In Salesforce, lead management allows your marketing and sales teams to market, qualify, and build your sales pipeline with prospective customers. Once qualified then a lead can be converted into a formal Account, Contact and (optionally) an Opportunity.

The big question addressed in this post with lead conversion is what data comes over during conversion and, more importantly, what data isn’t and how do we fix that?

What Comes Over – Standard & Custom Fields

Many of the standard lead fields are mapped during conversion to the new account and contact records, and as the administrator you can configure which custom fields from the lead are mapped (or not) to the account and contact too.

What Comes Over – Standard Related Lists

Likewise, some of the standard related lists are carried over, such as Campaigns, Activities, and Notes and Attachments, to the new account and contact.

What is left behind?

However, if your team has been using Chatter or custom related lists or using Salesforce Files (and you really should!) then, unfortunately, that data is not brought over to the account or contact upon lead conversion! So sad…

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This has been a point of frustration for many users over the years and multiple ideas have been raised and questions asked on the community forums looking for workarounds:

Solutions – Chatter

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John Kucera’s free app Lead Convert Chatter lets you choose which objects the lead’s chatter posts should be copied to upon conversion. By default they go to the contact. There are a few limitations: comments on posts or some types of posts like file posts are not copied over. No silver bullet here, but better than nothing!

Solutions – Custom Related Lists

Kevin Willemse responded on the Answers Community about how to use Process Builder to update the lead’s related records and populate a Contact lookup field so that the records would now show on the newly converted contact.

The gist of the solution is that in addition to the Lead object lookup field on the custom related object, add a Contact (or Account or Opportunity) lookup field as well then create a process using Process Builder that will update the lead’s related records by setting the Contact (or Account or Opportunity) lookup field equal to the lead’s converted contact id when the lead becomes converted.

  1. On the custom object, add a new lookup field to Contact object. As long as the record is being used on a Lead then this field will be null. It will be updated via process builder once the lead is converted into a contact.
    lead_conversion_custom_object_contact_lookup.png
  2. Create process named “Lead Conversion” on Lead object and start the process when a record is created or edited.
    lead_conversion_start_process.png
  3. Add a criteria that checks if the lead is converted. In the field chooser, it may be listed as Converted and once chosen display as [Lead].IsConverted:
    lead_conversion_process_criteria_is_converted.png
  4. Add an action to update records and choose the custom object’s name that has __r suffix (e.g. My_Objects__r) then configure field assignment where the custom object’s contact lookup field is assigned the value of the lead’s converted contact id:
    lead_conversion_process_action_copy_converted_contact_id.png

A real-life example where I’ve used this trick is when using Survey Force (or other survey tool) that is capturing responses at the lead level but we want to carry that data over to the contact on conversion. Just as described above, I added a contact lookup field to the survey response object and used Process Builder to populate it with the lead’s converted contact id when the lead was converted. Voila, related list data follows the lead through conversion!

Solutions – Salesforce Files

As of this writing, Salesforce does not preserve related Files during conversion operation, although it does bring over Enhanced Notes to the converted Account and Contact. The Files are left orphaned.

Inspired by Gorav Seth‘s realization of this on Success Community, and by Matthew Souther‘s comment of suggested solution, I developed a simple trigger to demonstrate how to preserve and carry over the Files to the converted Account, Contact, and Opportunity. You can get a copy of the code from my GitHub repo https://github.com/DouglasCAyers/sfdc-preserve-chatter-files-on-lead-conversion.

Conclusion

There is a need to improve the lead conversion experience in Salesforce to bring over all history including Chatter posts, Files, and other related and contextual data. There is no single silver bullet solution that I know of, but there are workarounds with varying degrees of success.

Please share in the comments how you are addressing this issue and any potential solutions I may have overlooked. Thanks!