Managing leads is the beginning of a sales process and one core reason for using a CRM application. In this hour, we dive into the world of leads and the meaning of leads in the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. A lead is an unqualified person that has the potential to become a new customer.
A Little History
A lead is an unqualified contact that is associated with a company. This unqualified contact can come from a number of places, including a collected business card, a purchased list, a referral, a trade show, a seminar, or a random phone call. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, there is a special place in the system for these unqualified contacts (Leads). There are two core reasons for this separation. The first is that many companies purchase large lists of contacts, and it is generally good practice not to dump a huge list of unqualified contacts in with your nice clean qualified data. There is definitely something to be said for not having to sort through 50,000 extra Lead entities (record types) when trying to run a sales funnel report.
The second reason is that Microsoft Dynamics CRM takes a multilayered approach to the tracking of everything that happens around relationships, and yet when data is collected from many other places and systems, it tends to be rather flat (or normalized for you developer gurus). The Leads feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows for a flat company contact record to be converted to a more robust structure, including Account, Contact, Opportunity, and all the associated activities, history, and notes.
The most common way to create Lead entities (record types) is to import them from a purchased or acquired list. The functionality to import leads into Microsoft Dynamics CRM is robust and an area of confusion to many, and yet given how often it is used, we take a good piece of hour six to talk about importing new data into the leads area of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.