Salesforce Summer '16 Release Offers More Flexibility for Contacts

Peter Knolle, Solutions Architect and Salesforce MVP

The Salesforce Summer ’16 release has brought many new useful, time-saving features to enhance the user experience, but one of them stands out as a major improvement to the Salesforce core.  

With nearly 65,000 points, one of the highest-voted ideas on the IdeaExchange was Link a Single Contact to Multiple Accounts.  The idea has been delivered in the Summer ’16 release with the Associate a Contact with Multiple Accounts feature.

How It Works

The primary Account of a Contact is still required, and that relationship between the Contact and Account is referred to as a direct relationship. A Contact’s relationships to other Accounts are optional and are referred to as indirect relationships. 

Salesforce Summer 16 Screenshot 1

The picture above shows the Contact page with the new Related Accounts related list and two related Accounts. Tim Barr has an indirect relationship to the Burlington Textiles Corp. of America Account and has a single role of Influencer. He has a direct relationship with the Grand Hotels & Resorts Ltd. Account and has multiple roles on the Account. The Account with the direct relationship can also be seen under the Account Name in the highlights panel. 

On the Account page, the relationship between Tim Barr and Burlington Textiles Corp. of America is shown as an indirect relationship in the Related Contacts related list.

Salesforce Summer 16 Screenshot 2

Clicking the Add Relationship button brings up a window to allow an existing Contact to be searched for and added as a related Contact with one or more roles.

Salesforce Summer 16 Screenshot 3

Improvements from Account Contact Role

Prior to Account Contact Relationships, the standard way to associate Contacts to multiple Accounts was through the Account Contact Role. The new Account Contact Relationship has some notable improvements and is recommended going forward.  

For example, the Related Contacts and Related Accounts related lists are much easier to use. Instead of having separate related lists for Contacts and for Contact Roles, there is now a single, unified related list of Related Contacts. Instead of the Contact Roles related list having an entry for each role the Contact plays, there is now a single entry for the Contact that captures all of the roles played. 

With the old model, customizations were difficult or impossible. Now, custom fields can be added to the new Account Contact Relationship to meet specific business needs. Additionally, the layouts of the Account Contact Relationship and the Related Contacts/Accounts lists can be configured so that the data that is most important to users is prominently displayed.

Get Started

The Account Contact Relationship feature is a major improvement to the core Account and Contact functionally that enables users to have more streamlined and efficient interactions with Accounts and Contacts. 

To learn more about associating a single Contact with multiple Accounts, and to get hands-on experience, check out the interactive learning module Trailhead Accounts & Contacts Unit.

Peter Knolle

Peter Knolle

Peter Knolle is a Solutions Architect at Trifecta Technologies and Salesforce MVP with many Salesforce certifications. Peter likes working with clients to develop software that makes their jobs and lives easier.  When not at work, Peter enjoys spending time with his family and reading a good book.

Contact Peter at or visit his LinkedIn profile.