Often the Question comes up, what exactly is a Lead in SAP CRM and what is the difference between a Lead and an Opportunity? Where does this confusion come from?
The first point is, that there is also in the literature no clear definition of a Lead. Sometimes a Lead is defined as a prospect, but there exist also definitions where a Lead is defined as the first stage of a sales process.
The second point is, that for SAP’s Competitors a Lead is often a prospect, meaning a person who expresses interest in e.g. buying a product.
In SAP CRM a Lead represents the first stage of a sales process. That is really different to other CRM Provider. A Sales Process typically covers the following sales stages Lead – Opportunity – Quote – Order. Sales leads come either from marketing lead generation processes such as trade shows, direct marketing, advertising, Internet marketing or from sales person prospecting activities such as cold calling.
The advantage of Leads in SAP CRM is, that e.g. multiple Leads can be created for one Prospect. There is no need to create several Prospects in the System, which helps to reduce Duplicates in the System. Leads can be created for prospects and customers. Furthermore, Leads can be pre-qualified into “Cold”, “Warm” and “Hot” Leads by the Marketing Department and later on just the “Hot” Leads will be handed over to the Sales Department. The according Sales Representative receives then a Workflow and can decide to “accept” or “reject” the Lead. If the Lead looks promising, then an Opportunity can be created out of a Lead.
The following graphic visualizes the Process Flow from Lead – Opportunity – Sales Quote/Sales Order:
But what is the difference between a Lead and an Opportunity?
A Lead is compared with an Opportunity a much leaner Object and the Lead is typically the predecessor of an Opportunity.
The Opportunity is more used for longer sales cycles and more complex products. It provides sales reps with a framework for managing sales projects from the very start and tracking their progress to the very end.
This enables more control over the sales cycle maximizing the chances of winning customers and lowering sales times. Sales Professionals can enter and track information for each opportunity, such as customer and prospect history, competitor information, activities, pipeline, opportunity value, closing date, and overall success.
With the Opportunity Management capabilities sales professionals can easily assign and manage critical activities, identify key decision makers, manage competitive threats or estimate closing dates and sales volumes. In addition, sales professionals have the benefit of being able to concentrate on the most promissing opportunities by analyzing the pipeline in order to reach their personal targets.
So I hope I could help you to get a clearer picture of “What’s a Lead in SAP CRM?” and “What is the difference to an Opportunity?”