There is often confusion about how the Leads entity should be used within Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE and this blog details an approach to using the Leads entity in a B2B environment. 
Within Dynamics 365 CRM there are two approaches to lead qualification, the first uses the Account, Contact and Opportunity entities to manage the lead qualification process from end to end. The second uses the Leads entity to “pre-process” inbound leads and then hands the baton over to the opportunity management function for leads which are qualified. 
We recommend the second approach using the Leads entity as this offers significant benefits. 
Simplified Importing 
Lead data is often imported in bulk from an external source such as a purchased list of companies, the delegates attending an exhibition, website downloads etc. Using Leads simplifies the importing of records as each Lead record has a simple structure that records 
• Company details, 
• Information about a single contact at the company 
• Basic profile information e.g. number of employees, the source of the lead etc. 
This allows data to be imported in a single pass sidestepping the requirement to import data into multiple related entities i.e. Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities 
Simple and Fast Qualification 
The lead qualification process is focused on assessing the potential for a sale and NOT the management of the Sales process which should be handled within the Opportunity function. 
So, records with no potential need to be weeded out quickly. As an example, a company providing car fleet management services will have a Go/No-Go decision based simply on whether the target company runs a fleet of cars and possibly on the size of the fleet. Any organisation that has a car fleet will have the lead promoted to the Account, Contact & Opportunity function for pursuing the potential for a sale. All the other records would be qualified out with a reason e.g. No fleet, fleet size to small etc. 
Prior to promoting the Lead record, the quality of the data can be reviewed and enhanced as required e.g. the address modified and corrected, website added etc. This ensures the data used in subsequent processes is maintained to a high standard. This exercise is restricted to those few records that are qualified. This approach allows the qualification process to be kept very simple so it to be managed cheaply and quickly thereby freeing skilled and expensive sales staff to focus on qualified leads using the opportunity management process. 
Lead Performance Metrics 
The lead qualification approach enables the lead data to be easily analysed to help determine the best sources for lead data. 
Improved data quality for core records 
As 80%-90% of leads are qualified out at the initial go / no-go assessment they are kept out of the Account, Contact & Opportunity entities making these key data sets easier to manage. Further the data quality thresholds for these data entities can be set much higher as they do not have to accommodate low grade and incomplete lead data. 
CRM365 Solutions Ltd have been involved in the design of many sales and marketing systems using Dynamics 365 CE and other applications in a wide range of industries. If you’d like to discuss options, please just call us. 
Tagged as: Leads, Opportunities, Sales
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