How to Keep SAP CRM Opportunities Clean

  • by John Burton, Director Solution Management, SAP Interaction Center & Social CRM, SAP
  • William R. Pritchett, Senior Business Process Engineer, Dow Corning Corporation
  • February 10, 2014
Identifying older sales opportunities as closed in your CRM system and automatically removing them from searches keeps salespeople focused on current opportunities and can lead to increased productivity and sales.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn how to:

  • Automatically identify older sales opportunities and mark them with a closed status
  • Locate opportunities marked with a closed status in the system
  • Remove opportunities with a closed status from user searches
Key Concept

Every SAP CRM opportunity has a Sales Stage field that indicates the phase of the sales cycle for that record. For example, the customer may be learning about your company’s products and be in the early stages of gathering information, or the customer may be in the decision-making phase and preparing to select a vendor. The value in the Sales Stage field is used to indicate the current phase in the buying cycle. This field can also be used to indicate automatic closure of opportunities that have not been updated within a specified period of time.

Sales professionals are remarkably good … at doing exactly what they are compensated for. If your sales compensation plan offers maximal incentives for hitting 300 percent of quota, good salespeople are going to hit 300 percent of their quota every quarter – or at least until they get that new sports car and Lake Tahoe vacation home paid off. Never mind that sales reps might be giving away product through ridiculous discounting or poaching accounts from another rep’s territory.

It is precisely for this reason that many companies have implemented sales force automation (SFA) and pipeline performance management software tools. These tools provide sales reps with visibility into their opportunities and sales pipeline, but the system – like any system – is only as good as the data it relies on. Unfortunately, while sales reps excel at the critical skills needed to close deals – such as deliberately missing an easy three-foot putt on the golf course to let the client win, or selecting the perfect full-bodied oaky Chardonnay to pair with the Béarnaise sauce on a petite filet – they often struggle at more mundane tasks such as updating older opportunities in the CRM system that have fallen by the wayside.

Unlike fine wines, sales opportunities usually don’t improve with age. Granted, there are certain industries – particularly with multi-million dollar products – in which sales cycles can legitimately extend for several years. However, even in these industries, a sales rep should regularly update the opportunity with ongoing progress. If, on the other hand, an opportunity sits in the system for a year or more without being touched, it’s likely that the opportunity has been lost and needs to be updated to reflect the current status.

In this article, we review ways of keeping records clean so that your users can focus on winning opportunities that contribute to your company’s bottom line. 


John Burton

John Burton is a director of product management at SAP and is responsible for the SAP CRM Interaction Center (including ERMS) and social CRM topic areas. John has 13 years of experience at SAP and has been involved with SAP CRM and the Interaction Center since 1999. He is also the author of Maximizing Your SAP CRM Interaction Center, available at the SAPinsider Store. John is an alumnus of the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University. John can be found on LinkedIn at

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William R. Pritchett

William (Bill) Pritchett has more than 25 years of IT industry experience and has worked at Dow Corning Corporation for the past 16 years. Over the past eight years he has focused on the company’s CRM systems and processes. His current responsibilities include expanding the capabilities of Dow Corning’s SAP CRM 7.0 system.

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