Using the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Opportunity Entity

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Opportunity

The Opportunity entity, as well as related features such as pipeline charts, goals, and sales reports, is about Time and Money:

Time: When might the business close? (Estimated Close Date)

Money: How much might be realized?  (Estimated Revenue)

Who: Who is responsible for driving this business? (Owner)

The Opportunity form in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is designed to reflect this in a number of ways:

  • Important fields in the header:
    • Close Date
    • Revenue
    • Status
    • Owner
  • A Chevron-Based visual business process

Using the Business Process Flow

The Business Process Flow is designed to keep the sales staff on track through a given sales process. Since the process flow is entirely customizable, the flow can provide a way to standardize sales processes across the organization, or across business units.

The feature is designed as a series of stages and steps. Each chevron is a stage, and the fields presented within the stage can be considered “steps.” Users interact with the flow to report and also view various steps. Thus, below, the Opportunity is in the “Qualify” stage, but since all steps are completed, it may be time to advance the stage to the next by clicking the “Next State” icon in the upper right corner. See below for a screen shot.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Process Flow

Figure 1 – The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Opportunity Business Process Flow

Clicking the “Next Sales Stage” reveals new steps below that stage which are initially incomplete.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Opportunity Business Process Flow Stage 2

Figure 2 – Stage 2 of the Business Process Flow – note the new steps visible.

Best Practice ! A common customization to be made in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is to tie activities to the completion of steps in the Business Process flow AUTOMATICALLY. This is accomplished with workflows, and alleviates the users from needing to set these completion flags themselves. If the system can do it for them, they can focus on simply completing the activities – emails, phone calls, etc. In this way the flow becomes informational for all, and less of a burden on the sales team.

Product Catalog and Price List Items

Another important aspect of the Opportunity entity is the ability to use the Product Catalog to precisely define what the customer would potentially be buying. This is done by creating Products (“Product” is a loose term which can also include any type of service that generates revenue, such as professional services) with pricing, and attaching those “Price List Items” to the Opportunity. This supports a couple of powerful functions:

  1. Automatic Estimated Revenue, based on pricing and discounts.
  2. One-Click Quote generation from an Opportunity.

To set this up for use on the Opportunity, a user with permission must:

  1. Create and Publish Products
  2. Create at least one Price List
  3. Add Products to the Price List

Once at least one Product, Price List, and Price List Item is created in this way, it’s possible for users to add Line Items to Opportunities as shown below in figure 3 by clicking the small plus sign in the sub-grid for Product Line Items.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Price List Item

Figure 3 – Price List Items added to an Opportunity (AKA “Product Line Items”)

When the user clicks the small plug sign as shown above in figure 28, they are prompted to use an existing product from the catalog, or “write-in” a product. If the “Revenue” field is set to “System Calculated,” the Est. Revenue field will reflect the sum total of the pricing of all Line Items as shown below in figure 4.

Best Practice ! Set up your Product Catalog before your sales users begin to use the system to ensure the least amount of frustration when creating complex Opportunities and Quotes with multiple line items.

Remember that products will not show up unless there are Price List Items in the Price List that is selected on the Opportunity form.

Calculated Opportunity with Price List Items

Figure 4 – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Opportunity Calculated with Price List Items

Note that the Est. Revenue is now calculated automatically (and the field is locked – which means it can only be changed by adding or removing price list items or providing discounts on those items). To support this entire feature set, the following must be in place:

  1. Price List created and set on the Opportunity
  2. Price List Items created in the selected Price List
  3. Products chosen on the Opportunity
  4. Revenue set to “System Calculated”

This post has been an introduction as to how to make use of the Opportunity entity in Microsoft Dynamics 365. We hope you have found it useful. For more hands-on experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365 feel free to sign up for our free weekly webinar by using the pop-up training form below.  Thanks!