Play Blueprint: Sales Pipeline

This article applies to:

Why Run It: Convert clients by automating a seamless journey from lead to prospect to paying client.

Who It's For: Sales based businesses that need a system to keep track of a multi-step sales and closing process. (But can also be used to track fulfillment processes for businesses with manufacturing or assembly processes) 

Implementation time: 45-60min

Play Snapshot

The easiest way to explain the Sales Pipeline play is that it’s a digital representation of all your sales opportunities and where they are in your sales process at any given time. Obviously, this represents a great chance to eliminate deals falling through the cracks, but it’s also the perfect way to forecast and project sales for the next week, month, or quarter. Individual deals can be moved through the Sales Pipeline, and, based on where a given deal is, automations can be used to create tasks or send emails or texts.      

Pro Tip: This play is only as powerful as you choose to make it.  Don’t be afraid to add in automation and tasks at any stage to ensure the process is moving as efficiently as possible. 

Play Components:

1. Pipeline Stages

These are simply the steps or waypoints that  you’ve identified in your sales process.  Within this play, you can add in customized stages, but the most common ones, such as New leads, Qualifying, Quoted, Negotiating, Won and Lost are what most users start with.  As we’ll see, each stage can be customized based on who might need access to it or what tasks might be associated with it.

2. Stage Automation

Automation in your Sales pipeline is triggered when moving a deal into or out of one of your sales stages. You can have automations that add or remove tags, create and assign tasks, send emails or texts, or send notifications of the deals progress to internal stakeholders.

3. Daily Pipe Management

Within this component is the daily review of where your deals have progressed (or not) in your sales pipeline.  It’s an important part of staying current with your sales process. Pipeline management lets you know if deals are beginning to back up at a certain stage. Or if a new lead is getting “old” or a quote is going to expire. In other cases, a company might have an influx of leads due to a new marketing process, or they might have a bunch of deals ready to close, but no new leads entering the pipeline. This is where managing the sales pipeline daily allows you to analyze your workflow, forecast potential revenue, regulate lead flow, and avoid pinch points in your sales process.  

It’s also relevant to note that you can have multiple Pipelines running at the same time. You may need multiple pipelines for different salespeople or sales processes, or pipelines for service tickets or fulfillment processes. You can build multiple pipelines with customized stages, giving you the ability to see, at a glance, the disposition of all your deals.

The Sales Pipeline Play will help you track all of your deals as you progress them through your sales process. You'll set up custom sales stages that exactly match your sales process from new lead all the way to closed and won.

You will also set up automations to launch when you move any deal into or out-of any of your sales stages.

This play is specifically for businesses with a consultative sales process where some (or all) of your deal take a little longer to close, and need to be kept track of.

The first step requires you to review your sales process. You're going to want to break your sales process down into stages that make sense to you. Consider your sales process as a journey and decide where the stops are. Start with New Lead, Working, Quoted and Closed Won and Closed Lost. From there you can add more stages. 

Do you want to see at a glance everyone you have sent a quote? How about everyone that has accepted the quote? How about everyone you have sent a contract to? How about everyone who has signed a contract and needs an invoice? 

See where we're going with this? Add all the stages that you need in order to get a complete, at-a-glance picture of where your deals are in your sales process.

Checkpoints to Launch

Analyze your sales process and break it down into stages. Basic stages might be (but not limited to): New Lead, Qualified/working, Quoted, Closed Won, Closed lost
Setup your stages in the pipeline section

The idea of Sales Stage Automation is that there are probably tasks, or communications that need to happen (either internal to your business or external to your potential customers) whenever you progress a deal from one sales stage to another.

An example is having the automation generate a task to send a quote or follow up on a quote sent when a deal is moved into the quoting stage.

Another example is to have a call task generated when moving a deal into the Contract Sent stage, to follow up on an unsigned contract.

Checkpoints to Launch:

Write the copy for any automated communication that will happen throughout your stages (emails, texts, etc.)
Assign automation to stages that require communication or tasks
Setup tags to use for reporting when a contact completes each stage
Publish and test all automation

Pro Tip: Automate adding a "status" tag to the deal when it is moved into a stage that denotes the stage the deal is in, and have that tag automatically removed when the deal is moved out of the stage. This allows you to do a contact search (in your contact section) based on the sales stage their deal is in and get a realtime view and start to get an idea of projected upcoming sales.

Your sales pipeline needs to be babysat like a disagreeable child otherwise it will get out of hand. Your deals are progressing on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis, so you need to create a habit for managing your sales pipeline.

This is important for a couple of reasons:

  • You want your pipeline as current as possible at the end of every day because we forget things when we go to sleep at night.

  • You don’t want deals falling through the cracks

  • If you are running automation that launches when a deal moves into, or out-of a pipeline stage, it is imperative to move the deal so the automation does it’s thing.

Find a time of day, every day, to create this habit. Give yourself reminders, create tasks to check the pipeline, block time off of your calendar at the same time every day for pipeline management, etc. You get the picture. After about 3 weeks, managing the pipeline will become natural, but in the beginning, you’ll have to be really intentional about it.

Here are some of our best suggestions for how to keep yourself on track: 

  1. Block out time on your Google (work) calendar (example: 30 minutes every day at 4:00pm)

    1. Keap Pro/Max - Even better if it’s the calendar you sync for appointment booking

    2. Keap Pro/Max - Create a task for yourself in the task section. Set the due date for tomorrow and the due-at time for 4:00pm (or whatever time you have chosen to block out for pipeline management. Do Not mark the task as complete, just roll the due date over to the next day to act as tomorrow’s reminder.

    3. Keap Max Classi c- Create a recurring task (daily) to update the Pipeline at the same time every day.

      1. Go to the My Day section of your application and select All Tasks.

      2. Add a new task, fill in the task information, and then choose the Recurring tab at the top.

      3. Make this a Daily task, set the Range of Recurrence, and Save.

Checkpoints to Launch:

Create a strategy to make time (and reminders) every day for pipeline management.
Stick to it!

Success Metrics

Primary Metric: # of Wins

The ultimate test if the pipeline is working is how many folks make it to your last stage. Compare the number of contacts who have that final tag with the number who entered the first stage to get your conversion rate. However, in order to get an idea of where you're losing the most people to focus on the stage that may need the most work, you can build out a report for the historical tag you apply when a contact reaches each stage and look at all of those numbers together.

[ COMING SOON: Tutorials for the best way to measure this metric ]

Common Next Plays

  • New customer welcome
  • Fulfillment Pipeline
  • Nurture Sequence

Done For You

If you don’t have the time or desire to build out this play yourself, we’ve got you covered!

With our Done For You Play Blueprint professional services, our experts will create your content, build the automations, and even set up reporting right in your app so your play can be up and running in about a week.

How does it work?

Download above image - Sales-Pipeline.pdf

  1. Scoping call – You’ll have a call with one of our experts to understand your business and what you want in your play, and go over the process.
  2. Expert goes to work – Your expert builds the play components (forms, emails, automations, etc.) in your app and develops any related content. They also set up reporting in your app. This takes about 3-5 business days after the scoping call.
  3. Review call – The expert walks you through what was set up and how the reporting works.
For just $499, you can have this play implemented in your Keap app in a fraction of the time it would take to do it yourself!