A “Sales Lead” is a new contact that you are in the process of selling products or services to, but who has not yet become a full-fledged client. You must be able to track the prospect’s contact info and a list of steps that should be completed as a part of your sales closure. When tracking sales leads, you do this in Outlook, you can use a CRM product (integrated with QuickBooks, or not), or you can resort to tracking sales leads in QuickBooks.
The QuickBooks Sales Lead Center does not make this a CRM product. There is a great deal more that goes into managing and tracking leads that a good CRM product can do for you. However, tracking sales leads in QuickBooks via the Lead Center does have some advantages:
- It is a part of QuickBooks, no complicated integration issues.
- It is free, as a part of your QuickBooks installation (all US versions)
- It is easy to convert a Lead record into a Customer record.
Tracking sales leads in QuickBooks (2012 and beyond) is a feature that many clients might find helpful. The QuickBooks Lead Center is accessed via the customers menu. Sales lead contact information for leads is entered by clicking on the “New Lead” button or imported from an Excel spreadsheet with the “Import Multiple Leads” button.
Under the name field, client sales leads are given a status of cold, warm or hot. The criteria for classifying a sales lead with status is up to you, but usuually businesses assign a warm status to sales prospects with a higher likelihood of becoming clients to which they focus more attention.
When a sales lead is selected in the Lead Center, a series of tabs appear in the bottom pane. In the “To Do List,” marketing efforts are planned out and assigned due dates.
When marketing efforts pay off and a lead becomes a customer, it is easy to transfer the contact information for a lead to the customer list within QuickBooks. Simply click on the “Convert to a Customer” button in the lead center.
Although tracking sales leads in QuickBooks via the Lead Center may not have the customer relationship management features to meet the needs of all businesses, it is a nice addition that will be helpful for small businesses that either don’t presently track sales leads or manage them on paper or in Excel.
For more on this see Charlie Russell’s comprehensive assessment of tracking sales leads in QuickBooks at Sleeter Group.
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