Welcome to Bedrock's 5 part series on CRM best practices. Our aim is to provide some of our knowledge and expertise that we've gained working on CRM's over a combined 20 years between us. Please note that some of the recommendations we will make in this series aren't for every company, but should serve as good guidelines for the majority of customers that we've worked with on our integrations.
Welcome to Bedrock's 5 part series on CRM best practices. Our aim is to provide some of our knowledge and expertise that we've gained working on CRM's over a combined 20 years between us. Please note that some of the recommendations we will make in this series aren't recommended for every company in every space, but should serve as good guidelines for the majority of customers that we've worked with on our CRM integrations.
CRM "objects" are data types that represent different things in a CRM system. In part 1 of this 10 part series, we spoke about the concept of a lead, which refers to the standard "lead" object that comes out of the box in most al CRMs on today's market. Most of the time, other default objects will be present as well, such as "Contact", "Account" and "Opportunity". Other objects also exist in most CRMs, including the ability to create custom objects in some of the more advanced CRMs on the market today (more on that in a later post). Any CRM object should be thought of as representing unique and significant data that identifies valuable assets for your business.
These default object are there for a reason, and you should use them as they were intended to be used by the designers of your CRM system. Your CRM will likely have many other objects that come out of the box by default, and you should feel free to use them, but here's a quick rundown defining each object and what that object should be used for:
- Lead - A general sales lead that represents a person who is interested in your product or service, in a fairly raw state. Some leads may be more qualified than others, and we'll get to that in a later post. As a sales rep works to qualify the leads assigned to them by making contact and starting your pre-defined sales process. That rep may then decide that the lead has promise and a deal is worth pursuing. In this case, they may decide "convert" the lead into a contact.
- Contact - A lead that has been converted into a contact is a person who a sales rep deems to be promising and will be pursuing a deal with that person. In most CRM systems, contacts are "converted" leads, and could also represent customers, however a contact doesn't always represent a customer. Contacts often times are created without having actually bought a product or service from you. Contacts are associated with accounts (see below) and are often times, accompanied by an opportunity as well.
- Opportunity - An opportunity is a "deal" that your sales rep has defined and is tracking in the CRM system, trying to close. Much of the time, the opportunity has a dollar value associated with it, as well as a stage and probability of closing that the rep will increase and decrease depending on how the sales process is going. Opportunities are associated with accounts, which means that there can certainly be more than one opportunity per account (in the case of repeat business). Opportunities sometimes have other names, such as a "Potential" (in Zoho CRM) or "Deal" (in Highrise CRM).
- Account - An account is a company that your contact is a part of. Accounts are objects that contacts and opportunities are associated with and can be used to tore information on the companies that your contacts are working for. The account data can be extremely useful to report on, especially in finding out key insights like the size of companies that become your bread and butter customers, as well as the typical revenues that those companies make.
- Activities - Not all CRMs come with the "activity" object, but many of the major systems on today's market do. Activities are object that let users see what actions other objects have taken and are best used for tracking these actions over time. For instance, an action on a contact record could be a call placed to that person, or an email sent to them from your marketing team.
One of the most fundamental flows of data in most any CRM, is the conversion of a lead record. This action happens when a sales rep qualifies a lead, identifies the opportunity for business to be closed and wants to take the lead from it's current state to a contact state. In most CRMs, this happens with a simple click of a button. When a lead is converted, the lead record is converted to a contact (the lead itself goes away) and an associated Account and Opportunity are (optionally) created. These new objects can be used by the sales and ops team to keep track of deals and important customer information.
Next up: Talking about the data on these objects themselves, which you know better as fields.
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