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We are currently looking into Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 online as CRM for our company and I have a question about the lead entity.
After conversion of a lead to contact I noticed that not all information is transferred to the new contact such as notes or the original source campaign. The information is still visible in the 'originating lead' but not the new contact.
We would really like to keep all information of our contacts in one place to keep a track-record of previous activities (such as a note by our inside sales team when they qualified the lead). We don't want to check the old lead every time for this information.
I think the easiest way to do this is by skipping the lead step and import all our non-qualified leads as contacts in CRM. To show the qualification of the contact we could add a dropdown with the status 'lead', 'qualified lead' or 'customer'. This way we can guarantee that all information such as notes stays visible because the contact does not convert to a new entity.
But I am very interested to understand the impact of skipping the lead step in our CRM workflow and only use contacts, accounts and opportunities. I hope someone can help answer this question and maybe explain the benefits of using the lead entity.
You are not the first person to question the use of leads in CRM.
It depends on your company works but here is Microsoft's definition of a lead
A potential customer who must be contacted by a salesperson and either qualified or disqualified as a sales opportunity. Leads will be converted into accounts, contacts, or opportunities if they are qualified. Otherwise they are deleted or archived.
Leads as I see them are potential leads to business, the majority of leads probably do not lead to business.
Leads can be things like business cards, buying a list of email address to contact, etc.
The important aspect of leads is they are unqualified and you need to do some work before (e.g. ringing up, emailing, meeting in person) before you can say there will be any potential business.
Once you have contact and think there is potential you would convert the lead to an opportunity and then create contacts/accounts.
Basically the lead is a way of making sure you don't fill up your CRM system with contacts and accounts that you won't use.
Leads also allow you to track how successful email lists, conferences have been by seeing how many leads get converted into opportunities.
Here are a couple of good articles on Leads and why they are useful
As a follow up to Ben's great post, when using leads you can configure workflow to copy or move the "missing" data from the lead entity to the Contact entity. We do this for most of our clients that use leads.
Additional lead fields and custom lead fields can be mapped from lead to contact and they will copy over when the lead is converted. Here is a post on more details for that:
Why Microsoft still hasn't "fixed" this is strange to me, but, it is a common complaint.
Ben and Michael, thanks for your help!
I was not aware of the mapping functionality. I will look into it. I understand that leads will really help to filter out the qualified from the unqualified leads.
So if mapping can help us to transfer the notes from leads to contact, then I don't see any reason why not to use the lead entity.
sorry for the very basic question. i am fairly new to Dynamics. how do you convert a lead into a contact please?
Use the qualify button on the lead. Be aware the it will also create an Opportunity and open that automatically. The contact will be linked to the opportunity. So you can navigate to the contact by clicking on the contact name.
Great article - thanks for sharing your expertise.
All, I have a follow-up question on the general recommended approach when we get a potential lead from an existing contact/account. Do we still create the lead or create an opportunity directly and associate with the existing contact/account?
What is the benefit /need if we were to create a lead in this scenario.
Any thoughts /feedback is appreciated.
CRM experts, I am looking for your insight on the above situation (from an existing contact) of creating an opportunity without lead.
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