Opportunity Planning: The Definitive Guide

Efficient opportunity management software is your gateway to explore opportunities, make accurate sales forecasting and close the big deals. If you have an effective opportunity planning methodology in place it allows you to qualify your sales pipeline by providing you with concrete guidance that easily but intelligently assesses your opportunities natively in salesforce, which then enables you to prioritize your interactions based on potential and thus: be more efficient with your sales.

Table of Contents

What is Sales Opportunity Planning?

In sales, opportunity planning is about converting your potential customers and leads into recurring revenue. But opportunities don’t just come effortlessly, guess what – you need a targeted process to get them. The sales team targets, finds, pursues and closes potential deals in a streamlined manner – all with the primary goal of improving the likelihood of winning the deal. And that is why opportunity planning is so important.

But what exactly is Opportunity management? There are a million different answers to that question. Basically, it can be viewed as your tactical assistance for pipeline and forecast management. It is the invaluable strategic process that supports, tracks and manages the entire sales process leading up to the close of an individual sale.

What you want from your sales opportunity plan is a value-based strategy for a specific customer or prospect opportunity, which involves learning about the customer, building a value case and moving from contact to close. Every sales team needs a proven sales methodology and framework for strategic selling in the form of an effortless and automated solution to drive predictable wins and faster deal closures.

How to Do Opportunity Sales Forecasting?

Sales forecasting doesn’t have to be complicated. Basically, it’s all about having a methodical approach. The higher degree of accuracy, the better sales forecast. It allows companies to effectively allocate resources for future growth. Finding the smoothest path to your desired outcome requires that you first of all acquire a structured approach to your opportunity health assessment and scoring – an account-based selling platform. By integrating a platform that allows this, sales reps will be able to automate the time consuming and labor-intensive process of identifying multiple opportunities within an account and achieve a complete account picture.

The lack of comprehensive account information and inability to collaborate across all account stakeholders results in limited visibility into the potential of each account. This best-practice framework is used to help Account Managers take the best next steps, and enables Sales Management to coach in the right places and forecast more accurately to increase sales productivity.

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Why Is Opportunity Management Important?

Have you ever found yourself asking “how do I decide which opportunities are more important than others?” or “how do I manage this opportunity?”.

In too many cases, time, effort and resources are invested on an opportunity without actually advancing the opportunity forward. And to do this, a good sales team isn’t enough. Instead, Sales Managers need to have a proper solution in place to keep track of their opportunities. So opportunity planning is important for the very single reason that it helps you become more efficient with your sales – but it needs to be done in a structured approach. If there’s a strong alignment in strategy, opportunity planning gives sales leaders a better view into the pipeline and keeps deals moving forward.

As a salesperson you want to have a smooth and seamless relationship with your customer, and effective sales opportunity management allows you to do exactly that – by better understanding your clients, and thus allowing you to prioritize your interactions with them based on their potential. According to the Forrester Analytics Business Technographics® Data And Analytics Survey (2021), respondents at B2B firms who are advanced in becoming insight-driven businesses were nine times more likely than beginners to report a 20% revenue growth rate or higher for 2020 (29% vs. 3%, respectively). This proves how opportunity management can be used to help design and execute a “plan to win” strategy so you are able to prioritize time and get maximum value from your effort, and that is why opportunity management is so important.

What Are the Benefits of Pipeline Management?

It’s not always easy for Key Account Managers or Sales Managers to know why one opportunity is progressing and another one is not. Sales pipeline management includes tracking and managing all sales opportunities through each single state leading to close. The overall goal is to gain insight into the quality and effectiveness of the account planning process in order to suggest next best actions for reviewing and coaching calls.

With the right tools, the benefits of thorough pipeline management are plentiful – for instance, you can use the opportunity heat map to review pipeline health and assess and validate weighted pipeline. By integrating a proper solution to assist in this process, sales professionals can develop deeper insights that can be used to identify larger opportunities, advance these opportunities at a faster rate, and improve retention and growth.

Benefits include:

  • Gaining a better understanding of your opportunities to easier determine which of them matter the most
  • Simplifying complex solution selling and opportunity management so you can achieve better and more precise sales forecasting natively in Salesforce
  • Qualifying your pipeline and measuring closing probability more accurately

The overall purpose of pipeline management is getting a qualified opportunity pipeline along with a more effective way of handling critical opportunities regardless of the level of opportunity complexity
. In other words, you want to assess your opportunities consistently for accurate forecasting and deal coaching, so you can effectively manage and adapt to changing circumstances at every stage of the pipeline.

Opportunity Planning in Salesforce With ARPEDIO

Salesforce is an obvious place to start planning your opportunities because it allows you to store customer data. But the more complex and larger an opportunity, the more important an accurate closing probability is in order to secure precise forecasting. With ARPEDIO’s opportunity planning software you can get precise forecasting by assessing directly in Salesforce. Without ARPEDIO, Salesforce calculates probability subjectively. By implementing ARPEDIO, you are enabled to calculate based on facts and thorough assessments, making your closing probability calculation much more accurate and providing you with exact forecasts, while being transparent for the leadership, opportunity owner, and account team. It supports the process where a sales team targets, finds, pursues and closes potential deals in an intuitive and seamless manner.

Depending on terminology and/or methodology, you can customize everything in ARPEDIO’s solution to fit your specific needs or way of working. This way you can make sure that your best practice is being accelerated and rolled out for the entire organization to follow and thereby create a common language across teams and individuals.

Manage Opportunities With Medd(P)IC(C)

Every sales professional wishes to qualify and forecast with more precision in Salesforce, but the challenge is that everyone speaks their own sales language. While some practitioners use MEDDIC, others use SPIN Selling, and the list goes on. The challenge is to find the right software that supports your chosen sales language, in order to streamline the complex opportunity management process. When using ARPEDIO’s Opportunity Planning software, you can easily qualify your pipeline and opportunities through the MEDDIC sales methodology. By adapting a specific methodology in the software, it is possible to break complex sales cycles down into tangible guides, questions, and tasks. With an integrated sales methodology that goes hand in hand with Salesforce, sales professionals are enabled to see more accurate forecasts.

Combining Opportunity Planning With Account Planning

An account-based selling solution can give you a more holistic view of a target account so you never lose focus while working on multiple opportunities simultaneously. Combining the ARPEDIO Opportunity Planning with the ARPEDIO Account Planning solution allows you to gather everything in the same place where you are already handling your client data: Salesforce. Combining the two solutions enables a unique management overview of account performance across all strategic key accounts while equipping strategic account managers and account teams with the best professional tool on the market. This way you can effortlessly manage the complex journey of both short and long term account development and align even stronger with customer needs, priorities and concerns.

In summary, ARPEDIO’s Opportunity Planning allows you to:

  • Efficiently identify red flags and easy closing opportunities so focus can be on point for pipeline meetings, team reporting, one-to-one coaching, etc.
  • Ease the leadership challenges and streamline the complex opportunity management processes for sales professionals
  • Increase the results of sales planning and create a common language around your sales best practice while ensuring precise forecasting

In short – opportunity management is the complex process involved in tracking all opportunities for potential sales and converting them into – hopefully – closed deals. So take control of your high-value opportunities and make wins more predictable with opportunity planning.

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