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Guide to Pipedrive CRM System

Guide to Pipedrive CRM System


Pricing (single user, as of February 2023): 

  • Essential plan $14.90/month
  • Advanced plan $24.90/month
  • Professional plan $49.90/month
  • Enterprise plan $99.00/month

All plans offer a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).

User experiences and comments on Pipedrive

The following are thoughts shared with us in our survey of independent consultants on their CRM process.

Name of consultant: Toopan Bagchi

Comments: Pipedrive is easy to set up and is a reasonable price. It was recommended to him by David A. Fields, and he likes that it follows the Fields approach:

  • Identified opportunity
  • Context discussion held
  • Proposal submitted
  • Plus optional phase for paperwork.

Bagchi also advises that it’s extremely helpful to utilize a virtual assistant to help manage the CRM system. “It’s much more systematic and consistent, given the volume of emails and scheduling needs.”

Applications integrated: Email

Name of consultant: Stacye Brim

Comments: I participated in David A Fields’ Solo Practice Accelerator back in 2020 and that’s what he recommended…so that’s what I chose! I have recently shifted from having one pipeline set up to two. They are now:

  • 1) Pre-sales pipeline — Populated with folks in my network that I want to maintain relationship with and stay top of mind with re: my services. This includes potential clients and fellow consultants, who are great referral sources. Stages used are: dormant, Q1 Reach Out, Q2 Reach Out, Q3 Reach Out, Q4 Reach Out
  • 2) Sales pipeline — Populated with opportunities “under discussion”. Stages used are: Initial Contact, Context/Sales Discussion Conducted, Context Discussion Held, Proposal Review Meeting Held, Contract Signed, Initial Payment Received

I use my CRM to track relationships with contacts outside of live project opportunities, my “core network.” I do not email my contacts within my CRM. I only use the CRM to track who to talk to, date, any high-level notes, and an action item for when I will follow-up next. I have recently shifted from using a bunch of 9×6 notebooks for my hand-written notes to using an e-ink device, The Remarkable 2. I love it and it helps me organize the conversation by person. 

Name of consultant: Terry Chevalier

Comments: It is an essential tool. Fundamentally, it has helped me be better organized and diligent in cultivating my relationship network. From a pure mindset perspective, it is also very uplifting to see opportunities in the pipeline — it becomes a visible manifestation of my BD efforts. I use my PipeDrive setup like David Fields noted — it’s essentially a “notecard” system similar to what sales people used in the 90s.

On the left side of my pipeline are relationships. The right side is opportunities. I use 3 specific labels: Identified Opportunities, Held Context Discussion, and Sent Proposal. Whenever I identify a potential opportunity, I place it in the Identified Opportunities and capture action items with it. Once I’m able to speak with the potential buyer and understand the need to further qualify it, it will go to the next stage. Once I send the first draft of a proposal, it goes in the final stage. At each stage, I continue to track action items. Pipedrive is very good visually to note where I don’t have actions, which provides a reminder to follow up.

Building on my answer above, the left side of my pipeline is for Relationships. Pipedrive allows me to track Leads which are separate from Deals. I use Leads to capture new relationships that, if upon a few interactions could be beneficial, I will change to a Deal and track under relationships. I also use 3 stages here: Dormant, Reached out, and Had Conversation. The details are the same as how David Fields has outlined his recommended use of Pipedrive, complete with action items tracked and “stagnant” reminders. Since Pipedrive integrates with my mail system, I use it to create outreach templates for Relationships and track responses, links clicked, etc. so I can gauge campaign effectiveness.

Applications integrated: Email and MailChimp

Name of consultant: Rick Denton

Comments: I have two pipelines: one for nurturing contacts that I’ve already met and another one for prospecting companies/individuals where I have no current connection. Nurturing goes through these phases (99% influenced by David A. Fields):

  • Dormant
  • Reached Out
  • Scheduled
  • Had Conversation
  • Identified Opportunity
  • Completed Context Discussion
  • Submitted Proposal 

I also have two categories in this pipeline that are NNC (Non-Network Core) and B2. I don’t want to lose data/names for folks I’ve chosen not to actively nurture now. They go to NNC. B2s are not my priority and when my funnel gets dry, I may turn to the B2 category to see what might have changed there. My prospecting pipeline is usually only about 5% of my energy and typically only when my funnel needs a new recharge that the recurring networking isn’t providing. My stages there are:

  • Ideas
  • Qualified
  • Contact Made
  • Proposal Made
  • Negotiations Started
  • Discarded

This funnel is much less formal for me and is used more for tracking the “random” idea I might have around a new company/person to target. My objective is to get “deals” in this pipeline moved to the Nurturing pipeline…or moved to the Discarded pile. My CRM provides accountability (on Tuesday those networking actions pop up and I respond to them…or they sit there and turn red), organization (note tracking in an online platform…I can look like I have a better personal memory than I actually do by “recalling” elements of our conversations from 6 months prior) and simplicity (I don’t have to think as much about what to do because it is organized in my CRM).

