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Understanding the Microsoft CRM sales process and how to convert leads

Find out what you need to know about the Microsoft CRM sales process to convert leads to opportunities and accounts and complete the Microsoft Dynamics CRM sales cycle.

Why would a user convert a lead so that it was moved to opportunity, contact and account simultaneously?

 

I thought the logical process would be lead > opportunity > account but I can't see a way to convert a successful opportunity into an account. Once I have closed an opportunity that is won, it doesn't give me the option to turn it into an account.

 

Please help me to understand this sales process implemented in different CRM systems (Microsoft, Vtiger, Zoho, Sugar).

 

First of all, as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM expert, I can speak primarily as to how the sales process is implemented in that application, but the general concepts should apply to other CRM solutions as well.

In order to answer your question, we need to take a closer look at how CRM applications model customer information. In business-to-business scenarios, CRM applications typically track customers as Accounts, which are organizations, and Contacts, who are individuals working at these organizations. In business-to-consumer scenarios, Contacts are the individuals that we sell to and Accounts are not used. Potential deals with customers are tracked by the Sales Team as Opportunity records associated with a parent Account or Contact. If you work with repeat customers, chances are you will have multiple Opportunities with that customer.

On the other hand, Leads are usually generated through the marketing efforts of the organization and they are preliminary state for customer and opportunity records. During the Lead stage we have limited information about the customer and the potential opportunity. We also expect that few of these leads will materialize into actual customers, so it is easier to manage all of this information in one record or entity. Once leads are captured in the system, we need to contact them and determine if they are a qualified prospect. Only if the lead passes our qualification criteria, do we convert the Lead to an Account, Contact and Opportunity. We need all three records, because as I mentioned earlier, in most CRM systems, Opportunities contain only information about the potential deal, but the customer information is stored in the parent Account or Contact record.

This was last published in September 2009

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