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Elegrity Inc.Elegrity Inc. 

What is Salesforce's differentiation/definition of lead (vs. contact)?

This is a "best practice" question, as we debate constantly the difference between a "lead" and a "contact." Salesforce experts, please let me know what best practice is for defining a lead vs. contact, and functionality differences in managing using Salesforce (i.e. in Contacts default seems to be no e-mail opt-out -- but I need to have this function in contacts, so is that possible?)  I know it is in leads.  Thank you!
Best Answer chosen by Moderator (salesforce.com) 
Mark PassovoyMark Passovoy
In the Salesforce best practices process, Leads are someone you have not done business with. A Contact is someone who has shown interest in something and either decided to purchase or not to purchase.

When you convert a Lead, it will create a Contact, an Account or add to an existing Account and optionally, create an Opportunity.

Contacts do have the ability to opt-out of email. There is a standard field called Email Opt Out on the Contact object.

All Answers

Mark PassovoyMark Passovoy
In the Salesforce best practices process, Leads are someone you have not done business with. A Contact is someone who has shown interest in something and either decided to purchase or not to purchase.

When you convert a Lead, it will create a Contact, an Account or add to an existing Account and optionally, create an Opportunity.

Contacts do have the ability to opt-out of email. There is a standard field called Email Opt Out on the Contact object.
This was selected as the best answer
Matt BullockMatt Bullock
We have an online sign process when the user must log back into finish the 6 weeks process. 

Our question is should this start as a lead or just auto qualify and they have to give lots of info to start the process?

best practise on this ?