Managing leads, lists and doing marketing activities in Microsoft CRM can sometimes be a challenge. New users of CRM have a hard time with the concept of the lead entity when it comes to keeping up with leads, importing rented mailing lists, and the like. The following is one method of handling leads:
First we make the following assumptions on how Leads are Qualified / Disqualified:
- we keep leads and mailing lists stored in the lead entity until qualified via some form of interactive communication, ie: Phone call or email from the lead.
- anyone we have contacted and verified the information of is considered ‘Qualified’ and promoted to a customer (account/contact). This is to put all of the companies & contacts we know in a single database separate from our purchased mailing lists and incoming leads.
- Opportunities may be created as part of the qualifying process but are not the only reason for qualifying a lead into the account / contact database.
- We disqualify any lead that is not contactable (bad email address or phone) or we do not wish to market to (outside our interest).
The net result of the above steps is that we end up with all of our “qualified” organizations and contacts in the account/contact database and we can now add these potential customers to marketing lists and perform ongoing marketing operations. This would include prospects with open or previous opportunities, leads that we received for specific products which did not close for one reason or another as well as potential customers that we got in contact originally through a purchased or rented mailing list. Once we have contacted someone on a rented mailing list multiple times, we can generally assume it is safe to continue marketing to them because we have established a relationship. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to get these mailing list records for which we have established a relationship qualified up into the main database of accounts and contacts.
The next step in your process should be to have special interests marketing lists which can be evaluated using criteria from information stored in the account or contact record or to have a workflow process automatically add newly added accounts and/or contacts to marketing lists as part of your built-in processes. Note that you would need a workflow add-in to attach an account or contact to marketing list but this could also be accomplished through a manual process.