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Convert Contacts to Leads

I love the new leads management feature, however its missing something important. You can only import new leads or create them manually. What about all our pre-existing contacts that we and I am sure many others were treating as prospects/'leads' in Insightly? Can they not be converted into leads? It would be extremely useful if one could add existing contacts to their leads management tab. And going one further, for managing purposes, it would be valuable if one could group/designate leads into various campaigns or categories.

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  • Hello Anthony,

    Before the flame wars begin, let me say that while we are disappointed we have a whole bunch of contacts that actually should just really be leads, as a data architect and organization dedicated to generating archival data, I think this is the right move.

    We love Insightly. We are a small business with four staff members that do the perceived work of hundreds (I believe they made a movie about this), and Insightly is part of the reason for our grand illusion.

    As CEO of the company, but also as our primary salesperson (we are a nonprofit startup) I have been digging into Insightly and all of its depths and I just wanted to write to encourage you to continue to make good business decisions, like this one, despite the pressure you probably will feel for not pleasing everyone.

    One of the key features that I absolutely love is a fact that you can relate contacts and organizations and emails and tasks and opportunities in an organic way that isn't defined by Insightly, but is defined by our business practice. If you have come to the conclusion that a conversion of a contact to a lead would "break" this core feature, then you have made the right decision to make it not possible to do that.

    We plan to do exactly as you have described, I was simply waiting for you to say it… We will make a filtered selection of contacts, export them, reimport them through CSV as leads, and delete them from the contacts so that our contacts are our "friends and family", as you have designed it.

    Thank you again for supporting nonprofits and for all the work you are doing.

    We plan to make a video tutorial on how to make all of this magic happen in the coming days… We will be sure to share it back on this channel, feel free to share broadly.

    And thank you once again for the Gmail sidebar, it's a lifesaver.

    Many thanks,

     

    Michael Ashley

    Chief Executive Officer

    Center for Digital Archaeology

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  • Anthony, I have personal almost completed having my assistant translate all my "opportunities" into leads. But I can see other people deciding if they need to export and re-import they may choose another database.

    Here is my need - I MUST be able to send leads to Mailchimp, or else I will need to continue making contacts & leads. Contacts is the only way I can send contacts to mailchimp. Mailchimp is where my lead generation email drips are and I specifically choose insightly for the MC conversion.

    Also, I'm not in a strictly sales profession. In Real Estate our leads are very often people we know or referred from people we know. My broker is proud that 95% of her business is referral business. In these cases it is important to know who the leads are connected to. Or else we are simply duplicating contacts and leads.

    My primary objective is to get MC access from leads. But I wanted to provide more info to demonstrate that your explanation on links is incorrect in many fields like real estate.

    I am also looking forward to paying more for this database in the future as it is one of the cheapest technologies I use at the moment. It's worth it. But we need help in ways we had zero control over when we started.

    Thank you.

    Maggie

     

     

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  • Anthony,

    I'm stunned at this.  So, this decision will force multiple people in my company to take over 8,000 combined contacts in multiple Google Apps accounts, siphon through them to download, then upload them to create Leads?  And then, when we must actually USE them as a Contact (you know, to call them next year because they turned out to not be a Lead after all), we then get to manually re-input that Lead data and make them a Contact?  I'm staggered at the disconnect here.

    Mr. Ashley, with all due respect, you must be brand new in the business, and as a previous comment indicated, only have a few hundred "Contacts".  I'm happy for you, as it won't take much effort to work around this (by the way, I wish you the greatest success as a nonprofit!).

    Unfortunately, we're in the sales business, not database manipulation business.  I wouldn't insult my sales team by asking them to cull through their 1,000's and 1,000's of contacts to potentially narrow them down to a list of "Leads".  That's just simply not reasonable.

    I'll go back and study this, as I'm obviously missing something.  I honestly want to help Insightly get better and don't mean to present any resemblance of a "flame war".  I just want to understand why companies that have been in business for more than 1 month (I'm being slightly facetious here) and work with a Contact list of 1,000's over 32 years is being penalized in this fashion.  

    Please feel free to wake me up...

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  • Hi Jerry - 

    thanks for the good wishes!

    Nope, not new to the business. And yes, we only have a few hundred in Insightly, because we're new to the tool. We took our time to decide to go with Insightly, and I'm not regretting the decision. We have 1000's of leads/prospects.

