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How to qualify leads in Salesforce


Understanding lead qualification 


Lead qualification involves evaluating the suitability of a prospect and their level of readiness to proceed with the sales journey. Sales teams gather and analyze the data to figure whether a lead satisfies specific criteria or aligns with the company's ideal customer profile (ICP).


Defining lead qualification and its role in the sales funnel


Many companies are asking themselves if they even need to work with leads in Salesforce. What do we need leads for? If we are working, for example, with accounts and contacts in Salesforce, why use leads? What is it good for? 

The answer is quite simple - it makes the work for the users, especially sales people much easier… Why? Salespeople don't like to enter the data manually into Salesforce. It’s a big pain asking them to do this kind of administration job. 

The lead enables us to reduce the number of repetitive tasks. Generating leads in Salesforce can be done via different channels - for example, automatically when someone fills in the contact form on the website. After the data being confirmed, it is automatically stored in Salesforce as a lead.

Another channel for creating the leads automatically - from the email for example.  It happens when a customer or a prospect sends an email to a specific address, like, support or sales. 


Defining Lead Qualification Criteria


In simple words a qualified lead fits the profile of an ideal prospect who is ready to buy your product or service.


In order to qualify the lead you need to investigate the following data about it:


  • Company size. In terms of revenue and number of employees in order to define the value of the lead. 
  • Budget. Estimating purchasing capacity of a lead helps you understand if it’s a good fit for your product or service.
  • Industry. Understanding the industry where the lead operates will help you to find out its demands and pain points.
  • Bottle necks. Revealing what challenges your customers are facing with and if you can eliminate them with your solution.
  • Used technologies (if any). Finding out what technologies are used and if there’s a potential to switch or add more.


Standard and non-standard Salesforce functionality in lead generation


Creating a lead from the website is a standard Salesforce functionality, while creating it from an email is a non-standard one. Therefore on the AppExchange, which is the portal of different Salesforce applications there are many vendors promoting the apps enabling them to generate the lead directly from the email in Salesforce. It could be also created manually. 

Let’s say a sales representative is having an incoming call from a prospect and he needs to put this data into Salesforce. The easiest way to do it is to create the lead manually. 


Why does it save time for the salespeople and exempts them from doing repetitive tasks? The lead combines the  data both from the company and the contact after making the call or sending an email. So it means that in this one record both account and contact are recorded together .

This lead would be created, not only from a new prospect, but also from an already existing customer which is stored or recorded in Salesforce. A very clever and simple function in Salesforce called lead conversion, enables the salesperson in one click to create four different records connected together. From this one lead the user can create an account, a contact, an opportunity and a contact in the contact role for this new opportunity. So this is how you save the time and efforts to avoid extra work for salespeople.


Since the lead could be created for all the existing customers in Salesforce, this conversion function also enables to check if this customer is already recorded in Salesforce and prohibits creating a duplication related to an account, a contact or even an opportunity. Which also leads to saving time and energy of the sales people.


At this point you come to the question why again. Why do you need to work with leads when you already work with accounts and contacts, isn’t that enough? There are many different inquiries from the prospect which are not real opportunities. For example, the prospect is asking for a product which you don’t produce but it can be your future potential. Yet all of such inquiries are recorded into Salesforce as a lead and it makes sense if you keep them recorded as leads in order not to create false account, contact or opportunity because they don’t convert into such at this moment. So you keep them as leads for any future reference. 

If there is an inquiry from a lead, which won’t convert into the opportunity why actually bother to record this inquiry into Salesforce at all?


We recommend recording every interaction with the company.  For example, how to define the effectiveness of your marketing campaign? Where these leads were generated from? If you have many inquiries for the product which you don’t produce or offer, most probably there was a mistake made in a marketing campaign that led to such misreading. 

Or you see that you keep receiving inquiries for the product which you don’t offer but it’s related to your business activity. You realize there’s a demand you’re able to fulfill and it could give you a new business opportunity.

Pros and cons for using Sales Cloud from salesperson perspective in terms of leads


There’re companies that work in a stable market that is not changing much. They have a few newly generated prospects and working with leads for them is a waste of time.  They don’t need to create leads because that would mean making extra useless steps in their customer journey. Instead they could create the opportunity with already existing Salesforce customers. 

Working with the leads are mostly applicable to the companies which are rapidly developing on the changing markets that might have some online activities like marketing campaigns on generating the leads. 

Leads statuses available in Salesforce


Every lead coming to your company must be qualified. It’s totally up to you which statuses you would like to implement. But there are some already created by default in Salesforce. 

The first one is Open. It means that you’ve generated the lead but you haven’t been in touch with the customer yet. 


Another one is called Contacted. As it comes out from the name it means that the lead was contacted and some additional data was also specified. 


The third one is called Qualified. At this stage the lead already turns into your prospect and you need to proceed with the offer. 

In most cases and in most companies qualifying the leads is the marketing task. When marketing qualified the lead it means they’ve created the opportunity. Then it’s been passed to the salesperson, and from this stage it’s his job already to be in touch with this prospect. 


There’s another out-of-box status which is called Unqualified. This is the status when marketing says - this is not our prospect. We can’t satisfy his requirements. 


We, as fansfactory, always recommend adding one more status, called Potential.  It applies effectively when the customer is asking for some specific product, which you don't offer yet, but you either plan to do it or you consider adding it to your portfolio in the near future. 

This is the standard Salesforce object which helps to monitor activities related to it, like recording received or sent emails, phone calls, online or personal meetings. What's very important here is after making such conversion all these activities are automatically transferred to newly created records. It means that if you convert this lead into an intercontact account, and possibly also into opportunity, then all activities which you have performed with this lead are now associated to this newly created record. So you don't lose them.