This blog post is part of the Saying Goodbye to MQLs blog series, where we answer your questions about making the shift from leads to buying groups and opportunities.

In one of our recent Saying Goodbye to MQLs blog posts, we explained that the opportunity entity is a very powerful object that can help align marketing, revenue development reps (RDRs), and sales teams to reach their shared goal — win deals!

Using the opportunity entity as a shared container is best because: It’s closely tied to revenue and solutions; sales teams are already working with opportunities; multiple contacts or buying group members can be connected to the opportunity; and the opportunity entity has a strong infrastructure to support revenue process analysis. So if you’re ready to use the opportunity entity, roll up your sleeves and let’s get started!

When Is The Opportunity Entity Created In The Revenue Process?

We believe the opportunity entity should be leveraged throughout the entire revenue process. But we also want to meet you where your organization is today and understand the need for an incremental approach to opportunity creation. There are three common use cases when the opportunity entity is created in the process:

  1. At the RDR qualification stage. This is often seen as the most sensible approach because it’s a natural extension of the current revenue process. In many organizations today, the RDR already creates a Stage 0 opportunity (with a single contact) when they have qualified an individual MQL. We don’t want to undo this work. A pragmatic option is to continue to have the RDR create opportunities but make the RDR smarter by providing them with all available insights across the buying group. This way, the RDR has a more holistic view of the potential opportunity, qualifies across the group, and passes an opportunity with multiple relevant contacts and buying group members that the sales team just can’t turn down.
  2. During planning. In situations where the target accounts are known (such as in account-based marketing [ABM] or current customer cross-sell and upsell opportunities), potential opportunities are created at the planning stage (i.e., Target) as “shell” opportunities. Insight from signals from both anonymous and known individuals are connected to these shell opportunities as these interactions occur. The opportunity progresses through the revenue process based on the insight available in these opportunities. We often see clients use their ABM target accounts to pilot test their organization’s transition from leads to buying groups and opportunities, which later becomes a case for the rest of the org to get on board with this transformation.
  3. Based on a key interaction. Some clients will leverage a meaningful interaction (e.g., a form submission) to automatically create the relevant account/opportunity if needed. Although this approach requires automation and governance of the account and the opportunity creation process to ensure data quality, it improves RDR efficiency by streamlining common RDR operational tasks.

Which Is The Right Approach For You?

All three operational approaches provide value to an organization transitioning from MQLs to buying groups and opportunities. And many organizations will select multiple approaches based on their use cases, current process, and tech stack. For example, an organization may have 300 target accounts in an ABM program. In that case, they will assure that the 300 accounts and their relevant opportunities are all created at the Target stage during the planning process and populated with insight as it occurs. For engagement outside of the ABM accounts, insight is packaged and presented to the RDR based on buying group engagement, and the RDR creates the needed accounts and opportunities leveraging their current process, but with one major enhancement. Instead of connecting insight on only one person (the MQL), the RDR can now deliver insight about multiple people in the buying group.

Transitioning from leads to opportunities doesn’t happen overnight. Implementing a new process never does. The opportunity entity is a critical element player in operationalizing buying groups and opportunities within your organization. And with a variety of operational options, it’s something you can actually start doing today.

You can read all the posts in the Saying Goodbye to MQLs blog series here. Curious what question we’ll tackle next Thursday? Check back here to find out! Have more questions? Send them here, and we’ll respond in future blogs.