From Lead to Account: Convert
Figure 6.20 shows the change from Lead to the more complex Account and related entities.
Figure 6.20 From lead to prospect.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a convert process that takes a flat "Lead" and expands it to the dimensions needed to track a complex company and sales process. The three things that a Lead can be converted into are Account, Contact, and Opportunity. You have the choice of converting a Lead to all three or any combination of the three. Depending on the company, you might find that all three entities are used or only one. Even within the blog world, you will see different debates on this subject.
Once a Lead is converted, a sales process can kick off, a salesperson can add more Contacts, and any other numerous Activities can be associated. With regard to the Opportunity, you are kicking off a "thing" that is called an Opportunity that tracks the dollar value of the potential sale and other key sales information; this thing lives in the sales funnel until it is closed and relegated to history (won or lost).
Figure 6.21 shows the choices you have when converting a Lead.
Figure 6.21 Convert Lead.
Figure 6.22 The created Opportunity.
Figure 6.23 The created account.
Figure 6.24 The created contact.
Notice that the Topic field and the Description field in the Opportunity are populated with data from the Lead.
Although Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables users to import Leads and then convert Leads to Account, Contact, and Opportunity, the feature does not have to be used as part of your sales process. You can enter an Account, select Contact from the left navigation pane, and enter the Contact (which can autopopulate with Account details). Later, when you are ready, you can create an Opportunity to track the promised deal.
The Lead feature offers a few key benefits. The first is the ability to keep the long, long list of unqualified Leads separate from your shorter list of qualified Accounts of type prospect. The second is that it offers some efficiency around creating new Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. It also offers a flat normalized table for data import that is similar to a user's experience with Excel and allows for field matching with a common-sense approach.
Like many Microsoft products, Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives you many choices when it comes to the eventual business processes you decide to use.