ultimate guide getting started with pipedrive sales crm

Ultimate Guide: Getting started with Pipedrive (the best CRM for managing sales)

Pipedrive (affiliate link) is a relatively new player in the sales CRM space but it’s quickly taken the industry by storm. Companies of all shapes, sizes and industries are flocking to Pipedrive as their go-to sales CRM. The platform is easy to use and provides incredible insight into your sales performance making it one of the best tools out there for closing more sales and growing your business.

In this ultimate getting-started guide, I’ll walk you through Pipedrive and it’s key features so you can get up and running on the platform as soon as possible.

If you’d like to get started with Pipedrive, you can sign up here (affiliate link) and get an extended 45-day trial by using my signup link (trials are normally 30 days). Or, if you've already created an account, apply to the code AF-Paulminors in the “Billing” page of your settings.

If you need further help with Pipedrive, feel free to book a free 30-minute introductory call with me and learn how I can help to boost your productivity and sales performance using Pipedrive.

WHAT IS PIPEDRIVE?

pipedrive pipeline view

Pipedrive is a sales customer relationship management (CRM) platform. It’s designed to help sales teams to more effectively manage their prospects and track them through the stages of a sale (called a “pipeline”) so they can convert more of these prospects into paying clients or customers.

The journey that a lead or prospect takes to become a client/customer varies for each industry and business. Pipedrive allows you to define the key sales stages for your business so you can keep track of which stage each of your prospects is at as you lead them towards the sale.

Pipedrive includes powerful analytics about your sales process. After you’ve been using Pipedrive for a few months, you’ll be able to identify key information about your sales process, including:

  • Average deal size.
  • Average time to close a sale.
  • Where deals are lost during the sales process.
  • Why deals are being lost.
  • What types of activities (meetings, phone calls, email) contribute the most towards the sale.

And more…

WHAT PIPEDRIVE IS NOT

Pipedrive is NOT designed for managing existing clients. Once you’ve closed the sale and signed up a new customer or client, Pipedrive has done it’s job. For managing existing client and the work you need to do to service the client, you may want to use another project management tool like Asana.

While you could technically create a customer servicing pipeline for tracking contacts through stages, Pipedrive is not optimised for this kind of work.

PIPEDRIVE STRUCTURE

pipedrive hierarchy

When you’re ready to import contacts into Pipedrive, there are various ways you can organise the information about your prospects.

  • Organisations – Organisations are the companies that you’re trying to sell to. Organisations can contain numerous “People”.
  • People – People are the actual contacts within these organisations that you're talking to to close the sale. You may have multiple people you’re dealing with at once and these can be set up as separate contacts within the same organisation.
  • Deals – Deals represent the sale that you’re trying to close and are attached to a person. Deals are the primary unit you’ll work with in Pipedrive and are assigned to a person/organisation, have a deal value (how much the sale is worth), are “owned” by a specific salesman (so it’s clear who’s responsible for the sale) and contain activities that need to be completed in order to close the sale.
  • Pipeline – Deals are organised into pipelines which contain various sales stages (e.g. meeting arranged, proposal sent, waiting for payment etc). Note that deals can only reside in one pipeline at a time.

pipedrive hierarchy

By organising your contacts into the above structure and as you close multiple sales for the same people/organisation, you can see which of these people and organisations are the most valuable to your business.

SETTING UP YOUR SALES PROCESS

Once you have your contacts ready to go, you can start to customise your sales process.

Pipeline stages

pipeline stages

Pipelines are used to define the stages of your sales process. You can set up a stage for each key milestone in the sales journey. A typical pipeline for a client facing business may have the following stages:

  1. Prospect
  2. Meeting arranged
  3. Needs defined
  4. Proposal sent
  5. Negotiating
  6. Waiting for payment

You can create multiple pipelines to represent different sales processes or revenue streams. For example, you may have a different pipeline for consulting clients, sponsorships and re-engaging old clients.