    A few months ago, Insightly didn't have a 'lead' option. Yet, you managed, right? You made a business decision, as I did, to use Insightly over Salesforce (our former CRM for 5 years). Now, Insightly had added a Leads feature, which keeps our contact and opportunity lists clean and actually useful. It's an adjustment, but even for 8,000 contacts, it's just not that big a deal.

    If your people aren't looking at their 'prospects' and figuring out whether they are leads, contacts, or not worth following up with, software won't help.

    Leads, in the 'new' Insightly, are a special category, as far as I understand it. So take all 8,000 of your contacts, export them, then import them as Leads. They won't magically become Contacts until you convert them...It's safe to think of them as separate until the leads are qualified.

    https://www.evernote.com/l/AE1ZX0agW_1EAI7VhSVYq2Oc_lXmxquOfGc

    THEN, when you convert them, they become both an Opportunity and a Contact, which can be merged with your existing data. Contact list is vibrant and real, Opportunities are qualified and measurable...

    I actually think that's pretty cool.

    My comments were geared toward getting us all as a community to not overreact to this decision... and to work together as a community to help each other make Insightly more awesome. That's it.

    We make software, too. Community driven software development is really hard. I'm just happy to have found a company that actually listens (and sometimes ignores for good reason), our input.

    I'm fully interested in continuing conversation on this. I don't normally get involved in forums (we're all busy right?) but Insightly is part of our lifeblood now, so here we are.

    Hope this helps,

    Michael

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  • Thanks for all your feedback. We spent quite a bit of time working through the ramifications of this proposed change and we understand you had hoped for a conversion option. The way we had planned the contact to lead conversion was to have a "Convert to Lead" option under the Actions menu when viewing an individual contact (similar to converting a contact to an organization), so it was by no means a bulk operation on thousands of contacts like you can with an export / import.

    @Michael Ashley - Thanks for your understanding, and we look forward to seeing what you produce and share back in this forum. We also think your team is doing some great work with CoDA in preserving our heritage and culture for future generations, so keep up the great work !

    @Maggie - If you don't follow a traditional sales process as we designed in Insightly, one thought might be that you could tag a bunch of your contacts with a "lead" tag, and that way you can easily identify them as such and send them to MailChimp in a couple of clicks as you're doing now. That way you can also link a contact to another contact with "Referrer" as the relationship type. Insightly is pretty flexible so you can do things in multiple ways.

    @Jerry Messick - You can certainly call leads in Insightly and set tasks for them just as you can with contacts. You can also use the lead conversion process to convert a lead to an opportunity and/or contact when you qualify them. And with a conversion feature or an export/import, identifying which contacts to move to leads is a key part of the process.

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  • Hi, Michael.

    First, thank you for a thoughtful response.  I should clarify...I actually didn't survive with Insightly prior to them creating the Lead platform. You see, I'm two months in on beta testing Insightly.  I have only expanded it to one other employee for testing workflows, contact management, etc.

    I was serious about wanting to make Insightly better.  I enjoy contributing in the forums and have been on two calls regarding several beta elements.  Sick I am, but I do enjoy making a software platform like Insightly "work" for us.  This particular issue just makes no sense...even the app structure itself recognizes the flow from Contact/Organization to Lead to Opportunity to Project.

    Why on earth would I want to import auditors, tax preparers, lawyers, accountants, claims adjusters, underwriters, risk managers, loss control specialists, etc into Leads when they will never be a Lead or Opportinity? 

    Fortunately, I made the excellent decision (hey, even I get lucky) to thoroughly beta this platform before turning it on for the rest of my Team.  I honestly love the platform, so I'm continuing my commitment to finding a way to work with it in this new light, but with no granular control over administrator/standard user rights, and now this...well, tough climb.

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  • Anthony you aren't understanding what I want. I want to be able to select leads and have the option to send to Mail Chimp from the lead search instead of only from contacts.

    Also, i may as well make leads and contacts bc if I use the insightly email address it auto sends to contacts first, so it would just make a bunch of unused contacts with just emails.

    But I really want to be able to send leads to mailchimp

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  • Anthony, I never planned to mass convert Contacts to Leads...we sell to one at a time. And correct me if I'm wrong, but do Leads now sync to Google Apps?  Now, I just sent an email to a Contact (in Gmail) that I met a year ago. He wants to meet next week. Great.  But now I get to manually input all his contact information into the next logical progression, which is a Lead.  Quite infuriating if I'm being completely honest.  Oh, and then when I search, I get duplicate responses with the same data.

