Tips, Tricks & Best Practices

hs-user
Participant

Skipping the Lead stage and create directly an Opportunity?

Hi Everyone,

 

We are currently using a classic lead management process and funnel. We generate Leads than marketing qualifies (MQL), then Sales qualify them (SQL) and then Sales could create an Opportunity.

 

This works well for Leads that cames from digital sources, like from a contact form.

 

However we have request from Sales: they would like to skip the creation of a Lead in our CRM (to save time) and directly create an Opportunity (and therefore an Account + Contact) for a prospect. 

 

Do you think this is a good approach and why?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

3 Replies 3
AllenHelms
Contributor | Diamond Partner
Contributor | Diamond Partner

Skipping the Lead stage and create directly an Opportunity?

@hs-user I think it's a great approach for 3 reasons:

 

1. You need to use the CRM in a way that makes sense for the sales people in your organization and the Pipeline (Deals/Opportunities) is where they will focus the majority of their efforts.

2. Technically, a "Lead", "MQL" or "SQL" in HubSpot is a stage/status on a Contact record, so your will actually have to do both (set a stage/status on the Contact AND create a Deal associated with that Contact). HubSpot makes this a bit easier if you configure your Contact LC stage/status to move to "Opportunity" whenever a Deal is created for that Contact.

3. In most sales processes, an SQL should be a Deal/Opportunity anyway. People tend to overthink/over-engineer this part of the sales process, but if a Sales person is actively engaged with a Contact, it's totally fine (and I would argue expected) to track that as a Deal.

 

Allen R. Helms

HubSpot/Salesforce CRM Consultant

Organic Endeavors - Organize and Grow Together! 

Jnix284
Recognized Expert | Partner
Recognized Expert | Partner

Skipping the Lead stage and create directly an Opportunity?

@hs-user are the looking to save time by not having to log activities (i.e. they are working the lead outside of the CRM) or are they generating opportunities from offline sources that are ready to buy (i.e. walk-ins)?

 

I think it can be dangerous to skip the lead process, because it will have a significant impact on your data and reporting. You'll start to have gaps of information between leads and deals that may make it difficult to optimize.

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with creating a new contact who is a lead and immediately making them a deal if they are ready to buy, it's the "save time" that worries me a little.


maka Agency
jolle
Guide | Platinum Partner
Guide | Platinum Partner

Skipping the Lead stage and create directly an Opportunity?

Hey @hs-user, this is an awesome question!

 

I think the right answer will depend on three things:

  1. The expectations and preferences of your leads
  2. The data that you need to report on
  3. The process that will be best for your sales and marketing teams

In your current setup (Lead > MQL >SQL), you have the best chance at seeing the full contact lifecycle. While this does involve more time and more cooks in the kitchen before the sales team gets to do their thing, you're able to:

  1. Gain a deeper understanding of which channels are producing quality leads
  2. Give the lead some time to warm up through nurturing and qualification that I'm assuming you have in place
  3. Give the marketing team better visibility into lead engagement with emails, content, and other assets that are used to nurture them into SQLs
  4. Give the marketing team time to complete the lead's record with as much qualifying data as possible
  5. Hand the sales team leads with complete records that have been qualified/warmed up
  6. Clearly report on Lead > MQL > SQL > Closed/Won converstion. If all digital leads are instantly moved to SQL, you don't have any visibility into the different readiness levels and stages of your database

 

I do understand the sales team's desire to skip right to the opportunity/deal — they get to start talking to the lead faster. Depending on what you're selling (or what funnel stage your conversions are), this could make sense. For example, if the digital conversion point you're talking about is requesting a quote/demo/meeting, I think it makes sense to pass it directly to the sales team. No need to spend time running the lead through marketing with nurturing emails when they've already told you they're ready to go.

 

Otherwise, a more top-of-funnel conversion, like signing up for the newsletter/downloading a general eBook tends to be better suited for marketing to nurture into an SQL. Think about your leads — would they be expecting to be contacted by a sales rep as soon as they take action? And would the sales team come on strong immediately, or are they willing to start with some warm-up outreach before getting into the sales pitch? If you feel like your sales team would throw instant MQLs back to marketing because "they're not ready to talk," your current MQL > SQL process should largely stay in place.

 

Maybe you can find a happy medium by defining the criteria that would instantly qualify a new digital lead as an SQL. Those instances could instantly enter the pipeline, plus you could have an email nurturing drip in place as a fallback if the sales team finds that the SQL is really still in the MQL stage. You'd hopefully still be able to retain most of your reporting and continue to set clear expectations and goals for both your marketing and sales teams.

 

All of that said, your organization and team will have its own unique challenges and requirements! I recommend opening up the conversation to some of your day-to-day users on both the marketing and sales teams to see what ideas and concerns they have as well.

 

Hope this helps!!