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CRM Concepts: One Opportunity or Many?

If you track your sales in a customer relationship system (CRM) such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365, the most important thing to track are arguably sales opportunities. Opportunities happen in the sales cycle when you can match up a person (contact) or organization (account) that may purchase something. 

This seems simple so far, but there are some business decisions to make about how to track the opportunities.  Being consistent in how you track opportunities will make your reporting more useful later on, especially if you have a sales force who each enter opportunities.  

Opportunities all have an account or contact as a buyer, and one or more products or services that the prospective customer is considering.  Opportunities have owners, and this ownership may have implications on what records users can see and update, or even affect commission compensation. 

When you purchase a new car, this may also create an opportunity for the dealer to provide financing.  You could purchase the car and elect to go elsewhere for the financing.  In this case the car dealer would win one opportunity and lose the other. 

When should you enter a single opportunity?  When should you create more than one?  Here are some criteria to consider:

  1. Are the opportunities managed by different people in your organization? You may want to create multiple opportunities if a single customer inquiry creates activities by different people in your company and each of the new opportunities can progress in its own way. 
  2. Could you win one part of the opportunity but not the other?
  3. Do different people receive sales compensation based on the opportunities that you track?
Your answers to these questions can steer you to the best answer for your organization.  

Whichever path you choose, be sure to follow it consistently.  Otherwise your reports and queries will be more difficult to understand. 

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