Targets - Leads - Contacts == Why are there three seperate records?

I’m going batty. I’ve been using SuiteCRM for 3 months or so and migrated all my data so that I am trying to be fully committed. However, I am really struggling with the concept that SuiteCRM has a separate record for a target, lead, and contact and not just one record with a status field. This triplication of data is causing all sorts of problems where I really can’t see who is invited to campaigns (campaign is linked to the target not the lead), people are updating a lead’s notes and it isn’t carried on to the contact and so forth.

Am I the only one that is going nuts with this? Am I thinking about this wrong? Why would the same person be a target and a lead and a contact? Why is the system triplicating data and causing data sync issues? Is this a common problem or am I doing something wrong?

My data is becoming a total mess with various people updating the wrong type of person. Ideas? alternatives?

Any insight would be great.



1 Like

Hi Doug,

The CRM splits out the three entities as they play a different role in the customer lifecycle. Targets for example are only names you have which you can market it to. A Lead is an unqualified sales contact which has its own lifecycle of status (New, Assigned, In Process, Dead, Recycled) - The Lead is actually a mixture of Contact, Account and Opportunity information as it is meant to be used at a stage where you don’t have complete information on all three as you are still qualifying that Lead. Therefore the User does not have to create an Account, Contact and Opportunity when they may not have all that information yet… And it may never even be important and they may not be a potential customer!

Once the Lead is qualified it should be converted using the CRM process which then creates the Account, Contact and/or Opportunity. In the standard CRM process, once a Lead has been converted it should not be touched and if you use the CRM process to convert it will alert users of the converted entities at the top of the screen. Targets can also be converted to Leads.

You can also choose what to do with the history attached to a Lead on Convert from within the System Admin panel.

There are various reasons the CRM splits this out from reporting possibilities (How many Leads did we convert in the last month? Compare the activity you did with them as a Lead compared to as a Contact ? etc etc) to role permissions (Allow users to see Targets or Leads but not Contacts etc etc).



1 Like

I have to agree with Doug, I don’t have a use for an entity’s previous incarnations, only the current one (as long as historical information is carried over when converting). Maintaining these earlier records really does muddle things up for me. Is there no way that I can set it so the previous record is deleted upon conversion, or do I have to do that manually?

Thank you

Create a workflow to set Deleted when the Lead Status is Converted.

1 Like

I understand the decisions on terminology for SuiteCRM/SugarCRM was made by programmers, not business professionals with actual credentials, and that may explain the terminology differences. I’ve an MBA in Marketing and Advertising and these differences are driving ME nuts!

[size=5]From a Business Professional Viewpoint[/size]
Target Demographic Group -> one of possibly many groups defined that share certain characteristics, and which was identified by research to be a good fit for your product or service
Target -> a member of a group of people/businesses you assume belong to a target demographic group (may not even have contact info yet)
Lead -> you have information, you may have reached out to them in a campaign (email, calling), but you haven’t yet had a conversation
Prospect -> a lead with whom you’ve begun a conversation, but have not yet converted to a client. This is the stage of qualifying and closing.
Client -> you have made an actual sale to and conducted a transaction for that sale.

Account -> Why is this equivalent to a company? That makes no sense at all! How does it differ from Client? It doesn’t. So lets convert it to Company and have it be a giant Rolodex of every company in your CRM. There is no other point for this. You may have companies which do not fit an assignment to any particular module, but you need to have them in the CRM. So this makes sense.
Contact -> Shouldn’t EVERYONE be in here? This sounds like a giant Rolodex of everyone regardless of relationship to you. There is no other point for this. You may have contacts who do not fit an assignment to any particular module, but you need to have them in the CRM. So this makes sense.

Opportunity -> VAGUE term that has no place here in a CRM! It can refer to a deal, a sale, a lead, a prospect… PLEASE GET RID OF THIS TERM!
Deal -> attached ONLY to a prospect and represents a potential sale
Sale -> the deal after it has closed… attached ONLY to a client

SuiteCRM is a great product. So let’s clean it up. It has become obvious to me that the terminology was assigned by programmers who read a few articles online written by other programmers. Please, let’s align this with professional terminology.


Hi Ron,

SuiteCRM is flexible enough so that you can rename the modules to your particular taste. It may be something we look to alter in future but it is not on the immediate roadmap.

Items such as the Opportunity Module is a common CRM term found in most CRM systems.

Not all SuiteCRM users use Accounts as purely ‘Clients’ some also use the module to track relationships with Suppliers, Partners, etc



Ron, I am both a developer and a manager, and I have to tell you I can’t conceive of the concepts “Target, Lead, Opportunity, etc.” as having been created by developers.

They are obviously management terms. They simply aren’t your management terms, the ones you learned or the ones you use. They might be slightly older, perhaps. There are different schools of thought in this.

The value of SugarCRM’s / SuiteCRM’s terms is not that they are the perfect terms (that doesn’t exist), but that they have been used by thousands of different companies, and have been made very flexible by making the program configurable, extensible, translatable, editable.

The first step in implementing this CRM is always mapping your own concepts to the ones in the CRM. Sometimes you change the CRM, sometimes you change your own concepts and processes, whichever looks best. You meet halfway.

I tried to do so, but I couldn’t figure out. Can you please elaborate?
We can NOT create a workflow based on custom fields. How do you delete an entry as target?

@gloak please start your own thread and in that thread please explain a little better what you’re trying to do…

Hey Doug, just came across this post this morning while looking for something else. If it helps, (also for anyone else that comes across this post) I have a screen share video that explains this. I’ve been in sales my whole life and it makes total sense. The problem is with nomenclature. You just have to get your head around the definitions and the relate it to your definitions. ie: what you would consider as a “target” is definitely not what is considered a target in SuiteCRM. Probably what you would consider as a “target” would be an “Opportunity” in SuiteCRM nomenclature. What you consider an “Account” is probably what is a “Contact” in SuiteCRM nomenclature. An “Account” in SuiteCRM is probably what you consider a “Company”. The entities are correct, it’s just getting your head around what you call them.