A lead represents a potential customer or a possible future business or sales opportunity. They aren't usually qualified yet and they aren't yet assigned to an individual person for following up. When a lead needs to be followed up, it's converted to a partner and/or a sales opportunity.
For example, the following events could result in the creation of one or several leads:
A business card from a prospective customer met briefly at an exhibition: you must contact him again to qualify the lead and to know if there is any possibility of a key sales opportunity,
A database of potential customers in a given sector and region. The potential customers must be contacted again individually or using a mass mailing to determine which contacts need to be followed up,
A contact that you've been given by a friend. You must then qualify it before starting to assign a salesperson to the contact,
A form completed on your website directly integrated into OpenERP. Before converting the form into a sale proposition or opportunity, you should read and handle the person's request.
Separation of sales services
In companies of a certain type, you often distinguish between the sales department and the presales department. The role of the presales department is to acquire and qualify new leads, and the role of the sales department is to crystallize the sales opportunities or work with existing customers.
System users in the pre-sales department will usually work on leads. Once these leads are converted into customers or sales opportunities the sales department pays individual attention to each opportunity.
Entering prospects into the system¶
New prospects are usually entered as a lead in the system. This means that you don't create a partner form or sales opportunity until you have qualified whether the lead is interesting or not. If the new contact is indeed interesting you then enter the data on into a partner form and, eventually, a sales opportunity.
To enter a lead manually use the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Leads ‣ New Lead. A form opens to let you enter data about this new contact.
Leads have a status that depends on the qualification work that's been carried out:
Draft : the lead data has been entered, any work has not yet been done and a salesperson has not yet been assigned to the request,
Open : the lead is being handled,
Closed : the lead has been converted into a partner and/or a sales opportunity,
Waiting : the lead is waiting for a response from the customer,
Cancelled : the lead has been cancelled because the salesperson has decided that it's not worth following up.
When a new lead has been created it's automatically put into the open state.
You can also import a huge list of leads. That's useful if you've bought a database of potential prospects and you want to load them all into the system to handle them all at the same time.
To do that you should start with a list of leads in CSV format. If your prospects are provided in another format it's easy to convert them to the CSV format using Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc. Open the leads list using the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Sales -> Leads -> My Leads. At the bottom of the list click on the Import link. OpenERP opens a form for importing the data.
You then define which columns are present in your CSV file in the correct order. Then select your file and click on Import. Check in the chapter about system administration, 配置与系统管理, for more information on import and export.
Importing and Exporting data in OpenERP is a generic function available to all resources. So you can import and export such lists as partners, sales opportunities, accounting entries, products and pricelists.
There are other methods of importing leads automatically or semi-automatically:
Using the Outlook or Thunderbird plugin to insert new leads directly from an email client after a salesperson sees promising emails,
Using the email gateway for each incoming email from a certain address (such as email@example.com) creating a lead automatically from the contents of the email,
Using OpenERP's XML-RPC web-services to connect to a form on your website.
These different methods are described in the next CRM chapter, 客户关系管理.
To help the users organize and handle leads efficiently, OpenERP provides several menus in the CRM system that can be used depending on the needs of each:
CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Leads ‣ New Lead opens an entry form directly onto a new lead. This menu can usefully be put into your shortcuts,
CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Leads ‣ My Leads gives a list of all the leads (both open and not) which you're linked to,
CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Leads ‣ My Leads ‣ My Current Leads gives a list of all your leads that you still need to handle (your open, draft and waiting leads),
CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Leads ‣ My Leads ‣ My Current Leads ‣ My Pending Leads gives a list of all your leads that are still waiting for a customer response. This enables you to check periodically on your work to do,
CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Leads ‣ All Leads is a list of all the leads assigned to different salespeople. This menu as those beneath it are used by managers to check on each person's work.
Leads are prioritized. Salespeople should ideally start at the top of the list. They then open a form to describe the lead. At this stage they contact the suspected customer by email or phone and enter the result of the contact on the lead form.
They can then change the status of the lead to a state that depends on the response from the suspect:
Cancelled : not to be followed as a lead,
Waiting : waiting for a response from the suspect.
Converting leads into customers or opportunities¶
If a lead is interesting you convert it into a partner in the system. To do that, push the button Convert to Partner. OpenERP opens a partner form with the information from the lead entered into it. At this stage you can add more information such as the exact partner address and the contact details.
The created partner is automatically attached to the lead, which enables you to keep complete traceability from the lead. To do that look at the second tab in the lead History.
If the salesperson thinks that there is a real opportunity with the lead, following the contact, he can convert it into a sales opportunity using the button Convert to Opportunity. OpenERP then opens a window asking the title of the opportunity, the estimated revenue and the percentage success of converting to a sale.
Some companies have more advanced processes for the qualification of a lead. They pass through several steps, such as first call, renewing contact, waiting for a verbal agreement. You can then use the field Step that is found up to the right of the lead definition. To move it automatically through the next step, you can use the button that looks like a right arrow.