How do you assign a sales process to an opportunity in Salesforce?
Salespeople often need help with their lead qualification processes so they can better manage new accounts. A good way for them to get started is using our guide on how to create your own sales pipeline — it's one of many ways that you can use data visualization tools like Tableau Public or Spotfiy to find out more about your business. But what if you want to create something beyond just having a list of leads? How would you go about assigning each lead into a specific stage within your system? We're going to show you exactly how to add this functionality into your pipeline.
The first thing we'll cover today is how to identify which phases should be included when building your pipeline…; then we'll move onto explaining how to map these different phases directly against opportunities. By mapping these two things together, you will have created a complete sales methodology called "Opportunity Management Process" (OMP). OMPs are made up of various steps taken while dealing with a given customer, from qualifying through to closing. The ability to organize your customers according to these systems allows you to track everything that happens during the selling lifecycle. It also makes sure that everyone involved in the sale has access to all pertinent information at once, creating a clear path forward for every deal.
If you've been looking around the internet for some solutions, you might have come across a few articles talking about setting up a similar feature yourself but without any guidance on where to begin. That said, there are plenty of great resources available online that offer step-by-step instructions on how to set up OMPs in Salesforce. For example, the official documentation covers how to set up and customize your company's standard sales methodology, including the BANT, MEDDIC, and SCOTSMAN methods. Another option worth exploring is HubSpot's Guide To Creating Your Own Opportunity Pipeline In Force.com Sites. However, due to the fact that these guides were published prior to August 2021, they may not include current features. As a result, we decided to write our own document to illustrate how to achieve the same results.
What are the stages of an opportunity?
To start off, let's talk briefly about what the difference between a qualified lead and unqualified lead actually means. Generally speaking, a qualified lead represents someone who is ready to become part of your organization. An unqualified lead could either mean that they aren't interested in becoming a client right now or that the price point isn't low enough. Either way, chances are high that those people won't turn into active deals anytime soon. Therefore, identifying them early on is essential to getting the most out of your team. Once identified, you can easily take actionable actions to reach out and make contact. On the other hand, unqualified leads are usually people who don't meet even basic criteria for being considered viable clients. They probably wouldn't qualify under normal circumstances anyway, so why waste time trying to convince them otherwise? Instead, focus on reaching out to qualified leads only.
Now that you know what qualifies a person as a lead, here's how to set up the actual stages themselves. You'll notice that I'm calling them "stages," instead of "phases." While both terms refer to distinct parts of the overall buying journey, stages tend to imply a bit more of a linear approach than phases does. Phrased differently, while phases are broader categories, stages are generally narrower sections of the entire buying process. Here's how we mapped out the following four stages:
Qualification Stage - This phase involves activities done before meeting with potential buyers and discussing possible products/services. Activities performed during this stage include researching companies, interacting with competitors via social media, sending emails to potential partners, and conducting background checks among others. These prerequisites ensure that you avoid wasting valuable time on people whose intentions are questionable.
Inquiry Gathering Stage - During this section, you gather detailed questions regarding your product offerings. Afterward, you can work on providing answers to the inquiries asked. Doing so helps you gain a stronger understanding of your prospects' needs and preferences. Additionally, it gives you a chance to demonstrate to them how well you understand their problems and whether you can provide a solution. Also, since you already established rapport with prospective buyers during the previous stage, you can use this period to determine if they'd fit into your ideal target audience. If so, you can proceed with further communication. Otherwise, you can simply say thank you and end the conversation.
Researching Potential Solution Phase - This phase consists of activities designed to research and evaluate multiple options based on your buyer's requirements. Among other things, you can look into competitor pricing, market trends, and industry standards. During this stage, you can also try contacting influencers to see if they can recommend certain vendors. Lastly, you can ask your network for referrals. Since you already built rapport earlier, they will likely know of several suitable providers.
Proposal Development Phase - In this final stage, you can craft proposals with a partner's approval. Depending on the type of proposal you decide to send, you can choose to present a quote, estimate, or bid. Some examples of items you can include in your proposal are itemized estimates, fixed prices, discounts, etc. If you're unsure of what to put in there, consider asking your colleagues for advice. Don't forget to review your proposed deliverables carefully to prevent any misunderstandings later on.
