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Everything You Need to Know about Salesforce Leads

If you want customers, you will need leads first. Now, even if you hop on a sales call, the prospect will still need to be properly nurtured and managed through your sales pipeline. Depending on your business, this can be a complicated process, but Salesforce Leads can help!

Salesforce Leads as a standard Salesforce object allows you to keep track of your leads and all your interactions with them, ensuring that you take the right actions at the right times to ensure that they convert.

In this post, we’ll look at Salesforce Leads in more detail and show you how to use them to improve your bottom line.

What Is a Salesforce Lead?

Generally, leads are those people or companies interested in buying your products or services. You’ll generate, nurture, and ultimately convert them to loyal customers.

Considering the above, you should manage these leads efficiently and effectively. Not only will this help you gather more leads, but you’ll also convert more of them. This is where Salesforce’s Leads come in.

Salesforce’s Leads system allows you to store information about your leads and interactions with them and track them separately fromcontacts and opportunities.

To do this, Salesforce Leads will enable you to record information in several fields, including:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Description
  • Annual revenue
  • Lead source
  • Currency


Keep in mind, however, that these are just some of the fields you’ll have available when storing leads in Salesforce. Depending on your security settings and page layout, many other fields might be available.

What’s the Difference between Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Opportunities?

Before we look at leads any further, there’s another aspect we should consider – the difference between leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities. This is critical to understand, as once you’ve qualified a lead, you’ll convert it into one of these objects.

As mentioned earlier, leads are people or companies that have shown an interest in your products or services. As such, you can consider Leads to be unqualified sales opportunities. In contrast, Contacts are people you’ve qualified and whose information is stored in your database.

Typically, they’ll be associated with companies or other businesses you intend to sell your products or services to. These, in turn, are referred to as Salesforce Accounts. You can have several contacts that are associated with a single account.

Now, where do Opportunities fit in? These are deals in progress. As such, they allow you to track details about your deals, which accounts they relate to, who the relevant stakeholders are, and how much revenue they can generate.

Opportunities also help you zone in on that part of your sales cycle and understand which shortcomings might cost you top-quality deals.

Why Should You Use Salesforce Leads?

Now that you’ve seen what Salesforce Leads are and how they differ from contacts and accounts, the obvious question is: Why should you use them in your business? We’ve got a few answers for you, as there are several benefits to using Salesforce Leads as part of your lead management processes.

Separate Data

When you use leads, you can maintain two separate lists – one for prospective and one for existing customers. So, you’ll be able to store prospects as leads and then, as you qualify them, convert them to accounts, contacts, or opportunities.

This is especially helpful when different teams work on different parts of your sales process. For instance, you might have a team that works specifically on lead generation while another works exclusively on converting those leads. By separating your data, you’ll give these teams the right data to work with.
Salesperson working their Salesforce Leads

Cleaner Data

Using leads means you’ll divide your prospective and existing customers into two separate lists, so you’ll know who has a significant interest in your products or services.

As a result, you’ll end up with cleaner data because you’ve qualified leads before converting them to contacts or accounts. This means your sales teams have a distinct group to focus on and will only spend their time on leads that might convert.

Better Reporting

Separating your leads and contacts into two separate lists also has another benefit – it can improve your Salesforce reporting. To illustrate, let’s look at a simple example.

When you measure the efficacy of your marketing efforts and strategies, you’ll typically divide the amount you invest in marketing by the number of leads you convert. This then gives you your return on investment.

So, only having one combined list of leads and contacts will skew your return on investment calculation. Similar considerations apply when it comes to reporting on your sales processes.

Thus, by separating your data, you’ll improve your reporting, see different pipeline stage results cleanly in your Salesforce dashboards, and get more accurate insights into your sales and marketing processes.

Salesforce Leads Offer Deeper Insights Into Your Pipeline

As you nurture your leads and guide them through your sales pipeline, you’ll take them through a series of steps that may involve different stakeholders. The benefit of having a dedicated lead object is that you’ll be able to save all the information you gather during these stages. You’ll also save information about every interaction your team has with your prospective customers.

This allows you to analyze your lead management processes during every step of your pipeline, enabling you to make improvements where necessary. You’ll know why deals may fall through the cracks, which criteria show that a lead may be unqualified, and more.

Using Leads

We’ve now looked at what leads are and why you should consider using them. Let’s now look at how you’d go about doing this.

Setting Up Leads

Setting up leads is relatively straightforward. To do this, you’ll need to go to the object management settings for leads from Setup. Here, you’ll be able to create custom lead fields that allow you to track specific information based on your requirements.

You can also map your lead fields to fields in the contact, account, or opportunity objects so that it’s carried over when you convert leads.

Apart from this, you’ll also be able to specify your default lead settings based on your circumstances and needs. You’ll also set lead assignment rules to determine what rules you’ll use to automatically assign leads.

More importantly, you can also set up automatic lead-capturing tools like Web-to-Lead and LinkedIn Lead Gen. These tools allow you to gather leads from online platforms and automatically add them to your Salesforce CRM.

Converting Leads

Once you’ve set up leads, you can use the lead object to effectively manage and nurture your leads. When you convert them, you’ll have to take the following steps:

  • Under the Lead tab, go to the lead record you’d like to convert and choose Convert to convert the lead.
  • In the Account Name field, enter the name for the account you’re creating or select an existing account if you’d like to attach the contact to an existing account.
  • Select the Contact, or enter the contact’s name if creating a new one.
  • To create an Opportunity from the lead, enter the name of the opportunity you’re creating. If using the Lightning Experience, you’ll also be able to choose an existing opportunity. If you don’t want to create an opportunity, you’ll need to select the appropriate checkbox.
  • Once you’ve completed all the required information, you can complete the conversion by clicking Convert. You can also choose to create a follow-up task if necessary.

Employees working on converting leads

What Happens During Salesforce Lead Conversion?

Finally, consider what happens when you convert a lead to a contact, account, or opportunity. When converting leads, all the attached files or notes become attached to the associated contact, account, or opportunity.

In addition, the information contained in the lead record is carried over. So, if you’re creating a new contact, opportunity, or account, Salesforce will use this information to create the record. If, however, you’re using an existing account or contact, Salesforce will update the information from the lead into empty fields. Here, it’s worth noting that Salesforce won’t overwrite any existing account or contact data.

On occasion, when converting leads to contact all accounts, Salesforce might create duplicate records. When this happens, you’ll get a warning. You’ll then be able to deal with these duplicate records before you finish the conversion process.

Also, once you’ve completed the conversion process, you won’t be able to reverse it. As such, you’ll need to ensure that all the information is correct before conversion.

Finally, the lead becomes a read-only record unless your Salesforce admin specifies otherwise with the Roles and Permissions setup. While the new record will be searchable, the lead will no longer be. If you’re using the Lightning Experience, you’ll be able to search for both the converted lead record and the new record based on the lead.

Get on Top of Your Lead Management Now

Salesforce leads are invaluable in managing your pipeline effectively and efficiently. They make it easier to get clean data, automate your efforts, and clearly see all your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunity areas in reporting.

Set up your Salesforce Leads system, and soon enough, understanding why your team is so successful will become a piece of cake!

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