Understanding Leads

A lead represents any person or organization that a company might have the potential to do business with. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is used to store data about that lead. In fact, creating a Lead record of information about a new lead is often the first step users take in the sales process. For instance, if your company receives an inquiry on your website contact form about your product offerings, you would use a Dynamics 365 lead record to collect and store information about that person or business.

TIP! Not every organization will use leads. For help on determining whether your organization should use leads, refer to the section on Should You Use Leads?

The Lead entity is often thought of as a temporary entity. As the sales process progresses, a lead is ideally converted to a Contact, Account, and/or Opportunity. This conversion represents that a contact or organization is no longer just a lead, but one which you are likely to do business with. The length of time your lead remains a lead is dependent on how the sales cycle works within your organization. You may nurture a lead for a long time before you convert it to an account, or this may happen quickly.

Elements of a Lead

The lead record contains basic data such as the organization name, contact information, or how a lead was generated (often called the Lead Source). Organizations often customize the lead record to collect data relevant to their sales process.


View a lead form in CRM 2011

Here are some of the basic bits of information you’ll want to include when creating a new Lead record.

Topic: This should state a little bit of information about how the lead was generated or what they might be interested in.

Tip! The topic field is required out-of-the-box and should be kept required for users. The topic also maps to the Opportunity and becomes the name of the Opportunity.  If you do not want users to fill out the topic field, you can have it filled out automatically by concatenating other fields on the Lead record (such as Company Name, First Name, Last Name, and Lead Source) using JavaScript, Workflow, or PowerAutoNumber.

Basic contact information: This includes first name, last name, company name, job title, phone numbers, email addresses, and contact preferences.

Lead Source: This field will indicate how your lead was generated. These should specify a broad category rather than a specific campaign.

Lead Status: A lead will have one of three status types.

  • Open. An open lead indicates that it is available for a sales rep to take it through the lead qualification process. After this process, it will be either qualified or disqualified. Additionally, an open lead could have a Status Reason of New or Contacted to further help track the sales process.
  • Disqualified. A disqualified lead indicates that the lead is not a good candidate for sales opportunities. A Disqualified lead will have a Status Reason of Lost, Cannot Contact, No Longer Interested, or Cancelled.
  • Qualified. A qualified lead may be converted to a Contact, Account, and/or Opportunity. Learn more about qualifying leads.

Tip! Although you could delete a lead, it’s generally a good idea to Disqualify the lead instead. That way you can still keep the details in your CRM, and you can Reactivate the lead if they become interested again.

Status Reason / Lead Stage: Out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 will include a field called Status Reason. Organizations often change this to Lead Stage or another descriptive name. This indicates what your current relationship with a lead is. For instance, a status reason of New might mean that you have not yet contacted the lead, or status reason of Contact means you have already communicated with the lead. Referencing the status reason will help you determine how to interact with a particular lead.

Further Reading