An opportunity is a potential sale, which is similar to a lead. However, the subtle difference is that with an opportunity you can forecast sales revenue, set a potential close date, and factor in a probability for the sale to occur.
When you create an opportunity, you must specify an existing account or contact record. Also, an opportunity requires that you link the record to a particular price list. This is needed for the automated pricing of the proposed products that the opportunity is interested in purchasing.
Using opportunities in your business process enables you to run pipeline reports to view estimated revenue flows based on pending new sales.
You can create a new opportunity that did not originate from a lead, or you can convert qualified leads to opportunities without re-entering the data, and then you can track opportunities through the sales cycle.
When you convert a qualified lead to an account, contact, or opportunity, you can access the lead record, which includes activities and notes, from the corresponding opportunity form. You can also access the lead information if you create a new opportunity and link it to a lead record. You cannot convert an opportunity to a lead; you can only close opportunities.
You can use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to track information about each opportunity, such as:
Understanding How Accounts, Contacts, Leads, and Opportunities Relate
Account and contact records represent established customers. Leads are potential or prospective customers. Opportunities are not a specific customer, such as a lead, contact, or account, and therefore require a customer record to be added to the opportunity.
How you can use lead, opportunity, contact and account records to facilitate the process of generating new customers is described in the following scenario:
A Sales and Marketing team uses methods to gather leads. For example, the sales and marketing team holds a seminar and gathers business cards from participants. Personal names, businesses names, addresses, and phone numbers are gathered from the seminar and then entered into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online as lead records. The lead records are assigned to the sales staff based on certain criteria, such as the lead's ZIP Code/Postal Code.
Next, sales staff contact the leads to qualify them. The salesperson may initiate a telephone call to the lead and ask questions such as "Are you interested in purchasing our products?" and "When do you intend to purchase?"
Based on the information collected from the previous lead qualification process, the salesperson uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to either disqualify the lead or convert the lead into three new records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online:
The contact that is created has the account configured as the parent account.
Opportunities with products added to them have their estimated revenue value calculated based on the base price, volume discounts, manual discounts, taxes, and other pricing modifications. When opportunities are saved, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online recalculates the estimated revenue value based on any changes to the products or product quantities associated with the opportunity.
However, if you want to update the estimated revenue value of an opportunity without saving, closing, and reopening it, you can do this by manually recalculating the value. Recalculating an opportunity is useful when there are two or three different scenarios in terms of the estimated revenue that could be generated by the opportunity.
In this case, you can modify the selection of products to match each scenario and then recalculate the opportunity. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online does not save the recalculations unless you choose to save and close the opportunity. If you modify products without recalculating, you must save and close the opportunity and then reopen it to see the updated estimated revenue.
You can create a relationship between opportunities, accounts, or contacts; specify the type of relationship between them; and define the relationship role that the account or contact has with regard to the opportunity.
The relationship role assigned to the associated account or contact determines how the account or contact affects, influences, or contributes to the opportunity. For example, if you add an account as a relationship to the opportunity, anyone who views the account data will see that there is a current opportunity with the account that could result in a new sale.
You can start a sales transaction, such as a quote, order, or invoice, from within the opportunity record. The advantage of starting sales transactions in this manner is that much of the information is automatically entered based on the opportunity data. You can also view any sales transaction records from within the opportunity record to track the overall sales process and expected revenue. You cannot convert an opportunity to an order, quote, or invoice, but you can associate the opportunity to these records.
You can associate the opportunity with competitors so that you and your team know who you are working against. Opportunities can be linked with competitor information and analyzed to identify the most effective selling strategies. If you determine that the competitor you have associated with an opportunity is no longer a threat to making the sale, you can disassociate that competitor from the opportunity without deleting the competitor record from Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.