Lead conversion is a core process for nearly all companies using Sales Cloud, as is data quality. However after spending weeks in workshops to ensure data quality through the use of multiple validation rules on Account, Contact and Opportunities. We get to Lead. While it is 'dirty data' the options are either enforce and or don't enforce. Which can be problematic for many companies, especially those with a fluid lead process. Where the focus is on getting them from Lead to Closed-Won as quickly as possible.

Why is this a issue

Salesforce provides the option to either enforce or ignore validation rules when converting leads which can prove to be very rigid The need for Salesforce to offer better customisation options for lead conversion are highlighted by this Idea

Why is this important

Whilst some organisations will have a detailed lead process in place (whereby they qualify and routinely update the lead details) there are many companies that don't have such processes. For them the issue is do you enforce data quality at the lead level also ? if yes you might not necessarily want to enforce for all the fields because if the user is not able to find the details, the time to process or convert the lead can be impacted. Also the UX for when a validation rule error occurs on lead conversion is horrible.

The sweet spot is warning users up front where validation will fail and by configuring the solution so that your customer is able to decide which rules should fire upon lead conversion rather than the all or nothing approach which salesforce.com currently supports

Possible solutions

Using workflows and field updates, custom formula fields we can get to a pretty robust and user friendly solution.

Implementation details of a solution

I have broken down the solution into 2 parts

Part 1 - Inform user of lead conversion status

Using a custom field on the lead to indicate the conformance of the record against the applicable validation rules that could impact the conversion process

Lead Validation 5

Example VR in action

Lead Validation 2

Below you can see how this validation rule works and the error message received on the account record.

Lead Validation 1

Lead Record and attempted conversion

Lead Validation 4

When a user goes to convert the record, it can be frustrating there is no context for the user to see what needs correcting.

A better approach would be to highlight to the user before converting which validation rules are likely to fire.

Lead Validation 7

Custom formula field on Lead

Another custom field on Lead, this time to provide information to the user based on your specific business rules.

Lead Validation 3

Lead detail record should look something like this now

Lead Validation 6

Part 2 - Workflow and Field Update

Use config to control which validation rules are fired upon conversion

Create two formula fields

One on Lead and another on Account, pay close attention to the default value for each.

Lead Validation 8

Lead Validation 9

Don't forget to map these custom fields on Lead, so that the default value on Lead is copied to Account

Workflow rule on Account

Used to catch any Accounts created by the lead conversion process

Lead Validation 10

Field update

To set the flag as per the default on Account.

Lead Validation 11

Update any validation rules you want to exclude from the lead conversion, to check for the flag passed from lead

Lead Validation 12

There you have it. You should now have two options when discussing with clients options around lead conversion and related validation rules.

Check out this follow up post to understand why this works.