How to enter new leads?

01 leads

The question seems trivial, but it is necessary to remember that there is a certain type of philosophy embedded into the system and has an impact on other processes. If a lead is not marked properly at the beginning, it can cause undesirable effects. We recommend reading this article that describes in details module mechanisms and logic.

Is it a lead?

There are various types of associations in business relationships, e.g.: 
  • opportunities
  • partners
  • vendors
  • resellers
  • competition
  • etc.

It seems obvious which organizations should be added as leads, but in many companies it looks different from a business perspective. In my opinion, "a lead" is an individual or a company which we want to offer a product/service but this lead has not specified whether they want it or not. Obviously, this is a brief summary and will be described in more detail later. But before I will do it, I shall first explain different methods of acquiring leads. 

In every company lead sources are different, in most cases these are the most popular: 

  • contact form
  • external database
  • conference/trade fair
  • direct contact
  • contact initiated [phone]
  • contact initiated [mail]
  • contact initiated [office]
  • from a recommendation
  • campaign
Of course, lead source does not determine whether a lead is a lead or it is already a customer. A lead is a company or a person for which the sales process has not begun. I will explain it in a few examples: 

Example 1

Someone filled in a contact form with their contact data and a description: "I'm interested in your product, please contact me next week".  
Although such email seems to be promising, because someone expressed willingness to purchase your product, first you should think whether this person exists [it may be spam]. In short, before someone becomes a customer, he should be added as a lead and verified according to the internal policies.  Such forms should automatically add leads after someone completes a form. If you have an online shop and someone bought your product, he shouldn't exist as a lead in your system, but as a customer.  

Example 2

You received an external database of companies/individuals.
Every database of this kind contains a lot of records. In practice, you know very little or nothing about them, whether the data is authentic/up-to-date or whether leads will be interested in our products/services and will be willing to talk. It may also turn out that such database doesn't contain all necessary information, e.g. phone/email so it will be difficult to contact them because such records are not imported to leads. 

Example 3

Someone came and requested an offer for your product.
This example shows that this person expects an offer from you so he should not be added as a lead, but as an account and marked as "hot" which means that the sales process has been initiated. If the same person comes, but only would like to know what kind of products you offer [e.g. you give them a brochure], but he doesn't want to specify his expectations, then such a person should be added as a lead.  

Conclusion

The primary difference between a lead and a customer is that a lead will stay in the Leads module as long as he requests an offer from you. When his interest is expressed, you can convert it and begin the sales process. The conversion is used for separating leads from accounts for which you have begun the sales process. In practice, a hot lead doesn't necessarily have to become your customer.

There is only one main restriction in YetiForce's functionality. The sales process cannot be initiated for a lead, as well as you cannot open and send a quote/order/invoice. Summing up, a lead is a company/individual who hasn't expressed any interest to buy your product or cooperate. 

How to enter a company/individual? 

We introduce a slightly different lead philosophy than other applications. Our logic can be explained as follows: 
  • If you receive a business card with details of a company, you enter this data to the Leads module. 
  • If you receive a business card with details of a company and of an employee, you enter company data to Leads and employee's details to Contacts which will be related to Leads.
  • If you receive a business card and there are only employee's details on it, you enter this data to Leads as well as to Contacts related to Leads. 
The first two cases seem natural, but the last one may cause some confusion. Below, I will describe two deployments for companies which had only private customers: 

Deployment history of an insurance company 

It was a company that sold third party liability insurance as well as accident and theft insurance for cars as well as homeowner insurance. Such insurance is usually sold to a private individual, so it would seem perfect to have fields such as name, surname etc. in the Leads module. However, the insurance company not only enters the owner of the car, but also other people [e.g. co-owners]. However, an insurance policy was sold to one person, but in fact there were a few people entered to the system.   There are many solutions to this problem, but our third suggestion, described above, is ideal for this business model - a lead is not a company, but a private individual. 

Deployment history of a travel agency

A similar situation happened in a travel agency that sells international excursions. Most frequently only one person comes to a travel agency, but more than one person goes on an excursion. Entering only this person's name and surname to leads may result in inconsistency of information. 

Conclusion

It's natural, that the form used for leads determines the types of fields in the module. It's a good practice to display different fields for a company and different for a private individual - it often requires some changes on the programmer level.
What you should aim to achieve is: 
  1. Actual and clear data - no matter if there is only one person added to Leads or there are five of them, in reports a company will probably consider it as one lead and I agree with it. 
  2. Contact data is consistent - contacts database reflects real database regardless of what you enter to Leads.  
  3. Additional contacts - a possibility to enter more contacts [in many applications it is possible to enter only name and surname to Leads]. 
  4. Organised information - what is related to contacts is in Contacts and what is related to a company or a process of acquiring a lead is in Leads. 

How to differentiate between a company and an individual? 

The answer to this question is quite simple. In our case we differentiate them by a field "Legal form*", which has the following options:  
  • Private Individual
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Registered Partnership
  • Professional Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Limited Joint-stock Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership 
  • Joint-stock Partnership
  • Government Enterprise
  • Association
  • Cooperative
  • Foundation
  • European Partnership
  • European Economic Interest Grouping
  • European Cooperative
  • European Private Partnership
  • European Mutual Partnership
  • European Association
  • Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities

*According to regional legal descriptions, the specific names of fields for types of entities may vary.

The first type [a private individual] applies to a person who doesn't conduct any business activity, the rest are different types of companies including shareholding companies and partnerships. Of course, according to a legal structure, the processes might be predefined and might be significantly different. The same division can be found in the Accounts module where you keep a record of companies as well as private individuals. It results from logic imposed by the producer and it can be also found in other locations, e.g. an Opportunity might be only assigned to an Account. 

Change in logic

The system allows building relations with companies as well as private individuals, but it also introduces a different philosophy that one should either accept or let someone change the process. The system is so flexible that it will allow forming processes, dependencies and functionalities freely and easily.  Please note that in the future all reports, summaries and analyses will take accounts, not contacts, into consideration. Disabling Accounts for benefits of Contacts is possible, but not recommended. 
  • czwartek, 10 sierpień 2017