Opportunities: What To Do With New Sales From Existing Customers

One of the biggest questions a company can have when implementing CRM, concerns the use of the various entities; Account, Contact, Lead and Opportunity.

Every company and industry will have its own special sales process with specific needs to track industry or company specific information. Microsoft CRM can be customized to many of those needs.

Questions arise, particularly about the Lead and Opportunity entities, about existing customers, marketing and CRM procedure. How does the sales process work when an existing customer places a new order? Much of what procedure is followed is based on the goals intended for the company’s sales process and the CRM system; what data is being tracked and reported. Is the company closely tracking sales data such as sales pipeline or campaign sources?

In this scenario, a customer calls up and says he wants to place an order. Most of the time the standard course of action is to create a new Opportunity from the customer record. The customer tells you what he wants and when he intends to buy. Is the company tracking campaign sources? A company’s marketing department usually likes to track why someone makes a purchasing decision. If the order is the customer’s standard order, there’s really no need to track this particular order’s marketing history. In fact if the customer is ready to order and pay for the product or services immediately then there’s little reason to even to create a new Opportunity, just create a new Order because there’s no need to track the sales pipeline for sale forecasting because this sale has already closed.

But what if the customer had recently gone to a trade show and was interested in a new product they saw a presentation on at the trade show? Typically leads from trade shows would be imported into the CRM system and follow up on. I’ve told clients that it’s not uncommon to have Leads and Customer records in the system at the same time, particularly since there is no duplicate record checking within Microsoft CRM 3.0. But you do have the ability to relate a Lead to an existing customer record when you covert the Lead to an Opportunity. This process would allow us to track this sale and customer behavior to the trade show. But creating a Lead for an existing Contact is not a recommended way of doing things; it happens sometimes but is cumbersome.

The Microsoft way of addressing this scenario is to create a Campaign Response from the customer record and then covert the Campaign Response into an Opportunity. This method allows us to track Marketing Campaign activity with existing customers. The Source Campaign field in the Opportunity record is mapped from the related Campaign Response record.

A more efficient custom solution is to change the Source Campaign Field in the Opportunity form. By default it is locked out from being manually changed. The only way it can be populated is by converting either a Lead or a Campaign response to an Opportunity in which it will map the Source Campaign to the same field within the related Opportunity. By unlocking the Source Campaign form it will open the look up so that the sales person can simply look at the source campaigns in the CRM system and insert the appropriate Source Campaign record.

Microsoft CRM Consultant
Unitek Microsoft CRM Services