    Look, you've made your decision for whatever reason.  Read my most recent post...I will look at options before moving away. I like Insightly, it just doesn't appear to get a sales cycle in this light.

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  • Good technology adapts to your working practices; not the other way around... We should each to a reasonable degree be able to build our own workflow/sales processes within Insightly not be forced to accept one single rigid framework imposed upon us. Yes, there are "work arounds" but that's not the way it should be. To say I am dissapoined in the evolutionary direction Insightly has decided to take is an understatement. We left other CRMs beacuse they were inflexible, implemented features that constrained you and didn't listen to their customer needs/base. The way you have structed Leads Management now will be fine for some but irrelevant and useless for many others. Why would you go on to develop a system that operates and splits your customers like this? I dont believe you can't come up with a solution to make it all work.  Sadly I suspect it's simply a matter that it was too costly for you as business to to make the system changes required and have chosen the easy way out.

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  • 100% agree with Dario. We shouldn't adapt to use insightly. It's far more difficult to create new processes in organization (change management) than to develop a new feature for the tool.

    I don't even see a big problem here. My opinion - all you have to do is to create a checkbox in a contact page labeled "convert into lead" and once I check this box I should see this contact in my Leads list.

    Otherwise i don't really see the point... People don't call me to buy services, I call them. The service is really expensive and one contact can come and go during a year or two. So one month I would lead him, other month - I won't if he lost an interest or has no budget. But next year he comes back and says that his top management dedicated money for the service. So now he is lead again. 

    To me leading a person is a process of paying more attention to someone from the contact list. 

    And I don't really see the point in using oppotrunity tool - this could be just a field in lead page.

     

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  • I must say it’s very confusing that your saying you’re not gone develop the feature “converting a contact to a lead” or vice versa. If you look through your own community there is a topic called “Convert leads to contacts” and the status is PLANNED. So what’s the deal?

    At least you should be able to “save” the Contact and Organization information from a Lead before you delete it.

    Best Regards
    Fredrik

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  • As a relatively new customer, the inability to convert a "contact" in to a "lead" is too large of a gap to ignore. Anyone who's been in the sales industry for an extended period of time will identify with the steps of: (1) Contact (2) Lead (3) Opportunity (4) Sale/Contract, and then (5) Follow-up. The contact information should be readily available to the general database. Really wish this would have been made more clear during the discovery and decision-making process.

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  • Anthony Smith - very solid, considered, intelligent response - much appreciated and fully understood.

    PS: Custom fields option as Required - please (since you obviously understand data integrity!)

    ..and +1 for Michael Ashley

    re leads vs contacts..... after much consideration for our implementation we decied just to"

    - have everyone (except mass imported from a purchased DB /  list) as a Contact.

    A human + email filters haver already spam/ initiall checked the enquiry.... so we can live with them being a CONTACT, if not already.

    - if they turn out to be a dead lead, delete the contact. (at least you can delete contacts)

    - For a "Lead" Contact that does not have an Opportunity (or Project, if that represents business for your company), TAGs can be used to say who is a lead, how hot/cold they are etc.

    When an Opportunity / Project is created and lnked for the Contact... the Contact that was a lead now has progressed to very likley or actual business.

    What this approach does not provide for is easy % conversion of lead to actual business (won Opp/Project) reporting...

    Hmmm... maybe:

    CONTACT custom field for "lead date" + "Lead Opportunity Category" vs does a *directly related* (to that particular date / "Lead Opportunity Category") Opp/Project (in won state) now exist?.... ie. the lead activity against the contact vs actually resulted in some business.

    ... that was why we had initially considered making every single enquiry a lead... and waiting for the mention new lead reports to be delivered. But lead to opp conversion has its drawbacks as well (more different record types, more user training, duplicate contacts always created during convert).

    thoughts?

    PS: Custom fields option as Required - please (since you obviously understand data integrity!)


     

     

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  • Anthony,

    After reading through your response (and others' responses to your response) as well as the new help article about Leads, I still have some outstanding questions.

    If I export all of my contacts (about ~1000) to convert to leads, does the linked information stay with these contacts once they become leads (i.e. Notes, Emails, etc.)? Also, will blind copying my Insightly email to leads still import those emails into Insightly (as it does with contacts)?

