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CRM Basics: Converting Leads and Business Processes

Converting a Lead to an Opportunity

Converting a Lead to an Opportunity is a pivotal moment in the client acquisition process and represents a point at which the relationship with a client-in-waiting becomes more significant and valuable. Consider a Lead to be a “Pre-Opportunity” and, as such, that Lead must then progress and be developed to actually become an Opportunity and formally enter the Sales Pipeline. CRM Basics first process is called Qualification; and until a Lead is Qualified, it is simply not part of the Sales Pipeline. Only Opportunities move through the pipe. 

The progression of a Lead may be due to the focused efforts of a salesperson but typically result from a combination of Lead Development by both Sales and Marketing initiatives. There are no hard and fast rules as to what benchmark a Lead needs to meet in order to convert to an Opportunity; each organization determines its own unique set of rules. However, it is vital that every organization has a defined threshold that must be met for a Lead to be qualified so that cold or lukewarm leads with low probabilities of closing aren’t moved forward to the sales teams.   

For instance, a Lead may be a person from whom you received a business card at a networking event – and Qualifying that Lead may be as simple as a phone call in which that person requests more information. Regardless of what those qualifiers are, make no mistake, meeting that threshold and converting that Lead into an Opportunity is when the real Sales Process begins.  Also, keep updated with CRM Basics to win every time. 

The ideal development time needed to move a Lead through to an Opportunity is subjective and is essentially a management decision usually based on historical data and team goals. Again, there is no wrong answer here; the most important issue is that a well-developed process is in place throughout the enterprise to ensure compliance, uniformity and an active pipeline 

What Are Business Process Flows?

Business Process Flows (BPF) is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 tool that, as the name implies, helps guide users through a business process within their CRM system. You can think of Business Process Flows as sort of a work-flow recipe card. One important thing to remember is that BPFs are not automated processes in Dynamics 365; they are meant to be a guide for a user to aid themselves in completing a process. 

BPF enables you to require users to complete certain steps in order to complete a process and, if you choose, you can implement the ability for users to jump stages. BPFs are available for out-of-the-box entities and even your own custom entities. Additionally, an entity can have many BPFs associated with it – and they are highly configurable to fit your organizational needs. 

Dynamics 365 comes preloaded with several standard BPFs, you can add other ready to use processes and can also create your own. You can view your current BPFs by navigating to Settings, clicking on Processes, then changing your view to Business Process Flows. Also, CRM Basics can be learned through Dynamic 365. 

Converting That Lead to an Opportunity

A widely used BPF is converting a Lead to an Opportunity sales process. This process flow starts on the Lead entity; when a new Lead is created, you will notice the Process Flow bar featured at the top of the form, a handy telltale. Users can also click on the Process button (in the Command bar) to alternate between business processes or dismiss the current process (which can be reactivated at any time without the loss of interim data). 

In our Lead to an Opportunity sales process example, the BPF is composed of a series of Stages (these Stages can be modified depending on your unique qualification process). Commonly, these Stages would be Qualify, Develop, Propose and Close; the current stage is flagged and indicated as Active next to the Stage title. A nifty timer also displays the time spent at each stage and cumulatively throughout the process. 

In order to move to the next stage, users need to complete predetermined steps, like entering specific data and populating mandatory fields. A Stage usually remains locked until the mandatory requirements for that Stage are satisfied; once the threshold for a Stage is complete, users simply click Next Stage to progress through the process. After the user has successfully completed the steps and advanced through all four Stages in our example, the Lead to Opportunity business process is complete. 

A structured Lead to Opportunity Process Flow utilizing BPFs doesn’t merely track Leads through the development process, but also actually promotes and nurtures Lead conversion via a cohesive, well-defined sales and marketing strategy. And because all the data entered throughout the process flow can be parsed and analyzed, enhancements to the process can be implemented based on historical data and potential customers experience a consistent, comfortable journey through your pipeline. 

Want to learn more about how Business Process Flows (CRM Basics) can dramatically enhance virtually every aspect of your business? Let’s talk.