Creating a lead is one of the first steps in the opportunity process. If you look at the basic lead screen which Microsoft provides, you will notice that there is not a lot of information there. This is because it is designed to be high-level and, therefore, brief.

If you click on the business process flow, it will take you through the stages of creating a lead. You can then see how it can turn into an opportunity.

Lead / Sales Professional

Why create a lead?

Leads are unqualified. This could be because you haven’t confirmed purchasing intent or the contact is real from a website enquiry. A lead could also be created because you know about the piece of work but have yet to identify the customer and contact.

In our organisation, we have a general rule of thumb that distinguishes leads from opportunities. This difference (once we’ve confirmed customer and service can be fulfilled) is whether we are investing any time in the proposal / flow. If we are, then it is an opportunity.

Leads and timelines

Putting lots of information such as emails and appointments into the system via the timeline means that you are saving information. If you believe that a lead is going to turn into a sale (and, subsequently, an opportunity) but then find the sale is not going to happen, you should not simply disqualify the lead. Doing so would be the same as binning a piece of paper in an office. Weeks later, when you need it, it will no longer be there holding the information. This is because it will not be connected to anything on the system.

Our best practice would be to create the opportunity with a low-win probability and then, if it doesn’t progress, you close the opportunity as ‘lost’. That way, you can begin to build a ‘foot-print’ which helps account management where you will see all activities. The next time you have a lead from the same organisation, when you convert it, connect it to the same company. You will then start to see their enquiry pattern and outcomes.

Enhancing the system

Though we don’t encourage you to be over-complex, you’re able to enhance your lead screen in Dynamics to better suit your needs (though, you may need to work with a partner company such as ourselves to do so). If you look at the screenshot below, on the right hand side of the screen, we have our import information from our purchased data list.

We created a leads type section. Within this, have created buttons to make it more time effective when identifying the types of leads we have coming in. By making minor alterations to your lead form, you can make it quick and easy to categorise your leads for future analysis.

Leads in Dynamics

Lead outcomes

Disqualifying leads

Ultimately, there are two things that you can do with leads.

  • Qualify
    • (meaning you create an opportunity).
  • Disqualify
    • Choose a non-proceed reason.

Unfortunately, like a lot of organisations, we also receive spam so we have created a disqualification reason for this. As an organisation, you can create your own list of disqualification reasons.

Data quality

When you qualify a lead, the system will check to see if a contact or company with that email or address has already been created. Always ensure that the details you have entered are correct,. This ensures you do not accumulate duplicate records or create a lead that is unlinked from the profile. For example, if you asked a room full of people to write down ‘WHSmith’, you’ll very likely receive different answers. Inputting ‘W H Smith’, ‘W.H. Smith’, or any other variation would unwittingly create different accounts in the system as Dynamics would potentially see these as different organisations.

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