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General Discussion - CRM Approach to Leads and Contacts

Question asked by Jacquelyn Lane on Aug 17, 2016
Latest reply on Aug 18, 2016 by Jacquelyn Lane

I'd love some general community input on this. The more I dive into the CRM design and administration process, the more I find myself deeply puzzled by the standard CRM design approach to leads and contacts. 


In Sugar (and I think in most other CRMs), you start by creating a lead. Under that lead, there are various activities, including calls, emails, notes, etc. You qualify that lead and convert it to a contact. At that point, it's essentially like a fresh record--none of the previous activity transfers. Furthermore, after conversion, the lead record still exists in the lead module, so now you have a duplicate version of this contact in the platform. 


To make matters more confusing, the lead is often not directly connected to a parent account, so when you go to the leads sup-panel in the parent account record, you're not seeing all leads related to that account--you're only seeing converted leads. 


Why are CRMs set up this way? Intuitively, my sales reps feel that once a prospect is converted, they should no longer be listed in the leads module, and I tend to agree. 


Wouldn't it make way more sense to house prospects inside of a single database and treat the conversion process as essentially a status update, so that way all of the historical activity is preserved and you don't have duplicate prospects across the leads and contacts modules? You could still make it appear as if leads and contacts are in separate modules, but they'd all be housed in a single database. There are so many advantages to this. For example, a user can easily run a single report for all of their leads and contacts. 


Am I missing something? I know there are some benefits to keeping leads separate but they seem easily addressed and don't seem to outweigh the downsides.