by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 13 June 2012
I like to cut corners, so I look for shortcuts and savings in all my expenses. I would much rather invest in customer relationship management software that integrates multiple sales channels and pipeline in a clunky and confusing fashion than in a solution exclusively designed for the purpose. Which is a pity, really, because managing sales pipelines is, ultimately, a completely different activity.
This week we will look at a solution that recognizes this difference. We will review Pipedrive - an application that makes sales pipeline management easier. We will look at its features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.
The story behind Pipedrive is one of experience. The solution's founders had already created a leading sales and management training company in the Baltic and Nordic region. "As the company grew sales internationally, the team experienced increasing amounts of software pains," says Timo Rein, chief executive officer, Pipedrive. "There simply was no good solution to manage the company's sales pipelines."
Even after investing $27,000 in a CRM solution, Rein's team had to manage sales pipeline on the wall with Post-It notes. "So, we teamed up with software developers to create a new solution," he says. The result was Pipedrive, a simple and yet powerful tool to manage and grow sales. "Had there been affordable well-designed sales tools, we would have never started work on Pipedrive," says Rein.
According to Rein, Pipedrive differs from its competitors because of its focus on closing sales and ease-of-use. "This seems to resonate very well with small businesses and start-ups," he says. Rein says the company is focused on providing a great overview of a company's sales pipeline, because it can be easily configured and used, Pipedrive ensures that sales people do not spend much time or energy on ancillary and administrative work.
As I mentioned earlier, Pipedrive lets you manage sales pipelines in multiple stages. The first step in using the solution is defining a deal. Each deal is associated with contacts and activities. The pipeline view is divided into multiple stages including Idea, Contact Made, Needs Discovered, Proposal Presented, and In Negotiation. You can also define stages for your pipeline using the solution. Finally, the sales deal is classified as Won or Lost. Each application user is associated with a single or multiple deal(s) that are reflected in his or her sales target goals.
Within this simple framework, Pipedrive offers multiple options. For example, you can create deals consisting entirely of products. In such cases, individual product prices are rolled up to form value of the deal. Similarly, you can create deals with multiple price points or product durations (for measurable products such as real estate) or price variations.
The solution also offers multiple metrics and statistics to measure performance. For instance, you can measure deals that have moved to the next stage or the number of deals that have already been won. You can also assign deal probabilities including assigning percentages to sales deals. This enables you to predict sales volumes for determined periods.
What does it look like?
Rein was not kidding when he mentioned ease-of-use as one of the application's defining features. Although I do not have much sales experience, it took me less than five minutes to figure things out. The interface is pleasant and easy to use. A simple horizontal global navigation menu enables you to configure settings and move between individual menu items. The pipeline view is extremely simple and uses a drag-and-drop interface. You can simply drag activities between stages to completion.
Color-coded activities are used to display status for a typical stage. Green indicates pending activities, red indicates activities with past deadlines that have not been completed. Yellow indicates a warning sign for activities with immediate deadlines.
Pipedrive pros And cons
I would give the solution high marks for ease-of-use and features. The application's features are inversely related to its simplicity. The complexity of a sales pipeline has been reduced to simple easy-to-use screens for novice users. Rein says that most customers love the pipeline view in Pipedrive: "It gives a really neat snapshot of the company's or team member's sales pipeline and helps to identify deals that one needs to focus on."
The application would be even more useful if it included additional reporting capabilities, although Pipeline is gradually adding more of it. For example, you can get a report on sales statistics per user.
The price Is right
The solution offers three plans - Lite, Business, and Business XL - based on number of users and storage space. Each plan offers unlimited deals. In addition, Pipedrive also has a solo plan for individual users and customized plans for corporate clients.
Is It for You?
With its simplicity, ease of use, and interface, Pipedrive is one sales deal you want to win!