Salesforce Opportunity Stages: short guide
January 28, 2020

Enterprise Software

Salesforce Opportunity Stages: How does it work?

By Olga Matuts

Salesforce is a useful software for sales that offers a lot of helpful tools for facilitating sales processes. In this post, let’s take a look at one of them, the tab named Opportunities. 

This tab includes a variety of sales statuses and the ability to track a situation in real time, which makes sales management more objective and clearer.

You can use the Opportunity tab without any additional settings, but it will be more productive to configure it to your specific needs. 

What are Salesforce Opportunity stages? 

By default, a Salesforce Opportunity covers 10 basic sales stages:

  • Prospecting
  • Qualification
  • Needs Analysis
  • Value Proposition
  • Identifying Decision Makers
  • Perception Analysis 
  • Proposal/Price Quote
  • Negotiation/Review
  • Closed Won
  • Closed Lost

These general stages still don’t cover all the business needs. For example, companies with complicated sales cycles and regular communications with clients often have specificities in processes. Thus, they can require to change the names of stages or add some missing ones for the sales manager’s convenience. On the other hand, 10 stages can be extra for small companies with a short sales cycle.

We offer you a simple to-do list below to help you customize Opportunity stages yourself. In case of any difficulties, turn to Salesforce developers for help.

How to customize Salesforce Opportunity stages?

You can create your Opportunity stages based on your practical sales experience or consult specialists in Salesforce and explain your goals and requirements to them. If you choose the first option, check the listing of tips below.      

Make a plan of the sales process

You should make a clear plan that describes your sales process. Compare what stages from Salesforce Opportunity you really need and what the system can propose to you. Plan the names of your stages carefully. Remember about your managers; they can experience difficulties in understanding and choosing stages. For example, the name Product trial can describe two situations:

  1. Your new client is ready to use a trial version, and you should provide it to him or her.
  2. Your client already works with a trial version of the product. 

Develop a set of conditions to start and finish stages

Every stage of Salesforce Opportunities consists of several tasks. Its implementation allows you to attain the goal of the current phase and proceed to the next step. You should make up a listing with clear names of such tasks to simplify your managers’ understanding of the situation. For instance, on the Qualification stage, it is required to fulfill such tasks as:

  • Organize the first meeting;
  • Create a list of demands.

Then, on the Needs analysis stage manager has the following tasks:

  • Analyze the requirements of a Lead;
  • Identify decision-makers;
  • Think of how to meet these requirements;  
  • Identify transaction value;
  • Enter the transaction value into Salesforce;
  • Note the estimated close date in the system.

Suggest percentage closing of the transaction

In the process of going through Opportunity stages, the possibility of converting the lead into a customer increases. Salesforce CRM has a ready-made percentage, but it is too general and is based on the company’s position in the sales workflow. For example, the Needs Analysis stage ends with 80% of refusals, the Proposal stage has 50% of refusals, and the Negotiation stage finishes with only 10% of refusals. 

It should be better to customize your Opportunities based on actual stats that relevant to your company.  For this, you can analyze the data regarding customer churn on different sales stages. Perhaps, your pricing is too high, and most of the refusals account for the last stage. Or maybe, the quality of leads you get is quite high and thus the churn rate is lower at the first stage in your case. 

Also, you can compare changes in statistics of different years to find tendencies and ways to overcome challenges. For instance, at a certain stage, your deals fell through and knowledge of these causes can help you prevent similar situations in the future. 

Update your Opportunity stages periodically

The selling process is changing over time, and you should keep it actual. Redefine your Opportunity stages, adding new, or deleting outdated steps.

If you have several products or services, you can configure individual Salesforce Opportunity stages for each of them. Remember that clear and detailed Opportunity stages make income forecasts more exact.

Opportunity, as a Salesforce CRM tool, demonstrates the whole sales process of your company. It gives the ability to gather data for analytics, create reports, and predict profits. By customizing your Opportunities, you make them suit your particular processes. This way,  the tool gets convenient for sales managers and helps them be more productive at work.

 

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