As with just about any business-to-business marketing company, lead management is a continuing issue. It is pretty easy to get lists of names and import them as Leads or Contacts in Salesforce, and nearly every client I have helped has similar issues.
Run a report of all Leads and choose All Time for the Range (or just leave the From and To dates blank in a Custom Range). Add a field filter Converted = False and summarize by Lead Status. Whether you have a 1,000 unconverted Leads or 10,000, it is likely that almost half of them are Open, and 25% of those were created over a year ago.
So, this is not necessarily a housekeeping issue, and by that I mean it could be that it makes the most sense to keep these names in the organization as Open Leads. But it does beg the question of what sort of lead management process you want to use for incoming names. The people that are on the phone all day calling new Leads to introduce them to company’s product or service really appreciate a little attention to detail.
First of all, make sure you dedupe the list before you use the Salesforce import feature. In all cases I will do this manually using the Search box because the small companies that I consult with cannot afford the annual subscription price of DemandTools or RingLead – just to name a couple of third party deduping tools.
In the spreadsheet of names, companies, addresses, emails, etc. that you are presented with, add a column called Status or something like that, and put in an L if a Lead already exists in SF, a C for a Contact, and an A if the Company exists as an Account (you will have to take this column out prior to importing the new names). Leave it blank if it is a new name and company to your Salesforce organization (let’s call these the new/new names). Once you have completed that process, and it can take a while if you have a few hundred names, then sort the spreadsheet and deal with the L’s, C’s, and A’s first. Create a Campaign that matches the source of your list, for example, 1Q13 Conference CES. Access the Lead or Contact in SF, and update fields with any new information that is provided (some times you will have conflicting information, and I often use the Description field to note the discrepancy). Then go the the Campaigns Related List, and add the Lead or Contact to the Campaign. In that way you can preserve the original Lead Source while having a notation that the name came in again from a different source.
Once you have updated all of the existing Leads and Contacts that happen to match names from the list (L’s and C’s), then add A’s as new Contacts in the existing Account with the same Lead Source and Lead Source Detail that you are using for all the blanks a.k.a. new/new names.
And then, once you have processed the L’s, C’s and A’s, you can bring in the remaining new/new names with a standard Lead import. Add a new custom field called Import Date to the .CSV file (and the Lead object, of course) so that each import can be unique. This technique has saved me many times when I made a mistake and needed to mass delete the import that I had just completed.
You are almost done. Since you have a a unique import date, you can prepare a SF report called 011413 Conference CES Leads using a report filter called Import Date = 01/14/13. Prepare an email to all the record owners. You will have to add that column to your .CSV file unless you want to be the Record Owner for all the new Leads, or unless you have a Lead Assignment Rule acting on State or some other field. Summarize the stats in your email: how many L’s, C’s, and A’s updated, and how many new/new names as Leads. Attach the spreadsheet that you used to dedupe the names with the Status column, and a link to the SF report that you created.
If you will pay this kind of attention to detail, you will be praised and revered by the sales and marketing people.