what are leads in salesforce

Did you know that nearly half of all sales teams listed the quantity and quality of new leads as their most pressing problem in terms of growth and sales? Unfortunately finding new leads is only half the battle. Quality leads are also a very important part of this equation and can’t be ignored. 

For many businesses, managing new leads can become a headache-causing lost sales and revenue. If you’re using a database such as Salesforce you might be wondering what are leads in Salesforce and how can you use them to qualify leads for your sales team. 

Don’t worry because you’re in the right place. So keep reading to get our ultimate guide to using Salesforce for beginners and getting the most from your leads. 

What Are Leads in Salesforce? 

Before we get started, let’s first define what a lead is. According to Investopedia, a lead is any person (or other business if you’re B2B)  who might eventually become a paying client or customer. When someone becomes a lead they’re identified as someone you should follow up with regarding your company and what you can offer them, or how you can help them. 

If your business isn’t continually driving new leads and potential buyers to your product or service then you’ll soon go out of business. However, many businesses find that finding new leads is only half the battle. Once you have someone’s contact information and you know that they might be interested in purchasing, how do you track that information? 

As a new startup, you might have gotten away with tracking leads in a spreadsheet or document. However, as your business grows, so will the volume of your new leads. Don’t lose track of these leads by mismanaging or losing this vital information. 

This is where Salesforce can help you manage and track your new leads in an organized and systemized manner. This will help you not only see higher conversions but also will allow you to scale the number of new leads your sales team can handle over time. 

There are many different ways your business can find new leads. You can offer a free white paper or case study on your website that visitors can download in exchange for their contact information. If you have this action tied with Salesforce, a new lead is automatically created so your sales team can begin following up with them and qualifying them as potential prospects. 

Some other ways you can find new leads include: 

  • Online digital marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Advertising
  • Vendor events
  • Direct mail marketing

As you can see there are several different paths you can take to grow your business and your leads. There are also several different types of leads. Let’s dive into that next.  

How Many Types of Leads Are There in Salesforce? 

In Salesforce, there are four different types of leads you can use to identify how warm they are. This will help your sales team to see at a glance where to focus their time and efforts. Over time, you’ll see a higher conversion rate when you can focus on warm leads ready to purchase. 

The best way to visualize the various types of leads in Salesforce is to imagine them as a continuum on which each lead will move through a process such as the following: 

New or Open lead > Contacted lead you’re nurturing or working on > Qualified lead or Unqualified lead 

Finding new leads is a continual process and the more you can automate this process the faster you’ll be able to scale. Once you have their contact information, then someone on your team will reach out to them. This moves the new lead down the continuum to warm lead. 

1. Open Leads

Any time you create a new lead in Salesforce, this is considered an open lead. At this point, it’s simply someone’s contact information. You’ll determine how soon your team will reach out to them and how to contact them.

They are, at this point, unqualified and unknown prospects. They’re as of yet a new contact whom you haven’t reached out to and made contact with. 

Your goal is to progress this new, open lead into a converted prospect. However, to get there you need to move this new lead through a process that allows you to qualify them as a warm lead. 

2. Contacted Leads

Once you’ve reached out to a new lead you can convert them from open to contacts. The biggest difference between leads vs. contacts is that you’ve made contact with them but nothing further. You can differentiate contacts between working and nurturing. 

If you’re in the process of having an active conversation with a potential prospect, they’re considered a working contact. This means you’re working with someone who has the authority to make a purchasing decision and they have a need you can solve with your product or service. 

As you work with certain prospects you might find that they’re interested in working with you but not right now. At that point, you’ll classify them as a contact you’re nurturing. Be sure they’re hearing from you regularly through an email newsletter, direct mail, or regular follow-up phone calls or SMS messages

3. Qualified Leads

It will be important for your team that you take the time to map out what determines whether or not a lead is qualified. This will vary for each business based on what buying considerations your customers need.

One popular qualification method is the BANT method in which you determine if a potential prospect has the budget, authority, need, and time to purchase from you. However, there are several other alternatives and it is imperative that you choose one and score all your future leads against this algorithm. This information will allow your sales team to focus their attention on warm and qualified leads.  

4. Unqualified Leads

Moving a lead to the unqualified category isn’t considered a loss. It simply means that your team can then focus their attention elsewhere. It doesn’t do you any good to think that you have 5,000 leads that could possibly lead to 5,000 sales if the majority of them aren’t serious buyers. 

