Salesforce.com Leads, Accounts, Contacts & Opportunities

Salesforce, undeniably come along a set of interesting and powerful tools that could support your sales procedures and optimized with a view to help you accomplish more work within less time and a few clicks. No matter what are tasks you want to finish off, you will be helped with everything at its best with the most suitable options available. While you may be seeking more and more information about Salesforce Development, a glance down the page is likely to help you well.

What are Salesforce Leads, Accounts, Contacts & Opportunities

While you conduct some general business discussions, it may be good to know about a few specific terms like accounts, leads, opportunities and contacts are likely to be used interchangeably. This discussion will help you define and differentiate these so that you’re able to make the best use of them.

Leads

Leads typically are known to be the name of a person, along with the company they may be working for, their phone number, residential address, email address etc. It’s quite similar to a business card. You however have no ideas about how much are your leads interested in your service or product; whether they’re going to make any decisions, are there any other specific requirements, etc.

Considering this fact, it is important to let them get through a simple qualification before really converting them to contacts, account or opportunities. Salesforce allows you to capture various leads from your website through Web-Lead functionality. Mentioned below are a few best practices for Salesforce leads:

  • Since there are several cases where the lead object may not serve your purposes, you should reconsider the thought of using leads.
  • Bring up a concise and clear lead qualification process.
  • If applicable, consider leveraging the web-to-lead form.
  • Utilize leads for converting and qualifying rather than selling.
  • Make sure you do not create duplicates. Using AppExchange would be considerable as it can address the same.
  • It would be considerable to develop simple lead scoring. It could particularly be true while you may have to manage larger number of leads and a quick response to them is necessary.

Accounts

Accounts could be entities or companies that are either logical or physical. Accounts tend to carry an address, company name, phone number etc. Also they could be hierarchical with several layers of Parents and children with a view to support organisational structures that are fairly complex and meeting up reporting requirements.

Salesforce offers you a set of addresses that could be used for Shipping, Billing etc. Several companies tend to create accounts for companies that are likely to have multiples locations. Accounts could also be companies that you suspect to become vendors or partners in the future. Here are a few best practices for accounts in Salesforce:

  • While using multiple Accounts for locations, add city and state to the Account following a dash.
  • You cans also make use of custom-status pick-list field. It will help in designating Prospects, Suspects and Customers rather than the standard type field. You also have the option to add a field for custom status date; it has a workflow rule as per which the date changes with the change in status.

  • Try being consistent while structuring your Accounts, especially if you have decided upon using the Parent Accounts.
  • Consider adding a custom checkbox, if you’re not using Parent Accounts. This way identifying parent account becomes easier.
  • For companies that may have common names or have changed their names recently, consider setting up custom alternate account name.

Contacts

Contacts are people who may be associated with the accounts that you would market, sell and provide support to. They can have a separate address form their accounts, a phone number, fax number etc. Contacts could be directly associated to only one Account. However, they can be associated to several different accounts with the help of Account Contact Roles. You may have to determine different practices based on Salesforce leads vs contacts. Here are the best practices for using contacts in Salesforce:

  • To easily identify inactive contacts, add a checkbox or custom status. You may also choose to add a custom status date. For instance the account status could be updated as per an update in the workflow field when the checkbox or field is changed.

  • Try enforcing the entry of email address whenever possible. This could be done through a validation rule or by producing a report of contacts that lack email address.
  • Add a nick name filed or custom common.
  • Add a middle name field. Also add a job-pick list field to easily find for positions.

Opportunities

Opportunities are the transactions that may occur between an account and your company. This is regarded to be a specific sales transaction that also includes clear details about considerable services or products that your sales representative might be presenting to prospective customers. There are several other important pieces of information that may be used for creating an opportunity. These include an estimated Closure Date and Value.

All of these opportunities must possess a stage since most of the companies might be interested in obtaining visibility of their sales pipeline and considerable potential for the same. The opportunity stage can help in tracking and identifying the various procedures and steps the opportunity may have travelled across during the entire sales process. Here are the best practices to handle opportunity in Salesforce:

  • Consider clearly defined steps for the sales procedure.
  • Maintain consistency with respect to creation of opportunities.
  • Use the standard type field for identifying new opportunities from add-on type sales.
  • If the opportunity isn’t closed in some pre-determined days or time-period, create email alerts or exceptions reports that could trigger by the Close date.

As, you’ve already known that within Salesforce, potential client or prospective opportunity is referred as leads. They could also be addressed as “unqualified sales”. Leads could be obtained from real-life interactions, like meeting people at conferences or getting contacts through online interactions. This is when someone may have filled a form or requested more information.

Leads could be entered manually into Salesforce through web-to-lead generation or an automated integration of Salesforce.com with other business software you may be using. Converting leads in Salesforce guides you through creating new contacts, accounts and opportunities while you connect data with the information that’s already in system.

Salesforce helps in maintaining the integrity of your already existing data in order to prevent overwriting any critical details. Customising default settings will let you manage leads at the easiest. Also, you can set up considerable assignment lead rules to keep up data flow through the pipeline and from the information that may have been captured from the forms on your website. With these details and your skills for maintaining Salesforce, you would be able to come up with better solutions.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that Salesforce is merely a tool. Therefore, how you manage it and make the best out of the functions and support offered by it will determine its worthiness for your organisation. The above mentioned details will let you make the best while you look forward for Salesforce Development.

Chitiz Agrawal

12+ years of experience in Salesforce.com CRM Platform and Java technologies. Involved in various stages of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) including analysis, requirement engineering, architecture design, development, enhancements, testing, deployment and maintenance of standalone, multi-tier, web-based, and portals based object oriented enterprise applications. • Certified DEV 401 developer, ADM 201 Administrator and Sales Cloud Consultant. • 8+ years of Techno-Functional experience with Salesforce.com/Force.com platform in providing CRM solution. • Ability to independently perform development, testing, implementation, documentation and updating. • Ability to work independently and engage supervisor as needed and to handle full workload and meet proposed deadlines. • Excellent Interpersonal, Communicational, Organizational and Team Leading skills Specialties: Salesforce.com: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Force.com: Custom Cloud Salesforce.com: Reporting and Analytics of Sales, Service, Custom Cloud Data Analysis, Data Cleansing, Data Normalization, Data Migration, Salesforce.com Data Loader JavaScript, XML, SOAP, WSDL, HTML, AJAX, Web Services JDK, J2EE, Servlets, JSP.

Chitiz Agrawal

12+ years of experience in Salesforce.com CRM Platform and Java technologies. Involved in various stages of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) including analysis, requirement engineering, architecture design, development, enhancements, testing, deployment and maintenance of standalone, multi-tier, web-based, and portals based object oriented enterprise applications. • Certified DEV 401 developer, ADM 201 Administrator and Sales Cloud Consultant. • 8+ years of Techno-Functional experience with Salesforce.com/Force.com platform in providing CRM solution. • Ability to independently perform development, testing, implementation, documentation and updating. • Ability to work independently and engage supervisor as needed and to handle full workload and meet proposed deadlines. • Excellent Interpersonal, Communicational, Organizational and Team Leading skills Specialties: Salesforce.com: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Force.com: Custom Cloud Salesforce.com: Reporting and Analytics of Sales, Service, Custom Cloud Data Analysis, Data Cleansing, Data Normalization, Data Migration, Salesforce.com Data Loader JavaScript, XML, SOAP, WSDL, HTML, AJAX, Web Services JDK, J2EE, Servlets, JSP.

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