Yes, everything is identical between Leads and Contacts: workflow, SLAs, views, reports and dashboards. Just twice of everything.
In terms of aging, if you're date stamping the stages you can create another formula field that subtracts two sequential dates and returns # of days in between. You can then run reports of "average age" from one date to another to get your velocities.
The difference between your 2A and 2B seem more related to change process, and less to how it should have been setup in the first place.
And speaking of setting things up like this from the start: I almost never do it! When a company is not mature in it's adoption of CRM and Marketing Automation it's enough for it to digest the systematic process once (through Leads), and it's not a good idea to try to mirror it on Contacts right away. Give it the Leads process a chance, and once it's in place introducing the Contacts in an identical way will go down much easier.
You guys seem to be discussing something similar to my situation so I thought i'd just throw this out there any see if anyone can help me
We have microsoft dynamics crm and we do not use the lead side of it, just contacts, and we don't use opportunities either... SO, i am faced with the struggle of finding a way to track the lead lifecycle so i'd like to propose some options to sales and IT on how to do it easily and painlessly for sales. Everyone becomes a contact, all new leads automatically go in as a contact. The only differentiator we have is a field called contact status and the two options are lead or agent (we are an insurance marketing organization). So the only data i can pull to see if our marketing has done anything or if leads we are bringing in are good, is pulling off that field seeing if it has changed and if they have also interacted with our marketing.
My initial idea is to have a field with options of Not Qualified, Qualified, Working etc... something along those lines... and then if it's not qualified there would be another field where you could select why... I thought this might be at least a good start to seeing if the external vendors we use are giving us good leads or not, as well as starting to see how long the process for converting a lead takes, and also so we can start excluding the not qualified leads from marketing and put the working leads into nurture campaigns etc...
I have a tough road ahead because i feel im the only one who sees this as important so i'd like to do a really good job presenting this. Any help would be greatly appreciated Thanks!
Katie, sounds like you are on the right track. Developing a measurable lead lifeycycle is a challenge but it's great to see you take the initiative. Yes, there are technical challenges but the bigger obstacle is changing internal mindset. What you are experiencing internally is normal. Just keep plugging away providing value and explaining how a lifecycle process will help bring Sales and Marketing together. Build alignment one steps at a time to get buy-in. Research Sales and Marketing alignment to get some tips. Good luck and feel free to reach out to me individually.