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Using Leads

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The previous step provided an introduction to managing customers in Dynamics 365 for Sales.

In this step, you will learn how to decide whether your organisation needs to use leads, create leads, qualify and disqualify leads.

Deciding to Use Leads

Not all organisations use leads. Some organisations deal with opportunities, that is, only qualified prospective sales. Organisations that depend on mass demand generation processes such as advertisements, roadshows and cold calling prospect lists likely use leads.

Businesses that demand generation methods or those that engage in mass marketing campaigns may benefit from lead management because this process helps businesses sift through the data and helps sales departments focus their efforts in the best direction.

To decide whether to use leads, consider the following about the organisation:

  • Invests substantial time and money in generating lists of possible customers (for example, the organisation sends mass mailings or conducts cold calling)
  • Keeps lists of people who are the correct demographic, but for whom it has limited information (such as limited contact information)
  • Has a process or team dedicated to sifting through these possible customers and contacting them, or otherwise filtering them to identify good prospects
  • Needs to manage lists of potential customers that must not be mixed in with the Accounts and Contact lists.

If any of these considerations apply, then the organisation may want to use leads. Even if the organisation does not have large lead generation initiatives, ask if management wants to track the effort that Sales spends tracking and working with prospects. If so, consider using Dynamics 365 for Sales Lead Management features.

Leads can also be used with Marketing lists in Dynamics 365.

Creating Leads

In Dynamics 365 for Sales, you use leads to keep track of business prospects that you haven’t yet qualified through your sales process.

A lead can be an existing client or someone you’ve never done business with before. It is the entry to a new potential sale.

You might get leads from different sources, like advertising, networking, or email campaigns. Leads is a great location to triage new customer data added to Dynamics 365.

Screenshot of a qualified lead.

In Dynamics 365 for Sales, a lead represents potential: a potential sale, for example, or a potential contact or account with which an organisation might do business. Many organisations implement lead qualification processes, during which leads are contacted, more information is gathered, and at some point, a decision is made about the lead’s status.

Generally, leads should be considered temporary records, with the goal of determining their viability to be a customer. This process of determining viability is referred to as Qualifying and Disqualifying.

For example, if a salesperson meets someone at a tradeshow and gets a business card, he or she might not know if this person is a viable customer.

It is only after the salesperson has called this person or has followed up in some way and associated those activities that the salesperson can determine if this person’s needs align with what the salesperson and the organisation can deliver. Once this is determined, the salesperson can measure how viable the prospect is. If it is a viable customer, the lead would be Qualified.

If it is not a viable customer, the lead would be Disqualified. If qualified, the lead would be converted into some combination of Account, Contact, or Opportunity records at the end of the lead qualification process.

Convert Activity Records to Leads

Typically, users can generate leads in several methods and sources. For example, leads can be obtained from websites, inquiries, referrals, networking and responses to marketing campaigns. The more information known about leads, the more likely they will become an opportunity and, eventually, a customer.

Users can track activities with leads, such as sending and receiving email messages. Dynamics 365 for Sales tracks the status of these activities and retains the activity history, so users can view the open and closed activities for leads.

Disqualified leads remain in the database for business-reporting purposes, for example, to later analyse the success of different list sources or assess how much time the sales force spends prospecting leads.

Email to Lead Conversion

One way leads can be created within Dynamics 365 for Sales is by converting an email to a lead. This can be done in the sales application directly, or Microsoft Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. You also have the ability to add them directly from the interface as well as import them from a file.

Screenshot of converting an email to a lead.

Qualifying Leads

When it is determined that the lead is qualified it can be converted into an opportunity. Based on the data in the lead record, new account, opportunity and contact records will be created. We will go into more detail about this in a later lesson.

Disqualifying Leads

When it is determined that the lead is no longer a viable customer, the lead must be disqualified. The lead can be deleted. But if it is disqualified, the details of the leaders remain in the system. This way, the lead can be reactivated and qualified at any time.

Note: If the lead is deleted, the related information is lost.

Screenshot of disqualifying a lead.

In the following step, you will investigate lead qualifications.

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Dynamics 365: Customer Engagement for Sales

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