Why so Organization-Centric?

As I understand SalesForce (SF), it is built around the managing incoming leads and existing customer accounts, specifically contacts within companies. However, I have to imagine that we are not the only company using SF that serves individual consumers. Most sales companies will have consumers purchasing goods for their home. I removed the organization/company field as a required field, but how do other companies utilize SF for individual consumers? The organization-centric approach has created problems in a few specific areas:

1. De-duping. To de-dupe records, they have to be members of the same company. Sometimes people change or leave companies. In order to de-dupe, I have to change one of the company records to match the other. Also, we use a web-to-leads form. When leads come in, even if they have the same name and email address as an existing record, I can’t merge the new information into the existing record because the companies don’t match. Also, when I convert a lead into a contact, assuming the company names are the same, I am given the option to attach the lead to the existing contact. According to SF: “when an existing contact is selected, all open activities from the lead will be added to the contact and all new data will be added. Lead data will not overwrite existing contact data.” Many of our leads come from our website, and are likely to be more up-to-date than the existing record. So, again, there needs to be a better way to de-dupe—a way that honors the new data as important, and gives an option to merge the new data with the existing record. I understand that a Customer Portal is the best way for customers to update their records, but customers do not always understand this, and may complete the web to lead form anyway. So, please please please address the de-duping issue. There are many good suggestions in the popular article here [http://ideas.salesforce.com/article/show/22459/Dupe_Alerts?skin=null] As one commenter noted, please do not get stuck in analysis paralysis. Get the email check working ASAP, and roll out new changes as soon as possible thereafter.

2. Merging duplicates. The merge options should include moving existing data into a different field. For example, someone initially wanted mailings at their work address, but now wants it at their home address (both mail and email). Because they didn’t include their company name in the home mailing, SF created a duplicate record. I go to merge the records (after first adding their company name to their home address) and begin the merge process. The home address appears in the mailing address fields in one record, and the work address appears in the same field on the second record. It would be extremely helpful if I could move the work address into the Other Address field that we created. However, I cannot do this from the record merge field. I have to go back and forth between the records to update the mailing address and other address fields, then do the same for the email addresses. Please add an “alternate field” option that would allow for the email 1 field to roll over to the email2 field if email1 is filled.

3. Reporting. As I first began to explore the reports, I thought, “Let’s just try the All Contacts report to see how this works”. Alas, the All Contacts report does not report on All Contacts. Imagine my surprise!! The All Contacts report actually reports on contacts within organizations. How stupid!!! So, now if I want to report on All Contacts I have to re-make every report that I want.

Two other misc annoyances that should be addressed:

1. Why the heck is the default view to show the record ID? Who, aside form the database admin—maybe—is using that? Please setup a way to link to a related record by its name, and see the default to include the contact name. I appreciate the ability to change the page layout for each page, but this is just basic intuitive usage.

2. On web-to-lead, is [not provided] really necessary for every field that isn’t completed? I can’t seem to find an option to just leave the field blank.

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