Let’s start off by defining what a "lead" really is. Yes, I know it sounds obvious. For a lot of people out there, it’s not. The key to understanding how to convert leads and whether or not they’re of use to you and your company is understanding the basics. Once you understand the basics of how the data flows and is intended to be used, you can more easily understand the details of the entire process.
What is a Lead in Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM)?
First thing’s first, a lead is an unqualified company or contact that is usually imported by some means (spreadsheet upload, auto-creation from a web form submission, fed in by a third-party solution, etc.). The lead area in Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM) is meant to be muddied waters. It’s a separate container within which you keep your ever-growing list of potential sales. The data may not always be good, it may be invalid, even incomplete.
This is expected. The intention behind the Lead entity is meant to be used as a screening area for records. Think of it as…airport security. You don’t want to let everyone past the gate.
How do I qualify a lead in Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM)?
This brings me to the second topic – leads need to be qualified... almost always by a human being. A lead has a limited amount of data and information to start. You, as an organization, can determine what it takes to qualify a lead. A lot of times this qualification is simply making contact. Once contact is made, you can take them out of those muddied waters and into the Account ‘zone’ as a Type of Prospect. Other organizations do not qualify the lead until a sales cycle is ready to be initiated. Upon qualification, an Account, Contact, and Opportunity are generated with information from the lead.
Leads may not be a fit for your organization. Perhaps you don’t have a lot of unqualified data or lists. You can always bypass leads by not using them and relying on an identifier/field on the Account record that makes a distinction between a Customer and a Prospect.
Lead qualification can be as quick and simple as clicking Qualify or progressing through what’s called a Business Process Flow (there may be many) associated with the lead.
What is an opportunity in Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM)?
Lastly, when Leads are qualified we’re on our way to a sale. More detailed sales information, qualification requirements (credit checks, required meetings, communications, etc.) are memorialized as the opportunity goes through its own Business Process Flow. *It’s important to note that there may be a specific Business Process Flow associated with leads that are different from the Business Process Flow for an existing customer’s new sales opportunity.
If you need help building the perfect Business Process Flows and automations for your Lead to Opportunity process, you’ve come to the right place! Contact us for a free consultation and make your Dynamics 365 Sales do the hard work for you!
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