How to: Store GDPR Privacy Preferences in Salesforce

Starting from late May companies must be compliant with the new GDPR regulation. Since Winter 18 Salesforce offers a new way to track the consent of users across leads and contacts: Individual

Concept behind Individuals

In the context of clients a single human person can appear as one or multiple leads and contacts. For example in the context of a pharmaceutical company a human person can be a patient, doctor, scientist and a shareholder at the same time.


To ensure the right sharing of the person different contacts and leads have been created. In the example of a pharmaceutical company the doctor’s contact might be visible to the sales team, while the patient’s record isn’t. To make this possible multiple contacts must be created. However, it is still the same person.

When a person opts in or out of a channel / tracking this information has to be available for all different departments.

Salesforce Individuals is a simple place where all the privacy settings can be stored across multiple contacts and leads. The information is available to all departments.

6 Steps to enable Centralized Data Privacy Preferences

Step 1: Enable Individuals

The new Individual Object can be activated in the setup menu “Data Protection and Privacy”.

By enabling the checkbox the new object “Individual” becomes visible. As well 2 new lookups on Contact and Lead become available.


Step 2: Add Privacy Preferences

The Individual Object is similar to every other object. Custom Fields can be easily added and layouts adjusted.

Salesforce already provides a list of common privacy settings like Don’t Process, Don’t Profile, Don’t Solicit, Forget This Individual.

Each company has different needs then it comes to privacy settings. In some cases a date has to be associated with a setting in other cases the version of terms and services has to be stored.

Salesforce gives clients the full flexibility and allows the configuration of additional custom fields.

Note: When you add privacy relevant data to the individual don’t forget to encrypt these fields with Salesforce Shield.

Step 3: Add Individual Lookups to Contact and Lead Layout

In each page layout the new individual lookup must be added. This lookup references the individual record.

Salesforce already had some standard fields to track the out-out for eMails and Fax. These fields can be removed, since they should be migrated to individuals.


Step 5: Automate the creation of individuals

To make the use of individual records easier it makes sense to create a trigger that automatically generates an individual record in case the person is not known to the company before. Otherwise an existing individual record can be attached to the contact.

Step 6: Create Individual Records for existing Contacts and Leads

To make the implementation more uniform an individual records should exist for every contact and lead. There are two ways to run the creation of leads:

  1. ETL – With an ETL Tool like Informatica Cloud all contacts and leads are getting extracted and new individual records created. Multiple contacts and leads that are the same individual are getting lined to the same individual. The consent settings from contact and lead are getting replicated in the individual record.
  2. Batch Job – Salesforce suggests in the documentation to run a script that creates the individual records. However, it is important to note that this will work better for small and medium installations. In systems with multiple million contacts and leads ETL is the preferred option.

Extensions and other Systems

The consent to tracking is not only limited to Salesforce. Salesforce is a great place to store this information in a centralized way. With the Salesforce SOAP and REST API external applications can leverage the new feature.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s