    Thanks.

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  • Hi Lyla from support here @I Winner, happy to help with your questions :)

    Only the basic data is exportable and other items like file attachments, many links between records, events, comments, system settings, user settings, and emails saved to Insightly cannot be exported. 

    Blind copying Insightly on an email will create a Contact record or link to existing Contacts, as the system does not scan for Lead information.

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  • Lyla,

    Thanks for your answers.

    So going back to the original point of this support thread, why is there not a way to copy contacts to leads? Why would I ever use the new Lead feature when I have spent countless hours creating notes, file attachments, emails, etc. in the Contacts feature?

    Follow-up question: When a lead is converted to a contact, is that person's emails, notes, etc. copied to their new "contact?"

    Thanks.

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  •  Hi @I Winner:

    Each person uses Insightly's tools & features in the manner that works with their workflow. Some do choose not to work with Leads all together and go directly to Contact records.

    Our basic suggestion for tracking sales in Insightly is explained in the following article.

    When the Lead is converted to a Contact the emails and notes do not get copied to the new contact. Duplicating these would add to your storage count. Instead there is a link between the records for reference or you can add additional links to the notes and emails manually.

     

     

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  • It seems as if you’re not gone implement the possibility to use existing contacts when creating a lead.
    And it seems as if when creating a lead and then adding contact and organization information (since you can’t use existing contacts or organization) to that lead it won’t be useful if you don’t convert it to an opportunity since it doesn’t save the contact or organization information.

    Then you have to do the following steps if you want to save the contact and company information in an lead, am I right?
    --> Create a lead --> Add contact and organization information --> Save the Lead --> Convert to opportunity --> Delete the opportunity --> Remove duplicate contact and organization information.

    But off Corse this seems logical.. NOT

    At least you should be able to “save” the Contact and Organization information, and have a question if you want to merge with an existing contact and/or organization, from a Lead before you delete it.

    Best Regards
    Fredrik

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  • Is just me but the whole leads feature or rather functionality as it stands now seems half baked?

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  • Has everyone here voted on this topic?

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  • I think it's pretty clear that this needs to be resolved by the enormous amount of posts on this thread. I get that Insightly is supposed to simplify CRM but at the same time, some basic level functions are require to help make this a viable competitor to Salesforce.

    Let's get this Leads / Contacts challenge fleshed out. So far the partners in my business have been impressed with the ease of Insightly and I would like to continue to use it because the Insightly team understands the needs of their user base.

    Thanks everyone!

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  • I'm in situation where our management team is looking at converting to SF for a number of reasons - this being one, reporting another. Just the fact that we can't link Leads to existing contacts is a restriction to us. It means we have to manually re-enter all teh contact info etc - a pain in the a...  and not at all user friendly

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  • Thank you for your feedback, everyone!

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  • I think I have a workaround.  We created a custom field under "contacts" called "lead" with options like "not a lead", "active lead", "closed lead"...  You can ignore the lead screen altogether this way.  

    The cool thing is that you can filter contacts on custom fields, so if you need to find all of your active leads, you can, and since contacts can be linked to opportunities, you can track that way as well.  

    Not perfect, but functional.

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  • @Alex - we did the same... ditched Lead Management, on Contact: created custom fields for Inquiry date, Last contact date, next contact date, lead rating, Opportunity date etc.... the manually maintained values in those contact fields tell us if it is a current lead and/or a past / current business (Opportunity or Project).

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  • Completely agreed with everyone on this thread who's baffled by the insistence on making "Leads" function the way do within the app.

    We upgraded to the paid version of Insightly yesterday, because we we'd been using the free version happily enough for a little while now, and I literally just enabled the "Lead Management" setting about an hour ago to try and use it. As soon as I ran into the fact that I couldn't use an existing contact as a lead, I came straight here to the forums to try and understand why not.

    After reading the explanations in this thread, I just turned it back off. The way it stands, I honestly don't understand at all why it even exists as a feature.

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  • Insightly Team, you're not listening! It seems obvious the Leads function was created with good intentions but is leading you on a path to hell. You can still save things, not with work-arounds but with a proper fix. Go on amaze me and all those out there that you can admit a mistake and make it right even if it costs you some money in the short term. Think of the long term benefits and gains.

