Sales CRM software—such as SalesForce, Zoho, and Hubspot CRMs—have radically changed how sales teams manage, pitch, and close sales deals. Driven by the growth of cloud-based computing and mobile applications, CRM sales have grown exponentially between 2009 and 2015, and data has shown that those who have embraced CRM software have increased their ability to meet their sales quotas. CRM software helps all the different teams understand the sales cycle and change more contacts into customers. More specifically, the software’s sales funnel, which shows the work from initial prospect to closed-won opportunity, allows companies to streamline the sales process through data analytics, refined efficiency, and develop more sophisticated sales techniques. Understanding and analyzing these key aspects, particularly the closed-won opportunity, allows companies to grow their sales.

Understanding ‘Closed-Won’

To understand the significance of the closed-won opportunity, it is necessary to know how the sales funnel works. The sales funnel is a crucial way to imagine the sales cycle visually, and it is also one of the best ways for teams to navigate their way through the cycle. The CRM software’s sales funnel functions as a crucial element to help teams meet sales quotas. The sales funnel is an upside-down pyramid that represents the process all customers and potential customers go through, from the initial contact through ordering and reordering a product. At the widest area of the sales funnel is every potential customer (or, sales prospect) for the sales team, and at the narrowest is those customers who have already signed the deal and are beginning to receive the product (or, when the deal is a closed-won deal). In the ideal scenario for the sales team, the contact that starts as a sales prospect ends as a closed-won opportunity. The sales funnel uses quantitative data to identify the number and type of sales prospects at each stage in the funnel; it can also identify places where sales methods can be improved.

A closed-won opportunity is the stage of the sales funnel in which a contact has inked the deal and become a customer. In other words, an opportunity that had a certain percentage possibility of becoming a closed deal at the start of the funnel is now 100% certain to end with a sale. It’s opposite, the closed-lost opportunity, is where contact with the sales prospect has been terminated, and there is now a 0% chance of a sale. While, of course, the closed-won opportunity represents the successful end stage of a sales cycle, there are elements and techniques that lead to a close-won deal. When teams are prospecting sales—whether attempting to cold-call new sales prospects or cultivating old leads— closed-won deals are likely when they use more than one team member and establish strong connections through repeat communications. Alternatively, sales that emphasize a quick and efficient closing tend to end in more closed-won deals than those that take more than thirty days. Significantly, it’s worth noting that not all prospective customers end in ‘closed-won’ (in fact, that number hovers around 30%), so the object is not to take every prospect to a closed-won scenario. However, good analytics can help management routinize elements that make deals successful, creating an environment that maximizes opportunities.

Analyzing and measuring a ‘closed-won’ opportunity

One of the crucial aspects of sales CRM software has been its ability to manage, measure, and analyze successful closed-won opportunities to help create a more efficient and successful sales force. Key metrics help team leaders and managers understand differences between day-to-day variations and real concerns. Also, having a broader, more complex way of measuring closed-won opportunities will help create a more effective sales system that is unique to a product or company. For example: are most of the closed-won deals with existing customers, or are they from a new customer base? On the one hand, existing customers show repeat business, while on the other hand winning over new prospects is a sign of growth. Alternately, tracking closed-won deals by size or product helps to understand the successes and challenges of particular sales teams.

While the goal of a sales prospect should be to have it end in a closed-won scenario, there is also much to be learned by more fully understanding the specifics of a closed-won opportunity, which can lead sales teams to more effectively manage their existing customers, seek new prospects, and refine sales strategies. Instead of being outside the pipeline, the closed-won opportunity is the end of it and should be considered as an integral part of the sales experience. By analyzing successful sales—in other words, by seeing what went right—industry leaders have a chance to capitalize on existing methods that have proved successful. Moreover, recent digital tools and current CRM platforms help examine the role of the closed-won deal in successful sales team strategies.