Admins / Consultants

Salesforce Lead Conversion: Why Would Errors Appear?

By Andreea Doroftei

Lead conversion is probably one of the processes you have heard about early on in your Salesforce career because, for many companies using Salesforce, it is one of the very first positive outcomes of a qualified prospect’s journey. Being an irreversible action when successful, ensuring that the conversion into a contact, account, and opportunity happens properly is paramount to the user experience and overall data quality.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into why lead conversion might fail and how to prevent or resolve unwanted errors.

Salesforce Lead Conversion and Field Mapping

Before jumping to the errors, let’s explore the actual conversion process in Salesforce and what it entails for both an end user and an admin. This process represents the Salesforce out-of-the-box mechanism to ‘turn’ qualified prospects into accounts, contacts, and opportunities to continue the selling cycle further.

First of all, keep in mind that the example below represents the perfect scenario – meaning that this was a brand new lead, out of which I created a new account as well as contact and chose to create an opportunity. All of these items depend on the existing data and the org setup. Seemingly, it is just a click of a few buttons. In reality, it may become as complex as needed, with various status progressions, validation rules, and automations – you name it!

While functionalities such as validation rules are available for other standard or custom Salesforce objects, leads have another unique feature in addition to conversion: the ability to use the Map Lead Fields option in Object Settings, which represents the LeadConvertSettings. This is the way to make sure that data you need further down the line from custom fields on the lead is transferred into custom fields on the contact, account, or even opportunity.

Even though the standard fields from these objects do not appear on the page above, it doesn’t mean they are not transferred over. They are actually mapped by default, and you will see them populated accordingly on contacts, opportunities, and accounts (or person accounts) following the lead conversion. Field Mapping cannot be leveraged to map a custom field to a standard field or vice versa, and there are also a few more guidelines to consider when deciding how to map your custom fields.

Salesforce leads can become quite a complex subject and implementation; hence, on top of the LeadConvertSettings, make sure to familiarize yourself with the best practices as well as the specifics of the lead object prior to embarking on this journey.

READ MORE: Salesforce Lead Object Best Practices

5 Reasons for Lead Conversion Errors

Similar to other Salesforce processes that allow a certain degree of customization, errors may also occur during lead conversion. Be it user error, data incompatibility, or even custom automations, let’s break down a few situations when further configuration, troubleshooting, or enablement is needed…

1. Validation Rules and Required Fields

Perhaps the most straightforward error users could receive upon lead conversion is the validation rule error message on either of the affected objects. In the example below, a custom field was made mandatory through a validation rule (see the first image) as well as the Required checkbox from the field’s settings (see the second image).

By far, the ability to customize the error message for the validation rule makes it a more user-friendly choice, while in the event of the field being marked as “Required”, chances are that the users will reach out to you about the error as it relates to the Field Mapping.

READ MORE: How to Use Validation Rules in Salesforce (+ Examples)

2. Discrepancies in the Lead Conversion Field Mapping

Since we’re on the topic of the Salesforce Lead Conversion Field Mapping, another situation in which the conversion error will reference the mapping is when the values between the mapped fields do not coincide.

In the example below, I mapped two unrelated restricted picklist fields between the lead and the contact. The error was expected, as the values did not coincide whatsoever. In case you map a wrong restricted field by mistake, the good news is that you will notice it when testing.

When and if you or your users encounter this error, make sure to check the mapping between the fields and the available field values for each of them.

3. Different Currency on the Existing Opportunity

Out of all the lead conversion error messages, “There was an error converting the lead.” might be the trickiest one to identify and resolve at a glance.

In an organization using multiple currencies, the first place to check is if an existing opportunity that already has products was chosen during the conversion. In this situation, the lead currency is most likely different from the opportunity currency, prompting the error. Below is an example where the lead currency was USD, while that of the opportunity was RON.

There may be other underlying causes for this generic error, which you will have to debug further; hence, if it’s not the opportunity and lead currency difference, make sure to check the other possible causes listed in this Knowledge article.

4. Automation Errors

With Salesforce Lead Conversion usually being a manual process, it’s no surprise that one of the most time-saving automations available is autoconversion through the use of the LeadConvert class.

When building this automation for your organization’s use case, make sure to consider the lead ownership and, more specifically, if the lead will ever be owned by a queue. In comparison with leads, accounts, contacts, and opportunities cannot be owned by a queue – this means that if the automation is triggered and the setOwnerId(ownerId) method is not used within the Apex Class to define the new owner, the conversion will fail for the leads owned by a queue.

5. Person vs. Business Accounts

In this situation, there will not be any red error message, but it’s certainly one of the cases where user errors might happen. If your organization is using both business and person accounts, you’re already aware that the key to getting the correct outcome during lead conversion is the Company standard field.

Since users might usually notice this ‘error’ right after the conversion and sooner or later reach out to you as the Salesforce Administrator, you should consider different training and enablement mechanisms to remind them of the process and prevent the need for manual intervention to update the account after the fact.

READ MORE: Convert Salesforce Business Accounts to Person Accounts

Final Thoughts

All in all, it all comes down to properly leveraging the out-of-the-box functionality as well as being aware of potential limitations – regardless of the particularities of your organization’s lead conversion process, fields and automations being used on the lead, or the related objects.

Have you ever had to troubleshoot any of these situations? Share your experience in the comments below!

The Author

Andreea Doroftei

Andreea is a Salesforce Technical Instructor at Salesforce Ben. She is an 18x certified Salesforce Professional with a passion for User Experience and Automation. 

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