Lead to Opportunity Conversion Process

Leads are all about capturing as early as possible the potential or interest with a prospect, sometimes long before we can talk of a real opportunity.  Some leads can be qualified very quickly but other leads might need months, sometimes years of nurturing before a sales team can actively start pursuing a won deal.  No matter how long it takes for a lead to be ready to be pursued, at some point they need to be converted from a lead to an open opportunity and that is what this blog post is all about: How the lead to opportunity conversion process works in Sales Cloud.

Buying process

The actual hunting for leads, ranking and scoring and nurturing of leads till they are ready to be handed over to a sales team is actually not covered by Sales Cloud.  That is where Oracle Marketing Cloud proofs to be a great complementing solution that when integrated with Sales Cloud can cover the entire customer buying process.

prospect buying processBut as this is a Sales Cloud focused blog, let me explain how Sales Cloud manages leads once marketing has handed them over to sales.

Lead to Opportunity Conversion Process

Once leads are created in Sales Cloud, whether they are uploaded from a marketing solution, imported from a spreadsheet, generated from recommendations by sales predictor or created directly from White Space Analysis, leads need to go through a few steps before they can be converted to opportunities.

How leads go from unqualified to qualified to ready to be converted is completely up to you but …

Lead to Opportunity Conversion Process

… eventually, someone is hitting the ‘Convert’ option in the actions menu, and the conversion process starts.  3 Different things happen for every lead that is converted during the lead to opportunity conversion process:

  1. Choose Opportunity Name and owner
  2. Create contact and/or account if they do not exist yet
  3. Copy all relevant lead information to the new opportunity according to a lead to opportunity mapping.  How to change the standard mappings or how to include your extensions in the mapping process is explained further below and is actually the Sales Cloud feature I wanted to highlight in this blogpost.

Lead to Opportunity Conversion

  1. Link the lead to the new opportunity.   Giving insight to a sales team in where an opportunity came from, how the prospect was approached in the past, what the contact digital profile or the involved customer contacts looks like is extremely value.  It also allows from a management perspective to understand which types of marketing campaigns or events were most successful, or how much revenue was generated from which types of campaigns.

Lead to Opportunity relationship

Create contact and/or account upon conversion???

Yes indeed, Sales Cloud can create a brand new account or contact when converting leads.  It looks like you can only pick existing accounts or contacts from the list, but that is not the only option you have.  There are actually 3 ways to handle account or contact information when converting leads to opportunities:

  • You can leave the account or contact and fields empty.  In this case, the opportunity will be created without an account or without a primary contact.
  • You can choose an existing account or contact and the opportunity will be create for the chosen account and primary contact.
  • You do not choose an account or a primary contact from the list, but you enter a non existing account or contact name as the field ALSO can act as a free text field.  Upon the conversion, a new account or contact will be created with the chosen names.

The screenshot below is an example of a lead using an already existing account and contact.  Notice how the primary contact and account fields are not free text fields once you have chosen an existing contact or account.

This next screenshot, although using the exact same 2 fields as in the screenshot above, is an example of a lead with a free text account and contact name that will be used during the lead conversion in order to make a new account and contact.

How to change the Lead to Opportunity Mapping

How exactly leads are converted to opportunities is managed by a mapping tool embedded in the Sales Cloud App Composer.

Changing the copy map allows you to do all kinds of things:

  1. Not only can you change how the lead fields map to the opportunity fields, also other objects can be mapped during the conversion process.  Imagine a custom object related to leads that was added to Sales Cloud and a similar custom child object to opportunities, you could map how the information related to leads that are being converted to opportunities need to be converted also.
  2. You can off course change how the default lead to opportunity mapping has been defined, but you can also add conversion mappings for custom fields you might have added using App Composer, or conversion mappings from custom fields to standard fields or standard fields to custom fields, …
  3. You cannot only copy a lead field value to an opportunity field, you can also use an expression to hardcode a value or adds some conditions on when to copy a value from a lead field to an opportunity field.

Lead to Opportunity Conversion Copy Maps

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