Using activities

pipedrive activity

Activities represent the tasks you need to complete as part of your sales process. Activities are set up in deals and are assigned to salesman to help them plan their work and define what needs to happen next to lead a prospect towards the sale.

Typical activists may include:

  • Email follow-up
  • Phone call
  • Voicemail (useful for tracking contact attempts)
  • Create proposal
  • Meeting

A user’s actives are showing on the “Activities” tab at the top of the page. This is a great place for salesman to keep track of on a daily basis so they can keep track of what needs to be done for each prospect.

By default, when you complete an activity, if there is no follow-up activity scheduled, Pipedrive will prompt the user to create another activity. This helps you to avoid the situation where you forget about a prospect as the activity will always show up on your task list and remind you of what needs to be done for each client.

You can integrate the Pipedrive activities with your calendar so you can see all your scheduled meetings, phone calls etc. on your calendar.

Using “Custom fields” to customize your deals

Custom fields are useful for adding specific and customised information to your deals. For example, you could add a “Deal source” field set as a dropdown menu so you can record where the deal originated from (e.g. Google Adwords, Facebook etc).

pipedrive custom fields

Custom fields are highly customisable (as the name suggests) and allow you to further customise what information you can add to your deals. Custom fields can include:

  • Open text fields e.g. Used for defining the prospect's goals.
  • Numerical fields e.g. Used for listing the number of email subscribers the prospect has.
  • Monetary fields e.g. Used for listing the prospect's budget.
  • Multiple or Single Option tick boxes e.g. For choosing which types of service the client needs help with.
  • Time e.g. used for listing the time the client likes to be contacted.

And more…

Not only do these fields help you to add more information about your deals, but they can be used to filter deals later on (see below).

Setting the “Expected close time”

pipedrive expected close time

One of the most useful features of Pipedrive is the “Expected close time” shown in the top-right corner of the deal page. Salesmen can use this field to specify when they think the deal will be closed (or “Won”).

Why is this useful?

When you change the pipeline to the “Forecast” view, you can see deals organised by month based on when the deal is likely to be won. This is incredibly useful for teams and managers to see their current monthly sales and predict future sales. This makes it easier for salesmen to see how “thick” their pipeline is i.e. if you want to close $10,000 in sales per month, but only have $8,000 in your current pipeline, it’s quick and easy to identify this shortfall and take action before it’s too late.

pipedrive forecast view

Marking deals as Won/Lost

When you close a sale, you can mark the deal as “Won”. Or, if the prospect is no longer interested, you can mark the deal as “Lost”.

pipedrive won or lost

NOTE: I’ve seen a lot of users move clients into a “Won” or “Lost” column in the pipeline instead of using the Won/Lost buttons. Some people choose to do this so they can easily identify and follow up with clients in the future. However, this isn’t best practice. It’s better to mark deals as Won or Lost and create a new deal for the follow-up.

As you mark more and more deals as won or lost you’ll unlock powerful data in the Pipedrive reports. You’ll be able to see data on:

  • How many deals are being won per month and who’s closing them.
  • The value of sales that are being won per month.
  • How many deals are being lost per month and who’s losing them.
  • The conversion rate of deals through your sales stages and which stages deals are being lost from. This helps you to identify weaknesses in your sales process.

The more information you have, the more you can improve your sales process and make better decisions.

pipedrive converstion statistics

Lost reasons

If you mark a deal as Lost, you can specific a reason why the deal was lost. These reasons can be pre-defined in the account. I recommend setting up the most common reasons from the outset and sticking to this list as best you can (of course, you can add more reasons later if you need to).

pipedrive lost reason

Some common lost reasons are:

  • Couldn’t agree on price.
  • Client not convinced of value.
  • Client wouldn’t respond.
  • Didn’t understand client needs.
  • Rejected client.

By having a clear list of lost reasons, the Pipedrive reports will show you the most common reason’s why deals are lost.

For example, if 50% of deals are lost due to the reason “Couldn’t agree on price” you can rework your prices or payment terms to improve your conversion rate.

PIPEDRIVE BEST PRACTICES

Now that you have your account set up, here are some best practices to follow when using Pipedrive.

