itsgoodIntroduction here:  So far I have spent most of my time re-engineering our Zoho CRM system on the Leads side of the process.  Before I started I thought we had a pretty good system but I noticed some pretty serious gaps and have worked hard to correct them and refine the process.  At this point I am very happy with the Leads aspect of the system and more importantly the sales team is happy as well.  In fact the new processes are already generating revenue and positive customer feedback.

So what happens when a lead expresses interest in purchasing something?  What is the next step?  Take a look at the screen shot below.  Notice how the Lead downloaded a trial, all important fields are in the record, the lead has been pre-qualified, the lead status is A Qualified and the note says that the lead is interested in pricing information.

At this point the SA’s job is almost finished.  They have a perfectly qualified lead with all the proper documentation and history as part of the Lead Record.  The only thing left to do is Convert the Lead into an Account, Contact and Potential by hitting the Convert button at the top of the Lead record.  This brings up the Convert Lead UI and a number of interesting and very well thought out things happen with just a few clicks of the mouse.  The Convert Lead function in Zoho allows the current Lead owner, the SA to:

  1. Assign the appropriate SC and send an email to the new Account Owner
  2. Create a potential on Conversion.   A “Potential” in Zoho is a named opportunity with an amount and close date associated with an Account.  For the most part we use Potentials when converting an Account and then rank the Potential on the likelihood of closing.  If this box is checked the Potential will NOT be created but the Account and Contact will be created.
  3. Name the Potential, the system automatically fills in the Account name and the user would add what the specific Potential name is, in this case 10 seats of Pro.
  4. Edit the Potential close date and the Potential Stage, the closer to close the higher the ranking percentage.
  5. Identify the decision making role of the Contact.
  6. Edit the approximate amount of the Potential

Click Save and watch the magic happen: A new Account is created and the SC is notified.  This Account has the name, address, territory info from the Lead.  It creates a new Contact under the Account with the Contact and Lead Source info from the Lead.  The Potential linked to the Account and the Contact.  All of the attachments, activities, tasks and notes are appropriately linked.  All this with one click!  All the SC has to do is enter the appropriate Account Type = Prospect and Account Rating = Active in this case.

I should mention that this process requires almost zero set up and implementation.  In fact it is so smart that it will attempt to warn the user that there is another duplicate Account record and offer to merge the two on conversion.  This is a common problem in all CRM systems when there are multiple contacts in the Leads section under the same account.  Zoho CRM gets it right out of the box and preserves all of the valuable Lead information on conversion.

Here is a pdf document of all the things that happen when you convert a Lead.  It is hard to explain how complex this process is without dredging up all of the details that make it happen.  Suffice to say that the logic behind the process is subtle but very well thought out and pretty much works right out of the box.  I guess that is the difference between good and great software.  The great software hides the complexity but not the power.