Common CRM Terms and Concepts


Following are some of the common terms you will encounter as you use CRM systems. A typical sales pipeline in CRM deals primarily with 4 in-the-box entities: Lead, Deal, Contact & Company. The concept goes as follows: when an individual first comes into contact with your organization, a ‘Lead’ record is created for that person.

Lead: A lead is a prospective customer. In a CRM system, prospective customers are first entered into the system as leads. You may collect leads from your marketing events such as conference, advertisement, trade show etc. The goal is to convert a lead into a customer. Not all leads will result in a sale and be converted into a customer. This lead will contain all the information about the Contact or the Company available at this sales stage. A Lead is a very light-weight record in the CRM and also has the shortest life-span. The sales team goes through the leads and tries to pitch something to the individual. If they determine that there is some genuine interest, they ‘convert’ the lead to a ‘Deal’, ‘Contact’ and/or ‘Company’.

Deal: A Deal is a potential to make a sale, i.e. a potential sale. When you determine, a lead could generate a potential sale, the Lead will be converted to a Deal. In addition, a Company and Contact entries for this lead can also be automatically created in the CRM system. Each business will determine when a lead should be converted to a Deal. For example, a business may decide a lead that requests a quote can be converted to a Deal. The Lead entry will be deleted to avoid confusion and duplicate entries.

All the information collected for the Lead is still available in the CRM system, but will now be presented in records for Contact, Company or Deal. An ‘Deal’ has additional information related to the possible products, quotes, orders, invoices, services, and revenue opportunities that are a potential for that individual, in addition to additional attributes to track that ‘Deal’ in the sales pipeline. Eventually, that ‘Deal’ either pans out (the sales team closes a deal as lost) or it doesn’t (the sales team closes a deal as won).

If the Deal turns into a sale, the Deal is converted to a combination of a contact and Company records (assuming that conversion wasn’t done as part of converting to a Deal earlier). Contact records represent an individual, and a Company record represents a company. Plus, if you go by the Deal you will see how much revenue each sale is generating, something you cannot do with Leads. All the financial reporting is done on Deal not on Lead.

Company: A Company or a Company is a customer Company record for a customer or prospective customer. When a Lead is converted to a Deal, a Company for the prospective customer is automatically created in the CRM system.

Contact: A Contact or an individual is the contact information for a given customer or prospective customer. When a Lead is converted to a Deal, a Contact for the prospective customer is automatically created in the CRM system. A contact record has a parent Company field that is used to represent the primary company that the contact is associated with. A sales pipeline might also go from a lead directly to a contact record, skipping the ‘Deal’ stage. This is the out-of-the-box experience with CRM that can easily be adapted to work with most sales pipelines.

Quote: A Quote is record information for a sales quotation, i.e. price, quantities, and other terms, for a potential sale to Deal. The CRM system supports you in the creation of quotes for potential customers. A quotation can be created for a Deal, for easy and automatic transfer of the customer data to the quote.

Order: A Sales Order is a document used internally by businesses to track and complete a customer order. A sales order may be for products and/or services. A CRM system allows you to record and manage Sales Orders and related information as part of your sales process. Once a quotation is approved, a Sales Order can be created directly from a Quote detail view. All the relevant data from existing records will be automatically populated in the Sales Order.

Invoice: An invoice is a commercial document issued by a seller to the buyer, indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller has provided the buyer. Once a quotation is approved, an Invoice can be created directly from a Quote detail view. All the required data will be automatically added to the Invoice.

Campaign: A Campaign (or Marketing Campaign) is a marketing effort to increase sales through a set of marketing activities. The goal of this effort is often to generate new leads and help convert them to new sales. A campaign can have other goals, e.g. improve the awareness or brand of the company. A CRM system can help manage, execute and monitor marketing campaigns.

Product: A Product is a business offering from a business to its customers. A CRM system allows a business to record its Products and related information so that sales staff and other CRM users can use product information fully and correctly in their business activities.

Price List: A Price List is a named collection of products and pricing created to serve a specific purpose, e.g. a segment of the market. For example, a business may have a Price List for government sales, where prices are discounted, or include additional charges. Price Lists in a CRM system allow sales staffs to more easily quote prices when serving different types of customers that need differentiated pricing strategies.

Case: (sometimes called Service Request): A Case is a record of information related to a customer issue or service request. A CRM System, as well as many other Help Desk and Issue Tracking systems, uses Cases to capture, track, and manage, customer issues or service requests.

Security Administration: The user security administration functions are the core of CRM security management, and are used to control the access to the CRM system for each user. CRM provides a security system that allows you to control who can view, edit, delete or create each type of CRM data. Different security settings are used to make it easier to manage privileges for multiple users and managers, and eliminate the need to setup each privilege individually for each user. Instead, you can setup privileges for a Role, and use the Role for multiple users.

Roles: Roles are a set of security privileges for executing CRM operations, and can be assigned to users. Roles make it easier to control detailed security privileges without having to specify them individually for each user. Specific security privileges can be granted once in a Roles, and then assigned to users as needed. Role based security allows security setup using hierarchical roles that capture user and manager responsibilities in an organization. Each Role is primarily one or more Profiles, i.e. a set of security privileges. These Roles are then assigned to users. Security administration with role based security consists of determining the operations that must be executed by persons in particular jobs, and assigning Roles to users as needed. . Roles are organized hierarchically and a user can have multiple Roles, which provides an efficient way to assign privileges to users and managers performing multiple functions.

Sharing: Sharing is used to determine what level of data sharing is enabled between users, e.g. can one salesperson see another’s leads. By default, the sharing access settings allow all users to see only their CRM records. Sharing Access allows you to restrict or allow such access for each type of CRM data.

Calendar: Each user can activate an activity reminder function by setting a reminder interval in My Preferences. If activated a popup browser window will be displayed every time an activity is due. The popup window displays the time, status, and subject of an activity. It offers you the options to postpone or to close a reminder message. If postponed the message will pop up again after the next reminder interval until it is closed.

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