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What Are Opportunities in Salesforce?

What does your sales process look like in Salesforce? You probably gather Leads, nurture them, and then convert them into Accounts or Contacts. However, you also have another option: convert your Leads into Opportunities.

These Opportunities are not Contacts, and they’re not Accounts; they’re deals in progress. This allows you to record all the information relating to your deals, which shows you what works and what doesn’t and gives you revenue insights that make forecasting a breeze.

In this post, we’ll show you what Opportunities are in Salesforce and how to use them.

What Are Opportunities in Salesforce?

Let’s start by looking at what an Opportunity in Salesforce is. To do this, it’s crucial to understand how leads are managed in the platform. At the core of this process lies the Salesforce Lead object, which is an unqualified contact.

In other words, it’s a person or business’s name and contact details without any further information showing their interest in your product or services. Through the process of lead qualification, this lead can then be converted into a:

  • Contact. A contact is a lead that has been qualified as someone who could buy your products or services and, as such, will require further interaction, engagement, or communication.
  • Account. An account is an organization or business that could buy your product or services. Within this account, there can be several contacts.

This is also where Salesforce Opportunities come in. They’re neither accounts nor contacts. Instead, they’re future sales or, as the name implies, opportunities to make sales. So, unlike leads that could lead to a sale or not, opportunities are deals in progress.

With that in mind, the Opportunities object in Salesforce allows you to track all the details about deals in progress, what accounts they relate to, who the relevant contacts are, and the amount of the prospective sale.

Leads vs. Opportunities: What’s the Difference?

You might think that an opportunity sounds a lot like leads themselves. And, in a sense, it does. There are, however, several distinct differences between these two objects.

For one, as mentioned earlier, leads are unqualified contacts or individuals. While many of them will result in sales, many won’t. Conversely, opportunities signify instances where there’s a high probability of a sale.

Furthermore, you’ll typically find leads in the initial stages of the lead generation and management process, while you’ll generally find opportunities later. More importantly, when it comes to planning and Salesforce Reporting, leads can’t be used to predict sales accurately. In contrast, because there’s a high probability of making sales with Opportunities, they can be used to predict sales.

Now, considering the distinct differences between leads and opportunities, the question is: When should you convert leads to opportunities? The answer will ultimately depend on your unique circumstances and sales processes.

However, you should consider two essential aspects when converting leads to opportunities. First, you have to define the criteria that determine what an opportunity in Salesforce is. Second, you should always obtain the correct information about the lead to ensure they meet the criteria so you only convert the right leads into opportunities.

discussing lead opportunities

Benefits of Using Opportunities

While opportunities are an effective tool to manage and track the details of your deals, you don’t have to use them in your workflows or processes. However, you’ll miss out on some of the benefits they offer.

Opportunities in Salesforce Help You Track Deal Changes

One of the major advantages of the opportunity object is that it allows you to track any deal changes. For example, when there’s a change to the opportunity amount, Salesforce will highlight this. In turn, this allows sales reps to prioritize those opportunities that require action.

Forecasting and Revenue Predictions

Another benefit of the opportunity object is that it allows you to assign the total revenue you can generate to the opportunity by, for example, calculating the sum of all the products you’ve added.

This comes with a few benefits. For instance, when you’re able to assign the amount of revenue to the opportunity, you’ll be able to predict what you can make from the opportunity. Moreover, when you know how much you can make from every opportunity, your sales reps will prioritize more effectively.

It doesn’t stop there, though. You can also look at the predicted revenue from all the opportunities across your business. As such, you can forecast revenue better in your Salesforce dashboards. And when you can forecast better, you can implement strategies that can increase your revenue over time.

Competitor Tracking

You can also attach competitors to the opportunity object. The major benefit of this is that it allows your sales reps to track your competitors throughout the sales process. This then shows them where their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses lie.

These form the foundation for developing sales strategies that outline your unique value proposition. Moreover, when you lose any sales to competitors, this functionality allows you to record these losses, which, in turn, lets you fine-tune your strategies.

Product Tracking

Finally, as mentioned earlier, you can also assign products to opportunities. Apart from forming the basis for calculating opportunity amounts, assigning products also allows you to track which products are selling and in what quantities. This then allows your sales reps to concentrate on those products that bring in the most revenue and gives your leadership insights into how the market is behaving.

Salesforce Opportunities Best Practices

You’ve now seen why you should consider using the opportunity object as part of your sales processes. So, you should also consider some Salesforce best practices to help you make the most of Opportunities:

View Opportunity as a Negotiation

At its core, the opportunity object represents a negotiation, and you should view it as such. So, you’ll store all the relevant information about each negotiation using the object. This information includes:

  • The relevant stakeholders
  • Information about the meetings, calls, emails, and other interactions
  • The length of negotiation


And more!

More importantly, your sales reps will also record the values of opportunities in the object. This information, typically recorded as an Amount and Quantity, plays a vital role in the forecasting and predictions we’ve mentioned earlier.

The object also allows you to record this information for any opportunities you’ve lost. This can provide you valuable insights into your negotiation process and strategies so you know where to improve to generate more revenue.

Create Paths

Because the opportunity object aims to record information about every negotiation, it only provides its full value when your reps provide this information. To ensure this happens, you can set up paths to guide your sales reps along the negotiation process.

These paths will ensure they gather and update all the relevant information about every opportunity in the Salesforce CRM.

Use Contact Roles

Your reps often negotiate with more than one person from a specific account. When this happens, you should use Contact Roles to indicate a specific stakeholder’s role. This information allows your reps to streamline the communication and negotiation process.

Set Up Opportunity Teams for More Users

Like Contact Roles allow you to simplify the negotiation process when there’s more than one person involved in a deal from the customer’s side, Opportunity Teams do the same when there are more people involved from your side.

setting up opportunity teams

In other words, when more than one person from your business is involved in the negotiation process, Opportunity Teams help you define their roles and their access, streamlining the entire process.

How to Create Opportunities in Salesforce

Fortunately, creating new Opportunities in Salesforce is relatively straightforward:

  • First, you’ll log into your Salesforce account.
  • Once logged in, navigate to the Opportunities tab and then click on New.
    • You can also go to the relevant Account or Contact detail page and select Create Opportunity from the drop-down list in the sidebar. Either way, the result is the same, and you’ll be taken to the page where you can edit the opportunity’s details.
  • You’ll need to provide all the required information on the edit page. Remember that these fields might vary based on how you’ve set up your opportunity object, and all the required fields will be highlighted in red.
    • You will provide the Opportunity Name, Close Date, and Stage at the very least.
    • Also, if you’ve accessed the edit page from the Opportunities tab, you’ll also need to provide the Account Name.
  • Once done, you can click Save. This will take you to the opportunity’s detail page, where you can edit the information if necessary.


Discover New Opportunities!

As one of the most powerful CRMs in the world, Salesforce is a gift that keeps giving. So if you want to understand how to make your negotiation strategies even stronger, create your first Opportunity. Soon enough, you’ll have plenty of data to help you!

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