Recording emails in deals

As you send emails to your prospects, it’s useful to keep this email trail recorded in the deal so you can always review the emails that have been sent and see how many emails it generally takes to close a sale.

pipedrive email

Pipedrive’s higher account tiers allow you to send emails directly from the deal page. If you’re on the lower tier, you can still add emails to a specific deal by adding a special Bcc address when composing the email.

YOURCOMPANY@pipedrivemail.com – If you Bcc this address and if the prospect email in the TO field matches the email attached to a contact in your account, Pipedrive will attempt to guess which deal to add this email to. You can always see the emails that have been sent and which deals they’ve been attached to by viewing the “Mail” tab at the top of the page.

YOURCOMPANY+DEALID@pipedrivemail.com – The more accurate way of adding an email to the appropriate deal is the use the deal specific Bcc address. Using this address means Pipedrive can attach the email to the exact deal you want.

pipedrive bcc email

I generally use the first email. Pipedrive is pretty good at figuring out which deal to add the email to and it means I don’t have to go hunting for the deal-specific address every time I want to send an email.

Work from the “Activities” page

pipedrive activities

When you have lots of deals to manage at once, one of the best ways to stay on top of your follow-up is to work from the “Activities” page. This page shows you the tasks you need to complete and by when.

Each day, make it a habit to visit this page and address anything that’s due today. Remember to always schedule follow-up activities so you never leave a deal with no clearly defined next action.

When viewing your deals on the pipeline page, you can identify deals by activity based on the icons:

  • Green icon – Activity due today.
  • Grey icon – Activity due in the future (not today).
  • Yellow triangle – No activity scheduled (you should set one immediately).
  • Red icon – Overdue activity. Either reschedule or complete the activity asap.

 

pipedrive deals

Pipedrive statistics

pipedrive reports

Pipedrive gives you lots of data about your sales performance for the company as a whole or for your individual salesman. The “Personal” dashboard gives each user a snapshot of their recent activities and sales performance.

When you first get started with Pipedrive, there won’t be any data to look at. But as you use the platform more and more, you’ll start to see some interesting information and patterns appear in the reports.

I recommend looking through these reports every now and then to review sales performance, identify strengths and weaknesses in your sales process and to measure the performance of individual team members.

There’s a lot of great information in the reports. Follow the best practices already discussed to help improve the accuracy of this data.

Using a “holding” stage

Sometimes, you’ll get a prospect who isn’t saying “No” to your sales offer but doesn't want to proceed right now. To help manage these prospects, you can:

  • Create a “Holding” stage in your pipeline (recommended) – This is the approach I use as it means I can always see a clear list of clients who are in holding.
  • Move them to a separate “Holding” pipeline – You can use this method if you’d rather not having the clients who are holding in your existing pipeline. Make sure you have an activity scheduled to follow up in the future so you don’t forget about them and move them back to the main pipeline when the prospect is ready to re-engage.

Alternatively, you could mark the deal as Lost and reopen it in the future. However, I like to leave the deal open as it reflects a more accurate measure of the average lifespan of a deal.

Filters

pipedrive filter

Pipedrive comes with some pre-defined filters so you can view deals that meet specific criteria e.g. deals older than 3 months or all won/lost deals. You can also create and save your own filters, for example:

  • When viewing deals, you can filter deals by deal owner, deal size or by using a custom field like “deal source” to show only deals that meet specific criteria.
  • If you have sales teams, you can create and save a filter for each team e.g. show deals that are owned by either salesman A, B or C (who are all part of the same team).
  • You can also use filters to view activities that meet specific criteria e.g. all phone calls.

NEED HELP WITH PIPEDRIVE?

There you have it! If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below!

If you’d like to get started with Pipedrive, you can sign up here (affiliate link) and get a free 45-day trial by using my signup link (trials are normally 30 days).

If you need further help with Pipedrive, feel free to book a free 30-minute introductory call with me and learn how I can help to boost your productivity and sales performance using Pipedrive.

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