One of the most common questions we face when working with new clients implementing Dynamics 365 is -“What is a Lead?” The next question then is always – then” what is an Opportunity.” and then the final question is – “Well, which one should we use in Dynamics 365?” Well, the purpose of this blog series is to discuss the process that enCloud9 uses to assist the client in coming up with an answer to this question But first let’s talk about what is a lead. Part 2 will discuss opportunities. Finally, in Part 3, we will discuss how to determine your companies strategy for using leads and/or opportunities when making sales.

The Lead – A beginning of a beautiful friendship

So, in the classic sense, a lead is the first step in the sales process. Leads usually come from many sources such as business cards from a trade show, forms on your website, or a reference from a client. What these all have in common is that you have limited information about what the person wants from you or if there is any sincere interest. Usually, a lead starts with Contact and company name, email addresses and phone numbers. These can be entered in Dynamics 365 CRM  and then assigned to a salesperson. Most companies will have hundreds or thousands of leads, and that’s ok. Usually, only a small percentage of these leads will become opportunities.

The first step for the salesperson when assigned a lead is to use Insights by Inside View to research the lead and enrich the information in Dynamics 365 CRM. In future versions of Dynamics 365 CRM, the salesperson will be able to use the LinkedIn integration with Dynamics 365 to see how they connect to the lead and request introductions from LinkedIn connections that they have in common.

Once the lead information has been enriched using InsideView, the next step is usually to make a connection to the lead, through either an email, phone call, or if you are using ClickDimensions, a Campaign Automation.  Next, select a related marketing campaign to include, in order to update the lead.  At the lead stage,  you will be able to analyze the profitability of your marketing efforts.

When you have contacted the lead for the first time, you should have a set of leading questions available for sales to ask to qualify the prospect. At the earliest stage of a lead, these questions can be used to determine the prospect’s specific needs, who is the decision maker, and whether they have worked out a budget. Make sure to document these questions in the Business Process Ribbon. We will discuss Business Process Flows in more detail in our next Blog Entry.

At the conclusion of this initial contact, the salesperson should have enough information to decide the next step. The salesperson will either do nothing (and keep the lead open for further follow-up), disqualify the lead (to indicate that a sale to the prospect is unlikely), or qualify the lead.  Qualifying the lead creates three new records – an Account, a Contact, and an Opportunity.

So to conclude, Leads are a great place to start the sales process. They work best when the company is dealing with many unqualified prospects, and the company needs a way to quickly determine which of these prospects could lead to an eventual sale.

If your business is looking to implement Dynamics 365 Sales and would like some help determining your strategy for Lead Management, the first step is to schedule a discovery session with enCloud9. During this discovery session, we will listen to the needs of your business and what you need your CRM to do. From these discussions, we will come up with a detailed plan to use Dynamics 365 Sales to meet your business needs.