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We want to put a link on our internal company web site to allow users to submit referrals to possible new Accounts and/or new opportunities for already existing accounts.

I'm probably just going to use an out of the box Web-to-Lead approach for the new Accounts. But I think I will need to use a separate link to produce Opportunity records for referral to already existing accounts. The other link would present the employee with a web form which would in turn create the Opportunity.

Is this the proper approach ? Should I somehow just be using the Web-to-Lead approach even for already existing accounts ? That doesn't seem proper, but I'm just wondering if that's what some people do - and then through back-end programming they turn that Lead into an Opportunity instead....?

Thank you for any feedback you can provide.

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Yes, any time there's a potential for a sale, it is originally a Lead. Once the Lead is Qualified, it becomes an Opportunity (a potential sale). Leads merge in to existing Account and Contact records upon conversion (based on Account Name and Contact Name). This is the intended flow, and is probably the easiest way to manage your sales cycle.

  • So, the Lead does become an Opportunity before it merges into an Account ? What causes it to become "Qualified' ? – Zoom_v Jan 6 '18 at 19:26
  • I just feel like in the case of an existing Account that a Lead is an unnecessary step. It seems like if we can get the user to put in the related Account # in a web form then we can just create an Opportunity and (through back-end programming) automatically populate the Related Account field of the Opportunity, and then automatically assign the Opportunity to the Owner of the Account. Am I missing something by bypassing the Lead phase of that process ? – Zoom_v Jan 6 '18 at 19:37
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    @Zoom_v nobody says you have to, but not doing so limits your reporting capabilities (e.g. where do most of our sales come from, is our website effective, how can we increase our conversion rate...). Also, you can capture campaign information, to figure out things like ROI, conversion rate, and more. Einstein can also improve your sales effectiveness by focusing on good leads. We (my employer) even uses Leads for walk-ins, even though they may already have an Account and will be converted mere minutes after creation. – sfdcfox Jan 6 '18 at 19:54
  • Ok - thank you. We have added a Referrer lookup field (User) to the Opportunity object, so we can track where they're coming from in that way. And it seems like we could produce efficiency reports with the Opportunity object (those closed vs not closed). But I guess the Lead object provides more in measuring efficiency (?). The campaign information aspect sounds like a benefit, but in the case of existing Accounts wouldn't we just be using already existing Contacts to be Campaign Members ? I'm not trying to be difficult. I'm just trying to understand. – Zoom_v Jan 6 '18 at 20:05
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    @Zoom_v yes, you can work around not having leads. Over time, the workarounds will likely pile up, making Leads more attractive as you gain experience and leverage Salesforce more. I can't tell you how many times I've run in to people that regret not using Leads. I've never heard of people regretting using Leads. You might want to check out the trailhead and documentation to see what you're missing. Even if you don't really see a point to them, I recommend that you use them anyways. You have absolutely nothing to lose by using a core feature of the platform. – sfdcfox Jan 6 '18 at 20:48

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