Establish your Pipeline and create opportunities


Now that you understand contact records, let's get to know opportunities. These represent a value-based business deal, which you can track through a series of business stages known as your pipeline. 

In this module, we'll tackle the following:

Understand opportunities

Understand the pipeline

Define your pipeline stages

Create your pipeline

Move an opportunity through your pipeline

Put it all together: Leads, people, companies and opportunities

Understand opportunities

An Opportunity is a business deal, a sale or an action that has a monetary value associated with it and a close date (or an ideal date by which you should receive the associated revenue). This could be sale of a product or billing associated with services. 

Ideally, you should be in communication with the person associated with the opportunity so you can set a realistic value and close date.

A unique aspect of opportunities is they don't just sit in a list like a person or company. They move through a series of business stages known as your pipeline.

Understand the Pipeline

As we learned in the previous section, an opportunity is a business deal, a sale or an action that moves through a series of stages known as a pipeline.

A pipeline represents your sales process from start to finish. Each milestone in that process is known as a stage, which you move your opportunities through. Your pipeline stages will be defined according to what steps are involved in meeting your end goal.

For example, if you’re a traditional Sales company, your Pipeline might look like this:

             Qualified → Follow-Up → Presentation → Contract Sent → Negotiation

If you’re instead using a CRM for business development, your Pipeline might look like this:

             First Meeting → Partner Meeting → Negotiation → Term Sheet

Or maybe you’re a recruitment firm, and your Pipeline looks like this:

             Phone Interview → First In-Person Interview → Second In-Person Interview

             → Reference Check → Offer Letter

Check out this GIF to follow an opportunity as it is moved through the pipeline:


Define your pipeline stages

Not every Copper use case includes a pipeline. If you're just using Copper for contact management, and you don't need to track value-based deals from open to close, you may not need a pipeline. 

If you're using Copper in more of a traditional sales use case, you likely do need a pipeline. Maybe even more than one!

To determine the stages of your pipeline, start by writing down the steps in your sales cycle from start to finish. 

What is the common starting point for each opportunity?

What are the key stages a sale will pass through?

What does the conclusion of a business deal look like?

If you got stuck and see that there are multiple processes you need to track value through, you might want to create multiple pipelines. We fully support this, and you can move opportunities between different pipelines as well.

Create your Pipeline

  1. Sign into your Copper account and click the 'Settings' link in the left-hand menu.
  2. Under the 'Customize Copper' section, choose 'Pipeline.'
  3. Click ‘Create New Pipeline.’ Here’s where it gets creative.
  4. In the blank field next to ‘Stage Name,’ enter a stage in your sale cycle.


6. Below ‘Win Probabability %,” you’ll enter the likelihood of getting from this stage to the final stage in your pipeline.  An opportunity in the first stage of your pipeline will have a lower probability of winning when compared to an opportunity that you have moved through your pipeline to the final stages.

7. Click ‘Save’ when you’re finished.

Repeat this until you've created all of your stages.

If you have more than one process you need to track, you can create multiple pipelines.

Congratulations! You’ve established the sales cycle for your Copper account.

Move an opportunity through your pipeline

  1. Sign into your Copper account, and click 'Opportunities' from the left-hand menu. This actually takes you to your pipeline.
  2. If you don't have any opportunities created yet, click the '+' sign in the upper right like you did in the last exercise to create an opportunity.
  3. On the Opportunities landing page, click the opportunity you created in the previous exercise, and drag it to the right to a new pipeline stage.
    • Note two things that have happened:
      • The dollar value below the pipeline stage you moved the opportunity into grew by the value of the opportunity.
      • Click on the opportunity, and scroll down to the 'Win %' field. You'll notice the value in this field changed to match the win probability of the pipeline stage. This will be an increased win probability if you moved the opportunity to the right since you've moved closer to the close of the deal.
  4. Click the opportunity and drag it toward the bottom of the page. You'll see the 'Lost,' 'Abandoned,' and 'Won' buttons. Drag the opportunity over one of these buttons, and release it.
  5. In the pop-up window that appears for a lost or abandoned opportunity, you can indicate notes about why you put it in this status. In the pop-up window that appears for a won opportunity, you have the option to turn the associated person into the contact type of your choosing; company into a current company; leave notes; and change the close date of the opportunity to today.


  6. The opportunity will remain in the pipeline stage it was in before you took this step, but you'll see a 'Lost,' 'Abandoned,' or 'Won' badge attached to it.

Put it all together: Leads, people, companies and opportunities

In the image below, we can see the relationship between leads, people, companies, opportunities and your pipeline. 

You enter a contact into the system as a lead, then qualify the lead and convert them to a person. If you're B2B, that person might have a company associated with it. If you're using a pipeline, that person may have an opportunity associated with it. That opportunity is then moved through the stages of your pipeline.


To ensure you get the most meaningful information from your sales process, let's tackle customization next!

Advance to the next topic: Customize your Records

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