Mining the Sales Opportunity History for Insights

Continuing with yesterday’s post on the sales ops role, there’s an extremely useful table in Salesforce.com called Opportunity History (API info). Opportunity History is based on the Opportunity object which is used to keep track of potential deals so as to manage the sales pipeline. As expected, Opportunity has fields like Account (the company), Amount (the potential value), Close Date (when it’s expected to close), Stage (the current sales stage), and more.

Now, Opportunity History comes in as the audit trail of all changes to the Opportunity object. So, if a sales rep changes the Close Date of a potential deal, a new Opportunity History object is created reflecting that change. Why is this important? Opportunity History contains a treasure trove of information relating to how opportunities progress through the sales stages, how often reps change key values like Amount and Close Date, as well helps inform projections.

Here are a few questions to ask from the Opportunity History info:

  • How often does the close date get pushed out, on average? How does it vary by sales rep?
  • When an opportunity close date is pushed out, how many days of lead time is there on average? How does it vary by sales rep?
  • How many days does an opportunity stay on a stage, on average? How does it vary by sales rep?
  • How does the number of days in a stage compare between opportunities that were won vs opportunities that were lost?
  • What’s the win rate of opportunities by stage (e.g. for all opps that reach the third stage, how many make it through to a sale)? How does it vary by sales rep (this is a much better way to do sales forecast as compared to a basic probability by stage)?
  • What’s changed recently in the pipeline? Which opportunities moved stages? How is this month/quarter progressing against the previous one?

These types of questions can be answered by exporting the data into a spreadsheet and building a model or by using an automated analytics platform. Overall, the Opportunity History object has very valuable data and should be mined for insights.

What else? What are some more questions to ask of the Opportunity History object in Salesforce.com?

One thought on “Mining the Sales Opportunity History for Insights

  1. Hi David, great questions to ask of the data – 100% agree on the value of mining the opp history in SFDC. I’ve found simply plotting the trajectory of all opps by team or segment (elapsed time on x-axis, stage / prob on y-axis) lets you quickly spot significant issues.
    For example a pattern of opps starting from lower left and then closing quickly (moving to top left) indicates reps are either being purely reactive or not using the tool to proactively manage opps through stages.
    If the deals include a diverse mix of products / value (and therefore cycle time), color coding them on a spectrum from say blue to red (blue = low value, typically shorter cycle) again lets you gather a lot of insights from a single chart.
    Cheers,
    Malcolm

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