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The scenario is: A person filled out a form on my website. That went to SF as a Lead. I marked it as unqualified. That was the end of it at first.

Then he filled out the form again for another service request.

And again for a completely different service request.

Now in my SF Leads, I have him showing up 3 times with 3 different leads. None of them are qualified really. But should I merge them into an account so that they are in one place or leave them be in Leads list?

What is the best practise for handling this situation?

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  • Is a person can apply for more than one service at a same time if not you can make validation rule for unique email(u can also do the same for any other field which may be unique for all) and hence a person can't insert again with same mail id.
    – Tepsi
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 12:11
  • if you create this by VF page then u also can check if a lead in unqualified then that particular person can't request for your service
    – Tepsi
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 12:19
  • Thanks Aisha. I don't want to lose their service request. They are essentially filling out an open-ended form. I want to receive all their mails. I'm just wondering how these are best handled/aggregated in SF -- what's the right approach to do it: keep multiple unqualified leads or many lost opportunities under an account? For former, I'll have multiple listings. For latter, it doesn't "feel" right because they were never really opportunities -- just multiple contact requests which were all not really worth the time; I hope he'll come up with something I'll want to make into an opportunity. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 12:52
  • Don't know if this is the right approach or not but in a similar scenario we have used record typing on the lead. We have a 'new lead' record type as well as an 'add on lead'. So if you get a lead in with a unique email then they go in as a new lead, but if the email matches another lead or contact in the system, they come in as an 'add on lead'. This allows us to count all the service requests, even if they have already been a lead before. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 13:05

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The "best practice" depends on your organization's structure. If the leads are territorial (as many organizations are), it would probably be best to mege the leads into a single lead so the sales associate doesn't lose track of the lead and/or contact the same lead over and again. If the leads are product- or service-oriented, multiple leads may be acceptable since they may be handled by different departments, sales specialists, etc. In either case, conversion is generally unacceptable during the time when they are unqualified, because an account should at least be qualified at some basic level (e.g. you've had a chance to identify the possible opportunity). This helps with campaign management, opportunity tracking, ROI, etc. However, leads are not meant to be long-term qualifications either.

Once a lead expresses any possible interest, they should be converted as soon as possible. In that sense, you might consider just "pre-qualifying" them, knowing that a full-scale qualification may take months. This helps minimize problems with having long-lived leads floating about, and helps give insight into the sales cycle. The opportunity stages can include qualification steps. The default sales stages include steps like "prospecting" and "qualified" for that reason-- it's meant to show you that they don't need to be fully qualified to be converted, but should instead be converted as soon as there's a confirmed interest (even if it's a contested interest amongst multiple vendors).

Also, having opportunity stages such as "prospecting" and "qualified" have an additional benefit: you can run reports to find out the average length of time to qualify (or fail to qualify) an opportunity, and to identify other bottlenecks in the sales process.

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