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Create Relationships Between Contacts

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify how EDA creates contact-to-contact relationships.
  • Describe how a reciprocal relationship works in EDA.
  • Create, edit, and manage relationships.

Relationships

Relationships in EDA represent contact-to-contact connections. This is different from affiliations, which connect contacts with accounts. When you create these connections, you can also define the type of relationship (friend, family, mother, daughter, and so on), and the relationship status (current, former).

EDA relationships

When you create a relationship in EDA, Salesforce creates a reciprocal relationship, which reflects the same relationship in the other direction. For example, if you create a relationship from Luke Jones’s contact record and specify Amanda as his cousin, Amanda’s contact record also reflects that Luke is her cousin.

Relationship in EDA

Similarly, if you designate a contact as a father for a male student, Salesforce creates a son reciprocal relationship in the other direction. Salesforce creates reciprocal relationships for you to ensure that relationship types are accurate, no matter which contact you’re viewing them from. (We talk about how all this happens in a moment.)

You can imagine how valuable it is for educational institutions to see all kinds of relationships in EDA. For example, Amanda’s cousin, Luke, will be graduating from high school next year. After speaking with Amanda, you find out that Luke loves baseball and has in fact played on a team that’s won several championships. This information presents a perfect opportunity for a college or university recruiter to reach out to Luke to discuss athletic scholarship opportunities. Who knows, the recruiter might even end up recruiting some of Luke’s teammates!

Baseball player

But it doesn’t stop there. You can create all kinds of relationships in EDA—student to student, student to faculty, family relationships, alumni relationships, employer-employee relationships...the sky’s the limit! Basically, if you can imagine two related contacts in EDA, you can create a relationship to connect them.

Create a Relationship

Now that you understand what relationships are in EDA, let’s go ahead and create one.

  1. Navigate to the contact for whom you want to create the relationship.
  2. Scroll down to the Relationships related list and click New.
  3. In the Related Contact text field, start typing the name of the contact that you want to connect, and then select the contact when you see it.

    In our example, we want to relate Amanda with her cousin, Luke Jones.
Note

Note

You might not have Luke Jones listed as a contact in your system. You can create contacts directly from the Related Contact menu if you don’t see them in the list.

Create relationship

4. From the Type dropdown menu, select the type of relationship.

For example, we want to assign the value of Cousin because Luke is Amanda’s cousin.

Note

Note

The relationship type describes the related contact’s relationship to the main contact, not the other way around (not the main contact’s relationship to the related contact).

5. (Optional) Fill out the rest of the fields in the dialog box.

6. When you’re finished, click Save.

Back on the original contact record, you see all the relationships listed in the Relationships related list.

View all relationships

Edit an Existing Relationship

Sometimes you might want to edit a relationship between contacts after you created it. Let’s use an example from a higher ed setting. Imagine you successfully recruited Luke as a star athlete for your college. Luke is so excited that he decides to propose to his girlfriend, Vanessa Rodriguez. Now Vanessa is also going to be attending your college, and she’s currently entered in the system as a friend of Luke’s. However, when Luke and Vanessa are married, you need to change the relationship between them from friend to spouse.

Happy couple

Note

Note

We’re editing the relationship with Vanessa Rodriguez in this example. You may not have Vanessa and Luke in your contacts. If you want to follow along exactly, create Vanessa as a new contact first, then create Luke's record right from the Related Contacts menu, select the relationship Type as Friend.

To modify an existing relationship:

  1. Go to the contact record that has the relationship you want to edit.
  2. Scroll down to the Relationships related list.
  3. Click the arrow next to the relationship that you want to edit, and then click Edit.

    Edit existing relationship
  4. Make your changes. When you’re finished, click Save.

Access Relationship Settings

Your Relationships settings control how relationships behave in EDA.

EDA has many different kinds of Relationships settings. We’re only going to talk about the most important ones here: General Settings, and Reciprocal Settings. We’re not going to do too much with these settings in this unit, but it’s important for you to understand how they function in Salesforce because they underlie almost everything you do with relationships.

To access EDA Relationships settings, click the EDA Settings tab.

Reciprocal Method Setting

Let’s take a look at the EDA Reciprocal Method setting. Open the EDA Settings page and select Relationships | Settings.

EDA Relationships Settings


The Reciprocal Method setting is perhaps the most important of your relationships settings, because it determines how EDA generates your reciprocal relationships. There are two options:

  • List Setting
  • Value Inversion

List Setting (the default) works in conjunction with the Female, Male, and Neutral values from your Reciprocal Relationships settings list (more on that below) to set the appropriate reciprocal relationship type. Remember, the relationship type refers to the related contact’s relationship to the main contact, not the other way around. For example, if you create a relationship from a contact where the contact's Salutation = Mr. and specify the relationship as son, EDA creates a reciprocal relationship for father on the son's record. Most people leave the List Setting as the default. 

