Okay, so far we have gone through “high-level” overviews of Leads and Opportunities. This post will be a little shorter as we dive into Accounts and Contacts. I say a little shorter as the concept of an Account and a Contact is pretty straight-forward, yet this is the core of CRM. After all, it stands for Customer Relationship Management, and these are the customers!
Accounts are like home-base. Whatever you want to call them; Accounts, Clients, Companies, Customers, Patients, this is probably the entities that your checks come from. Accounts (terminology can be changed), are usually not people, but rather the companies that people work for. An Account could have 1 person, or thousands of people associated with it. Many of these people may have deal opportunities you are working on individually, but from the Account record, you can see everyone and every deal you may be working with, or on, related to that Account. You would not generally act on an Account, but rather with the people within it. So Accounts are pretty simple, think of them as aggregators of people and deals.
Contacts are where you will spend most of your time. Finally, we have reached actual people; Contacts are people. Not just any people, but people you either have a relationship with, or have an Opportunity that you hope will lead to a relationship. Everybody else is still just a Lead. Like any other record in CRM, a Contact Record is another pane of information. You can quickly see what Account they are related to, what Opportunities you may have in the pipeline with them, what activities may have taken place with them (emails, phone calls, closed deals, etc.) by you or anybody else in your organization.
Extending my previous example; Horatio was working on a deal with Becky from Andiron Company. Horatio had qualified Becky earlier and CRM automatically created the Opportunity for 50 widget#47s. In addition, CRM automatically created a Contact record for Becky, and Account for Andiron Company, or added Becky to the Account if it already existed. Now everybody in Horatio’s organization, who was connected with Andiron Company, will see that Horatio added Becky as a Contact to that Account. Horatio’s counterpart, Geraldo, contacts Horatio and says “I’ve been working with Gomer over at Andiron about a similar order, let’s team up”. How does this happen without CRM? Luck usually, if it happens at all.
I said this post would be a shallow dive; but lets review the four-cylinder CRM we have been discussing. We have Leads, which are just a bunch of people who hopefully turn into Opportunities, which are deals related to Contacts and Accounts. Sounds pretty simple… because it is. Evan at this most basic level of functionality, we have probably eclipsed what you are doing today, and the CRM engine is only idling.
In my next post we will light up another cylinder of standard functionality: Customer Service.