This is the simplest question and still one of the most difficult for me to answer at the same time!

Salesforce provides a number of standard objects and understanding when to use them is fundamental to a functional, scalable Salesforce implementation.

Even as I struggled to give a definitive answer to this question earlier today, I started writing out some of the key questions I ask to determine which object to use.

Accounts

Does this object represent a physical location or legal entity? Use Accounts.

Leads

Does this object represent a person (IE human being) where ALL of the following are true:

  • We are not talking with different people from the same company about the same thing (Account-Based Marketing/Sales)
  • We are not discussing a specific sales opportunity, such as product or pricing
  • We are not syncing this person record with a home-grown database such as a MongoDB for a SaaS platform
  • None of the above have been true in the past

Contacts

Does this object represent a person and not fit the conditions listed for leads? Use Contacts.

Opportunities

If ANY of the below are true, use Opportunities:

  • Are we discussing a specific sales opportunity?
  • Is leadership going to ask for a financial forecast?
  • Is anyone getting a commission based on this?

ContRacts (the one with an R)

Does this object represent a legal agreement or relationship, often but not necessarily resulting from an opportunity? Use Contracts.

Quotes (commonly renamed Proposals)

Does this object summarize pricing information and some kind of item or deliverable presented before a sale is complete? Use Quotes.

Account Contact Roles

Does this represent a relationship between a contact and account that could occur across accounts? Use Account Contact Roles……Unless we want to actually use them and customize them…..then create a custom junction object.

Campaign

Does this object correspond to an expenditure of Marketing time and/or money? Will we want to know the ROI of that expenditure? Use Campaigns.

Products/Price books

Do we sell more than three things? Use Products and Prices books. If we only sell a handful of static offerings (eg different licenses tiers for the one SaaS product we sell), we can probably get away with a picklist on the Opportunity, As soon as someone asks for a multi-select picklist though, time to switch to a price book.

Other Objects

Do you want to get dizzy with the actual number of custom objects? Check out the full list here!

Custom Objects

Is there no standard object to track this information? Please don’t rename one that sounds close if not. Time to create a custom object!