Sometimes I think just how much more difficult my life would be without using the Lead Object in Salesforce. Using Leads in Salesforce not only gives me deeper insight into my funnel, but it also helps our Sales and Marketing teams work together to drive revenue. If you’re not using the Lead Object, your company may be missing out on some vital sales and marketing benefits.
To put it simply, in Salesforce, “Leads” are used to denote people you want as customers. Salesforce recommends separating these “Leads” from “Contacts” which can be used to denote current customers and sales-qualified opportunities. I like to think of the Lead Object as a launching pad for all sales efforts. Leads can originate from a variety of sources. Leads might include people your team meet at a conferences, fill out a forms on your website or download content. Some B2B companies even purchase lists of viable leads. Then, as leads progress through the pipeline they can then become opportunities/contacts. The magic of Salesforce is that by keeping leads and contacts separate, it enforces best practices that can enable all sorts of magic within the CRM including lead nurturing, funnel stage tracking and automated reporting.
It’s absolutely essential to ensure that sales reps can differentiate between prospective and current customers. It’s common for sales reps to begin working Contacts in Salesforce, only to find that they are customers, partners, or have been sold to before. This problem can be solved in a lot of ways, but when all else fails, the Lead Object provides a clear and simple differentiation between prospects and customers. You can always reserve Contacts for current customers
Certain standard Salesforce fields such as “Lead Status” were designed to help sales managers monitor whether the qualified Leads earned by marketers are being worked by sales reps. Without this, getting visibility into problem areas in Marketing and Sales is more difficult. Managers can create custom fields to track how many times reps are following up with leads. After a call, reps can also take notes on lead pages in order to give managers deeper insight into the outcome of reps’ activities. With Revenue.io, managers can get even more insight without requiring any manual labor from reps. Revenue.io can append call outcome (disposition) metrics to lead pages and even entire recordings of phone calls. This enables managers to gain deeper insight into individual reps’ sales pitches.
As an ROI marketer, it’s integral to be able to draw a straight line from marketing efforts all the way through the funnel. In order to gain visibility into your funnel, you’ll want to report on the number of qualified Leads and Opportunities for your sales team. Distinguishing between Leads and Contacts is an easy way to isolate marketing performance from sales performance. Can you still run reports on Contacts? Of course. But there are a lot of great out-of-the-box mechanisms in Salesforce that depend on the progression of Leads to Contacts and Opportunities.
A lot of Salesforce apps are built on the assumption that you’re using the Lead Object. In many cases, a great-sounding marketing or sales app simply won’t work if you don’t have any Leads in your system. That’s why it’s so important that, before rolling out any awesome Salesforce apps, you do thorough implementation planning.
Even though using the lead object creates powerful opportunities for B2B marketers, some companies still don’t use the Lead Object in Salesforce. Largely this is based on misinformation.
Myth 1: The Lead Object Adds Complexity
Some companies feel that using the lead object adds complexities to the implementation. In reality, it just requires a series of decisions that Sales and Marketing need to agree upon.
Myth 2: The Lead Object is Only for B2B Companies
Another myth is that the Lead Object is only for B2B companies. This simply isn’t true. Take the insurance, personal electronics and travel industries as three examples. Each model typically requires a lot of marketing efforts to amass large prospect lists (“Leads”) in hopes of enticing them into making a purchase.
In truth, the only companies that probably don’t need to use the lead object are pure e-commerce plays. Otherwise, any additional effort required to use the lead object will pay off in dividends!
Want some more expert tips on how to drive revenue using Salesforce? Check out our Marketer’s Definitive Guide to Salesforce for more top Salesforce Sales and Marketing tips.
Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA
Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.