Suppose you attend a tradeshow and return to your office with a stack of leads. If you want to turn those leads into new sales, you usually have a host of to-dos, like following up on the questions that prospects asked, sending out more info about your products and services, or simply taking the next step in your sales process. The information you collect about leads is similar to that for customers, but leads aren’t customers—yet. If your lead-tracking needs are simple, the Lead Center can help you track prospects while you’re trying to turn them into customers. Then, if
your persuasion pays off, you can transform leads into customers in QuickBooks. To work with leads, open the Lead Center by choosing Customers→Lead Center. The Lead Center looks a lot like the Customer Center with a few exceptions. The Leads list on the left shows the lead’s name and status. And because leads don’t have transactions, the tabs at the bottom of the Lead Center focus on to-dos, contacts, locations, and notes you can use to try to convert the leads into customers.
Here are some of the actions you can perform with leads:
- Create a new lead. In the Lead Center toolbar, click New Lead. In the Add Lead dialog box, name the lead. The Status field lets you classify leads as Hot, Warm, or Cold, so you know which ones to focus on first. The Company tab contains fields for info such as company name, telephone number, email address, website, and main address. (You can add other addresses if the company has several locations.) The Contacts tab lets you add contact information for people in the company. The first contact you enter is designated the Primary Contact, but you can add other contacts by clicking the Add Another Contacts button.
Note: After you create a lead, you can add more contacts or locations to it by selecting it on the left side of the Lead Center and then clicking either the Contacts or Locations tab at the bottom of the window.
- View leads. Like the Customer Center, the Lead Center lists your leads on the left side of the window. The list shows the lead’s name and status. You can filter the list by choosing an entry in the View drop-down list. For example, choose Active Leads to see all the leads you’re working on, or choose Hot to filter the list for all your most promising leads.
- Search leads. If your sales team is prolific, your lead list could be quite long. You can search for specific leads by typing part of the lead’s name in the Find box on the left side of the Lead Center and then clicking the magnifying glass icon. QuickBooks filters the list to show all the leads that contain the text you typed.
- Edit a lead. After you create a lead, you can view its information and edit it. Simply double-click the lead in the Leads list on the left side of the Lead Center.
- Create a to-do. To add a to-do for a lead, select the lead in the Leads list. Next, click the To Do’s tab at the bottom of the Lead Center, click To Do at the bottom of the tab, and then choose New To Do. (See page 108 to learn how to create different types of to-dos.) The To Do’s tab shows info about that lead’s to-dos, including the type of to-do, its priority, when it’s due, and whether it’s complete.
- Add notes. To add notes about a lead, first select the lead in the Leads list. Next, click the Notes tab at the bottom of the Lead Center, and then click Add Notes. In the “Note For ” dialog box, type the information you want to record. For example, you might specify the particular services or products that lead is interested in or her budget. When you add a note, QuickBooks automatically records the date you wrote it. To filter the notes by date, choose a time period in the Notes tab’s Date drop-down list.
- Convert a lead to a customer. Leads are stored in a separate list from your customers. When you turn a lead into a customer in real life, you can easily do the same in QuickBooks. Right-click the lead in the Leads list and choose “Convert to a Customer” in the shortcut menu. (Or click the “Convert this Lead to a Customer” button in the Lead Center’s upper right.) QuickBooks asks you to confirm this action, because you can’t undo it. When you click OK, the lead disappears from the Active Leads list. You can see the leads you’ve converted to customers by choosing Converted Leads in the View drop-down list. Although you can still view these converted leads in the Lead Center, you can no longer edit them there. They appear as customers in the Customer Center, and you can edit them there as you do other customers.
- Import leads. To import information about several leads, in the Lead Center toolbar, click Import Multiple Leads. The Import Leads dialog box that appears lets you type values into a table, but you can also copy and paste information from an Excel spreadsheet like you do in the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries window.