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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!
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.
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.
Thanks guys! This certainly helps.
@Debbie, I haven't heard of LeanData, but will take a look.
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.