Cloud meets CRM: How to track who's who

By David Taber, CIO |  Enterprise Software, CRM, lead generation

In the B2C world, customers are individuals. Even if they are part of a company, they are not treated in the system that way. This issue is increasingly common with companies doing e-commerce and accepting credit cards: each purchase is done by John Doe the credit card holder, and there's no real account to pin him to. In some systems, you handle this by attributing the company named "individual" to all those contacts.

The person-account was developed to make this easier, using a hybrid object that has the characteristics of both a contact and an account. When viewing a person-account, there essentially isn't a contact: there's only the account. So when inserting new contacts into your CRM system, if you use person-accounts you're actually inserting accounts. Unless you're careful, this is not going to go over very well with the folks in accounting.

So for B2C CRM systems, lLeads are really important as a way of storing prospect information without creating bogus accounts.

So What's the Paradigm?

The exact rules for "what object to use when inserting new people into your CRM system" will depend on the specifics of your lead-management business process. But the general pattern will be along these lines:

• First, identify whether the person works for one of your named accounts. (Note that doing a fuzzy match against all the various divisions of a company like The Walt Disney Company can make this quite the lookup.) If so, insert the person as a contact attached to that account.

• Next, identify whether the person works for one of your current accounts. Depending on your business rules, either insert the person as a contact attached to the account or as just a lead.

• Next, identify whether the person is an individual. If you need to do an immediate transaction with them, insert them as a person-account. Otherwise, insert them as a lead.

• What remains should be treated as a lead, but a hierarchy of routing and scoring rules need to be applied. First, apply geographic rules only at the level of "what country." Then apply that country's government and industry rules (e.g., national governments and departments of defense go to the appropriate territory, specified industries are routed to the appropriate partner management or sales team). And finally, local geographic rules are used to assign the leads to the relevant sales or partner territory. If there's insufficient information on a particular lead to use the geographic rules, assign the new record to a generic queue.

To avoid corrupting the database, any source of leads or contacts -- whether a simple lead flow or an external cloud -- needs to follow these rules before inserting new prospect records. Fizzbin, indeed.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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