Zoho CRM is a cloud based SaaS (software as a service) for customer relationship management (CRM). How to setup and manage new and potential business contacts in Zoho raises the question - what is a lead, what is a contact and what is a potential in Zoho ‘Jargon’. Managing Leads, Contacts and Accounts is a critical function of your business and it’s just as important that you understand Zoho’s sales management process.

Congratulations if you’ve already decided to use Zoho CRM, if you’re still deciding look at my guide on how to choose a web based CRM solution.

Zoho is extremely flexible in how you manage your database of contacts - in fact you can rename pretty much any Tab, Function or section if you want for example I could rename Leads to ‘Junk’ if I wanted - or realistically rename Potentials to Opportunities. I’ll cover this later.

Managing Leads and Contacts using ZOHO CRM

In daily business you will meet people and collect business cards or email addresses - these are going to be entered as new LEADS in ZOHO CRM or new CONTACTS.

Use Leads - if you need to do more work and nurture the lead before it becomes a new potential or opportunity.

Use Contacts - if you already qualified the lead and have a new quote or sales pitch to work on.

An existing contact can not have new leads - this is the only thing that may seem wrong with Zoho CRM especially as from time to time your existing contacts will tell you about potential new business - but this potential new business is really a Lead until you qualify it.

What is a Lead in Zoho

A lead is not a contact (yet) A lead must have an owner and must have a Last Name

When a Leads is qualified you approve it and you convert it to a new contact, a new account (if needed) and a new potential

What is a Contact in Zoho?

An existing contact can not have a lead but it can have many potentials or opportunities

A contact can be associated with both an account and a vendor so don’t use Vendors if you don’t need them.

What is an Account in Zoho?

An account provides a hierarchical structure - A contact must belong to an Account or a new Account is created

Accounts are the same as businesses you work with

Notes on Vendors in Zoho CRM

Vendors are different to Accounts - Vendors can’t have sales opportunities

Tags: crm, Customer Relationship Management, Zoho

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Damien Saunders
An experienced management consultant and business leader interested in digital transformation, product centred design and scaled agile. If I'm not writing about living with UCTD (an autoimmune disease), I'm probably listening to music, reading a book or learning more about wine.