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Has anyone successfully used CiviCRM to manage sales opportunities?

I appreciate that this is more of a business feature. However, charities and non-profits in the UK (and perhaps elsewhere?) increasingly find themselves working in a more businesslike manner. For this reason some organisations need to be able to record and manage sales opportunities. Has anyone successfully implemented this for an organisation using CiviCRM? If so, how would you suggest doing this?

The type of functionality required is as follows:

  • record a potential piece of work as a sales opportunity
  • link this to an organisation (and/or individual contact)
  • attach a financial value to this opportunity (and ideally a probability of success)
  • have a set of predefined stages for an opportunity - i.e. the sales pipeline (initial contact, qualification, meeting, proposal, close)

It should also generate the following reports:

  • list of open sales opportunities to follow up
  • potential income (value of open leads x probability)
  • overview of sales won and lost (monthly/quarterly/annually)
  • etc.
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The following might work as one approach and avoids the 'multiple field' dilemma flagged by Eli.

record a potential piece of work as a sales opportunity

create a custom Activity Type

link this to an organisation (and/or individual contact)

easily done via Activities

attach a financial value to this opportunity (and ideally a probability of success)

set up some Custom Fields for that new Activity Type

have a set of predefined stages for an opportunity - i.e. the sales pipeline (initial contact, qualification, meeting, proposal, close)

Add some more options to Activity Status

It should also generate the following reports:

list of open sales opportunities to follow up potential income (value of open leads x probability) overview of sales won and lost (monthly/quarterly/annually) etc.

Activity Report or Drupal Views (latter would be my choice probably)

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I don't have enough rep to comment and this isn't exactly the answer you were looking for, but I also had the same question a few months ago and research led me to the answer No. Instead, we are using Salesforce to manage sales leads (in our case, prospective members). I talked with a few people who have a lot of experience integrating CiviCRM for nonprofit orgs, and based on the small size of our staff they did not believe it would be worthwhile to customize CiviCRM to the extent needed, when an out-of-the-box solution would work just as well. I'm in the U.S. so I don't know much about Salesforce in the UK, but here there is a free version for nonprofits.

  • 1
    Thanks that is a useful answer (even the answer 'no' is helpful!) I've voted you up so you should now have enough rep to post comments. :) – William Mortada Aug 2 '16 at 19:05
  • Yes, non-profits can get ten free license for Salesforce in the UK too. – William Mortada Aug 2 '16 at 19:09
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We have a sort of hybrid approach to this at our organization. We record sales contacts for our exhibit booths in civiCRM along with their value and placement, but we haven't written the difficult reports yet and we don't currently require multiple sales records per contact.

We are using a custom relationship "sales contact for/is" between an organization and an individual, and then we have a set of custom fields for booth value, number, date, etc.

I would imagine for your spec getting this far could work for value, note, probability, and pick-list for the workflow stage in custom fields, and it's a very easy setup.

Here are the bumps in the road that we have tackled:

  • Custom tokens to send civiMail to sales contacts but include data from their organization through the sales contact relationship. We have implemented these as a custom Drupal module.

  • Basic custom reports adding columns + filters for the custom fields. This is not too hard but is probably non-trivial in terms of customization.

Here are the bumps in the road that we haven't tackled and I think are probably non-trivial:

  • If you require multiple sales opportunities for a given sales contact, you might set the custom field set that accepts multiple entries, but then you run into: "They can not be Exported" and "If they are included in a report as a display column, only the first set of values are shown."

I'm not sure why this is or if a custom report can get around this. I'd imagine it's possible but some advanced mysql etc would be needed. We wipe the booth sales fields each show and archive the data outside of civiCRM.

  • Potential income and overview reports - These are a bit harder and we haven't tackled because I am not yet familiar with implementation of the statistics() function when customizing reports, but that functionality is built into reports if you're up for the work to figure it out.
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It's not a perfect match, but what you are describing is similar to the purpose that the campaign collection of features handles. On a client site, I helped implement a phonebanking campaign using the approached described on this page: https://docs.civicrm.org/user/en/4.6/civic-engagement/everyday-tasks/

As Pete notes - the Activity record is a key to tying things together, and as Eli observes, their are lots of fiddly bits that require assembly, though most of the building blocks are in CiviCRM, imperfectly. And no is often the correct answer, depending.

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