What are Leads?

Leads in Salesforce are individuals that might have shown an interest in doing business with you but you have not yet decided to make into a contact. For example, a Lead might be someone who has submitted a Contact Us form, but has not yet donated or volunteered. Leads can also can be a list of unqualified people that were purchased for reaching out to in the future. There is usually limited information obtained for leads and will only include things like name, email address, and sometimes address or interest area. Think of it like a business card for a person.


How are leads different from Contacts?

A Contact in Salesforce is typically someone that you have done business with in the past. There may be more information received on that person, such as birthdate, relationships with others, multiple phone numbers, their previous order or donation, etc. The Contact is an individual who you will want to reach out to in the future when you have something else to offer that might interest them. Ultimately, you decide when Leads are converted to Contacts.


Tell me more about how Leads work in Salesforce

The Lead object in Salesforce is not very robust and is not required. After creating a lead in Salesforce, a staff member of your organization must decide if that lead is qualified or not and must be either converted to a Contact or marked as unqualified. Because this is a manual process, it requires a commitment from the organization that they will be managed, otherwise those Leads sit untouched, are often not contacted, take up data storage, and are missed opportunities for potential sales or donations.


When would I use Leads?

Most nonprofit organizations do not use Leads in Salesforce. Of course, each organization is different and must make the decision on whether to use Leads or not based on what is best for them. Many nonprofit organizations are short on staff and have a lot of to-dos. Lead Management can become very time consuming and more often than not, nonprofits just don’t have the time to keep up with them. Contacts can be used to manage the data that would have been kept in the lead object instead. This way, all of your contacts can be pulled into reports, or emailed in an email blast.

Leads can be used for an organization that purchases lists for marketing and want to keep them separate from their database, especially if lead conversion tracking is important. There are other use cases as well that might make sense for your organization. If you think using leads is worth exploring, speak with your Project Manager.


What if I want to use Leads?

KELL360 has the Lead object hidden but your Project Manager can help you set them up if you are interested in using Leads. Before you do so, consider the following best practices:

  • Use the Lead Source field- define a list of where your leads will likely come from and make the Lead Source field required. Tracking where your leads come from will help you determine which efforts are worth your teams time and energy. Were your organization’s onsite events more successful than the webinar was that you put on last month? The consistent use of the Lead Source field can help you make that determination.
  • Decide on what constitutes a qualified lead and when to convert them to a contact. Make sure to also determine when a lead has become stale and should be marked as unqualified or should be deleted.
  • Make sure someone on the team manages the leads on a regular basis and reaches out to them before they have been in the system for too long.