Do you use the ‘Lead Center’ found in QuickBooks? Not many people do, but I recently had a client who I converted from QuickBooks 2012 to QuickBooks 2014 about this time last year call me up and ask ‘What’s this new Lead Center thingy.’ Well, if you, like my client are not even aware of Lead Center, or you have ignored it up until now, it was introduced a few years back, as Intuit’s way of appeasing people who needed to capture potential customers but didn’t want to include them in their actual ‘customer list’. The same people didn’t really want to purchase (or subscribe to) a CRM either, so I guess you might think of Lead Center as the poor man’s CRM.
QuickBooks Lead Center
The Lead Center provides much of the same information you would record for a QuickBooks Customer, but it is an entirely separate ‘table’ in the database that doesn’t impact customer table access in terms of performance. I always hated to see clients record hundreds, if not thousands, of extra names as ‘leads’ in the customer table because I knew before long they would be complaining about how slow QuickBooks was to populate the Customer Center or Customer List.
One of the features about the Lead Center is the ability to track details of working with a lead, you can assign both ‘To Do’s’ and ‘Notes’. The one thing I don’t like is the inability to prepare an ‘estimate’ for a lead, you have to convert the lead to a customer first, then if they don’t accept your estimate you now have that lead as a customer and there is no way to remove them from the Customer list and put them back into the Lead Center (at least not without a bunch of ‘manual’ functions that are best ignored by this article.
I suspect one reason that people don’t make much use of the Lead Center is that they don’t relish the idea of entering hundreds (maybe thousands) of names of potential customers they have kept in a separate spreadsheet or database of some sort. They may not be aware that you can actually ‘import’ these leads and much of their information; although you don’t import them in the same manner you would import Customers into QuickBooks.
Intuit provided a way to “Import Multiple Leads” and this article will look at the steps for doing so. I suspect that some people may not even know that the Lead Center exists, so to open the Lead Center, from the QuickBooks Menu bar, choose the ‘Company’ (menu option) and then select ‘Lead Center’.
Lead Center Import Leads
At the top of the Lead Center is a button labeled “Import Multiple Leads” (shown in red above, just to the right of ‘New Leads’). When you click that button, the following window will appear.
There are two ways to use this window, you can manually enter the data in this spreadsheet approach; if you have handwritten lists or notes this may well be a better approach than using the normal ‘New Lead’ dialog box. But the better approach is to use this window to past in data from a spreadsheet. I suggest that you paste in your spreadsheet data ‘one column’ at a time; there is less likely to be a substantial number of data errors if you take this approach than attempting to paste in a whole spreadsheet at one time.
Steps to Importing Your Leads:
Step 1 - Open the Excel spreadsheet containing the information you want to add.
Import from Excel Spreadsheet
Step 2 - Select one column on your spreadsheet that you want to copy.
Step 3 - Press Ctrl+C to copy the column.
Selected Column of Spreadsheet
Step 4 - In the Import Leads window in QuickBooks, click the first field in the column where you want to paste the information.
Step 5 - Press Ctrl+V to paste the column.
Paste Column into Lead Import Window
Step 6 - Repeat steps 1 to 5 for each of the remaining columns you want to include.
Import All Spreadsheet Data Columns
Step 7 - Click Continue at the bottom of the page shown above. QuickBooks will open the window (shown below) which tells you how many leads are ready to be added and gives you the opportunity to fix any errors.
Select Continue to Proceed
Step 8 - Click Continue to post your imported data to the Lead Center.
Confirm Posting to Lead Center
Step 9 - When the confirmation dialog box is displayed, click OK in the confirmation window.
Posted Leads in Lead Center
All your leads and their details (you selected) from your spreadsheet have been incorporated into the Lead Center. From here you can add additional contacts, make notes on your phone calls or emails to them, and even assign ‘to do’s’ as follow-ups with these leads.
It’s still not a full blown CRM functionality, and like I said, I hate the fact that you have to convert a lead to a customer just to issue an Estimate, but that is just the way it works.
Oh, one more thing; when you do get ready to convert a lead to a customer, that is pretty easy:
- Click the Convert Lead to Customer Button (shown in red square below)
- Select ‘Yes’ in the confirmation pop-up window.
Convert Lead to Customer
The lead is now a customer in the Customer Center and is no longer listed in the Lead Center.All of their ‘lead’ related information translated over to their customer record (contacts, To Do’s, Notes, etc.
Converted Lead in QB Customer Center
It is just that simple to import all your leads into the QuickBooks Lead Center, and then convert them to Customers when the time is right (as in, you make the sale). Perhaps now you will be convinced that Lead Center isn't the best CRM around, it is one way you can track your 'soon to be' (hopeful) QuickBooks Customers without adding a lot of unnecessary names to the Customer Center.