Once completed, you can save your newly set-up pipeline. Now that you have the foundation down pat, you can continue expanding upon it. Next, we'll explain how to link these pipelines with individual opportunities.
How are opportunity stages set?
After creating your pipeline, you must next figure out how to connect them with particular deals. Let's assume that you've got a lead who just reached out to you after doing her homework. At this moment, she's still in the qualification stage of the abovementioned pipeline. What should happen next depends entirely on the situation. Ideally, you should follow-through with the rest of your pipeline until she reaches the Inquiries Gathered stage. If she doesn't qualify, however, you shouldn't bother pursuing the conversation further unless you think she might change her mind in the future. Ultimately, you'll have to establish rules for handling uncertain situations. Luckily, Sales Cloud lets you assign an activity status to contacts by clicking on Contacts > Activity Status. From there, select Lead Conversion and click Edit. Then, set the desired statuses accordingly. When selecting any activity status, keep in mind that it affects your whole pipeline. So, for example, if you mark a lead as Active, he'll automatically advance to the Inquiry Gathering stage.
Next, we'll discuss how to link these pipelines with individual opportunities.
What is opportunity management process?
During this second half of the article, we'll walk you through the process of linking your pipelines with particular deals. First, we'll define three main types of OMPs: BANT, MEDDIC, and SCOTSMAN. Afterwards, we'll explain how to associate those OMPs with an account record. Finally, we'll wrap up by showing you how to filter your leads based on these OMPs.
BANT stands for Budget And Needs Assessment. It was developed by Michael Ewing, author of Getting Results Through Strategic Selling, and his team back in 1999. According to him, when used properly, BANT can increase revenue growth 15% to 20%.
MEDDIC stands for Meeting Expectation Defined Criteria. Developed by Mike Stewart in 2006, it aims to streamline decision making by ensuring that teams stay focused on priorities throughout the negotiation process.
SCOTSMAN stands for Skills, Concepts, Options, Timing, Strategy. Its creator, Scott Farber, believes its primary purpose is to allow sellers to assess a prospect's interest level and risk appetite before presenting a proposal. He claims that it increases conversion rates by 20% to 30%, depending on the nature of the offering.
As mentioned previously, Sales Cloud allows you to sort leads based on assigned stages. Below is a breakdown of how to accomplish this task. Once again, click on Contacts>Activity Status. Select Lead Conversion and hit Edit. Choose the dropdown menu beside Assigned Stage and pick the relevant value. Click Save Changes.
Sales processes can be quite complex and it's easy for them to become out of date over time. The best way to keep your sales pipeline up-to-date is by using the right tools to create new opportunities based on what has been sold so far.
In this article we explain how to use the Opportunity object within Sales Cloud (previously known as Service Cloud) to set up a sales methodology. We also show you where to find these methods if they don't already exist under Settings " Designers & Developers " Apex Programming or Custom Objects. Finally, we'll reveal how to manually change the stage name when creating a record from scratch.
Create a workflow that adds all the steps needed to close each sale. You should have something like this at least:
A custom field named StageName that tracks which step of the sales cycle the lead belongs to
An after insert trigger that checks your custom field against every newly created LeadRecord that hasn't yet reached its next stage
Once that's done, go ahead and save yourself some work by adding stages to existing Opportunities instead of starting with a clean slate. When you're ready to start building from scratch, follow along below.
How do I add stages to opportunity in Salesforce?
To get started, open up the standard Create New Record screen inside any given Account/Contact entry. Just select Opportunity from the dropdown menu in the top left corner. Next, click the pencil icon underneath Step 1 Name, and type in whatever you want. In our case, let's call it PreQualify. Then hit Save.
Now switch back to the Standard Edit Page and navigate down to Steps 2 through 7. Find the section labelled Opportunity Line Items. Here you will see fields related to things like PricebookEntry records, Shipments, Invoices, Payments, etc., but notice how there isn't anything explicitly labeled as stage. That's because Salesforce doesn't support this functionality natively.
Instead, you need to make sure you've added triggers to check whether the opportunity meets certain criteria before proceeding into the next phase. If not, then the system automatically redirects leads who haven't passed their first test to another page called Unqualified Leads.
Go ahead and skip past those sections until you reach the one labelled Test Results. This is where you put together your own logic to determine whether a lead passes or fails the qualification tests. Once again, you won't find any built-in functions here that allow you to track progress. Instead, you need to write your own code.
