Zoho CRM Basics: Differentiating Leads, Contacts, Accounts & Deals

We get this query very often – to clarify where exactly to put different info in Zoho CRM. The query usually comes from users migrating from other CRM systems as terminologies differ or users new to using a CRM app. Let me try to explain some of the modules (tabs) – Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Deals – in simple terms.

Leads: Suppose you have a free product that you offer for download on your website. And during installation, you ask for the user’s details to be filled in. Or, you have a whitepaper on your website and you ask your readers to fill in details before accessing it. Or, you attend a tradeshow and collect info from people visiting your booth. Such collected user information belongs to Leads. Your sales guys typically call or email these Leads and see if they are interested in buying your services or products.

Contacts: Let’s say you followed up on a Lead and have made a sale. Now, you have a happy customer who you will be interacting with on a regular basis. You move her from Leads to Contacts.

Accounts: Accounts is where you put the company information of all your customers. You typically have one or more Contacts associated with an Account.

Deals: This module helps you track the value of sales potential pipeline. A Deal is associated with a Contact and an Account. Suppose you have Contacts A and B in a customer Account C. And you are discussing sales of goods worth $2,000 with A and $4,500 with B. Your Deal sales pipeline for Account C is worth $6,500 then.

The above is just one simple interpretation of how to use the various modules in Zoho CRM. Zoho CRM allows extensible customization. You can rename the tabs to suit the industry/business you are in. And you can even add custom fields in each module.

As a blogger, I use Zoho CRM extensively. But my use is limited to having everyone in my Contacts list. For a full take on how a typical business is using Zoho CRM, please follow the excellent series of posts being written by Adam Stone of D-Tools. And if you are looking at using Zoho CRM, have a ton of info to be moved from another CRM or from a csv/xls file, please email us and we’ll be glad to help you migrate.

For those of you who are already heavy users of Zoho CRM – it would be great if you can share your best practices of how you are using the above modules in Zoho CRM in the comments.

26 Replies to “Zoho CRM Basics: Differentiating Leads, Contacts, Accounts & Deals”

  1. Great post!
    I really like the Zoho CRM and how user friendly it is. My main dislike is the lead convert to account and contacts, where it is difficult to find contact and notes in accounts.
    Also, I am interested in the entire Pipeline section, is there a manual to understand this better?Cheers,
    Justin

  2. Great post!
    I really like the Zoho CRM and how user friendly it is. My main dislike is the lead convert to account and contacts, where it is difficult to find contact and notes in accounts.
    Also, I am interested in the entire Pipeline section, is there a manual to understand this better?Cheers,
    Justin

  3. Thank you for this post. I just started using Zoho CRM and thinks it is a great program. I use to use ACT, then went to Daylite when I started using a MAC. Moved to Google Apps and then found Zoho,I am looking for information on best practices around target marketing, creating groups of prospects and clients and being able to quickly send email communications to them based on their status (prospect, client, referral source etc…).ACT and Daylite offered Groups, cannot find the same feature in Zoho. Also, I am concerned about prospects (vs suspects) falling between the cracks.Any suggestions?

  4. Thank you for this post. I just started using Zoho CRM and thinks it is a great program. I use to use ACT, then went to Daylite when I started using a MAC. Moved to Google Apps and then found Zoho,I am looking for information on best practices around target marketing, creating groups of prospects and clients and being able to quickly send email communications to them based on their status (prospect, client, referral source etc…).ACT and Daylite offered Groups, cannot find the same feature in Zoho. Also, I am concerned about prospects (vs suspects) falling between the cracks.Any suggestions?

  5. I had a lead which is converted into contact, but is not reflecting in leads, Accounts and potential. How do I get to back to potential/ leads?

  6. I had a lead which is converted into contact, but is not reflecting in leads, Accounts and potential. How do I get to back to potential/ leads?

