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Out of the box, Salesforce follows a fairly rigid sales cycle. The system tracks Leads as your sales team generates and pursues them. When they convert a Lead, Salesforce creates a corresponding Account, Contact, and Opportunity. The sales cycle completes when the Opportunity stage changes to closed won or lost. However, for SaaS companies, the sales cycle is often more complicated than the out-of-the-box Salesforce progression. 

Some companies offer free trials, evaluation periods, partial installations, freemium pricing, or other options to familiarize customers with their products. They consider these options as part of the sales cycle, while others consider it as post-sales. In this article, we will discuss a solution that involves adding Projects to an opportunity when it hits a certain stage. This could be relevant for onboarding, installations, or evaluation periods.

The Use Case

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Imagine that a sales representative has convinced a hospital to try out their software for a free trial, covering only their installation costs. The sales representative alerts the technical team that the client needs the software installed, but other than that, this process is a black box. How does the sales representative know:

    • When the technical team has scheduled an appointment? 
    • The date of the actual installation?
  • If there are any setbacks or holds?

Communication tools like Chatter or Tasks are great ways to share information, but they need to be part of a process that can be monitored and centralized. A possible solution could be to automatically create a Project record for the installation when an Opportunity hits a certain stage. This allows the sales team to seamlessly hand off the project to a technical team and track its progress. When the Project is completed, ownership transfers back to the sales team to continue their sales efforts. This process applies to free trials, partial/full installations, freemium use, and other SaaS sales tactics.

Let’s learn how to set this up.

How To Set It Up

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Basic Administration

Before you automate Project creation based on Opportunity stage, you will need to:

    • Have a Custom Object that holds Projects. 
  • Create a custom lookup field on Opportunity to correspond to the related Project.

The Custom Object will be the placeholder for this process. The Lookup field connects your Opportunity to the Project, allowing your sales team to easily access Project information from the Opportunity. This also allows you to check if a Project already exists to prevent the system from creating multiple accidentally.

Process Builder

The next step is to create two processes – one for creating a Project once the Opportunity hits a certain stage, and one for updating the Opportunity related Project field we just created.

The first process will evaluate when an Opportunity has advanced to a specific stage, creating the related Project for another team to handle. It looks like this:

    • Run when an Opportunity is created or edited
    • Determine if criteria are correct for this process
        • Has the Opportunity stage changed?
        • Is the new stage equal to a predefined value?
      • Is there already an existing Project for this Opportunity?
  • If the criteria are met, create a new Project
    • Inherit data from the Opportunity where necessary 

Create Project

The second process goes back and updates the original Opportunity with the new related Project’s ID. It looks like this:

    • Run when a Project is created or edited
    • Determine if criteria are correct for this process
      • Does the project have an Opportunity?
  • If the criteria are met, update the related Project field on the Opportunity with the Project ID

NOTE: This will prevent Projects from being created automatically if a Project already exists for the Opportunity, even if the Project was manually created and related previously.

Update Opportunity

Workflow Rules

How do we ensure that the Project is being looked at by the Technical Team once it’s created? How does the sales team know that they can once again reach out to the client to continue the sale once the integration is done? By using workflow rules, we can alert the owners once the related Project is created or finished.

Workflow project finished

Additional Possibilities

The above process supports creating a Project on an Opportunity if there is a one-to-one relationship. If you’d like to create multiple Projects on an Opportunity (or another related object), this is possible as well. You can use the Flow Builder to manage this automation.

Additionally, if you’d like to add an evaluation period to your Opportunity after the Project finishes, you can do this as well. We will provide a detailed guide to evaluation periods and free trial expiration in a future blog post.

Ntegro Can Help Set This Up

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If you’d like help with any of the above automations, Ntegro can set them up for you. Simply get in touch with us online to discuss your project. We can set up the basic one-to-one automation or get involved with a more complex setup if you’d like. Just let us know what you need, and we are happy to help!