Here's what you need to add:
You may have noticed above that I used $variable_name$ to reference my custom variable. To access variables declared outside of classes, you must prefix them with @. So if you want to use the same variable twice, you would declare it once as normal and then just refer to it later via the @ symbol. It might look confusing, but trust me—it works!
Add a second line below the previous block, except replace true with false. Now paste in the following script and rename it appropriately.
The purpose of this function is to compare two different objects and return either true or false depending on which ever condition comes closest to matching. For example, if we had hardcoded values rather than dynamic ones, it'd simply say if(OpportunityLineItem__c.Amount - OppLineItems.Price > 0), since both Amount and Price are numbers. But we made them strings so they could accept text inputs from users.
Finally, you should also include the current user ID somewhere around line 4, since you'll need it later on. Go ahead and fill in your details and then run it locally. Make sure you input accurate data, especially regarding pricing.
Afterwards, head back to the main OpportunityEditor page and scroll all the way down until you come across a button titled Run After Insert Trigger. Click it. You should now see your new trigger appear in the list of available options. Select it and choose Modify Trigger. Change the Action to Before Update. Hit Save.
Next, take a quick peek at the Triggers tab in Setup Menu " Administration Console " Apex Classes. Check to ensure that everything looks good.
Before moving forward, however, try running the updated trigger again. You should receive an error saying "trigger [yourTrigger] cannot be found." Don't worry though, this means exactly what it says. Your trigger was successfully modified, but it didn't actually move anywhere.
That's why you need to tweak a few more settings before testing your trigger out further. Switch back to the main editor page and locate the Process Order tab. Scroll down until you spot Actions, and drag the action labelled SetStageLabel onto the box marked Show Error Message. Choose Yes from the popup window that appears.
Then, click Execute Button and wait for the results. Since you only changed a single thing about the original trigger, nothing should happen at all. However, if you did everything correctly, you should see an alert message pop up telling you that the lead failed the initial prequalification test.
If not, you probably messed up somewhere earlier while editing your trigger. Try going back and double checking that everything matches the image provided above. Also, remember that there is no guarantee that your trigger will always behave exactly as described in this tutorial. Sometimes it gets weird and behaves differently. Be prepared for that possibility.
Where are opportunity stages in Salescloud?
As mentioned previously, you won't find any predefined stages in SalesForce that match your needs. Fortunately, it's very simple to customize your own. All you need to do is create a string value for each possible outcome in your trigger and map it directly to the correct label.
For instance, suppose you wanted to give a lead credit towards future purchases whenever they qualify for a free trial. First, create four new labels: Free Trial Qualified, Paid Subscription Qualified, Future Purchases Qualified, and Failed. Each individual label represents a specific state the lead must meet in order to advance to the next phase.
Set up your trigger as follows:
Each occurrence of $variable_name$, such as Free Trial Qualified, corresponds to a particular stage. Replace True with Free Trial Qualified and False with Failed.
When you refresh the page, you should now see a prompt asking you to enter a new stage name. Type in whichever option makes sense for your situation. Keep in mind that you shouldn't exceed 65 characters, otherwise you risk breaking the Visual Force Editor itself.
Note: As mentioned earlier, there aren't many other ways to dynamically set a stage name aside from making your own. Unless someone else came up with a better idea, the rest of us are stuck doing it ourselves. Hopefully, this helps simplify things.
How do I edit stages in Salesforce?
It's important to note that changing the stage name of an active lead does affect the overall flow of the application. Therefore, you should only modify your stages if you intend to completely overhaul your entire sales funnel. Otherwise, you could end up unintentionally pushing people through the wrong door.
Nonetheless, let's assume you really need to fix a broken stage name. Thankfully, tweaking your stages is a fairly straightforward task. Simply head to Setup Menu " Marketing Controls " Contacts and Profiles " Manage Stages. There, you will see three tabs containing information pertaining to Customers, Accounts, and Leads respectively. From here, you can manually edit the names and descriptions associated with each stage.
Alternatively, you can also import stages from external sources. To do so, select Customer Stages, followed by Import Selected Stages. Fill in the appropriate fields and click Submit.
How do you update opportunity status in Salesforce?
