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Nathan DunnNathan Dunn 

Accounts with multiple relationship types

I'm sure we're not alone in this, but some of our Account records have multiple relationship types with us. For instance, some are true accounts (clients) and are also resellers; some are accounts and are also vendors, etc.

Depending on the relationship types, we may have different employees responsible for the two different relationships. How are others handling this in Salesforce?
Steve MolisSteve Molis
One thing that I would STRONGLY caution against is creating duplicate Accounts for each relationship between the company in question and your company.  Because unless you are SUPER vigilant and have strong business rules in place it can become very easy for the account(s) to get out of sync, and your users will lose visibility to all going activity within that account(s).  

I would recommend using Partner Roles at both the Account and Opportunity level.  I've also created a custom "Competitor Role" object on my SFDC.Org that mimics the Opportunity.Partner Role and allows us to track Competitors as Accounts (we've had cases where a company has been a Client/Prospect and has also been identified as a Competitor on another Opportunity). 
Nathan DunnNathan Dunn
Thanks, Steve. I just finished the process last night of consolidating our multiple record types into a single record type, for some of the very reasons you mentioned. We came to Salesforce from GoldMine, which doesn't have the flexibility of Salesforce, so we basically copied our GoldMine setup into Salesforce, and have worked over the past year to fix and change things from there.

Any suggestions on where to start with information on Partner Roles?
Steve MolisSteve Molis
 No problem, the online help guide does a better job of explaining it that I ever could. 

https://na2.salesforce.com/help/doc/en/partners_edit.htm

Basically in Salesforce a Partner Role acts as a "junction object" that allows you to connect multiple Accounts to an Opportunity, or even to other Accounts.  

So using using Opportunity.Partner Roles you could say something like.
  • On the Acme Widget Opportunity The 3 Stooges are the Vendor
  • On the Dunder Mifflin Opportunity The 3 Stooges are the Reseller
  • On the Ini-Tech Opportunity The 3 Stooges are the Broker 
When you view The 3 Stooges account you see ALL of the interactions you have with them, Client, Prospect, Reseller, Vendor, etc...