Salesforce Opportunity Stages Best Practices

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One of Salesforce’s numerous advantages is its ability to ensure transparent sales processes using a special tab called “Opportunities.” This tab displays a list of all sales opportunities along with their current statuses, allowing you to track each deal with pinpoint accuracy.

Thus, rather than wasting valuable time updating a pipeline spreadsheet constantly, sales managers can track deals in real-time and close them more efficiently.

Many businesses that continue to use the Salesforce Opportunities tab in its default configuration miss out on the opportunity for increased sales productivity that it provides when appropriately customized.

What are Opportunity Stages?

The opportunity stages are the overarching stages of your sales process. Salespeople update the opportunity stage in a CRM system as the deal progresses through the sales process.

Realistic opportunity stages are critical because they enable pipeline visibility via reports and dashboards. On the other hand, your pipeline reports and forecasts will be inaccurate if your opportunity stages do not accurately reflect your sales process.

Step-by-step instructions for customizing Opportunity Stages

Create a sales process map.

It requires actively defining the stages of your sales process and deciding which ones to include in your Salesforce Opportunity Stages. This step requires you to determine which standard opportunity stages are appropriate for your sales process and which should be customized to fit your sales process.

Define the criteria for entering and exiting each stage.

An opportunity stage is not a single event; it entails completing critical tasks before progressing to the next stage. That is why each stage should be considered a distinct phase of the sales cycle, complete with various activities that contribute to the opportunity’s advancement during this phase. To assist your sales managers in advancing to the next opportunity stage as quickly as possible, you should consider such activities and create a picklist for each stage.

Consider the proportion.

As a deal advances through the opportunity stages, the likelihood of the company closing the sale increases. That is why businesses should assign a stage percentage based on the likelihood that a sale will close during a particular phase. Unusual Salesforce CRM includes predefined percentages for common opportunity stages. However, this data does not accurately reflect a company’s level of confidence or current situation.

Automate the stages of opportunity.

Salesforce’s true potential is unlocked through automation. It is how an opportunity stage automation was implemented in one of Science Soft’s projects: When an opportunity reaches the Open stage, a task is created for follow-up calls and emails. At the Contracting stage, an approval process for all documents and pricing is initiated. The automation relieves the sales team of the tedious task of manually entering data and ensures that critical information is never missed.

Revise your stages of opportunity.

Since sales processes evolve and may significantly change over time, you should revisit your sales process regularly to ensure your opportunity stages remain relevant.

Add Path for Opportunity

Steps to add path on the Opportunity record page.

  1. Go to Setup, Search for “Path Settings” and “Select Enable”.

Path Settings in Opportunity Stages
  • Save

  1. Select “New Path”.

Select a New Path
  • Save

  1. Give Path Name, API Reference Name, Select Opportunity Object, Record Type and select picklist value for which you want to create path. And click on “Next.”

Fill the information in Opportunity stages.
  • Save

  1. Customize the path position as you want. And select “Next”.

Customize the path position
  • Save

  1. Activate your path. And Click on Finish.

Activate your path
  • Save

  1. You can see your created path from the “Path Settings”.

Path Settings Page
  • Save

  1. Go to Opportunity Record page layout. Edit the page.

Go to Opportunity Record page layout
  • Save

  1. Search for Path in components section and drag and drop the Path in the opportunity page where you want to add that path.

Search for Path in components section
  • Save

  1. Select the format. And click on “Save”.

Select the format
  • Save

  1. Select Activate.

Select Activate
  • Save

  1. Select Assign as Org Default.

Select Assign as Org Default
  • Save

  1. Select the Desktop and Phone option and click on Next. Click Save

Select the Desktop and Phone option
  • Save

  1. Go to the Opportunity Record page to see the Opportunity Path.

Opportunity Record page
  • Save

Best Practices for the Opportunity Stage

In any sales team, best practices result in meaningful opportunity stages.

Possibility Stages are distinct and unambiguous.

Frequently, one can observe hazy opportunity stages. Ambiguity is a critical error in this instance. It is because accurate funnel visibility is impossible if salespeople are unsure of the meaning of each opportunity stage.

The opportunity stages are distinct, unambiguous, and non-overlapping. Each term’s meaning and definition are communicated to salespeople.

Opportunity Stages are a representation of the sales process.

In an ideal world, opportunity stages would mirror the customer sales process. Thus, the pipeline reflects the stage at which each deal is in the buying process. There are, however, two issues.

  • First, Each customer’s sales process is unique. As a result, standardization is difficult.
  • Second, it is difficult to determine where we are in the customer’s sales process. With a complex purchase involving numerous stakeholders, even the customer may be uncertain about their internal purchasing process.

The Opportunity Stages should correspond to the stages of your sales process. That way, you will at least know where you stand internally.

Avoid an excessive number of Opportunity Stages.

This situation frequently occurs when a business attempts to be overly precise in its pipeline measurement.

Occasionally, businesses with lengthy sales cycles fall into this trap. They desire additional detail within each stage. If this is the case, it is preferable to create sub-stages in their field.

As a result, avoid overcomplicating matters. Maintain a four- or five-stage pipeline for improved funnel visibility.

The Opportunity Stages are results-driven.

Naturally, significant interaction with the customer occurs over three months. As a result, action-oriented opportunity stages are preferable to milestone-based stages.

For instance, Qualifying is preferable to Qualify. Discovery is preferable to the Initial Meeting. The reason for this is that each opportunity stage reflects the deal’s status over time.

This period could last several weeks or even months. During this time, the salesperson is likely to be doing various things to advance the opportunity.

Up-to-date opportunity stages

As previously stated, opportunity stages must reflect the sales process accurately.

However, it is critical for salespeople to keep track of the opportunity stage of each deal. Otherwise, pipeline reports and sales forecasts are meaningless.

As a result, ensure that everyone understands the critical nature of regularly updating and maintaining the stage at each opportunity.

Final Remarks

If the stages do not accurately reflect your sales process or are ambiguous, pipeline reports will be inaccurate. As a result, you will be unable to conduct helpful funnel reviews or generate reliable sales forecasts.

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