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Leads - why bother with them?

We started using Insightly a few weeks ago and apart from the support model (which is horrible) and the lack of custom reports, I think its quite interesting.

We've populated with contacts and opportunities, but Im not clear. Why would you ever both with leads? Why not just load a lead in as an opportunity with a low % probability. What does adding a lead provide? Im probably missing something obvious here but thanks in advance for responses.


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    Hi Will,

    Each business is different and some businesses may not have a use for leads, but say for example you're at a trade show. Tons of people interested in your product leave their name and info on a sign-up sheet. Instead of adding these potential customers as a contact or opportunity, you add them as leads. Doing so saves space in your account and will help keep you better organized since you won't be making extra contacts or opportunities from disqualified leads. If you decide using leads will be beneficial, our  Setting up and using Leads article will help you get started.

    And improved reporting is coming soon!


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    Interesting topic here. I have the opposite feeling.. why does anyone ever need opportunities when we have leads? I believe it is exactly what Brenda mentioned.. that all business needs are simply different. It is all about needs and how Insightly can fill in the gaps of your business model.

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    Thanks for your comments both. I guess I should have rephrased this question in to a wider CRM question. What is the difference between a lead vs an opportunity? My understanding generically is when you have the sniff of something going on that might suit your businesses' product or service, where as an opportunity is something you are actively pursuing where there is a defined need and budget from the budget owner. However even with this definition, I don't quite understand within *any* CRM system why everything isn't an opportunity with a low chance of success.

    A lead doesn't quite qualify as an opportunity with the above criteria, but I guess as you say, each business is different.

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    The CRM blog has a great article as a response to your question that sums up nicely why you may want to consider using leads (or not):

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    While everything is "perspective" and we can all come up with our standard procedures for tracking new business opportunities... 

    The general model most follow is to capture leads, and then qualify them. I teach people that a qualified lead is both "interested" and "qualfied to buy" and only then should be "converted" to an opportunity. 

    This keeps the 10,000 leads that we have gathered separate from the more important qualified leads & opportunities. 

    You can think of it as sluice box for gold... you only want to keep the gold, not the gravel...

    There are many reasons why this works out better in the long run... prevents having contacts with empty fields, saves space, easier reporting, provides more accurate numbers for stats, etc. 

    Also, sometimes you have a lead that is a company name, sometimes it is a individual. The lead database can handle this flexibility, whereas your organization and contacts database will become cluttered with garbage if you don't keep these properly. 

    So, whether you have a separate "leads" category, or you use some mechanism (flag, low ratings, etc) to separate leads from active sales opps... we all find it easier to keep them separate. 



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    Like the sluice box for gold example. After 25 years in Enterprise Technology and Software Sales I think the process has to be an exact science or the qualification suffers. Also, the sales db's get huge. If you don't manage it, then you will eventually climb Everest to clean the data or re-platform.  

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    The question is what is the cuttoff point. I deduce from the conversation that if someone has just signed up for my email list, they are a lead. But if they have come to my free event, they are probably a contact (otherwise—and more explicitly—known as a prospect).

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