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Household account model vs. Person account

When implementing Salesforce for businesses that sell a product or a service to consumers (B2C), one important decision you need to make is whether to use Person Accounts or Household Accounts. Which model we recommend depends on a few factors discussed below.

Person accounts in Salesforce

By default, Salesforce Accounts store information about businesses or other entities. Enabling Person Accounts extends the Account object to allow you to store information about a person, such as first name, last name, and email address. Enabling it also gets rid of the required Company field on the Lead object. The Person Account is usually a good fit for B2C businesses with a low-touch sales process. For example, a B2C SaaS company may have the option for a user to sign-up and use the software online without the need to get an account executive involved. In a situation like this, they’ll store minimal information about the customer. For the Salesforce user, this customer would be a single Account record, so it’s easier to manage. Some of the disadvantages of using this model are from the admin side. Here are a few things to consider before enabling Person Accounts:

  • Once enabled, you cannot disable it (though you do have the option to deactivate the record type for the user’s profiles)
  • Some AppExchange apps and other third-party applications that integrate with Salesforce may not support Person Accounts. For example, some email marketing solutions only sync with Salesforce Contacts.
  • Though the user sees a single record, there is actually one account record and one contact record created in the background, therefore there is more storage taken up with this model.

Household accounts in Salesforce

Unlike Person Accounts, the Household Model does not require an architectural change in Salesforce and there is nothing to enable. With this model, we use the Account object as the Household and Contacts as individuals within the Household. This model is a good fit for B2C companies that have a high-touch and more relationship-based approach to customer acquisition and retention. Think of auto dealerships, insurance providers, nonprofit organizations with membership options.

Data management with households

An important consideration when using Households is what information to store on Contacts and what to store on the Accounts. This will be different for every company. For example, for a membership program with family benefits, the expiration date will likely be at the Account (household) level. Still, a dealership tracking Lease Expiration date would want this information at the contact level since each family member may have different vehicles.

The Salesforce consultant you work with will be able to recommend which model your organization should use. We have found the Household model a better fit for most of the B2C organizations we have worked with, but in some situations maintaining an Account and Contact may be double-entry for users who don’t need to store information about household relationships.

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