Name of consultant: Johannes Hoech

Comments: Pipedrive is easy to use, not expensive, and has good API integrations with other systems. We have complete contact histories coming from website interactions (chat, emails), LinkedIn, and regular email.

Applications integrated: WordPress website, Email, Slack, Dux-Soup, and sometimes Asana

Name of consultant: Andrew McKee

Comments: Pipedrive rose to the top of various reviews from small business executives (e.g., <100 FTEs). I started using it 7 years ago. It was clunky, but good enough, and has gotten much better. We have customized it. We tried many of David Fields’ ideas. We came up with a better derivative approach — we use 2 funnels, one for leads and one for deals. 

Other CRM applications used: We’re considering adding MailChimp integration, since we already use that for our newsletters.

Name of consultant: Belden Menkus

Comments: Menkus likes that Pipedrive works well with LinkedIn, using Linkmatch. “I have customised the stages, and then re-customised them (and then again…). I’ve realised I really have only two stages: not discussing a specific opportunity / need, and discussing a specific opportunity / need. Once I’m in discussion, it generally happens pretty quickly – or goes cold. Either way, I’ve not found it worth the effort to do much more than keep a list of the ones that are ‘on’. It’s given me a way to be able to more easily return to conversations and relationships after having been distracted by a lot of client work.”

Applications integrated: Email and Linkmatch

Other CRM applications used: Agenda

Name of consultant: Brett Pentz

Comments: I think a CRM system is really important to keep one organized in their business development activities. Pricing was reasonable, ease of use was good, and setup to match the recommendations of Will and David Fields in the podcast was easy to deploy.

Tracking opportunities and contacts, and especially the activities and timings associated with continuing to progress those into projects down the road is critical. I started by exporting all of my LinkedIn connections onto Excel, and I then prioritized those contacts in Excel using the method that David Fields shares in his book and on his Umbrex contacts. I started with those contacts prioritized into the top four segments in the 3X3 grid David shares, and I added them to my CRM as both contacts and opportunities, where the opportunities sat within one of three stages (Remaining Dormant, Reached Out, Completed Conversation).

I used those opportunity stages to track progress in outreach and responsiveness from contacts, and within the opportunities, I schedule activities around outreach and follow-ups to work off, just as I would with a project opportunity. Those that I have found to be responsive and regularly reaching out to have stayed in the “Completed Conversation” stage and remain my “core network”. Others may move back into “Remaining Dormant” or “Reached Out”, and I eventually find time to try to do outreach and see if they can become part of my “core network” at a later date. I don’t record discussion notes, but I do try to remind myself in the opportunity of key topics that were discussed that may lead to opportunities. I also keep my emails pretty organized and will refer back as needed.

Other CRM applications used: Todoist

Name: Mark Sadaka

Comments: The best part about PipeDrive is that this software allows us to add as many custom fields as we wish. Projects are extremely time-consuming and we can lose track of important information. The option of customizing this CRM system by adding tags helps us categorize every activity. PipeDrive is an ideal software system. But we mainly use it for efficient communication. The features are top-notch since we can make in-app calls, receive overviews and follow-ups instantly. 

Name of consultant: Dave Stowe

Comments: An important aspect for me was low cost and basic features to start, with options to buy additional functionality. I’ve added terminology that I use for my sales process as well as labels for my network. The CRM system helps me track contacts, prospects, proposals and wins. However, the details of conversations and other documents like marketing material and proposals are kept in folders on my computer.

It’s very important to use a CRM tool to track conversations and connections daily. Over time as I look at my discussions and information, I try to see if there is an opportunity to engage and/or help my network and clients. It is very important to keep track of network contacts, prospects and clients if you want to maintain your consulting business. Clients will change over time — even ones where we have great long term relationships. People leave companies to join different companies and organizations, so leads and clients will change.

Name of consultant: Daryl Tulimieri

Comments: My work is advisory for acquisitions and divestitures and I use Pipedrive with two different project funnels. The first is standard client prospecting or business development. The second project funnel is for deal generation once I have a client under contract. In both cases I use LinkedIn for identifying decision makers and business owners. Pipedrive allows me to automatically create a prospect profile from the LinkedIn account. This saves a lot of time when doing acquisition searches since I’m often looking up hundreds of business owners to contact.

I have found it moderately helpful in business development. My most productive ‘channel’ has been through people I know well enough that I am in regular contact with them irrespective of any CRM or BD process. It has been hugely helpful in managing the high volume of outreach that I do for retained searches for M&A deals.

Applications integrated: Email and LinkedIn

Name of consultant: Luiz Zorzella

Comments: I tried Salesforce and Solve360 in the past. When Solve360 stopped being supported, I decided to use Pipedrive to make some conversations easier (e.g. my coach, who uses it). I use a couple of automations:

  • When I create a new core contact, it creates the opportunity and creates the first task
  • Some tasks relate to connecting with new contacts

Zorzella finds the value of Pipedrive in that:

1. It helps me stay on top of my contacts
2. It helps me segment contacts (e.g. by location, who I reach out to before I travel to that place)
3. It helps my conversations with my coach

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