What Are Salesforce Opportunity Stages?
Salesforce Opportunity Stages represent the different phases in the sales process, tracking the progress of potential deals from initial contact to closure.
They serve as a structured framework for sales teams to categorize and monitor the status of opportunities, providing a clear and standardized way to assess and report on sales pipeline health.
What Are the Opportunity Stages in Salesforce?
Salesforce provides a default list of opportunity stages to choose from. Sales organizations don’t have to use all of them and you are also able to customize and add your own stages which we’ll get into later.
For now, here are the default salesforce opportunity stages:
- Opportunity Identified
- Id. Decision Makers
- Perception Analysis
- Proposal/Price Quote
- Closed Won/Closed Lost
You can select which opportunity stages you’d like to use by going to Setup > Objects and Fields > Object Manager > Opportunity Object > Fields & Relationships > Stage.
When you get there, you should see something like this:
How Does Salesforce Opportunity Stage Relate to Close Probability?
As you can see in the screenshot from the previous section, each opportunity stage is also associated with a “type,” “probability,” and “forecast category.”
These are meant to give sales reps and leaders better visibility into their pipelines to know where to allocate resources and forecast accurately.
Each opportunity has a defined type based on where they are in the sales cycle. The three types are typically: “open,” “closed won,” and “closed lost.”
By labeling each opportunity type, it gives sales leadership a high-level overview of how much “open” pipeline they have with the potential to close, how much revenue they’ve closed with “closed won,” and how much missed revenue they’ve experienced with “closed lost.”
As a sales opportunity works its way through the sales cycle, for example from “qualified” to “pitching,” the chance that that deal will eventually close and generate revenue increases each stage it progresses unless it’s kicked out of the pipeline and is marked as closed lost.
You are able to set probability % on your own and based on the opportunity stages you select for your sales team to use. Opportunities at the beginning of the sales cycle will have lower probabilities and increase at each stage. How much they increase is up to your discretion as the sales leader.
C. Forecast Category
Different from opportunity stage, forecast category is used in Salesforce forecasting tools to get a better prediction of future revenue earned.
The five default Salesforce forecast categories are:
- Pipeline - Open opportunities that are still being qualified.
- Best Case - Opportunities that have a likelihood to close.
- Committed - Opportunities that are very likely, or must, close.
- Closed - Opportunities that have completed the sales cycle.
- Omitted - Opportunities that were removed from the pipeline for extenuating circumstances.
How to Create Custom Salesforce Opportunity Stages
Every sales organization and cycle is different. Therefore, it’s important to analyze what opportunity stages fit your situation based on your personal sales strategy.
In order to customize your opportunity stages to fit your sales strategy, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Setup and Object Manager.
- Select "Opportunity" and choose "Fields & Relationships."
- Locate and select the "Stage" field.
- Click on "New" to create a new stage value.
- Provide a detailed description for the new stage value.
- Choose the type, probability, and forecast category based on company definitions.
- Optionally, select the sales process if dealing with multiple record types.
A Better Way to Update, Manage, & Forecast Salesforce Opportunities
Salesforce is a powerful CRM tool that sales organizations rely upon. However, it’s not built for the way sales reps or leaders work, preventing it from being the one source of truth that companies need.
Enter Scratchpad. Scratchpad is a simple chrome extension that helps sales reps update salesforce faster and gives leaders the visibility to coach and forecast more effectively.
Here are some ways that Scratchpad can boost your sales productivity:
1. Advanced Grid Views
Advanced Grid Views in Scratchpad are the fastest and easiest way to update any field or object in Salesforce. No more switching between tabs, waiting for pages to load, or having to remember to click save.
It’s also a great way for sales managers to see all of their team’s deals in one place with the ability to click into specific opportunities for a closer look.
2. Workflow Tiles
It’s also a great way to collaborate when AEs are working with SDRs or SEs on a specific deal, or handing off a closed-won opportunity to an Account Manager so everyone is always on the same page.
3. Team and Deal Collaboration
Scratchpad enhances sales performance by fostering better collaboration within teams. This facilitates improved account planning, smoother handoffs, more effective deal inspections, and efficient one-on-one interactions between reps and managers.
4. Deal Spotlights
Scratchpad’s Deal Spotlights proactively highlight warnings and gaps in your open pipeline — empowering you to identify and address issues and make necessary updates independently, often before they are flagged by your sales manager or operations team.
Scratchpad automates the rollup process and eliminates the need to use a spreadsheet to keep track of deals. Scratchpad’s Rollups help you track the evolution of each deal at various levels, providing actionable insights into the history of and reasons behind specific changes.
Unlike static spreadsheets, Scratchpad’s roll-ups are dynamic. This means sales forecast figures refresh instantly in real-time as reps update different opportunities.
Also, with just a single click, sales leaders can access every piece of data linked to an opportunity. This capability empowers them to thoroughly analyze and evaluate the quality of the deal with greater precision.
6. Waterfall Analytics
Scratchpad’s Waterfall Analytics offers a simple breakdown of your forecast changes and the reasons behind them. This ensures you have an accurate sales forecast that’s always in sync with your existing pipeline.
Besides visualizing things by forecast category (such as Best Case, Commit, etc.), Scratchpad allows you to view your forecast by sales stage, such as Qualified, Proposal, Negotiation, etc.
This simplifies the process for sales leaders to pinpoint problems and intervene to assist reps with deals that are stalled at certain stages of the sales cycle.
7. Sales Trends Analytics and Daily Snapshots
Scratchpad’s Sales Trends Analytics allows you to spot trends in how the forecast evolved over time. This allows you to compare your current sales data with that from previous months, quarters, or years.
Included in Trends Analytics are Daily Snapshots, which provide a historical record of daily changes in the pipeline.
Salesforce opportunity stages give sales organizations the ability to progress, track, and forecast deals more effectively and efficiently.
But why settle for just that?
With a platform like Scratchpad, you can enhance your sales productivity and give your team the chance to consistently hit quota quarter-after-quarter by keeping your Salesforce data trusted and deal velocity high.