Leads, Prospects and Customers
In the next few videos we are going to talk about some of the most common relationship entity records, and we will start that discussion here, with Leads, Prospects and Customers. Entity relationships, or entity records, are records that represent people and businesses. Customers are those you are currently selling to, or have sold to in the past. Prospects are those that you believe you may be able to sell to, based on current communication with them. Leads are those entities that you think you may be able to sell to, if you initiate communication. The flow in NetSuite is to move a business you may be able to sell to, from the lead stage, to the prospect stage, and finally to the customer stage. You don’t have to follow this flow though. You can start at any stage in the process, and you can skip stages if you need to. So, you could go from a lead to a customer, or jump right in at the prospect stage. The only thing you can’t do is move backward.
Let’s take a look at this in NetSuite, by creating a new Lead. We can do this by going to Lists, Relationships, Leads, and clicking New. In this screen, I can enter as much or as little information as I want to about the new lead. I’ll start by providing a name for it. So, if I thought I had the opportunity to sell to the Colorado Rockies baseball club, I could put that here. If there was a parent company that owned the Colorado Rockies, I could put that here as the parent as well. The parent company would have to already exist in the system for me to select it. I could also come back and select or change this later, which is useful if I either don’t have the parent company in NetSuite yet, or if this changes, as sometimes happens. I also want to point out that while this label says parent company, it actually means parent customer; there isn’t really a company record in NetSuite.
Up here we have Status, and I can select the status for the lead. If you are wondering where these statuses came from, they are created under Setup, then Sales, then Customer Statuses. I’ll open this in a new tab so we can take a look. Here we see the statuses that we have for our leads, prospects and customers. These may work for you or they may not. If they do not work for you, you can edit them or delete them. If you need new ones you can create those as well. If you are diligent setting up and using the status field, you can get some pretty good metrics about how many leads and prospects should convert into paying customers.
Under status we have the Sales Rep. You can select to assign this lead to a specific rep, or if you have your system configured to do so, you can have the rep assigned based on a sales territory. I’ll go ahead and assign this to Anne Sullivan. If you don’t see the sales rep you are looking for, one of the main reasons for this, is that person’s employee record in NetSuite may not have the Sales Rep checkbox checked. If a partner is involved you can also select the partner from this dropdown menu.
You can select a category for this lead. Let’s select sporting and recreation goods, since that is the closes we have from this list. This list is also one that we can edit, it’s located under Setup, Accounting, and Accounting Lists. In this section, we can enter a general email address, phone number, fax number, and other information. Below, we can enter a subsidiary, assuming that we are using OneWorld.
Like most other records we have seen so far, we can enter additional data in the subtabs. We will come back and talk about the Relationships tab, and the contacts listed under it, in the next video. Basically, this is just where contacts, which are another type of relationship entity, are attached to leads, prospects, and customers. The Communication subtab allows us to attach activity records to entity records. These are the same activity records we talked about in chapter 3. This shows us how integrated the system really is, and by using this integration, we can get better data out of NetSuite. So, we could have phone calls attached, or tasks that we need to do for the customer. Usually you will enter communication for an entity record, after first creating and saving the record. That is to say, that you will go back into the record and edit it to attach activities at that time.
In the address subtab, we can create as many addresses as we need. We can also choose a single address to set as the default billing and another to set as the default shipping. These addresses are what are used when setting sales territories as well, so it is a good idea to set them. I’ll just add a single address here, by clicking the pencil icon. Once I have the address entered, I can click OK to save it. Since this is the first address, you will notice that it is set as both the default billing and shipping. However, if I entered any more addresses, I could set them appropriately. The last thing I have to do is attach the address by clicking Add.
In the sales subtab, we could manually assign a territory, though this will be automatically assigned using territory rules if we do not select one here. Of course, this is dependent on how you have your instance of NetSuite Setup. Under the marketing subtab, we can set various information related to our marketing efforts with this lead. We can choose a campaign category, and event. This will allow us to market to them in what is hopefully the most effective manner. We can select the source where we obtained this lead. This is useful so that we can later look back and figure the most effective place for us to obtain lead information from. On this tab, we can also select if they should be opted into any email marketing campaigns, and if so which ones.
Under Financial, we can set financial information for this lead, however most of this does not matter until they become a customer anyway. For example. A credit limit of one dollar or one million dollars does not make a huge difference until a lead becomes a customer, and buys something. Likewise, terms don’t matter if you have sold no products. The Preferences subtab contains some preferences that don’t seem to really fit anywhere else. Once we are done creating this lead, we can save it by clicking Save.
After we have a lead that we have contacted and qualified, we usually want to try to pursue a sale. At this point the lead should become a prospect. This change of the record type can happen a few different ways. The two most common are either manually changing the lead to a prospect, or creating an estimate for the lead. If we wanted to create an estimate for the lead, we could do that by going to Transactions, then sales, then Prepare Estimates. These are also commonly called quotes. We talked about how to create these in the last chapter when we talked about transactions. If we want to manually change the lead to a prospect we can simply go back into edit mode, and click on the status dropdown. We can see more statuses now than the ones we saw when we were looking at this field earlier. These are the same statuses we saw when we were looking at the full list. Not only do we have our prospect statuses, but we also have our customer statuses if we scroll down toward the bottom.
I am going to go ahead and select In Discussion. When I save this, keep an eye on the record type listed up here. We can see this record has changed from a lead to a prospect. This really is, all there is, to converting this manually. Behind the scenes this transformation does a number of things. These include opening up some new fields where you can enter data that is relevant to prospects, but would not be relevant to leads. One of the other important actions that takes place relates to this new probability field. Probability is determined based on the status, and this rolls up to prediction reports, for how much product you will sell to any prospects, who are after all potential customers. Right now, I have a 20% probability chance of closing this sale, so if it’s value was a thousand dollars, the system would estimate the value of the prospect as two hundred dollars. If you only have one prospect this is pretty much useless, but once you have dozens, hundreds or even thousands this becomes very useful.
Changing a prospect to a customer is very similar to what we just did. And, just like when we made the change from a lead, there are two ways you can make this change. We could go back into edit mode and change the record to a customer. Alternately we could create a sales order for them which would automatically change them into a customer. Let’s do this now, in a new tab. I’ll go ahead and create a new sales order by going to Transactions, Sales, and selecting Enter Sales Order. I am going to make this one pretty basic since we have already looked at how to do this in the last chapter. Under customer, we can see that I have the ability to select Colorado Rockies. I’ll go ahead and add an item, and now we can save this. Now that the sales order has been saved, let’s go back to the prospect, and refresh the record. Did you notice, the prospect changed to a customer?
Much like when we go from lead to prospect, when we go from prospect to customer, some things about the record change. Some new fields are added, and these entities are now ready to have product sold to them hopefully over and over. Since this record is now an actual customer, they will appear on customer reports where leads and prospects normally won’t show up.
Now that you know how to work with leads, prospects and customers, and their flow in the system, we can move on to looking at contacts which are closely related. We’ll do that in the next video.