While a lead represents the first contact with a prospect yet to be qualified, a sales opportunity represents a potential contract. Each opportunity must be followed up by a salesperson spending time to make a quotation or the cancellation of the opportunity.
Leads are generally handled en masse, with the automation of certain responses or emails. Opportunities, in contrast, are usually tracked one by one by the salespeople because that involves a process of negotiation.
Ensuring that you track opportunities¶
Just like leads, OpenERP provides several menus to handle sales opportunities efficiently. All the menus for opportunities are under the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Opportunities.
To quickly create a new opportunity, use the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Opportunities ‣ New Opportunity. You usually use this menu in the case where the opportunity is direct and doesn't come first from a lead. It can also be useful to create a shortcut to this menu so that you can quickly open a new opportunity form when you need to – after a phone call, or an email, that needs followup.
The salesperson uses the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Sales ‣ Opportunities ‣ My Opportunities ‣ My Open Opportunities to track their opportunities. After various customer contacts, the salesperson can enter the information into the form to describe the activity. The history tab provides a history of all the information about the activity throughout its life. The activities are automatically reported on the partner form of the associated customer. To see this, open the events tab when you open the partner form.
When the leads have been converted into opportunities, the opportunities can be assigned to any salesperson. Then you designate an opportunity manager in the company who is responsible for assigning the new opportunities to different salespeople to suit their speciality, location or availability.
The manager can use the menu Opportunity ‣ All Opportunities ‣ Unassigned Opportunities to do this. This gives you a list of all opportunities that haven't yet been assigned to a salesperson. The manager can the enter the salesperson responsible for the opportunity into the field Responsible.
The company calendar¶
There are several methods for entering a new meeting with a partner. The first method is to enter the meeting directly in the company calendar. To do that, use the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Calendar ‣ All Meetings.
You can use the monthly, weekly or daily views to plan a meeting. To move between one mode and another use the buttons above and to the right of the calendar.
In the calendar you distinguish between multi-day events and events that last only for a few hours. Multi-day events have a colored background whereas single events have a colored font. Each event has a color that represents the user that created the meeting. You can filter the different users by selecting them from the list at the left of the screen.
To enter a new meeting into the system you can click the day and the hour for a new meeting. In the weekly and daily views you can also press the mouse left button on the calendar and slide the mouse along to create an event of several hours. OpenERP then opens an entry screen for a new meeting.
The advantage of integrated management is that the enterprise calendar will group several system events. Then in the OpenERP calendar you'll automatically find both these meetings and such information as business opportunities, technical interventions, and requests for staff meetings.
Tracking phone calls¶
OpenERP has functions to manage a telephone call centre. If, when you installed the CRM module, you selected the option for calls you'll be able to manage incoming and outgoing calls.
Call management can be used for two particular needs:
Entering customer calls so that you keep a record of the communication attached to a partner or a sales opportunity,
Managing a call centre with operators who handle lists of calls to carry out one after another.
To enter details of a phone call, use one of the two following menus:
CRM & SRM ‣ Phone Calls ‣ Inbound,
CRM & SRM ‣ Phone Calls ‣ Outbound.
The phone call will then be visible on the partner form to give you complete visibility of the events about that customer or supplier.
Managing a Call Center¶
You can manually encode calls that happen or you can pass them into OpenERP. But for mass campaigns, you can import a list of phone calls to make. To do this, click on the import link at the bottom of the list of phone calls. On the GTK client use the toolbar button Form ‣ Import at the top.
Phone calls that have occurred in the open state. The different operators can be assigned calls and handle them one by one using the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Phone Calls ‣ Outbound ‣ New Outgoing Call.
The operator can open the calls one by one. For each call, after having contacted the customer, the operator can click on one of the following buttons:
Cancel: you cancel the call. For example you could cancel the call if you've tried to call them more than three times.
Held: you've spoken to the customer by phone. In this case the operator can change the case section and send it to sales opportunities, for example. You could alternatively leave it in this state if you don't need to carry out any more actions with this customer.
Not Held: the customer hasn't been called, you'll try to call him again later.
Advanced Customer Relations¶
OpenERP also supplies several tools to improve and automate relationships with partners. They won't be described extensively here, just introduced briefly.
The supplier/customer portal gives you the ability to provide your suppliers and customers with constrained access to OpenERP. They will then be able to view or enter sets of information directly online to OpenERP. For example they could enter their orders, reprint their invoices, or work on communal projects. To activate the portal you should install the modules that start with the string portal_.
The email gateway lets you interface the CRM with incoming and outgoing emails. The scripts used for the email gateway are available in the crm module in the scripts subdirectory.
Outlook and Thunderbird plugins let you synchronize your contacts between your email client and your ERP. They both enable you to create sales opportunities based on exchanges you have with the customer.
The rules for automating actions enable you to send emails automatically based on the event, such as assigning opportunities to the most appropriate person. To access the CRM rules, use the menu CRM & SRM ‣ Configuration ‣ Cases ‣ Rules.
The segmentation tools let you create partner groups and act on each segment differently. For example you could create pricelists for each of the segments, or start phone marketing campaigns by segment. To enable the management of segmentation you should install the module crm_profiling.
The base_report_designer module enables you to create letter templates in OpenOffice and automate letters for different prospects. OpenERP also has plugins for MS Word to simplify the creation of mass mailing.