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Defining Your Lead Cycle in Sugar

by Katie Liesmann on February 17, 2015

6 minute read

This is one of the most common statements we hear from CRM user: “the CRM system doesn’t work. It takes too long to get stuff done.” The problem is that there is no one-size-fits all structure for your lead cycle and configuring your CRM system. What works for one company may not work for yours. Here are four ways to ensure you are using Sugar in a way that fits your conversion process:

1. Understand That All Modules Are Optional

Sugar’s out of the box setup includes five different modules. Here’s an overview of each one:

Sugar’s five modules

Targets: This is the very first entry point for a potential customer. This module can be thought of as a place to keep low-level leads—some companies refer to these as prospects or suspects. A good example of targets are leads purchased from a list of scanned at a conference.

Leads: These are individuals that have shown some level of interest in your product or service. Most of our customers use this module as a starting point (but remember if this isn’t what works for your company then that’s fine too). At this level, they are not yet associated with an Account. Contacts: When a sales rep has identified an opportunity, the Lead is ready to be converted to a Contact. At this level, the Contacts are typically each associated with an Account.

Accounts: This is where data on a company is stored, including all the Contacts associated with that company.

Opportunities: This module helps with sales forecasting. This is the place where you can track deals in your pipeline. You can add or remove modules that aren’t necessary for your sales process using Sugar Studio. It’s best to hide all the modules that you won’t be using to prevent confusion and create ease of use.

2. Clearly Define Your Lead Cycle

Each company can configure Sugar to work optimally for them, including removing some manual processes and making your sales team as efficient as possible. The important thing is to come to a consensus on how your lead cycle should be structured. We encourage you to continually question your lead process to find what works best for your company.

Here are three common lead cycles we see being used within our customer base:

 Lead cycles

Company A

This is the most common lead cycle we see being used. The Targets module is helpful for storing prospects if a company has a large number of leads in their sales funnel. This will differentiate the qualified leads from the prospects that aren’t yet ready to buy. If you are using a Marketing Automation software, then you won’t need to use the Targets module. The prospects will live in your marketing tool and push over as a Lead in Sugar once they are ready to engage with a sales rep.

Company B This simplified lead cycle is common among companies who don’t need to manage a true lead cycle, like ones that sell online using an e-commerce platform. They often opt to take out the Leads and Target modules because they don’t need to sift through a lot of prospects—instead of their customers often come directly to them. This company has simplified the sales cycle by just working with the Contacts, Accounts, and Opportunities modules

Company C Some companies don’t have a linear sales cycle like companies A and B. Non-profits are a good example of this. The main difference here is that they are looking for donations and memberships instead of selling a product—so they may have a custom module for “Members”, “Sponsors”, or “Donors” instead of using “Accounts”.

3. Determine the Difference Between Marketing and Sales Qualified Leads

It’s important to establish the difference between MQL and SQL within your company and to define your customer profile. Marketing often qualifies a lead based on a level of activity or a quality standard before they pass them on to sales. Only you can determine what a quality lead really looks like for your company. To figure this out, analyze your existing customer base. Who are they? What industry are they in? Who were the decision makers? The idea is to identify your best customers, target those profiles, then assign only those best leads to sales.

Once the MQL is in the hands of the sales team, sales should qualify the lead based on budget, need and urgency before the Lead is converted to a contact. If sales feels they are qualified, then the lead is ready to move through the cycle. Determining what makes a lead a SQL will bring consistency to your pipeline and deal stages. We will discuss more on this topic in our next Sugar user group on March 24th. Click here to register.

4. Keep Converted Records

When you convert a Lead record to a Contact, you don’t want to delete the Lead record. Keeping it prevents users from adding a lead for an individual who has already been converted into a customer. Sugar will prevent duplicate Leads from being created if it sees that the Lead record already exists. By keeping the lead record you can also track the original lead source and touches that have affected them up until the point they were converted. If you’re a marketer, this is a useful way to track how many leads marketing creates each month.

No matter how your company structures its lead cycle, make sure they have defined it and questioned whether it is really optimal for the organization. Setting up Sugar to fit it should be the next step. To learn more about how to best configure Sugar to fit your lead cycle, including a live demo on how individual moves from a Target to an Account in Sugar, watch this recorded webcast.

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