When you configure Sychronized Data Extensions in Marketing Cloud, an Attribute Group is created in Contact Builder for the Synchronized Data Extensions, where cardinal relationships are created based on a predetermined priority (as unlike Sales Cloud, Contact Builder supports a single relationship between objects).

cardinal relationships

Note that 'Contact Alternate Identifiers' are used within the Contact Record (for User Id, Lead Id and Contact Id) to create the relationship back to the Contact record (it doesn't use Contact Key).

These Attributes (within the Attribute Group) are then available for selection from within a Decision Split Activity:

Decision Split Activity

This works fine. However, what if you have an account with child Business Units? As Sychronized Data Extensions are only available in the Parent BU, you need to configure shared Data Extensions and use Query Activities in an Automation to populate the DEs, so the data can be used in other BUs.

I get that bit, but the Contact Builder Attribute Group isn't created in Child BU's, and you can't really replicate it either, as it uses Contact Alternate Identifiers, which aren't available when manually linking Data Extensions to a Contact Record:

Contact Attributes

So, while you might be able to create simple cardinal relationships for one Object type (for example, map Contact Key to a Lead Id) within Contact Builder in a Child BU, you can't replicate the same relationship that's created in the Parent BU.

It seems a bit crazy that the only real solution is to send these Journeys from your Parent BU?!

1 Answer 1


The cardinal relationships to the Contact Record in the Sales and Service Cloud Attribute Group are referred to as "Contact Alternate".

This is a special type of relationship that is created for the Synchronized DEs such as Contact_Salesforce or Lead_Salesforce. It is used by the system to automatically track the Contact Key (15 digit) translation/lookup to the 18 digit Contact Key required by Marketing Cloud connector.

So if you are manually linking a Contact Key to Lead ID or Contact ID, from within an Attribute Group, the platform should map to the same person, as Marketing Cloud Connect has already converted the 15 digit key to 18 digit.

But in summary, you will need to create Query Activities in an Automation to populate different DEs from the Sychronized Data Extensions and re-create the cardinal relationships to map to these DEs (if you need to access these Attributes within a Journey).

  • 1
    Eliot - is this still the case? I find it incredulous that with the ability to share synchronized DE from the parent level you still have to jump through all these hoops in order to access Sales Cloud data for e.g. decision splits in a Journey. Jan 15, 2020 at 9:22
  • @LaraWasowski, is this still the case? What about the ability to use Salesforce Activities (e.g. Update SF Contact) within Journey Builder in a Child BU who shares the synchronized DE? Do we have the ability to use SF Activities?
    – LimeWeb
    Dec 21, 2020 at 16:07
  • @EliotHarper - any thoughts?
    – LimeWeb
    Dec 21, 2020 at 16:07
  • @LimeWeb no, you can now use multi-org configuration to have the child BUs point to the a single Sales Cloud org. Refer to second scenario at help.salesforce.com/… Dec 22, 2020 at 3:34
  • @EliotHarper, I see the scenario in the doc, thanks you - does this mean we can both (In Journey Builder): 1. Use Salesforce Data as an Entry source directly in the child BU? 2. Use Salesforce Activities (e.g. Update SF Contact) within Journey Builder in the child BU?
    – LimeWeb
    Dec 22, 2020 at 16:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .