Pipelines: Advanced Feature

Contactually’s pipeline functionality will give you a visual representation of where your deals are in their current process and what steps need to be taken. You can always review the basic functionality of a pipeline.

In this post, you will create a pipeline structured for project management.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (optional):

  • “Past Client (Recent)” program. Click here to learn how to build it.
  • “Lost Business” program. Click here to learn how to build it.


STEP 1: CREATE THE PIPELINE

    • Click to the Pipelines tab at the top of your account.
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    • Click on  Create Pipeline
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    • Name the pipeline Project Management. This pipeline will track your different projects and deals.
    • (Optional) Add a Goal for this Pipeline.
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STEP 2: ADD A STAGE

You will now create the stages of the pipeline.

What’s a “stage”?

Stages represent different phases your clients/projects must go through before they can be completed.

    • Select +Add Stage.
    • Name the first stage Interested. This will serve as the stage when qualified leads have expressed interest in your product or service.
    • Choose a 5 day timeframe under Reminder (Days). You’ll want to give yourself a gentle reminder to reach out to interested parties if you have not heard back from them.

What does this Follow-up feature do?

If you add a reminder, you will get notifications if time has gone by and you haven’t communicated with the contact(s) associated with the Deals. Generally the timeframes within a pipeline are much shorter than those of a bucket. Other FAQs.

  • Do not select a Program for this stage.

What does this Program feature do?

If you choose a program from the drop down menu, each time a Deal with Contacts is placed into this stage of the pipeline, that particular program will kick in. If you want to see examples of programs + pipeline examples, click here.

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While this example is specific to project management, think about the different stages in your particular business process. Are you more of a sales person and would have stages of a sale? Are you a consultant and offer different sessions with your client? Are you a recruiter and need to track the hiring process? Whatever your business milestones are, log them as the various stages in your own pipeline.



STEP 3: ADD CONTRACT SIGNING

Once you and your client reach an agreement, put it in writing.

  • Select +Add Stage to add another stage.
  • Type in Contract Signed. At this point in the pipeline, the client signed a document listing the details of the project.
  • Do not add a Reminder or Program. You’re probably already in communication with your client.
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STEP 4: ADD MILESTONE #1

These milestones could be listed in the contract or you could create them yourself. It’s important to have checkpoints to ensure you’re on the right path.

    • Select +Add Stage to add another stage.
    • Type in Milestone 1 accomplished. This is a benchmark to make sure you’ve completed what was decided upon in the contract. Whether it’s a tangible or intangible milestone, it’s important to break down your process into bite-sized chunks.
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  • Do not assign a follow-up or program to this step. Again, you’re probably communicating with the client regularly.


STEP 5: ADD MILESTONE #2

Set another benchmark for yourself to keep you on track.

  • Select +Add Stage.
  • Type in Milestone 2 accomplished. This is the second benchmark of the project.
  • Again, do not attach a follow-up or program.
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STEP 6: PROJECT COMPLETION

Once a project is completed, you’ll want to make sure you automate some follow up action.

  • Select +Add Stage.
  • Type in Project Completion.
  • Do not add a reminder timeframe. Instead you want to have a program kick in.
  • From the drop down menu, choose the Program Past Client (Recent). This program will automatically kick in as the deal is entered into this stage. This program is a series of actions that will thank your client for working with you and also ask them for referrals. To create that program, follow these steps.
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STEP 7: LOST PROJECT

Not every deal will be successful. You will create an area to document deals that didn’t quite make it to the Project Completion stage.

  • Select +Add Stage.
  • Type in Lost. At any point in the process, if you lose the client/project, put that Deal into this stage of the pipeline. Logging these lost sales may point out weaknesses within your business process which you can address.
  • There’s no need to use the Reminder option since you don’t want to spend too much time on these individuals. However, you will want to figure out why things didn’t work out. This is a perfect opportunity to use our “Lost Business” program.
  • Add the “Lost Business” Program to this stage. Directions on how to create this program are available here.
  • Select the blue button Save and the pipeline is complete!
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STEP 8: ADD A DEAL

Now that your pipeline is created, fill it with information.

    • Select your newly created Project Management Pipeline. 
    • Select the orange Add Deal button in the top right corner. This will create a Deal.
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What’s a “Deal”?

A Deal represents one of the projects/clients you are working with. A deal can contain more than one contact and you can have as many deals as you want. This feature is best used if you need to keep track of 50 deals or less. More than 50 deals and you may want to think about using buckets instead.

    • Search for the contacts’ names that are associated with the deal.
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    • Type in the “Name” of the deal. This can be a person, a company, a project or anything else that will help you identify the deal.
    • Select the Stage from the drop down menu.
    • Add a  dollar value if you’d like.
    • (Optional) If this Deal was referred to you, make sure to add that Contact at the end.
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  • Select the blue button Save. You will see the deal populate in the pipeline.
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Repeat Step 8 to fill out your pipeline! Click here to go right to your pipelines tab.


FAQs

What is the difference between buckets, programs, and pipelines?!

Buckets are a general category that ensures you’re following up with a group of contacts regularly. Pipelines focus on a specific process. Programs are an automated series of actions and can operate independently of buckets and pipelines. There is no hard rule that buckets must be used for one thing and pipelines for another.

When is a good time to use pipelines?

Use pipelines when you:

  • Have a clear start and end date
  • Have specific stages in a process
  • Have 50 or less deals
  • Are tied to revenue

Can pipelines be shared with my team members?

Yes, they can! When you edit the pipeline just check the box in the bottom left corner to share with team. Pipeline sharing is all-or-nothing. There is no way to only give certain team members access, but not others.

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WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?

See how pipelines and programs can take your Contactually account to the next level!