What happens to 'lost' leads in most companies? I understand that a 'won' lead gets converted to an account/contact and possibly opportunity, but what constitutes a 'lost' lead is unclear.

Are they deleted? Given a status of 'Closed - Not Converted'? Do they just hang out?

The reason I ask is that I'm trying to find a general way for determining negative terminal state for leads for analytics purposes.

(I did already ask this in the irc chat room, but wanted to create something that would persist for posterity)

3 Answers 3


In our orgs, leads that don't convert and are not being actively worked will end up either as (Lead.status):

  • Recycled - the attached marketing automation system (Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua, etc) holds onto the Lead and if activity on the web site or other action with that email address perks up in the future, the Lead's status in SFDC comes back to 'New'
  • Bogus Data - the Lead is marked as Bogus and given enough time, we look for patterns to see if we can improve our spam/bogus detectors. Otherwise, we periodically purge.
  • Disqualified - there will be no business with this lead; retained for reporting reasons.

How long leads stay in your system depends on how much multi-year analysis you want to do within SFDC versus the marketing automation system. Unless using analytic snapshots, you may keep leads around for a while to see year-over-year trends


Thoughts from the IRC chat room:

Many leads just hang out in an 'on hold' status because they can't be determined to be lost or won.

Others are marked as spam and deleted.

Others are marked 'Closed - ' and are not converted.

So it seems like the best bet is to try to work around the fact that it's really difficult to figure out if a lead is closed/lost.


To echo crop1645, the answer is somewhat nuanced. Usually I create a few custom "unqualified" lead statuses. Then some of those are filtered into what we call our stale lead campaigns.

Those campaigns are automatically built and sent to people on the stale lead lists in our marketing automation platform (for example, Hubspot, Pardot, Eloqua, Marketo etc). Their purpose is to try to warm the leads up with free resources, like ebooks, to re-engage them. Ideally their new visit to the website also triggers retargeting ads to convert them via a demo or some other offer.

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