There are three business partner types in SAP Business One. Each business partner type has a specific function that you need to be aware of when setting up a new business partner. The available types are:
This status is set in the business partner master data by navigating on the main menu to:
Business Partners -> Business Partner Master Data
Once at the business partner card, you will see the business partner type drop down list to the right of the business partner number. This drop down will have the business partner type selections on it. Depending on your business partner numbering scheme you can also tie the numbering scheme to the business partner type.
Business Partner Type: Lead
The lead is the most interesting choice of the three. You may use lead to signify a customer which is not yet a full fledged customer. It is a place to put a potential customer's information so you can create documents detailing sales opportunities.
The documents you are allowed to have lead type business partner are, sales opportunities, sales quotations, sales orders, and activities. This holds with the definition of a lead being an intermediary step to becoming a customer. A lead is simply a placeholder.
One thing of note is that you may not progress past the sales order until the lead has been switched to a customer. You wouldn't want to send product to a lead would you? Once a business partner has progressed to the delivery or A/R invoice they will have to be switched to a customer in the business partner master data.
Business Partner Type: Customer
This is the next step in the sales process for business partner type. Congratulations! This means that either a lead has decided to purchase goods and services from your company, at least according to SAP Business One definitions.
A business partner type of customer can be on any marketing document in the system and it allows you to carry out sales transactions. You can even use customer business partner type on the preceding documents such as sales opportunities and other documents like service calls.
Business Partner Type: Vendor
Vendors are a business partner type setup to handle marketing documents relating to the purchasing process. If a business partner is a vendor you cannot use them on any sales marketing documents.
Final Thoughts on Business Partner Types
The business partner type simply tells SAP Business One what documents you can perform. There is little difference between them other than that limiting factor. Some fields will change or be hidden depending on what type you choose but are mostly obvious things relating to the differences between customers and vendors.
If your business doesn't support the use of the SAP sales opportunity module or activities, you still may be able to track the lead to customer conversion process but it is much more difficult. A series of customizations will have to be done to track this information. Be on the lookout for a rundown of this customization in future articles at SBOhub.com.