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As a Solution Manager working on SAP CRM, I’ve been in contact with many customers – all of them having different requirements concerning the Classification of Accounts. Described below are the different options, intentions and Use-Cases we support in CRM 2007:

Business Partner Roles
Every Account can be assigned with roles like Sold to Party, Competitor or Partner etc. It’s always possible to assign multiple roles at the same time and this is reflected in the Account as a whole. In principle the Account Overview-Page doesn’t look much different whatever role is assigned. However, the role can have an impact on the assignment-blocks displayed within the Account Overview-Page. One good example is the Role Competitor. If the Account is classified with the Role Competitor assignment-blocks like Competitor Products or Competitor Opportunities will be displayed.


Account Life-Cycle
The Account Life-Cycle is very similar to the usage of the Business Partner Roles, but here exclusively one Life-Cycle Stage can be assigned at one point in time. In addition the transition from one Stage to the other can be customized. This means it could be possible to change the Life-Cycle Stage e. g. from unqualified Address to active Customer but not in the other direction. The Account Life-Cycle can also be used to display different header-configuration. This makes sense if the Account is in a very early stage requiring only some attributes to be maintained, as well as,  in a later stage where more fields are mandatory. 


Marketing Attributes
With Marketing Attributes we have a flexible instrument to classify Accounts with different attributes. It’s possible to classify Persons as well as Organizations and use different attribute-sets for each. Usually Marketing Attributes are not used to influence any processes or the User Interface.


Account Classification
With the Account Classification Assignment-Block we offer an option to classify Accounts dependent on several classification criteria. This is relevant for customers active in different regions with different Business Units. Here it makes sense not only to have a global role like Competitor, Sold-to-Party, or Partner, but to specify this a little bit more. It’s possible to classify the Account as Competitor in Sales Org A. for Country Germany, but as Partner in Sales Org B. for one of the emerging markets. The definition of the classification criteria is very flexible and up to 5 different criteria can be used in combination with different Attributes and Values.


All the above described different options to classify Account have one common function – all of them can be used to identify Account in the Account-Search.

Impact on User-Interface

Account Life Cycle, Roles, Account Classification and Marketing Attributes

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  1. Former Member
    Hi – We have used the account classification concept for further categorised the customers. I dont have an idea on Account Life Cycle, seems pretty interesting and useful.
    How you set up Life cycle for an account.
    1. Former Member
      Post author
      Hi Chetan!
      The Account Life Cycle is based on “Role Exclusion Groups”.
      There is a comprehensive Note available “How to use the Account Life Cycle”
      The Note has the number: 1097651
      Best regards
      1. Former Member
        Hi Arno,

        I tested it with CRM2007 Corporate Account creation in Web UI.
        I can no longer see selection of Grouping (Account
        Grouping link to their different Number range).
        As result, the system always create the Account as
        same number range.

        For example if I create Prospect will start from
        2xxxxx, but then if I create Sold To, it will also
        start from 2xxxxx (instead of 4xxxxx).
        In SAP GuI (tcode BP) I can choose this BP Grouping manually. I couldn’t find relevant field
        which I can add up in screen personalization as

        Do I need to activate Account Lifecycle for this?
        Does CRM2007 WebUI has different concept for BP
        creation ?
        Thank you for your blogs and comment on my doubts.


    1. Former Member
      Post author
      Hi Juergen!
      Thank you for this comment. It’s a good point and I would say Yes and No …
      Relationships are very important in the context of Account & Contact Management. However – and this is hopefully not too academic – the difference is that relationships don’t classify one single Business Partner directly but the context of the Relationship “between” different Business Partners. Therefore I have reduced this comparison and described only Roles, Marketing Attributes, Account Classification and Account Life Cycle.
      In principle every kind of information related to the Business Partner is somehow a “Classification”. Assigned Industry-Codes or even Identification-Numbers can be considered as “Classification”.
      It’s somehow difficult to draw the line here.

      Best regards

  2. Stefan K├╝bler

    thanks for the information. I often read about customer classification but still this theme is not really tangible for me. Is there a link or a presentation available, that describes this topic in some more detail? Especially in the context of further use of these master data in the fild of analytics?

    Regards Stefan

    1. Former Member
      Post author
      Hello Stefan!
      Concerning the Customization of the Account Classification I like to recommend note 1045146.
      Account Classification will be replicated to BI. The same is true for Marketing Attributes, Roles and the Life-Cycle. Right now I don’t know if there is any documentation available about the usage of the Account Classification in BI, but I will check if I can send you some documents about the Account Classification in general.
      Best regards

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