There are many ways to build a Sales Process in the Sales Cloud. A common challenge that many sales and operations teams face is with their end-to-end sales process. Out of the box from Salesforce, you have stages set up on Opportunities. You can add and remove these stages, as well as rearrange the order. When your users are working on Opportunities and moving stages through the pipeline, you can skip stages, and potentially miss necessary information. It also paints an incomplete picture of how long opportunities remain in a stage. What if there was a way to ensure sales never skips a stage? This is where a Sales Path comes into play.
A Sales Path gives you the capability to have a constant view of where in the Sales Process your agents are. You can set the stages of a Path along with the matching record type. Add in notes/reminders to remind salespeople of what they should do at each stage. Salesforce’s Trailheads offer great information on the basic setup of a path. This Trailhead shows how to build it from start to finish. Below is an example of a Path with the guidance steps:
Okay, now you have an understanding of how to set up a Path and the stages your reps will use. Go ahead in your sandbox and create a path. Follow along with the Trailhead if you need the extra guidance. Next, we want to set up a validation rule and formula so users must go through every stage.
The formula we are trying to create here is setting a number for each stage. This is in the background and does not need to be displayed on the page layouts (however for testing purposes before production it is recommended to include it). Let’s say you have 8 stages for your Opportunity, you want to assign each of them a number. This can be tailored based on your exact use case. For this instance, we will say that all Opportunities must start at the Pre-Qualified stage. The formula below is an example of how we build the solution.
Let’s discuss what this formula has done. Whenever an Opportunity is assigned one of the above stages, it is assigned a “Stage Number.” (You may call this field whatever you’d like). Once this formula field is active, it will automatically calculate the Stage Numbers for all Opportunity records you currently have.
Alright, we have the formula created for the Stages, and now we want to create a Validation Rule. This rule will enforce all users to go through stages in sequential order. This is done by restricting any stage from being changed if there is a stage number deviation greater than 1. Whether that is further in the Sales pipeline or right at the beginning, users will be unable to skip stages. Let’s say you are in a middle stage, this rule would apply if you go forward or backward to skip a stage. Formula example below:
AND (NOT(ISBLANK(fieldname__c)),NOT (ISBLANK(PRIORVALUE(fieldname__c))), ABS(Stage_Number__c-PRIORVALUE(fieldname__c))>1)
Now you’re close to the end! We have our stage numbers assigned and we cannot skip stages. What about new opportunities? As a Stage Number will not be assigned without a stage being assigned first. One more Validation Rule is required. This rule will determine what stages you want to allow users to create opportunities in. If all users should be creating Opportunities at the first stage, in this case, “Pre-Qualified”, you’ll want to write your rule around that value.
AND (ISNEW(), NOT (ISPICKVAL(StageName,”Stagevalue”)))
Now that you have your fields, paths, and validation rules set up, let’s see the solution in action. When creating a new opportunity you will have your validation rule and the subsequent error message displayed to users. This message will inform them they can only select the stage you have specified. From there your team can go through each stage one by one.
Let’s wrap it up, this type of solution needs:
This rollout can cause a major improvement in seeing teams go through all stages of the Sales Lifecycle. This is true in terms of consistency as well as metrics that help the team progress with deals. Through Sales Path, you’re able to ensure sales never skips a stage again. If you’re looking for a way to expand your Salesforce skillset even further, take our 5 Day Salesforce Platform Configuration and Administration Essentials Course. This course will enable you to make even more improvements in the way your company uses Salesforce!
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