Sales pipeline in any CRM deals with leads, opportunities, contacts and accounts. A lead record is created when an individual shows interest in your service or you contact him for offering service. The lead is a very light weight source in CRM which may or may not get business.
The sales team uses this lead for connecting and offering the business service and trying to convert it into business. If there is any further interest shown by the lead, it could be then converted to ‘opportunity’. An opportunity contains additional information of what product or service he is interested, possible time for conversion etc. The opportunity can then be closed by the sales team or it can continue to be a business.
A contact in CRM is an individual having primary contact address. In the sales pipeline, a lead can directly moved to contact skipping the opportunity stage.
Getting leads has different means. It could be through the pile of contacts that you have received by a survey or by attending tradeshows, or directly purchasing leads. So with this set of leads, the sales team can work on to qualify the promising ones and dump the rest. The important feature of the lead management is that you have sorting and grouping option which helps for categorizing.
Lastly, the account record in the CRM system manages the complete life cycle of a company(your client). All the company related information is stored and accessed whenever required. Service tickets, activities and assignment, schedules and tracking act as an important feature in account management.
So leads could be referred as temporary lists and contacted ones could be moved to a different stage, remaining still stays in the lead list or could be dumped. Do regular housekeeping on all the leads, contacts and accounts so that you have updated and clear customer related information.