# Revenue Cycle Analytics: Revenue vs. Expected Revenue

Blog Post created by Michaela Iery on Mar 21, 2017

Many Marketo users do not spend a lot of time, if any, in Salesforce.com and do not fully understand how it defines certain opportunity fields. This can be important when you’re leveraging Revenue Cycle Analytics to evaluate the impact of your marketing programs on revenue.

Let’s talk about the field Expected Revenue. While it is defined in our product documentation, I’m going to be really honest with you and admit that when I was a Marketo client myself learning RCA, I missed this completely. So I was stumped for some time about why Expected Revenue was so different from Revenue and where this data was coming from. Was it something the salesperson input and if so, why?

Just in case there’s anyone else out there in the same boat I was in once upon a time, I’m going to lay out what might be obvious to many of you:

Expected Revenue is a field that is automatically calculated in SFDC based on two data values:

1) The Opportunity Amount – a dollar amount (or Euro or whatever currency you’re tracking). This part is input by the salesperson and she may adjust it over time as she learns more about the opportunity – unless her organization’s sales processes require that she keep it as is

2) The Opportunity Probability – a percentage value. It is the likelihood that the opportunity will be won. In most cases, your SFDC instance has been set up to automatically calculate probability based on the latest Stage the opportunity is in (for example, an opportunity in the earliest stages of the sales process have a lower probability of being won than one at the later stages). However, some SFDC configurations will also allow the salesperson to override this probability calculation with their own value.

Expected Revenue then is automatically calculated in SFDC as Opportunity Amount * Opportunity Probability.

Example: An opportunity in SFDC has an Opportunity Amount of \$150,000 and an Opportunity Probability of 20% (because it is only 1/5 of the way through the sales cycle). The Expected Revenue will be automatically calculated by SFDC as \$30,000 (150,000 * .2).

As you’d expect, this Expected Revenue amount will change over time as the probability changes, the amount is revised – or both.

Some related advice: So since I didn’t see this in the documentation once upon a time, how did I figure out what was going on? Two things:

1) I asked our SFDC Admin what the field was and how it was calculated. Make friends with your SFDC admins – they can help you better understand what the data in SFDC is and how it works and help you troubleshoot if data just doesn't seem to make sense.

2) I had user access to my organization’s instance of SFDC so I spent a lot of time in there just getting familiar with, not only opportunity data, but what my sales colleagues were entering (or not entering) as data for accounts, contacts, leads, custom objects etc. Get familiar with SFDC and the sales processes that drive its configuration and use. By doing so, I was able to work with our sales operations group to make changes to SFDC that benefitted both our sales users and the data we were getting in Marketo.