The Insightly Insider: Streamlining your Sales Process with Pipelines and Activity Sets
This ‘Ask the Expert’ session is all about maximizing your use of Insightly for sales with the help of pipelines and activity sets. We’ll cover:
- What is your sales process?
- Why should you use pipelines and activity sets?
- How to setup pipelines and activity sets
Insightly’s Customer Success Manager, Melissa, has been working in software startup companies for 6 years and enjoys training customers on how to use Insightly for their business in the best way possible. For this discussion, Melissa will be sharing her knowledge of how you can streamline your sales process through the use of Insightly’s pipelines and activity sets.
Join us to ask your questions and share your best practices!
Put some thought into your sales process. Is it consistent? Are there different steps based on certain factors? How can you build out your sales process in Insightly?
Insightly’s pipelines and activity sets are templates that can help you to streamline your sales process. In order to set them up efficiently, you must have a solid understanding of your company’s sales process, and what the different steps entail. You could have one overall process, that you follow for all new sales. Or, maybe you sell numerous different products or work with different industries, and your sales process is slightly different for each product or industry.
Once you have a qualified prospect, how does the sales process begin? For you to be successful with Insightly I need you to figure out the number of steps you’ll need to see each sale through to completion. Decide how many tasks you need to check off within each stage, before you can progress to the next stage of the pipeline. I recommend mapping out your sales process from start to finish on paper, so you have a visual representation of each step needed. You’ve done a great job, we’re nearly ready to put this to use in Insightly!
Now that we’ve spent some time thinking about our sales process, it’s time to relate it to Insightly and understand how Insightly can help you to streamline your sales process. With Insightly, you can ensure that nothing will fall through the cracks and that all of your sales people are following the same steps to complete a sale. And, perhaps most importantly, you can report on all of this as you go! Insightly helps you to easily see how many deals you have in the pipeline, how much they are worth monetarily and if any of them are lagging behind. Need to see how many opportunities you lost or won within a specific timeframe? That is possible too!
Pipelines are great for helping you and your team to understand exactly where you are in the overall sales process. Is this sale ahead of schedule, right on track, or falling behind? The nice thing about pipelines is you can look at one individual opportunity, or a group of opportunities as a whole, all within the same pipeline. Pipelines allow for you to see a high level overview of all deals in your funnel.
A pipeline is a linear set of stages that you can setup to outline your sales process from start to finish. They are completely customizable for your business, as you set them up from scratch. There is no limit to the number of stages your pipeline can have, but I recommend taking a higher level approach and not getting too detailed. Pro tip: anywhere from 5-8 stages is a good number.
Activity sets are a templated set of tasks and/or events that you can setup to greatly reduce your manual entry of tasks into Insightly. Ask yourself this:
- Do you and your team commonly perform the same tasks for each new sale, regardless of the prospective client?
- Do you always start off your sales process by calling the prospect and telling them more about your business and the product in question?
- Are there a number of handoffs between different people in the company during the sales process?
If any of this sounds familiar, then I highly recommend setting up activity sets to save you time and streamline your process! This way, nothing will fall through the cracks and everyone on your team will be aware of what they need to do to make a sale happen.
Pipelines and activity sets must be set up by an admin initially, then they can be used by anyone within the account moving forward. To set them up, please click on the Profile Icon in the top right, then select ‘System Settings.’ In the System Settings list you will find both pipelines and activity sets.
- On the first screen you will want to type in the name of your pipeline. Hint: I recommend something generic, like ‘Sales Pipeline.’
- Next you’ll want to check the box for ‘Opportunities’ or ‘Projects’ so it can be applied to either record type.
- Finally, hit the ‘Edit Stages’ link on the right to proceed to the next page where you type out your different stages. Hint: I recommend having anywhere from 5-8 stages in your pipeline, depending on your process. It is best to keep your pipeline high level, and a bit more on the vague side. A basic example of stages could be ‘Intro,’ ‘Demo,’ ‘Follow Up,’ ‘Send Contract,’ ‘Receive Signed Contract’ and ‘Close Deal.’
That’s all there is to it! Once the pipeline has been set up, each time you go to create a new project or opportunity it will be listed in the ‘Pipeline’ dropdown for you to use. There is no limit to the number of pipelines you can create. If you have different processes depending on different programs or products you offer, you can build out separate pipelines for each one, and apply them accordingly. The sky’s the limit!
For Activity Sets:
- On the first screen you will want to give your activity set a name. Hint: I recommend giving your activity set the same name as the pipeline stage it is going to be placed in. That makes it much easier to match them up when applying!
- You will then want to check the box for ‘Opportunities’ or ‘Projects,’ depending on the type of pipeline this activity set is going to be applied to.
- Lastly, hit the ‘Edit Activities’ link on the right to create your tasks/events within your activity set.
You’re doing great, we’re almost there! The last step is to actually apply your activity sets that you’ve created into the different stages of your pipeline. Let’s make this happen.
Adding Activity Sets to Pipelines:
- Let’s jump back out to the main System Settings menu list and click back into ‘Pipelines.’ On this screen, find the pipeline you wish to add the activity set to and click ‘Edit Stages.’
- On the stage editing screen, click the pencil icon next to the stage you wish to add the activity set to. You’ll find that the activity set column will become a dropdown. Use that dropdown to find the activity set you wish to add. Now you’ll remember why I recommended giving them the same name!
- Go through all stages to plug in the different activity sets you’ll need. You may find that some stages do not require an activity set at all and that’s okay too!
Now that we’ve added our activity sets to our pipelines, we can see them in action! Let’s create a new ‘test’ opportunity or project, and apply the pipeline we’ve created. You’ll notice when applying the pipeline that you are able to see the tasks within the stage, as part of the activity set. Amazing! Without having to manually create tasks with each new opportunity or project, they now populate for you automatically so you know what you and your colleagues need to do in order to win the sale or complete the project.
Thank you all so much for participating in today’s discussion around streamlining your sales process! To recap, I wanted to leave you with some pro tips:
- Pipelines are completely customizable. You build them specific to your business! Therefore, it is important to map out your entire sales process before developing your pipeline
- If you have multiple sales processes depending on certain factors, you are welcome to create more than one pipeline and apply each accordingly
- Keep your pipeline under 8 stages, the more high-level the better, as activity sets are where you can really dig into the details
What tips do you have for setting up pipelines and activity sets? If you’ve found a workflow that works for you, we’d love to hear it!