5 Salesforce Lead & Contact Hacks Every Admin Should Know

By Stacy O’Leary

Leads & Contacts are the bread and butter of Salesforce: without them, there’d be no Opportunities to close! Over the past few years, I’ve found myself needing the same types of information in all the orgs I work in, so I end up creating the same types of fields, reports, or automations everywhere I go.

Today I’ll be sharing some very quick and additions you can make to the Lead and Contact objects that will transform the way you work with these records, and the business processes around them. The best part is you can implement all of these changes today, use them in every org you work in, and save yourself and all your users years of future headaches and bad data.

1.  Lead Source Department

We’re all familiar with the Lead Source picklist – it holds vital information that we report on regularly, especially if you’re in Sales or Marketing.

Knowing where Leads came from tells you which Marketing efforts resulted in actual pipeline, and helps you make the decision about which marketing programs to invest in, or to cut back on. The most common values in Lead Source are “Tradeshow”, “Purchased List”, “Form Fill”, “Partner Referral”, or “Sales Rep Referral”.

These are critical data points to know, but often, there’s a secondary question and at a higher level “How many Leads were sourced by Marketing vs. Sales?” We can answer that question with a simple formula field on the Lead and Contact, by using the CASE function:

In this org, I’m saying that any Lead with a Lead Source of Partner Referral, or Partner Event, automatically falls under “Channel”. Employee Referrals fall under “Sales”, and all other sources fall under “Marketing.” This is a great option because as a formula, it’s not dependent on the end user to populate another picklist, and I’m also not relying on a Bucket Field on a report that could be modified.

Now you can quickly and easily report on which department or team is bringing in the most Leads or Contacts, and meeting their goals.

2.  Lead Source Detail

If Lead Source Department is the highest level of data grouping around Lead Sources, then Lead Source Detail is the most granular.

A Text Area field on Leads (and Contacts, Opportunities, and Accounts), mapped upon Lead Conversion, gives you the exact source of this single Lead, the name of the tradeshow and the date, the name of the webform, or the partner name and company name that referred the Lead. This field is extremely granular, so you may not be doing a lot of reporting on this data, but it will be useful when you want to compare exactly which events are the most successful, or particular events year-over-year.

3.  IsLead Checkbox

When working with Leads and Contacts (and Opportunities and Accounts), we often need to know which ones came from Lead Conversion, and which came did not.

This information is available in the History reports, but those can be cumbersome to work with. If you want to use a regular Contacts and Accounts report, and see which Contacts came from Lead Conversion, you are out of luck. There’s no out of the box solution to see which records came from Lead Convert, and which did not.

What’s an Admin to do? Create a few checkboxes, and that’s it! Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Create a checkbox on the Lead called “IsLead” with a default value of “True”

Step 2: Create a checkbox on the Contact called “Converted from Lead”

Step 3: Create a checkbox on the Opportunity called “Converted from Lead”

Step 4: Create a checkbox on the Account called “Converted from Lead”

Step 5: Map the IsLead checkbox, upon conversion, to the “Converted from Lead” checkbox on Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities.

If you do this on in an Org with existing records, you’ll need to do a few mass updates on existing records by checking the checkbox on the Leads to “True”, and also mass update the records that have already been converted. But once that is done, you’re set to go!

I love this solution because it’s very easy for end users to understand on the reports they’re already familiar with, and also, because there’s absolutely no automation to contend with.

4. Converted Date (& other hidden Lead fields)

Very useful fields on the Lead object, that are in fact, hidden. These fields are available for use in Formula Fields and Validation Rules, but not visible on the standard Leads report:

  • IsConverted
  • ConvertedDate
  • ConvertedAccountId
  • ConvertedOpportunityId
  • ConvertedContactId

These can be referenced on the Leads with Converted Leads Information report – but, you may not want to use that report type for everything, or you may not want to rebuild an existing standard Leads report you’re already happy with.

Simply create a formula field on the Lead and name it “Converted Date” and add in the ConvertedDate field. Now you’ll be able to pull Converted Date on the standard Leads report!

5. “Contacts” Report Type

Out of the box, Salesforce gives you a variety of reports for working with Contact records. The most commonly used one is probably “Contacts & Accounts”, I’ll confidently guess it’s your standard go-to report for anything related to the Contact record!

So what’s the problem with this report? It’s a Contacts & Accounts report. Read that one more time: Contacts & Accounts. Yes, it’s only Contact records that are tied to an Account.

What if you have Contacts where there is no Account? And I hear you! “But Stacy!” you say, “The Account field is required on the page layout, of course the Account field is filled out on all Contacts!” But, are you really sure? You should probably run a report on the Contact object, where Accounts = Blank to check out your data. You may be surprised….

Oh wait – you can’t! There is no report for just the Contacts object, only Contacts & Accounts, or Contacts & something else! Oh, the horror! Not to worry, there is a simple solution. Just create a custom Report Type for the Contact object, that’s it!

Orphaned Contacts – A True Story

I was brought in to help out in an org, and make sure that the Marketing team could prospect out to the entire database. The Marketing team insisted that there were 5,000 Contacts, but I could only find around 4,500. After some prodding and searching, I found them – a massive 500 Contacts where the Account field was blank. Even more unusually, the Account field was required on the page layout.

These 500 Contacts had been created years and years ago, long before the Account field was required on the Contact page layout. They were owned by users who had long since left the company. This group of Contacts had sat, orphaned, for years, not showing up in any reports. That’s until I finally found them by creating a custom report just for Contacts, not connected to any other object, where Account field = BLANK.

Contacts without an Account are called “Private Contacts”.

Bonus tip: Account name should be required on the Contact page layout, but don’t forget about your Global Quick Actions, Quick Create, Email Integrations, or any applications that might allow a user to import a Contact Record.


These are the Lead & Contact hacks I use in every org I work in. I hope that you find them useful! Please comment below to share your favorites too!

The Author

Stacy O'Leary

Stacy is a 5x Certified Salesforce Consultant & Full Time Mom

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