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Salesforce.com – Working with formula fields

By January 8, 2017No Comments

I will get requests all the time to add fields to child objects (i.e., contacts) that belong on the parent account, but because we want to see it at the child record they want it there too.  For instance, you have account type (Customer, Prospect, Competitor) and when looking at a contact you want to see that account type at the person level, giving you the quick snapshot instead of navigating to the contact’s parent account.

I think you can do this (haven’t tried) in the process builder where you would add a field on the contact levels, then create a process to update the contact when changing the account’s type field.  You would also have to create a process to update the parent account’s type as well if changed on the contact (which would fire the first process to update all the contacts).  Confused yet?  I think you may even need a trigger.

So let’s go simpler shall we?  What I ALWAYS do is just try to teach my users that certain data belongs here and certain data belongs there.  For instance, customer type or account type is not something that belongs at the contact level.  It may be nice to see at each contact, but it belongs at the account level since it’s company data.  To DISPLAY the data at the contact, you can use a formula field – very easy to do.

To start, find your object or just search for it in the setup area (click Setup, then start searching – again, don’t hit enter as I always warn, just type).

Once I see what I need, I go to “Fields”, which I’m going to then scroll down and create a new field called “Account Type”.  When in the type of new field area, just choose “formula”.  Click next.

On the next screen, give it a name (label), the API name and choose the type of data that will be displayed.  When in doubt, choose text.

In this case I’ll just build the formula quickly, but I use the formula builder to insert the right field.  When you find it, click “Insert” to see the value.

In this case, because it’s a picklist I get an error when I save it.  So, I have to add the “text” formula function to just grab the value.  Now it looks like this:

Click next to add to the correct layout (and edit who can see it) and you’re all set.  Go ahead and move the field to where you want it on the contact record.

Your users can all now see the right account type at the contact level, however, to change it or modify they still have to navigate to the account record – again, the place where it belongs.

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