Updating the Status of an Opportunity is useful for keeping everyone informed about where a deal stands. Unfortunately, there's currently no official feature to accomplish this. One workaround is to copy the Id of the current record and manually adjust the status of subsequent entries.
First, create a new integer column on the Contact table and name it IsActive. Second, create a similar integer column on the Opportunity table and name it WasActive. Third, create a relationship between the two tables, ensuring that the ContactId field in the Opportunity table references the corresponding contact id field in the Contact table. Fourth, create a trigger that updates the WasActive flag on the relevant rows whenever a new row is inserted into the Opportunity table. Lastly, create a formula field on the Contact table that compares IsActive with WasActive and returns the result accordingly.
With that said, please understand that this approach is prone to errors. Some leads may be accidentally skipped without anyone noticing. Furthermore, it's difficult to tell which leads were originally assigned to which stage. Another downside is that this approach requires manual labor, meaning it becomes harder to automate over time.
Also, keep in mind that a lot depends on how you plan to handle unsuccessful leads. Will you send them straight back to the beginning of the funnel? Or maybe you intend to present them with a special discount offer? Either way, having multiple phases ensures that you never leave money on the table.
Sales is all about relationship building and moving forward prospects towards becoming paying customers. In order for this to happen, there must be a defined roadmap that can map out which steps need to occur before someone becomes your customer.
In other words, it's important to have a clear outline of what needs to take place so when opportunities arise they are ready to get moved through quickly. The problem lies with finding a way to organize these processes into a logical progression from start to finish.
That's where the concept of "pipelines" comes in handy. Pipelines are essentially roadmaps that tell you exactly what happens next after each step along the journey has been completed. You simply choose the right one based on the situation at hand. It takes some time to learn how to create pipelines effectively but once mastered, they're extremely useful tools for managing your business.
There are several different types of pipelines available within Salesforce - however, many companies use them incorrectly or only utilize certain parts of them. There are three primary types of pipelines used by most organizations today:
Bid Opportunity Management Process (BOMP)
Marketing Driven Demand Creation (MDDC)
Scaled Customer Onboarding & Success Managed (SCO-SAM)
Each type is explained below and will help show how to efficiently manage opportunities using a proper pipeline system.
How do you set opportunity stages in Salesforce?
The first thing you'll want to consider when setting up any kind of pipeline is the best approach to take. For example, if you've never built a pipeline like this in the past, you may not know where to begin. Here are 4 examples of Bid Stage templates that can serve as good starting points for creating your own sales pipeline in Salesforce. Just click on whichever template works best for you. Once you've selected one, follow these instructions:
Select Account > Opportunities > New
Enter Name Field1 Value = Prospect
Select Status field2 value = Open Pending Qualification Review
Add additional fields as needed per your specific requirements
As mentioned above, there are multiple ways to structure the same basic idea. If you'd rather create a more robust experience than just sticking to static text boxes, here are two more options:
Option 1: Using Custom Fields
Once again select Account > Opportunites > New
Enter name field1 value = Prospect
Set status field2 value = Open Pending Qualification review
Set Additional custom fields3 values = PreQualify Date Qualified Budgeted Amount Target Audience Interest Rate Contact Person Responsible Party Company Type Product Category Industry Specialty Primary Objective Secondary Objectives
Choose whether you would prefer to use checkboxes or multi choice selections
Option 2: Using Multi Choice Values via Checkbox List Formulas
From the main screen, navigate down until you see the section labeled Step Definition Formula Area
Select formula area dropdown box
From the formulas list, select Multi Choice
A new window should pop up asking you to enter your choices
Make sure you include all possible answers
When finished, hit save
Now go back up to the top level menu bar and select Page Layout Editor
Change the page layout settings to match those shown below
Go to Home tab and then look under Main Panel Menu Items
Find the button labelled Create Section Button
Drag the newly created sections onto the canvas
Double click on the prequalifcation section and rename it something meaningful
Repeat the procedure for all remaining sections
Now we move onto adding our actual content
From the editor toolbar, drag the table icon over to the desired location
Highlight rows 1-5 and 8+9
Press the plus sign + icon
Under Data Selection, make sure to select Table View Only
Finally, press OK
Your Pipeline now looks similar to ours!
Now let's talk about...
How do I change the pipeline stage in Salesforce?