Value Inversion reverses the relationship where it can. The key is to enter a type with a delimiter around which the system swaps the words. For instance, a relationship with a type of mother-daughter receives a reciprocal type of daughter-mother. Value Inversion doesn’t use the values in the Relationships Reciprocal settings. Instead, you create picklist values on the relationship object’s type field for both mother-daughter and daughter-mother.

With the List Setting method, EDA determines the gender type based on the Salutations field on the contact record. EDA evaluates the Salutation field to determine gender, if possible:

  • Ms. or Mrs. = Female
  • Mr. = Male

At Salesforce, however, we’ve learned that making assumptions about a person’s gender can sometimes cause discomfort or lead to misunderstanding. That’s why Salesforce offers—and even encourages—using gender-neutral terms to describe relationships whenever possible. You can ensure that EDA uses gender-neutral terms by leaving the Salutations field blank or by setting the Male, Female, and Neutral reciprocal relationship values in the Relationships settings to the same value.

Reciprocal Relationship Settings

OK...these settings get to the heart of the matter. The Reciprocal Relationships list is what the List setting uses to determine reciprocal relationships. (You don’t use Reciprocal Relationships settings if you are using the Value Inversion relationship method.)

Here’s basically how it works. If EDA can determine the contact’s gender, Salesforce creates the reciprocal relationship using the Name value specified in the list. If EDA cannot determine a contact’s gender, Salesforce uses the Neutral value.

For example, if you create a relationship from Mr. Luke Jones’ contact record to his Aunt, Mrs. Emilia Jones’ contact record, the reciprocal relationship that is created for Luke is Nephew. Similarly, after Luke and his fiancee are married you can create a relationship from Ms. Vanessa Rodriguez’s contact record to her new Aunt, Ms. Emilia Jones’ contact record, the reciprocal relationship created for Vanessa is Niece. If Salesforce can’t determine whether a related contact is male or female, EDA uses the Neutral value for the reciprocal relationship, in this case, Sibling’s Child.

Reciprocal relationships


You can add reciprocal relationships in the New Reciprocal Settings section. We show you how to do that in the next section.

Add a Reciprocal Relationship to the List Setting

To add a relationship option:

  1. Update the Relationship Type picklist field.
  2. Create the reciprocal relationship in the Reciprocal Relationships settings.

Update the Relationship Type Picklist Field

Before you create a relationship type, you must add the values to the picklist values for the Type field on the Relationship object. Otherwise, users won’t be able to select one of the values when specifying the relationship type.

  1. From Setup, click Object Manager.
  2. From the list of objects, select Relationship.
  3. Click Fields & Relationships in the left navigation.
  4. From the list of fields, select Type.
  5. In the Values section, click New.
  6. Enter the new values in the text box, placing each on a separate line. (For example, Brother, Sister, Sibling.)
  7. Click Save.

Create the Reciprocal Relationship in the Reciprocal Relationships Settings

After you’ve updated the Relationship Type picklist field, create the reciprocal relationship in EDA Settings.

  1. On the Relationships tab, under Reciprocal Settings, enter the picklist values that you added in the previous section. In our example, we added three values (Brother, Sister, Sibling) so that the new reciprocal setting for Brother has all the correct reciprocal relationships associated with it.
  2. Select the Active option.
  3. Click Add Setting.

New reciprocal setting

So now, when someone saves a relationship with a Name type of Brother:

  • If the reciprocal contact is male, create a reciprocal relationship of Brother.
  • If the reciprocal contact is female, create a reciprocal relationship of Sister.
  • If the reciprocal contact’s gender is undefined, create a reciprocal relationship of Sibling.
Note

Note

When you create an option for a Brother relationship, you normally define two more reciprocal relationship types—one for Sister and one for Sibling—so that Salesforce knows what to do with all the new types that you’ve added.

List Setting Scenarios

EDA comes with predefined list settings for some common reciprocal relationships, which you can see in your Reciprocal Settings “list” under Relationships in EDA Settings. Here are some ideas for other common relationships to add.

Siblings

For tracking siblings, we suggest adding these three List Setting entries.

Name
Female
Male
Neutral
Brother
Sister
Brother
Sibling
Sister
Sister
Brother
Sibling
Sibling
Sister
Brother
Sibling

Deceased Spouses

For tracking deceased spouses, we suggest adding these three List Setting entries.

Name
Female
Male
Neutral
Widow
Deceased Spouse
Deceased Spouse
Deceased Spouse
Widower
Deceased Spouse
Deceased Spouse
Deceased Spouse
Deceased Spouse
Widow
Widower
Surviving Spouse

Divorces and Former Spouses

For tracking divorces and former spouses, we suggest adding these three List Setting entries.

Name
Female
Male
Neutral
Ex-Husband
Ex-Wife
Ex-Husband
Former Spouse
Ex-Wife
Ex-Wife
Ex-Husband
Former Spouse
Former Spouse
Ex-Wife
Ex-Husband
Former Spouse

Studying together

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