We often get asked by customers if they have to use Leads in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM). The short answer is no you don’t, but they do serve a purpose.
Leads serve as a quarantine area that gives your sales and marketing team a way to intake all types of people or companies that express interest. Leads can come in via a web form, chat, tradeshows, events, referrals, etc. However, not all Leads are legit or of high quality. For example, some may not really be a Lead at all, perhaps a college student filled out your contact form on your website looking for an internship. Using Leads allows your marketing or sales team to have time and space to triage these incoming Leads.
Lead rating and/or scoring and a Lead qualification process helps vet Leads. From there, quality Leads can be converted into Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities.
The reason you don’t want all these inquiries going directly into CRM as Accounts and Contacts is to maintain data quality. Accounts and Contacts should be companies and people that you have a relationship with like clients, vendors, or partners. You should have important data such as their address, phone, and email. Without that basic level of information, they shouldn’t be included in CRM to avoid poor data quality. User adoption centers around the quality of data in your system, which is another reason to keep your Accounts and Contacts free from unqualified Leads or incomplete information. Additionally, quality data allows you to market to targeted groups of clients and prospects.
The out-the-box CRM Lead function is designed for a certain type of business and sales process and it may not perfectly fit your company. If you have a very short sales cycle or finite target market, then Leads may not be the best option for you.
The other most common reason not to use Leads is if you’re focused on relationship selling and need to track many contacts per company (out-the-the-box Leads only allow for one contact). This approach can create some complexities/difficulties when using Leads, but there are options.
Overall, Leads help your sales and marketing team streamline their efforts and help keep your data accurate. There is a lot of great functionality with the out-of-the-box solution, however, if your business is looking for a different approach to managing leads, Stoneridge can help. Reach out to our team and find out how companies like yours are managing their leads within Dynamics 365 for Sales.