For many work processes, we repeat the same steps for similar business situations. For a small business, these stages might be: Call customer, Offer services, Sign contract, Plan work, Complete work. For a sales team, they might be: Verify lead, Contact lead, Send information, Set up meeting, Negotiate contract.
With Pipelines, an Insightly administrator can map out these stages for everyone on your account to follow. This helps everyone follow the same consistent path and will make your projects and opportunities easier to manage, monitor, and coordinate.
Planning a Pipeline
You can break down your work process into stages by thinking about the things that must be done in a sequential order. In other words, you can't move to Stage 2 until Stage 1 is complete.
When an opportunity or project contains a Pipeline, the Pipeline will be displayed with the current stage highlighted. The person who is working on that item can change the stage when they're ready to move to the next step. Everyone with access to the record can easily see how things are progressing.
A few key points about Pipelines:
- Pipelines can be used with opportunities or projects.
- Only one Pipeline may be applied to each record.
- Every Pipeline must include at least one stage.
- For projects, you can apply a Pipeline or milestones, but not both. See Using projects in Insightly.
- You can tie activity sets to a Pipeline to automatically create tasks and events when a stage is reached.
- Opportunity Pipelines can include a default Probability of Winning. This will automatically update an opportunities probability field when its Pipeline stage is changed.
- You can create reports to track changes in opportunity Pipeline stages and notify you of changes through Smart Alerts.
- Pipelines are set up by Insightly administrators, but can be applied by anyone who can create or edit projects or opportunities.
We'll use a fictional company that sells and manufactures wind turbines as an example.
For their sales process, they can't set up a consultation with a prospect until they've verified the prospect's interest and address. They can't confirm the specifications with their product team until the consultation is complete, and so on. Each of these steps will be set up in a stage:
Stage 1: Verify information
Stage 2: Set up consultation
Stage 3: Confirm specs
Stage 4: Negotiate contract
Stage 5: Sign contract
Combining Pipelines and activity sets
A major benefit of Pipelines is that any stage can have an activity set associated with it. Activity sets can create a collection of predefined tasks and events in one step, so when you reach a stage that includes an activity set, the set is triggered and will automatically create tasks or events linked to the current project or opportunity.
For our example, once the prospect is verified and the opportunity is moved to Stage 2, an activity set automatically creates a consultation event for five days later and a task for a local rep to call, introduce themselves, and confirm the appointment. Everything gets done, and no one has to manually enter those tasks and events each time!
Applying a Pipeline
Once an administrator has created a Pipeline for opportunities or projects, Pipeline and Stage fields will be displayed when you're adding or editing a record. You can change the stage by editing the record, too, but there's a quicker way to handle that.
When you're viewing a record, advance to the next stage in the Pipeline by clicking the Change Pipeline Stage link and selecting the new stage.
That covers the basics. Now you're ready to set up a Pipeline.