5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 11, 2015 3:33 PM by Josh Hill

    Salesforce Contacts vs Leads - Recommendation Needed

      I'm looking for thoughts and recommendations on a change our sales team wants to make in Salesforce.

      We have both Marketo and Salesforce and work leads down the marketing funnel as leads in SFDC, then once qualified, convert to opportunities and contacts in SFDC.  The issue our sales team has with this approach is that there is not a way currently to look at a single account in SFDC and see all of the contacts and leads associated with that account.

      The solution sales would like to implement (in SFDC) would be to convert all leads to contacts and then work these new contacts as leads (using contact statuses instead of lead statuses).  This obvioulsly goes in direct oppostion to the basic premise of SFDC, that's another topic :).

      So, my question is... has anyone experienced this same issue?  and if yes, what did you do / how did it go?

      From my research, Marketo works the same for leads and contacts, but curious if there is something I'm missing that would need to change in Marketo if we moved away from lead objects in SFDC and only used Accounts and Contacts.

      Thanks in advance!

      Todd Plunk
        • Re: Salesforce Contacts vs Leads - Recommendation Needed
          Hey Todd!

          We convert all leads to contacts. There are a variety of reasons that make sense for our business, one of them being the same one you mentioned -- sales wanting to see all the lead from one company in one place. 

          In considering this transition, reporting is the place where I could see the biggest potential impact, so make sure you have mapped out in your head how you will recreate all your essential reports in the new world. 

          There is some reporting impact in SFDC if you are tracking lead conversion as a metric; obviously lead conversion will now be 100%. Instead you would look at conversion ratios along the different stages of your contact status field. 

          (In other ways it makes life simpler because you don't have to worry about cross object reporting as much.) 

          I think if you have a well-defined Revenue Model in Marketo this should not make any difference on reporting there, but there may be some nuances in RCA that I am not aware of as we don't use that product anymore. 

          Other than that it works just fine for us...but I would obviously do your homework as you are already doing and make sure before you pull the trigger! 

           
          • Re: Salesforce Contacts vs Leads - Recommendation Needed
            Hi Todd, have you looked at LeanData (Note, I work at LeanData). It's an Account-Based Lead Management Suite - http://www.leandatainc.com/what-we-do.html (you install it into SFDC through the appexchange)

            The View is a product that would solve the problem your sales team is having with matching leads to accounts. With the View,  there is a way to look at a single account in SFDC and see all of the contacts and leads associated with that account.


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            • Re: Salesforce Contacts vs Leads - Recommendation Needed
              Jeff Coveney
              Todd, your question  "has anyone experienced this same issue?  is one that just about every company faces.  You aren't alone.

              A Lead has a ton of options for SF management such as lead queues and reports. If you convert everything to a Contact, you lose some of those nice management features at the Lead level.

              On the flipside, reps can then manage those people as Contacts under the Account. 
              If you went the Contact only model, you' d have to have some way to manage them through the lifecycle so manke sure to keep a "Contact Status" equivilent field to a Lead Status. You could run reports and score off of this mapped field.





              There are pros and cons to both models. 
              • Re: Salesforce Contacts vs Leads - Recommendation Needed

                Thanks guys!  This certainly helps.

                @Debbie, I haven't heard of LeanData, but will take a look.
                 

                Todd

                • Re: Salesforce Contacts vs Leads - Recommendation Needed
                  Josh Hill
                  LeanData could help manage or automate that conversion process.

                  Keep in mind this presents new data quality challenges to match to the right accounts and keep leads going to the correct office locations.