Managing Salesforce Leads: Everything You Need To Know

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Veronika Belova
by Veronika Belova

2 Min. Read

The process of lead management is one of the most important ways to obtain and maintain customers. It refers to each step you’ll take to organize, qualify, and funnel leads along your sales pipeline. 


Lead management is best done with the help of a CRM. And using a CRM like Salesforce makes lead management easy. Using a step-by-step lead management process, organizing and analyzing Salesforce leads means that nothing (and no one!) will slip through the cracks. 


CRMs like Salesforce aren’t just a sales trend — they’re sales tools vital to your entire organization. Here’s how to convert leads into customers and effectively manage them using a CRM like Salesforce. 

Lead management is easy with a CRM 

Lead management is a crucial process that ensures no opportunities get lost. Using a CRM keeps things organized, so that won’t happen.  

A CRM helps store data, qualify leads, track status, create reports, and can even automate tedious tasks that can help streamline processes. More specifically, a CRM like Salesforce can help create and track opportunities for further deals, allowing you to import leads into Salesforce, export leads into Salesforce, and merge leads in Salesforce. This way, all your leads are in one place, and you have the option to track and manage deals, create quotes and contracts, track customer requests, and much more. 

What are leads? 

A lead is a potential opportunity for sales. It can refer to a person or an organization that expresses interest in what you have to offer, or that could potentially buy your product. A lead is often referred to as a prospect, too.


Taking things a step further, a qualified lead is usually a lead that’s been vetted, fitting just the right target customer profile.


When it comes to a CRM like Salesforce, Salesforce leads are leads you input into Salesforce. You can mark Salesforce leads as qualified and easily locate and work with them to move them down the sales pipeline. 

You can also mark Salesforce leads as unqualified, coming back to them at a later date to revisit whether your services or product may be a better fit for them in the future.

How to manage leads in Salesforce

Here’s how to efficiently manage leads in Salesforce. Follow these steps to convert, manage, and organize your Salesforce leads: 

  1. Capture leads
  2. Use the marketing cloud for lead scoring
  3. Assign leads to an account manager
  4. Convert qualified leads
  5. Nurture prospects that aren’t qualified yet
  6. Track, evaluate, and optimize your sales pipeline


Keep reading to learn how to nail each of these steps!

1. Capture leads

First, you’ll have to get leads before you can convert them. Whether you’re getting leads from emails, cold calling, LinkedIn, your own website, or beyond, just make sure to use proper lead generation techniques, as many sales automation tools could get you banned from LinkedIn. 

Once you have a lead, you’ll want to create a Salesforce lead record, where you can enter information about this lead in several different fields. Some of the most important and most relevant fields are the Lead Owner, the Lead Status, and the Lead Source, as well as noting the Salesforce lead’s contact information.

Start by capturing Salesforce leads

2. Use the marketing cloud for lead scoring

According to Salesforce, using the Marketing Cloud can reduce customer acquisition costs by 27%. It can help you best listen and engage with your customers via email, social media, and more. Marketing Cloud allows you to use automation in all the right ways across all your channels, drive ROI, and personalize customer contact. 


But one of its most useful features is lead scoring, which can help bridge the gap between marketing and sales. This is a process that assigns a lead a score depending on how interested they are in whatever you’re selling. This ensures that only the most qualified leads move from marketing to sales.

Use the marketing cloud for lead scoring

3. Assign leads to an account manager

Once you have a Salesforce lead, it’s time to set up the person who’ll then be responsible for their account and for moving them down the sales pipeline: the sales account manager. You can do this step-by-step in Salesforce.

An insider tip? Consider using Surfe, which allows you to combine the first steps of moving leads into Salesforce hassle-free. You can add people as contacts and assign an account manager directly from LinkedIn using Surfe, which skips a lot of switching programs and tedious data entry that can often be riddled with mistakes and take up valuable time from sales reps and account managers.

Assign leads in Salesforce

4. Convert qualified leads

You can easily convert qualified Salesforce leads by changing them to contacts and adding them to either an existing Salesforce account or a new one. You can even make an opportunity record at the same time if it seems like a deal is on the horizon. 

Convert all qualified Salesforce leads

5. Nurture prospects that aren’t qualified yet

While you can always drop an unqualified Salesforce lead, you may want to nurture prospects that aren’t qualified just yet. Here are some times it might make sense to further develop a relationship with these prospects:

  • If your lead’s budget isn’t high enough yet
  • Your prospect needs something you can’t offer just yet, but will soon
  • Your lead is resolving issues with internal processes

In these cases, you’ll want to note these reasons in Salesforce and continue to nurture the relationship via drip campaign, which is sending fewer and more focused emails and marketing content to these prospects that recognize and address their current situation and/or issues. 

Nurture prospects that aren’t qualified yet

6. Track, evaluate, and optimize your sales pipeline

Your sales pipeline in Salesforce should consist of stages, including opportunities. And you should be working on your opportunities to continue to move Salesforce leads down the pipeline.


First, you’ll want to create Sales Pipeline Reports to track progress. Evaluating these reports can help your team determine further opportunities, see exactly where things aren’t working, and figure out why certain actions were successful (or unsuccessful). Using these reports, you can fix whatever isn’t working and optimize your sales pipeline to run smoother and more efficiently. 

Track, evaluate, and optimize your sales pipeline in Salesforce

How to import leads into Salesforce

Importing leads into Salesforce is really important; otherwise, you can’t track your progress to qualify them and move them down the sales pipeline. From a logistical perspective, here’s exactly how to do it. First, you’ll want to ensure the Basic Data Import is turned on (tip: ask your Salesforce administrator how to do this). You can then add contacts or leads based on your system’s configuration: by using a CSV file (add up to 50,000 contacts or leads at a time) or the Data Import Wizard.


However, there is an easy alternative — one where you don’t need messy CSV files and spreadsheets. Use Surfe to capture those leads and easily add them directly into Salesforce from LinkedIn. 

How to export leads into Salesforce

Wondering how to export leads into Salesforce? You can use the Data Loader to export leads to a CSV file.  You can either export all your records or just some of them. Get more details on the exact process and steps for exporting leads into Salesforce here

How to merge leads in Salesforce

Keeping Salesforce leads and data organized is important. This way, you won’t double contact a lead or have incorrect info, all things that can affect the process of turning a lead into a customer. 


But data entry errors can happen, so you may run into instances where you’ll need to merge to Salesforce leads. Doing so will keep you maintain better relationships with your leads. You can merge leads in both Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic modes.


While the exact process depends on the mode, in most cases, you’ll have to find or view duplicate entries, compare entries, pick the one that you want to be the master record, and merge leads. 

How managing Salesforce leads can help grow your business

Sometimes, organization can make or break an entire system. And that often proves to be true when it comes to sales, especially with lead organization. Correctly importing, exporting, merging, and storing Salesforce leads can help you generate and analyze data, score leads, qualify them, and move them down the pipeline — all things which directly affect your sales success and the bottom line.