For better or worse, CRMs are all build on the model that a prospective customer comes in as a Lead and is then nurtured to generate and gauge their interest, their desire, their budget, their authority for being a decision maker and timeline to determine whether they should get converted into an Opportunity (called a Deal in some CRMs) or deemed unqualified or put into another “we are hopeful” category. Once converted, the Opportunity goes through process stages of things like quoted, negotiation, decision and ending up closed – won or closed – lost.
Not every sales process moves in that particular way. In fact, there are processes that probably shouldn’t even be called sales processes but their objective is to generate revenue or value for the organization. Often, this isn’t called sales at all but called Business Development. What Do I mean by Business Development? Maybe in a software company there is someone tasked with finding partnerships with other companies who might like to license the company’s software or intellectual property. The Business Development rep is looking to create licensing deals that might turn into revenue down the road. Another common area where there is a business development process that doesn’t lend itself tp the Lead into Opportunity process is investment banking. Investment bankers usually focus on an industry and cultivate relationships with key decision makers. On the “sell side” they might reach out to their network to “pitch” them the company for sale with the hope of finding a buyer. In a case like the investment banker, does it make sense to create an opportunity for each company that is pitched to them? I don’t think so. Should the network of potential buyers and potential software licensees remain as just a lead? I don’t think so either. We think they need a different structure.
In 2017 we worked with a boutique investment bank to implement this kind of process on Salesforce Enterprise Edition. We had a choice between implementing a separate sales process within leads that would make the investment banking “contacts” (not to be confused with a CRM’s contact object or module) in as leads and “work them” there. If a lead was interested in hearing more about a potential acquisition (in the sell side example), we could just put that activity in the notes and we could maintain records of “contacts” with activities linked to the Lead object.
The alternative design was to create an entirely different object structure for this process. In this design, we would create an entirely new object that mirrored Leads called BizDevContacts. It would have the ability to attach activities, run mass email campaigns, etc. In this design (the design we ultimately went with) we also were able to create an object that was analogous to campaigns that recorded the “ideas” pitched to a particular BizDevContact with their response and a code for their choosing not to pursue.
For more information about this type of implementation, contact us for a free initial consultation.