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So, there has been much written on the subject of user adoption and clearly, it is part art and part science in that there are many strategies and tactics and accompanying nuances for helping to achieve the needed adoption and create the ability to have effective sales process management. As you can imagine with selling and implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a Microsoft Advance CRM partner we get involved in many many of these conversations. I want to focus for a paragraph or so on what I have found to be one of the most basic but often missing or overlooked components of user adoption. A simple glossary of terms, or taxonomy or standard definitions, etc. Call it what you will, but documenting and gaining agreement by all on what a lead is, or a prospect or an opportunity, etc. I’ve had the occasion on numerous times to sit with a group of sales types, leaders and sellers alike, that are all from the same sales organization mind you and when I pose a seemingly simple question like “what’s a lead?”, I often get a wide ranging variation for an answer. Same goes for things like opportunities, sales stages, or processes, prospects, lead source, etc. And, it’s certainly not unique to sales. If you are going to try to get everyone to use the system in the same way, everyone has to speak the same language. My number one tip though is that once you create the definitions, WRITE THEM DOWN and refer to them A LOT at the outset and then reinforce them along the way.


If you don’t already have a standard glossary of terms or definitions, try the “what’s a lead” exercise with your team and see if you have alignment.

Of course the terms and their definitions are different for every organization but here are a few examples of how we define for our sales team.

Lead – an organization that has contacted us or we have contacted them and they have expressed interest in but we need to further profile and qualify to determine if they should be converted to a Prospect.

Prospect – an organization with an identified need that we have qualified as a potential CRM customer. A Prospect may or may not have a current, active opportunity attached to them.

Customer – an organization that is an active customer.

Opportunity – A specific sales opportunity and associated details that has been identified with a qualified prospect or existing customer. Account Executive must be able to demonstrate that Prospect or Customer is actively engaged with us for opportunity to be considered valid.

If you can get you team on the same page here it will allow you to have a defined process around sales process management and when you get to the point of pulling sales analytics your job will be much easier!

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Joe CRM is a CRM superhero who runs on pure Microsoft Dynamics CRM adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe CRM’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics CRM and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.