Increasing business revenue through new business opportunities is one of the most fundamental and critical roles of the Sales department. Once these leads have been identified, building relationships and progressing the lead through the sales process become essential for success. Tom Hopkins, in his book Master the Art of Selling, mentioned that top-level salespeople understand that selling is a process consisting of measurable, sequential steps that lead a prospect systematically to a positive result.
When this week I came across a great article by Alan Nielsen, Accelerate your sales, revisit your sales process, I started to think about the role of Opportunities and Sales Stages. Sometimes it is important for companies to either create new, or modify existing, sales stages. In both cases, stages created via consensus are the most effective, as they provide a great tool to help salespeople work from planning to completion, as well as to help managers create meaningful sales reports.
The debate about when to start a sales process can become very passionate, with some salespeople wanting it to commence immediately after lead generation, and others insisting that it should begin only when a lead has been prequalified and tagged as a valid opportunity. The first choice has the advantage that it allows us to report on the success of campaigns or marketing lists easily, ensuring that all potential business has been classified (thus less likely to slip through the net). Its disadvantage is that it does create extra work (i.e. recording an opportunity dead). On the other hand, starting the opportunity once a lead has been prequalified allows us to go through fewer steps and is faster. However, it requires us to create separate reports to measure the success of campaigns or marketing lists. Which one is the best option is dependent not only on the industry, but also the organization’s culture. Once the starting point has been identified, then the next hurdle is to ensure that the stages are appropriate but never too numerous.
The Opportunities module within Act! allows us to easily create and manage sales opportunities and customize fields to track sales processes and the sales pipeline. To learn how, click Read More to continue!
How to Create and Manage New Opportunity Processes
There are several ways in which we can get to the Manage Process Lists dialog box. The easiest is to start from the View menu.
Click the View menu and select Opportunity List to bring up the Opportunity List View.
Click Opportunities on the main menu and click Manage Process List.
This will bring up the Manage Process List dialog box.
To create a new process, click Create New Opportunity Process.
The Manage Process lists dialog box will move to page 2, the Enter opportunity process name and description screen. Enter the name of the Opportunity process, and a description if needed. The Active tick box is used if we are making changes to an existing Opportunity. Click Next.
This will bring up page 3 of the Manage Process List dialog box, Customise Stages for New Process.
Customise stages for New Process will show the name we entered in the previous step. (In my example, it reads Customise Stages for Demo Process 1.) We can now add each stage by clicking the Add button and entering a Name, Description and Probability. We can move the stages up and down in the list by using the Move Up and Move Down buttons.
When we have finished adding the stages, click the Finish button.
The original Process dialog box will appear, listing all our new sales processes. Click Close to shut the process dialog box. Our new process will now be available within the Opportunity Screen.
How to Edit and Manage Existing Opportunity Processes
From within the Manage Processes List dialogue box, click Edit Opportunity Process. Alternatively, we can just double click the process we want to edit. The Manage Process Lists dialogue box will ask for the opportunity process name and description. Make the changes you want and click Next. Customise the stages as required, then click Finish to close the dialogue box and save your changes.