If you're working with a large number of accounts/opportunities, chances are you have a lot going on every day. Because of this, having a clear understanding of what stage your account(s)/opportunity currently sits on is critical. Otherwise, you could end up spending hours trying to figure out why sales aren't progressing.
To solve this issue, you can add a simple workflow called Pipeline Stages to automatically update your pipeline stages whenever you open an account or opportunity record. To do this, follow these steps:
Navigate to Setup > Workflows > Record Types
Search for the RecordTypeId matching your Accounts /Opportunities
Navigate to Settings > General
Switch to Advanced Settings
Scroll down to the bottom and find Workflow Rules
Within the rules panel, scroll to the bottom and switch to Edit Trigger Mode
Input "after insert" and input "Account" or whatever RecordTypeID matches the records you wish to trigger the rule upon
Next, search for After Update Rule
Within this dialog box, input "Change Status" and set the criteria to "Status equals Closed Won"
Click Apply Changes
Lastly, head over to the main admin console and select System Preferences > Workbench
Look for the option titled Enable Automatic Updates
Verify that Auto Schedule is enabled
That's it! Now the stages will always remain updated for you without needing to manually work around it.
How do I set up sales stages in Salesforce?
When you're looking to grow your organization, it's crucial that you keep track of everything related to sales activities. Whether you're sending emails to existing clients, tracking leads, or following up with prospective ones, being able to identify who deserves attention is key.
Using the Sales Pipe Template provided earlier, you can easily set up a series of stages to represent various phases throughout the entire sales cycle. These stages can also function independently and be integrated alongside other standard Salesforce features like lead scoring or email marketing campaigns.
Here's how to set up sales stages in Salesforce:
Open your target account or opportunity
Head over to Setup > Companies > All Companies
Select the correct company
Then, head over to Setup > Accounts > All Accounts
Select the appropriate account
Now go to Setup > Leads > Lead Definitions
Select Lead Source from the dropdown menu
Change the default Lead Source to "Web Inquiry"
Now you can create your stages
First, highlight row 6 and 10
Right click on either cell and select Convert to Column Header
Rename your columns appropriately
Next, highlight row 7 and 11
Again, right click on either cell and convert to column header
Rename your cells appropriately
Now you can edit the contents of your newly converted headers
First, copy and paste the data from Row 6 and 10
Second, select the arrowhead symbol located between the two pieces of information
Third, hold down Shift while clicking on the adjacent empty space behind Row 5
Fourth, left click anywhere outside of the selection range
Fifth, right click anywhere inside the selection range
Sixth, select Copy
Paste the new data into their respective positions
Before saving, ensure that you remove duplicates
Now you can continue editing the rest of the stages
Simply repeat the steps outlined above for subsequent stages
Keep in mind that you can customize the appearance of each stage depending on your preferences
How do I change the opportunity path?
Most businesses don't think twice when choosing a route to pursue a particular client. But imagine if you were given the ability to define a unique pathway for each potential prospect to travel down. With Salespipe, you can do exactly this by taking advantage of its dynamic, conditional logic capabilities.
For instance, say you wanted to send a message to a contact saying something like, "Please call us regarding XYZ." By defining conditions that evaluate whether or not the prospect qualifies for that product, you can dynamically determine the exact wording of said message with ease. Let's run through the steps required to accomplish this task:
Create a new Message object
Configure your message to contain variables like ClientName and ItemNumber
Assign both of these properties to the condition
Head over to Logic Functions > Conditional And Statement > AND Operator
Ensure that the operator property reads "ClientName IS NOT EMPTY && Item Number EQS ABC1234567890123456″
Now head over to the main Salespipe dashboard
Inside the sidebar navigation, locate the Messages item
Click on Show Actions
Locate the Send Email action and double click on it
Modify the parameters found underneath the subject line
Replace the body of the email with your own personalization
Click Run Action
Wait for the results
With this feature alone, Salespipe allows you to automate tasks like scheduling phone calls, sending reminders, or even drafting personalized letters. However, because it offers dozens of predefined functions, it's capable of doing much more. Take a peek at the full library of Logic Function actions on Github if you're interested.
Have questions about Salespipe? We encourage feedback and comments, so please feel free to reach out to us directly. Our team loves hearing suggestions and ideas. Plus, if you ever encounter issues, you can visit our Help Center anytime.