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Salesforce Entity Relationship Diagrams Makes Visual Storytelling Simple

Salesforce ERD

One of the most useful tools in the admin or data professional’s toolkit are Salesforce entity relationship diagrams. Understanding conceptual and physical data models is difficult enough. A business stakeholder responsible for sales, marketing, and revenue typically has little interest in the Salesforce data model. When information coming out of Salesforce is incorrect, sometimes you need to revisit your existing data model.

Bringing Salesforce admin, data and business professionals together, sometimes a conceptual entity relationship diagram is very useful to algin to the same level of understanding to make the right forward decision. To help explain and prioritize data work for a client, I recently used our entity relationship diagram to pinpoint and explain the root cause of reporting problems.

Salesforce entity relationship diagrams

Real World Lead Attribution Use Case with Salesforce ERD

Lead attribution is one of the most important and challenging aspects of running your “got to market” stack. To do so requires attention to data consistency and quality. One of our customers had an ambitious and practical approach to connects Leads, Accounts, and Opportunities with a junction object called “Vintage”. The ability to automatically track a lead vintage (when the lead enters the funnel), is very useful to report funnel conversion and lifetime value. Reports for revenue and lifetime value by lead source is important for planning and budgeting independent of campaign activity.

To communicate the issue, I used the following DataTools Pro ERD Diagram to demonstrate the additional data relationships that were maintained. Additionally, I explained how existing reporting requirements could easily be achieved without the vintage object. The following is the exact picture I painted to describe the specific linkage that was effectively broken in the Lead Attribution Funnel.

Salesforce Attribution Diagram

Resolution with Empirical Proof

There were some objections to remove the Vintage object. During the meeting, I clicked to demonstrate where those data relationships are maintained. It was very effective to satisfy most objections in real time.

There was one objection we had to clear to deprecate the Vintage object. Using historical data analysis I discovered the Vintage objection use case occurred 1 in every 500 opportunities which made it a true edge case. Sometimes you engineer a solution to account for anticipated scenarios that rarely occur in real life; this was one of those cases.

The consensus was the vintage object and all of the processes needed to maintain it could be deprecated. Rather than trying to accomplish detailed lead attribution from the lead object, campaign and campaign members are used to capture clients that enter the funnel multiple times from multiple channels.

How to Build a Salesforce entity relationship diagrams for Free

Salesforce provides an out of the entity diagram for Salesforce administrators to visualize and manage the Salesforce data model. I find them useful for administration but not for sharing and distribution.

Build better, easier to visualize ERDs with DataTools Pro: Our desire to build a better ERD for Salesforce led us to create ERDs. Here are some of reasons you may want to check out the free diagraming capabilities we offer:

  • Simpler, minimal design
  • Exportable to single page document (SVG)
  • Connected directly to Salesforce
  • Custom views aligned to business topics and tech modules.