Salesforce Opportunities Part 4 – Stage History and Contact Roles

In this final segment on Salesforce Opportunities, Shell dives into two related lists: Stage History and Contact Roles.  He goes over what is tracked in Stage History (Stage, Amount, Probability, and Close Date), and how you can use this information to see how an Opportunity has been progressing through the sales process (or not!). He then looks at Contact Roles – where we identify all the players on a particular deal. Shell highlights through various scenarios how Contact Roles can change Opportunity by Opportunity, that the Contacts can be from different Accounts, the purpose of the primary checkbox, and the importance of defining the values in the Contact Role picklist for your organization.  Also covered are the instances when Contact Roles are created for you automatically (e.g. during Lead Conversion).

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Transcript of video:

Hello everyone, welcome to another segment of Shell Black Whiteboard where we help you get the most out of the Salesforce platform. I’m Shell Black, president and founder of and Salesforce MVP.

We’re going to wrap up Opportunities. I want to hit two related lists that are on Opportunities: Stage History, and Contact Roles. So you have your Opportunity record, and a Related List is a section that displays below the Opportunity so you have activities. But these are two that are unique to Opportunities, so lets go through these and make sure you understand them.

Stage History. So Stage History is pretty unique because it is actually going to track when something changes on either the Stage, Amount, Probability, or the Close Date field. And that really starts to tell a story when you’re looking at an Opportunity. You want to know who changed it, when, what is the prior value, and what’s the current value. Did the Amount go up, did the Probability go down, are we continuing to push the Close Date out? As you look at all these changes in this Related List it really does tell you a little about the history and the story behind that. And as an Administrator or maybe a Sales VP you kind of start asking questions.

Automatic, it happens out of the box. It’s one of the few places that Salesforce just tracks stuff for you, but it’s really important. There’s also some history reporting that you can use off of this section. So that’s about it on Stage History lets look at Contact Roles.

The thought around Contact Roles is as a sales person you want to make sure you know all the people involved in the decision around an Opportunity. The more people you know that have an influence or a say an Opportunity, you’ve engaged all those people and been able to identify them all you have a better chance of winning that Opportunity. So the way Salesforce supports you tracking the players on an Opportunity is through Contact Roles. And lets look at this diagram, hopefully it’ll help tell the story of how this works.

So we have two Accounts, and we have our Contacts, these little purple people below that, and these big blue circles are Opportunities. So we’ve got two Opportunities that are related to this Account, or this company, we have another Opportunity that’s related to this Account. So on the Opportunity there’s a Related List where you can add people in this Contact Role, how they play on the deal. So this Opportunity we’ve added one Contact, they are in the role of "decision-maker." This role is just a pick list that you define and we’ll talk about that in a little bit. So this Opportunity has one Contact for this person, he’s the "decision maker," on this Opportunity we know two people that have a role on this deal, ones "legal."

So maybe there’s contract review involved and maybe that’s "legal counsel" and that’s that person’s role. And then we know another person on that deal and this person is a decision maker. Even though this is selling to the same company notice that the decision maker here was different than the decision maker here. And just a point to take away, the roles might change deal to deal, it may not be the same players, the same people involved in every Opportunity.

Okay, lets take a look at our third Opportunity. So we’re selling to this company, they have an Opportunity out there. In this use case we actually have three Contacts identified. What’s interesting is, this Contact works for a completely different company than this one. And these person we put him in the role of "influencer," this person is our "decision maker," this person is engaged in "financing." So maybe it’s the CFO and they want to know the financing aspects of the deal. When you have multiple Contacts on a deal, Salesforce also give you a check box to mark one as the "Primary" – the one that’s the most important of all the roles on that.

So a couple things to recap on Contact Roles. You don’t have to select the Contact Role on an Opportunity, there are a couple instances where Salesforce will create that Contact Role for you. So one is on Lead Conversion, so when you convert a Lead, the Contact or the person when you convert a lead also gets associated to the Opportunity in a Contact Role. The other time that it happens automatically is if you create the Opportunity from a Contact record. So if I’m on John Does Contact and I click the new Opportunity button, they are automatically going to be stuck in a Contact Role on that new Opportunity.

We talked about it here where you have different decision makers on Opportunities, just to call out again, your Contact Roles can change deal by deal, or Opportunity by Opportunity. The Primary Checkbox is good to help identify the number one or the primary Contact when you have multiple players, multiple Contacts on a deal. The other thing to remember is, the Contact Role is a picklist, so decision maker, legal, influencer, financing. This is a picklist that you define. Salesforce has a suggested list that comes out of the box. Technical evaluator, influencer… they may have no bearing on your business. So you I really encourage you to go in there and think about what really resonates and makes sense for your business.

So I’m going to give you a couple here, I’m going to go through a quick use case scenario of lets say we’re a real estate agent. And if we are selling a home, the roles are quite varied. So you might have a Contact who is in the role of the "potential homeowner." You might have a Contact that’s the "financer." Right, they might be the bank contact that’s putting out the mortgage for the house. The "sellers agent," so the other real estate agent, that’s representing the seller. And you might have an "appraiser" as another Contact Role. The person that’s evaluating the house and appraising the house for the mortgage. Pretty wild use case, notice that a lot of these Contacts work for completely different companies than the real estate agent. So kind of an interesting use case to kind of hit home that go ahead and set up your own pick list values for Contact Roles.

Alright, so that wraps up our couple of Related Lists. Stage History and Contact Roles. Thanks for tuning in. If you have any feedback on how we’re doing we would love to hear it. You can hit us a couple of different ways. You can reach me on twitter @Shell_Black or you can send me an email, Thanks so much for tuning in and we’ll see you soon.

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