  7. Unfortunately, ‘Accounts’ and ‘Contacts’ do not share data well in ZohoCRM, so you will always end up retyping telephone numbers and addresses twice or three times (if there is a separate ship to address). While this seems absolutely ridiculous for the most part, once done, you can pretty much concentrate on using ‘Accounts’ for all of your actions such as Invoicing and making Notes etc.Confusingly these same features appear under ‘Contacts’, but as long as you ignore that and only use ‘Accounts’ you will be ok, and make sure everyone else in your organisation does the same, otherwise you will be forever looking for Notes and Addresses that you know you already entered before.Hope this helps people who are just starting out.

  8. Unfortunately, ‘Accounts’ and ‘Contacts’ do not share data well in ZohoCRM, so you will always end up retyping telephone numbers and addresses twice or three times (if there is a separate ship to address). While this seems absolutely ridiculous for the most part, once done, you can pretty much concentrate on using ‘Accounts’ for all of your actions such as Invoicing and making Notes etc.Confusingly these same features appear under ‘Contacts’, but as long as you ignore that and only use ‘Accounts’ you will be ok, and make sure everyone else in your organisation does the same, otherwise you will be forever looking for Notes and Addresses that you know you already entered before.Hope this helps people who are just starting out.

  9. Thanks for the post. My client asked me this question, so I can now send them this information.My client manually entered a bunch of businesses (leads) into contacts, so I need to figure out how to move them into the correct designation (leads).Mark

  10. Thanks for the post. My client asked me this question, so I can now send them this information.My client manually entered a bunch of businesses (leads) into contacts, so I need to figure out how to move them into the correct designation (leads).Mark

  11. I just got started using the ZOHO CRM and I’m really excited about the system. It seems to be very intuitive and easy to learn, but I would definitely like to see those training webinars when they are launched.
    Thanks for making a great suite of tools!

  12. I just got started using the ZOHO CRM and I’m really excited about the system. It seems to be very intuitive and easy to learn, but I would definitely like to see those training webinars when they are launched.
    Thanks for making a great suite of tools!

  13. Is there any way to setup a custom view similar to “My Leads”. I have created views for each user but it would be nice to have a global custom view that was dynamic like “My Leads”.I guess what I am looking for is the variable that is similar to ${EMPTY} but can be used for the “Lead Owner is” criteria.

  14. Is there any way to setup a custom view similar to “My Leads”. I have created views for each user but it would be nice to have a global custom view that was dynamic like “My Leads”.I guess what I am looking for is the variable that is similar to ${EMPTY} but can be used for the “Lead Owner is” criteria.

  15. Hi Arvind,Taking cue from this post, i am trying to “know my way around”. Everyday i am learning something new.
    Thanks for the video link.
    Looking forward for your announcement on webinarRegards

  16. Hi Arvind,Taking cue from this post, i am trying to “know my way around”. Everyday i am learning something new.
    Thanks for the video link.
    Looking forward for your announcement on webinarRegards

  17. Thanks, Roger & Deepa!Deepa: You can go through the screencasts in this page. That’ll help you get a good start with Zoho CRM, I believe. Having a webinar is a good idea. We’ll try to schedule one soon.

  18. Thanks, Roger & Deepa!Deepa: You can go through the screencasts in this page. That’ll help you get a good start with Zoho CRM, I believe. Having a webinar is a good idea. We’ll try to schedule one soon.

  19. Just wanted to add :-
    any chance the team is considering a webinar on ZohoCRM for nobies like me ?

  20. Just wanted to add :-
    any chance the team is considering a webinar on ZohoCRM for nobies like me ?

  21. Thanks for the post.
    I use almost 5 – 7 of zoho suite, and was nearly giving up on CRM,
    telling myself, “I am not wired for CRM”.Guess this will help me start, then follow up other “lessons” that come along.Thanks again..
    helped a great deal.Regards,
    Deepa

  22. Thanks for the post.
    I use almost 5 – 7 of zoho suite, and was nearly giving up on CRM,
    telling myself, “I am not wired for CRM”.Guess this will help me start, then follow up other “lessons” that come along.Thanks again..
    helped a great deal.Regards,
    Deepa

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