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  • My issue with Leads is that the emails don't link up. If I am sending a new lead an email that I want to have linked to the lead, it doesn't. it goes with a contact. that would seem that counterproductive. why would I keep emails to a contact but not a lead? Also if a lead is referred by a contact, wouldn't I need to know that? Also, if I have an email drip campaign in mailchimp, wouldn't it make sense that I can send those "leads" to mailchimp because as new leads they should be in my mail drip? At this point, I need leads to do more. 

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  • Put Lead Category (eg. product group / code the customer is interested in), Inquiry date, Last contact date, Next contact date, Lead rating, and Conversion date (also then link the Contact to the Opportunity / Project when the business happens) on the CONTACT record as custom fields.......

    How it works...

    As we have 4 teams selling four different sets of products we created 4 sets of these custom fields on each contact... as the same Contact may simultaneously be a) Past business, + b) an active lead for a one sales team, c) a dead lead for another sales team d) a recently converted lead for another sales team etc.

    eg.
    Advanced Report every day: Team 1, Hot leads, Next contact date = Today
    Advanced Report every day: Team 2, Hot leads, Next contact date = Today

    etc.


    We then use pre sales activity sets (add activity set to Contact) of tasks on the Warm/hot leads, not the dead/cold leads.
    So reporting tells us who to call and Contact tasks further enforce / detail / remind us for the people we consider hot leads.
    And... Inquiry date VS Conversion date is lead to business time reporting.

    Then - No issues with going back and forth between "lead" and "contact" - per sales team - as the Contact fields (lead rating team 1, team 2, etc) just change in value from "dead" (inactive) to "warm"/"hot" (Active lead) or "converted/sold/booked" (no longer a lead - now there is a linked Opp or Project that is the actual business).
    The links from the Contact to Opps / Projects provide easy access to the won business for that contact.
    Merging contacts retains all the TAGs, notes, emails, links, etc... and with each sales team having theoir own set of "lead" fields (they dont overwrite another teams on merge) - so that is not an issues either.

    Also allows different Advanced reports (from one single record type - CONTACT) for each sales team, reporting off the 4 different sets of "Contact-Lead" fields each sales team udpates.
    Advanced reporting now has Contact TAG list so that can also be used to indicate things about the contact's current status as a lead.

    Chews up some custom fields on Contacts, not perfect, and all manually maintained - but it works, and is somewhat user friendly as all the Lead/Contact notes, emails, links, past invoicing history, etc are in the one place (on a Contact record) and with no extra merging everytime a lead is converted to a contact.

    In fact our web sales front-end creates the contact and opportunity anyway (via Ninja forms and its LB3 extension), so if we used a lead as well prior to that web sale, we'd have to either delete the lead (losing converted lead reporting), or convert the lead (for reporting) and then delete the extra contact and extra opportunity lead converson mandatarily creates (that was already created by the customer ordering our product from the front end!).

    Perhaps if this approach - a Contact record being enhanced to reflect their  status as a lead, last/next sales activity, rating etc - was looked at as standard enhancement to existing contact functionality? maybe too late?

    Anyway... above is a totally feasible (if not perfect) - working in practice - alternative using custom fields on the contact record + a combination of advanced reports and Activity sets/tasks.

    Hope that makes sense and helps some fellow users out there! :)

    Simon

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  • Let me state that I am a happy user of Insightly but I am probably missing the point here obviously..... I started using Insightly before the lead management feature was introduced and I would love to see the opportunity to change contacts into leads, if only because I have a lot of "contacts" that do not qualify as "leads", with all the data and connections to remain in place and vice versa of course... I think this can easily be done using tags and/or custom fields, but it will, of course. be nicer when it is a "core feature" in the system.

    The explanation from the Insightly team to not implement it due to technical reasons does not really resonate with me. Add a flag in the database that a contact or an organization is a "lead" and take it from there. All other links can stay in place and do not have to be broken. And when the person or organization moves from lead to prospect or contact or client or whatever you want to call it tick off the lead flag and switch into something else.

    To me the work done on the creation of the leads tab/feature in insightly looks like a waste of time and money in its current format. The suggested workaround of exporting contacts, then delete them and then import as leads sounds overly complicated to me. Add a custom field or select the contacts/orgs and tag them as leads and use these in reports/filters etc. switch off the leads tab in settings...

     

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