functionality PLUS their multi-campaign attribution functionality vs. price to own is unreal. We just implemented them. Huge fans.