Successful sales reps view their open opportunities daily (or more) and ensure that the fields important to their organization (close date, stage, etc.) are accurate and up to date.
Keep your close dates up to date
There is no such thing as a close date in the past for an open opportunity. Near month end sales reps are often pressed for time and it is easy to neglect updating your opportunities. Neglecting the process, however, has far reaching ramifications that affect the entire company forecast. If you have 50 open opportunities on the 25th of the month the majority of them will likely be pushed to the next month. Leaving these opportunities in the current month not only results in your own poor forecast, but rolls up to your manager’s forecast (and the overall company forecast).
Keep your sales stages minimal and up to date
Having too many stages can lead to confusion which ultimately leads to more time to review an opportunity which then leads to putting the review on the back burner. When a significant event occurs you should religiously update your stage. Doing so will often trigger an update to the opportunity forecast category as well as update the probability of closing the deal. This cascades into an updated ‘expected amount’ value which is critical for sales managers.
Keep running notes that are available in list view
You may have a Google Doc or some other method of tracking your notes, but you should also find a way to add short updates directly to the opportunity using a comments / description field. Add to this by editing the opportunity and inserting the most recent, very abbreviated note, at the top of the field).
Last Modified Date and Last Activity Date
Successful sales reps are in touch with their prospects often, and when they aren’t there is usually a valid reason, such as a request to follow up on a specific date, which is generally tracked as a task.
When you view your Salesforce opportunities include the last activity date in your view. Your touch points may vary depending on your business and you can use the last activity date to make sure your not letting opportunities get stale.
If you are updating other fields such as description or next steps consider adding the Last Modified Date to your view as well as updates to these fields will not be reflected in the Last Activity Date.
Don’t keep stale opportunities open
All too often a sales rep will be overly optimistic and leave stale opportunities in the forecast. Successful sales reps learn to close opportunities (like set to Closed/Lost) with little chance of success to focus their efforts on the opportunities with the highest chance of success. If a customer is truly interested in buying from you they will be back.
View your opportunities daily (or more)
- Update the expected close dates (they should be realistic with none in the past)
- Update your stages
- Updated your notes / comments, etc.
- Filter on the last activity date or last modified date to identify opportunities that should be contacted
- Close your stale opportunities and focus on the ones with a higher chance of closing
Automate the process for accuracy and to save time
Updating opportunities one by one in Salesforce can take a valuable, but necessary, chunk of time out of your day. There are integration tools available such as Celigo’s CloudExtend Excel for Salesforce. They significantly cut the time down to just a few minutes per day by allowing sales reps to view and update their opportunity fields in bulk directly in Excel.
Keeping opportunities up to date is good for you and it’s crucial for your sales manager and the organization as a whole. Without up to date numbers a forecast will be inaccurate and, worst case, can lead to the demise of a company.