In order to have an accurate view of how healthy your lead generation method is, you need to know how many are qualified vs. unqualified. That is why it’s so important for your team to quickly assess each new lead and decide whether or not their unqualified. If they are, then change their classification and focus your attention elsewhere.  

What Are the Differences Between Salesforce Leads vs Opportunities?

Once you’ve identified someone as a qualified lead, Salesforce then identifies them as an opportunity. An opportunity in Salesforce is considered any lead that has been identified as qualified and has a deal in progress. These are the leads your team is working closely with to close the deal and move them from contact to customer. 

The key to getting the most out of your opportunities is to have a strict method by which your team understands when to convert a lead into an opportunity. This will vary for each business depending on the length of your sales cycle as well as the complexity of your customer’s buying cycle.  

One suggestion regarding how to determine whether or not it’s time to convert a lead to an opportunity is when your sales representative can provide some information for the following areas: 

  • Can you solve the customer’s problem? 
  • Have you identified the final decision maker?
  • Do you have a project close date? 
  • What is the estimated projected revenue? 

As you can see, each of these questions can be answered with the BANT qualification method. If you can’t answer each of these questions and move a lead to the qualified category then they should likely stay a lead. If you can answer these questions then it might be time to convert them into an opportunity. 

How to Get Leads Into Salesforce

As mentioned at the top of the article, finding new leads and qualifying them is the biggest problem for sales teams everywhere. However, once you’ve solved that problem you might find that new problems arise such as tracking and managing these new leads.

Getting these leads into a database such as Salesforce can help your team scale your efforts and grow your revenue. But how do you get your new leads into Salesforce? 

There are several different options for getting new leads into Salesforce including basic manual data entry. However, if you want to scale your efforts, there are faster, more automated, solutions as well. These include importing contacts from your current contacts list such as Outlook. 

Going forward, you’ll also want to automate new leads as you find them. This can include integrating Salesforce with your email marketing software. Anytime anyone signs up to receive emails from you, their information is automated entered into Salesforce, and marked as a lead. 

These integrations help your team automate your processes and improve their efficiencies. This is how you can scale your growth and take your business to the level you’ve always wanted. 

What to Do With Leads in Salesforce? 

Now you have your leads in Salesforce, what’s next? Luckily we’ve created the perfect solution to help automate your processes for following up with new leads. You can let Fastcall create a cadence of planned calls to manage your leads better so your sales team knows who to call and when. 

It’s important that anytime you have a tool as robust as Salesforce that you use every feature available. But it can be overwhelming to know how to best use the information available. Our system lets you use features such as SMS texting and VOIP calling directly from Salesforce

Stop switching back and forth between screens. Stop wondering who to direct calls that come into your customer support center. Now, you’ve got the right solution to offer the best customer service to your potential prospects as well as current customers. 

Salesforce offers a robust database for tracking and managing your leads and customers. However, without the right systems, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and missing out on potential sales. A few important Salesforce best practices to keep in mind include: 

  • Have a robust Salesforce training system
  • Streamline your processes to improve efficiency
  • Keep your ideal clients at the center  

These tips will help ensure you’re using Salesforce to its fullest extent. For example, it’s important to keep your ideal customer at the center of everything you do. When you take the time to qualify your leads with the features available in Salesforce then you’ll see higher conversions and increased revenue.  

From tracking and monitoring your communications with your customers and prospects to robust analytics and reporting features, Fastcall allows you to get the most from your Salesforce investment. Teams of all sizes use Fastcall to improve their productivity and grow their sales.

The Only Guide Youll Ever Need for Tracking and Converting New Leads

Salesforce offers an amazing solution for tracking and managing your contacts. Pairing Salesforce with Fastcall allows your team to take your customer service and sales to the next level. Fastcall gives you the tools you need to see higher conversions and improved productivity for your entire team. 

So now you can stop wondering, what are leads in Salesforce? We’ve shown you what they are and how you can best use them to increase your revenue and grow your business. Be sure to bookmark this guide so you can refer to it again and again as you build up your contact list in Salesforce. 

If you’re ready to take your lead generation and follow-up strategy to the next level, then sign up for your free two-week trial here. You’ll soon see why sales teams everywhere are using Fastcall to get the most out of Salesforce so they can increase their sales and reach their goals.