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CRM Round-Up Part 4: Pipeline Deals

In the continuing series of CRM systems that we’re reviewing, we’ve already covered some of the CRM basics<

/a>, 37 Signals’ Highrise, and Salesforce.com. For this next installment, I wanted to talk about one of the lesser-known CRM’s that we’ve looked at, called Pipeline Deals. I liked Pipeline for several reasons, but it has some limitations as well. Pipeline Deals LogoPipeline Deals follows many of the techniques of the Salesforce.com style CRM, at a much much lower price point (as of this writing, about $15/user with a 30-day free trial available as well). Simply put, Pipeline Deals provides the basic tools that you’ll need to organize your sales pipeline, and is customizable enough to be specific for your business. You can add custom fields on to just about any of the pages, and adding that customization is easy enough (their administration settings are easier to manage than most of the “larger” CRM platforms). However, the customization is notable specifically because the basic deployment of Pipeline is pretty limited – customer fields and sales funnels start out stripped of too many extras. Pipeline Deals screenshotWhat does all this mean for a seminar / information products business? Well, Pipeline is really built to support sales teams, and to that extent it’s not specifically a marketing support tool. Most of the clients that we work with are looking for a single platform to manage leads, prospects, customers, and JV deals all under one roof. Adopting Pipeline Deals isn’t that bad of an idea – but it’s important to realize you’ll need to also setup an email management tool, probably an event management tool (such as EventBrite), and probably a customer service & support portal as well (perhaps ZenDesk or GetSatisfaction). Pro’s of Pipeline Deals

  • Cost effective: At $15/user/month, you can run a 2-3 person sales / customer tool for less than Highrise and much less than Salesforce.com
  • Customizable: You can tweak & tune the platform to work how you want. That includes things like deal fields, customer fields, etc. It’s pretty easy to setup rules and things like that in the administration tool.
  • Clean User Interface: If you like the clean, uncluttered look of Highrise but want a lot greater definition of detail when it comes to deals in your funnel, Pipeline is a great solution. Very attractive and intuitive interface.

Cons of Pipeline Deals CRM

  • Sales-Specific: Pipeline Deals is unapologetically a sales tool. It doesn’t include marketing, ecommerce, mass mailing, landing pages, etc. in its feature set. However, for sophisticated users, you can tie leads to your online prospect gathering activities, but it does require some technical know-how.
  • Requires focused use: To get the most from a strong sales CRM, you need to
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    be conscious of the way that sales funnels and pipelines work. If you don’t keep your system organized, it can get out of control very quickly. So, if you’re dedicated to managing your incoming data, then Pipeline is great. But if you’re not dedicated to organization and management of your system, you might lose track of many of your prospects or leads.

  • One-to-One sales process: If you have large data lists that need to get organized, Pipeline may not be the tool for you. It’s a great platform for one-to-one sales; but if you’re managing hundreds or thousands of customers per sales agent / customer service agent – it’s just not built for that application.

Bottom Line The bottom

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line about Pipeline Deals is that if you’re looking for a very affordable, attractive, and reasonably powerful sales CRM platform, Pipeline may do the trick. With the 30-day trial offer, it’s worth setting up an account and trying it out with a few test accounts. They’re constantly making updates to the platform, so keep an eye open on their blog and customer updates to see how they evolve over time. However, if you’re handling large volumes of customer leads & prospects and don’t have sales people to actually get to those people, Pipeline may just not be the right tool for your needs.

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2 Responses to “CRM Round-Up Part 4: Pipeline Deals”

  1. John Grubs January 26, 2011 6:30 pm #

    Thanks. Ran into that when I was researching CRM systems. Ended up using http://www.pipejump.com – a fantastic tool for small businesses.

    • admin January 26, 2011 8:17 pm #

      Hey John, thanks for the comment. I like the reporting in PipeJump, looks like it’s got a pretty clean interface an dashboard. What’s the customization like?

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