Best Practices for the Opportunity Object

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Salesforce includes a number of standard objects with certain features that are predefined for you to build scalable processes as easily as possible on your org. In this series of articles, I am listing best practices for the main Salesforce standard objects that will help you make the most of standard features.

This month’s article outlines some Best Practices for the Opportunity object.

“Whatfix"

1. An Opportunity is a Negotiation Process

The Opportunity object typically represents a negotiation process, so its main purpose is to store specific information related to each attempt to close a deal with a potential customer: the time a negotiation process has lasted for, the person responsible for negotiating a deal on behalf of the company, the person representing the customer that we are trying to sign a deal with, the different calls, meetings and emails that have taken place during the negotiation process, the value of that negotiation, etc.

Closing won Opportunities is as important as closing lost Opportunities. You might be tempted to let your sales agents leave Opportunities open while they are not won or even to transfer an Opportunity lost by one sales agent to a different one instead of closing it and assigning the related Account to a new sales agent, so that a new Opportunity gets created to record a second negotiation attempt. However, remember that the purpose of using the Opportunity object is to store information with regard to every single negotiation attempt (whether won or lost) over time. Closing Opportunities helps then understand which Accounts are burnt and thus:

  1. Better understand sales agent portfolios in order to allocate the optimal number of leads and prospects to each of them
  2. Be able to forecast based on negotiation Opportunities that are really open

Keep in mind that there is no company that wins all Opportunities.

2. Use Opportunity Teams

Use Opportunity Teams if there is more than one user involved in a deal.

In some companies, more than one person is required to negotiate one deal with a customer; for example, a sales agent and a technical specialist. If that is the case of your company, Opportunity Teams might be a feature you need to set up in your org. The concept of an Opportunity Team is similar to that of an Account Team, which we covered in the article about Best Practices for the Account object. Opportunity Teams can be used to give special access to several users to a given Opportunity as well as to split credit among the different users that make up its Opportunity Team.

3. Use Contact Roles

Use Contact Roles to indicate the role of a customer contact in a deal.

Your potential customers might have more than one person from their side involved in negotiating a deal or there might be one person who has played different roles in different Opportunity negotiations. If that is the case, you can set up Contact Roles for your sales reps to indicate the role of a Contact in a specific Opportunity.

4. Guide Sales Reps Along the Process

Paths help Sales Reps update Opportunity information along the negotiation process. They display the values you have set up as different stages in your Opportunity process. When a certain stage is selected, you can also display up to 5 fields as key fields for the user to focus on the most important information. A good practice is to enforce validation rules at each of the Opportunity stages to ensure the minimum information necessary is provided.

Finally, you can also encourage your users to celebrate negotiation milestones by enabling a confetti celebration when a certain stage is selected.

5. Measure the Outcome of a Won Negotiation

There are two standard fields to record the value of a Won Opportunity in Salesforce: Amount and Quantity. The Amount field is a currency field that represents the value of the total sale amount. By default, the Account is displayed in the user’s personal currency, but the user can optionally select a different currency. The Quantity field is a number field that you can give a general use to; for example, to assign a numeric weight to an Opportunity.

Note that, when you add the Products related list to the Opportunity Page Layout, both the Amount and Quantity fields will turn read-only whenever you select one or more Products, as they will automatically add up the respective sums of the price and quantity of the related products.

6. Update Past Close Dates with Process Builder

When sales agents create an Opportunity, they must enter a Close Date, which represents the date when they plan to close the deal. When a sales agent closes an Opportunity as Won, its Close Date gets updated to the current date, but only if the original date was some day in the future. On the contrary, if a sales agent closes an Opportunity after the Close Date initially forecast, the close date will remain in the past, as the date will not change in this case.

To solve this, you can create an automatic process with the Process Builder, with which you can trigger an update of a Close Date to the current date whenever the original date was in the past. This way, you will ensure the consistency of our Opportunity data.

Wrap-up

Before resorting to a custom solution to build a specific process in your Salesforce org, best is that you first make sure there is no standard functionalities that can be used for it. Standard objects come with a predefined number of features that you can leverage to build your Salesforce processes in the most scalable way.

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