Salesforce Basics (3 Blog Series) Part 2 – Accounts, Opportunities, and Products

Salesforce basics part 2 of 3

Salesforce Basics (3 Blog Series) Part 2 – Accounts, Opportunities, and Products

There are several types of objects in Salesforce, but the two most common types are standard and custom. A standard object is a database table that stores information and is included with Salesforce by default. A custom object is built by a Salesforce admin, based on a standard object but with extended functionality. Now there are many, many standard objects in Salesforce. The five most important ones are those that provide basic mapping on which to run your business:

  1. Leads
  2. Contacts
  3. Accounts
  4. Opportunities
  5. Products

We have covered the first two – Leads and Contacts in a previous post – where I spoke about why the two can be confusing to new users and explained the concepts that set them apart. Now let’s tackle Accounts, Opportunities, and Products. This brings us to the next step, which really is the crux of any organization – doing business with others and closing deals.

The Salesforce Account Object

Once we have some details about a Lead recorded in Salesforce, we can begin to nurture the Lead with the help of the lead “Path” until the Lead is qualified to become a Contact. At that point of conversion, Salesforce prompts us to attach that Contact to an Account, which is Salesforce speak for a company or an organization or a business and so on.

Also, at that point of conversion, Salesforce gives us the option to create an Opportunity, which is Salesforce speak for a deal. Note that creating an Opportunity at the point of conversion is optional and can easily be done later if preferred.

So, the Account object now houses all the details about the company our original Lead (now a Contact) belongs to. And the Opportunity object houses all the deal details connected to that Contact and Account.

An Account object is where all information about a company is stored. But what if your products are sold to people and not companies? Well, to address that Salesforce has an optional object called “Person Accounts”. The Person Accounts object extends the standard business-to-business model by allowing information storage on individual consumers.

Business Accounts and Person Accounts can both be used in the same org. A Person Account stores information by combining certain fields from the Contact and Account objects. Once the Person Account object is enabled, it cannot be disabled. So, it is important to test the implementation in a development or sandbox environment before enabling it in production.

The Salesforce Opportunity Object

Let’s dive deeper into Opportunities. As we all know, opportunities (or deals) are at the pulse of an organization’s growth and success.

The Sales Cloud platform provides many easy ways to track deals, allowing sales reps to focus more on selling and less on updating records. The rep simply creates a record and notes down all the details available into the several standard fields provided. If custom details are needed, a Salesforce admin can easily create custom fields to accommodate those.

We visualize progress of the deal with the Opportunity “Path”, a visual process that helps to prompt progress of the deal in question. This Path can be customized to match an organization’s sales process with little notes called “Guidance for Success”.

As the deal moves through the various stages, such as: Prospecting, Developing, Proposal, Negotiation, Closed/Won, and Closed/Lost, users can have clarity on the deal in progress. Salesforce reports also provide a great way to stay on top of all deals at all times.

The Salesforce Product Object

Having open Opportunities is one thing, but what about the products we’re selling in those deals? This is where another standard Salesforce object comes in – the Product object. This object is where we store all details about the products we sell. It doesn’t matter if they’re physical products, service products, software products, we can store them all in the Product object. From this object we can pull any item(s) into an open opportunity that is currently being worked on.

Products can have variable or tiered pricing. These are easy to manage with Salesforce Pricebooks, Quotes, and Contracts which I will cover in my next post.

Are you ready to bring your game to Salesforce? Call me if you need guidance on the best setup for your sales process, I’m happy to help!

By Shilpa Varghese