Opportunities are one of the most fundamental components of a CRM system. Mapping their outcomes over time helps to paint a picture of which are more likely to be won and how individual salespeople perform. There is a fair amount of overlap between the lead and opportunity records. In light of this, we won’t cover aspects that were covered in the leads post. This includes:
- Importing records from Excel
To see how any of these elements are configured, read our post on leads.
What is an Opportunity?
An opportunity is a more established position in a business process. Whereas a lead marks the initial stage of connection, an opportunity is more advanced. It’s worth mentioning that whilst you can create an opportunity record from qualifying a lead, you can also create one independently.
Opportunities on Dynamics 365 Sales
On the menu bar on the left-hand side, navigate down to the ‘Sales’ section and click Opportunities’.
Creating an Opportunity record manually
Opportunity records can be manually created. Businesses run their sales processes differently and not everyone utilises lead functionality. Alternatively, it may just be that the process begins at a stage more suited to the label of ‘opportunity’, with more detail given than you would otherwise expect at the lead level. In either case, users can start directly from the opportunity stage. To do so, either scroll to the Sales section of the menu bar on the left-hand side and click ‘Opportunities’ and then ‘New’ or click the ‘+’ icon on the header of any page and Quick Create an Opportunity.
The ‘Topic’ and ‘Currency’ are the two mandatory fields in an Opportunity record. At this stage, technically a Contact and Account record aren’t required but the more information entered, the more valuable the record becomes to salespeople trying to develop and close the opportunity.
Unlike with leads, Opportunities can’t be created from scanning business cards, something which is to be expected. However, the ability to import records from Excel works the same as mentioned in the leads post.
Conversion from a Lead
After a lead has been converted to an Opportunity, a Contact, Account and Topic will carry through if they are on the lead. On a lead, the Last Name and Topic fields are mandatory. The others will only pass through if you choose to populate them. And, by ‘pass through’, I mean be transferred to the opportunity if those field entries exist as records already but create them if they don’t.
Business process flow
Just below the header and the opportunity name, there’s the flow. There are four different chapters to this: ‘Qualify’, ‘Develop’, ‘Propose’ and ‘Close’. When you click on any of these, you get a dropdown menu of fields. These are essentially pointers. These aren’t mandatory fields but are fields that match the stage you are currently marked against on the opportunity.
At the top of an opportunity, on the right-hand side there’s a field called ‘Launch playbook’. By clicking it, you will be taken to a list view of playbook templates where you can apply one to your opportunity. I won’t go down the road of creating a playbook for this post, simply explain what they are: a playbook is a configured set of actions to take in the event of a particular scenario unfolding. For example, a scenario might be ‘when an opportunity has a value of over £1,000,000’. Another scenario might be, ‘when the opportunity stakeholders leave’.
Against any of these playbook scenarios, you assign activities to handle the scenario in question. For each activity you assign, you can input timeframes too. So, where an opportunity exceeds a value of £1,000,000, organise a meeting within four days.
Other text fields
There are some other text fields on the opportunity, in the bottom left-hand corner. These aren’t mandatory and nor will they be useful for reporting against, given they are text fields. However, they are useful for adding extra detail to explain what the opportunity is for and how you believe you can fulfil the customer’s requirements.
Products and price lists
One of the main differences between leads and opportunities are the tabs on the left-hand side of the record. Whilst the ‘Related’ and ‘Files’ tab carry over, the ‘Products’ and ‘Quotes’ tabs are essential to the Opportunity record. Whilst we won’t delve into the details of Product and Price List configuration in Dynamics 365 Sales’, it’s where we can attach products to an Opportunity alongside their price lists. We can later pull this through to any quotes we create.
You will be required to attach a Price List to the Opportunity before you can specify which products the Opportunity includes.
Within the Products tab, you have the ability to apply a Flow. These are configurable sequences of events that occur each time a particular event occurs. This might sound very similar to a ‘process’, another topic we will post about; the difference is that for a Flow, we are integrating with other systems for the action. Click the link below to learn more about Microsoft Power Automate:
Creating a quote from an opportunity
Below the process flow, there are five options, one being ‘Quotes’. From there you can click on any you have already created or click ‘New Quote’. When you create a Quote, the system can configure discounts which will calculate the changes to the price automatically. Once you have done this, you can click ‘Add Product’ or ‘New Opportunity Product’.
As I mentioned, products can be attached to opportunities. But it might be that the product in question doesn’t exist; it might be very specific to this particular opportunity and never be used again, perhaps an individualised version of an existing product tailored for the customer at hand. It could also be a means of adding a particular cost associated with the deal that isn’t necessarily tied to the products. After all, this is only a text field so it’s flexible. In instances like this, there are Write-in products. You can essentially create products on the fly. These won’t be saved to your lists of Products afterwards.
Closing an Opportunity
Opportunities can either be closed ‘as won’ or ‘lost’. There’s no equivalent to closing an Opportunity as ‘won’ with leads; the nearest is qualifying them. You’d set an Opportunity to won at the point of confirmation that the objective of the opportunity is reached. Where an Opportunity is closed, the record will become read-only.
As with leads, you can click to ‘Reopen Opportunity’, changing the status on the right-hand side from whatever it was set as, for example ‘Cancelled’, to ‘In Progress’, and make the record editable again.
If you’re in a position where you have created a Quote, generated an Order and subsequent Invoice from that quote, then the Opportunity stages need to be manually amended. The Opportunity record won’t manually have it’s Status set to Won. A singular sale might not conclude the opportunity. Alternatively, the success or failure might not be tied to a sale.
That just about wraps up opportunities. In a future blog we will look closely at price lists, products and playbooks. If you have any questions, contact us here.