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Using Salesforce To Find Business Allies

September 4, 2018 in

Do you know who your biggest allies are when it comes to successfully closing deals? Or, contrastingly, do you know which people or companies tend to get in the way of success? In business, as in life, knowing who you can count on and who will cause problems for you can be the difference between closing a deal and seeing it die. But how can you tell which people and companies are helping you reach your goals?

In Salesforce, objects such as Contact Roles and Opportunity Partners help you track which stakeholders are helping you and hurting you. Moreover, these records can be summarized in a report or exported into raw data for deeper analysis. For example, a report can show if one person is consistently associated with winning opportunities or if a supplier is consistently associated with losing opportunities. In any case, by using Contact Roles and Opportunity Partners, you can easily see who is bringing you good business, and who is helping you move that business forward.


Contact roles give you a way to list specific people involved in an Opportunity and their related responsibility. When you list a Contact as a Contact Role, you are also implicitly connecting that Contact’s primary Account to the Opportunity. By using contact roles, you can quickly see all the key players involved in an Opportunity.

However, sometimes there are numerous people involved with numerous different contact roles, which can blur your visibility. Similarly, sometimes you may feel a contact record is unnecessary, if, for example, the contact is an entire company or supplier. In these cases, you can use Opportunity Partners to list your stakeholders and provide different visibility.


Opportunity Partners are companies (aka Accounts) you work with on an Opportunity. While Contact Roles let you list specific people, Opportunity Partners let you list whole companies involved in a deal without having to specify a particular person.

Whether you choose to use Contact Roles, Opportunity Partners or both when tracking your Opportunities will depend on your specific business processes. What follows is an example of a scenario about how you can use Contact Roles and Opportunity Partners to track your Opportunity’s interested parties and influencers.


Smith Investments is working on an acquisition deal, code-named Purple Penguin. John Adams from Adams Legal Services is representing the acquisition target, Sandra McBarrister is internal legal counsel for the purchaser, and Amanda Jamison of Jamison & Jamison is the business broker. Lone Wolf Bank will be providing funding for the deal and a team from Blue Ink Accounting is reviewing the financial records. In narrative form, that feels like a lot of information. However, when cleanly summarized the information is much more manageable. Salesforce provides the same data in an at-a-glance view of all they key players in this deal.

(Note: Salesforce Lightning currently does not natively support Opportunity Partners, but you can install Groundswell’s free Partners Related List for Lightning Experience to take advantage of this feature).


While seeing all influencers attached to an opportunity is informative, the real analysis power comes from the ability to see what people and companies have been most helpful for your business. To help with that analysis, Salesforce provides out-of-the-box reports which you can quickly customize to show the data you need.

For example, this report would show all the deals on which Jamison & Jamison staff members are participating:

Using a report like the one above, can show you if any one provider or contact is consistently associated with winning or losing opportunities, which helps you identify opportunities for improvement.


Salesforce also offers an out-of-the-box report to show Opportunity Partners and their related opportunities. The information in the report might show early warning flags or positive trends. For example, looking at the data below, two opportunities were lost due to Lone Wolf Bank’s financing, therefore Lone Wolf Bank may not be a good lender to approach for future deals.

The information here is just a starting point for your own explorations. To learn more, refer to the Salesforce documentation on Contact Roles and Partners.

Need help customizing your Salesforce org to help you get more insightful reports? Contact our Salesforce Team to see how we can help.