How Should I Do Lead-to-Account Matching in Salesforce?

When leads are flowing into Salesforce from marketing, lead-to-account-matching is one of the first solutions that an account-based startup will look for. We recommend three different approaches to this solution.

In 2019, the majority of startups use account-based strategies. But along with this highly effective approach to sales and marketing comes data management challenges—especially when working at scale. When leads are flowing into Salesforce from marketing, lead-to-account-matching is one of the first solutions that an account-based startup will look for.

Clients often ask us what options they have for handling lead-to-account matching in Salesforce. Here are the three different approaches we recommend.

Build Your Own Lead-to-Account-Matching Engine

For simple matching on a low volume of leads, we recommend creating a process builder and a flow that performs an email domain to account domain check. You can also perform this check with an apex trigger (like this one) that parses and maps the domains.

This solution is inexpensive, simple, and fast (it should only take a Salesforce developer about half a day to set up). But it does have some major drawbacks. It won’t handle prioritization, fuzzy logic, duplicates, multiple matches, re-try scenarios, or failures. If it does fail, it will cause dramatic failures. And finally, you’ll have to maintain the code yourself.

Take a Hybrid Approach with Custom Code and Match Rules

Salesforce comes equipped with powerful matching functionality that is often overlooked. So rather than using a domain trigger, it is possible to use Salesforce’s match rules to determine if a lead matches an account.

This approach eliminates many of the cons above and allows for matching at a higher volume. Match rules can be configured outside of code and can include any standard or custom field. They can also use fuzzy logic operators (on account name, address fields, and name fields) and return match scores.

This is a more robust solution than custom code alone, but it still won’t handle failures or re-try scenarios. In addition, you’ll still need to manage the custom trigger that invokes your matching process.

Invest in a Native Lead-to-Account Matching Product

A native lead-to-account-matching product (like Lane Four) leverages Salesforce’s native match methods, which opens the door to a host of other powerful features. A productized solution does a lot that a custom built solution won’t. It simplifies match configuration, handles complex prioritization models, and provides additional features that are central to account-based data management. These features include de-duplication, auto-conversion, and account assignment. Ideally, they also include lead routing, which will later be critical for getting your matched leads to the right reps.

A product will also include failure handling and re-try ability, which are critical when matching at scale.

Because of our experience working with dozens of account-based startups, Lane Four anticipates the complex lead management needs that will arise out of lead-to-account matching as you grow. For startups with a limited budget and complex matching needs, a Salesforce native product like Lane Four is often the best solution.

Matching & Routing
for Salesforce