I’ve got a blog post this week from Reyna Bovee, another friend of mine from inside the walls over at Infusionsoft. Reyna Bovee is a Trainer for Infusionsoft’s Certified Partners. She trains on advanced Infusionsoft elements and some fun ninja tricks. It’s safe to say that, like many of us, she totally geeks out on Infusionsoft.
Outside of the software, she’s pretty cool as well. She’s a sucker for inspirational Pinterest quotes and festivals (mostly because of the funnel cake). And she loves traveling, too. She boasts that she’ll take you up on a travel offer anywhere (I say challenge her).
Reyna uses Infusionsoft in her everyday life as she supports her husband and family with their entrepreneurial dream – a blooming home remodeling company. She handles the Infusionsoft end of things, and any other marketing pieces, which keeps her Infusionsoft and Marketing chops polished so that her trainings always shine.
Ladder vs Linear Sales Pipelines
A sales pipeline is a way to organize opportunities through a sales process. So, if you have a process that your prospects go through before they buy, and if it involves manual interaction, you might be well suited to build a pipeline to help support this. And Infusionsoft’s sales opportunity module is just the tool to make it happen.
This is different than regular ole’ campaign builder automation.
Sale Pipeline Opportunities require manual work to move from stage to stage. In other words, sales pipeline is best used with sales reps who have to physically touch their customers (maybe not literally).
These two images are the same exact pipelines, we just rearranged them inside of campaign builder.
They look like they operate the same, but there is one missing link that you need to know.
Cutting to the chase, ladder style is going to slay linear style every time.
If you’re shocked and feeling like you have been misled this whole time, dry your eyes, dear.
Let’s get down to the logic to ease your tears.
Here’s a super basic, ideal sales pipeline:
New Opportunity > Contacting > Working > Won > Lost.
Ideally, our customers hit each stage in order, according to plan.
Ha. Yeah, right. This is what actually happens.
- We get request for a Free Consultation. (Prospect Stage)
- After a few rounds of phone tag, we finally get in touch with that customer. (Contacting Stage)
- We start working the opportunity like no one’s business. (Working Stage)
But then! Gasp! They fall off the map. What to do…
- Rewind. We start phone tag again. Dang it! (Contacting Stage)
See what happened there?
The customer went backwards.
Does this happen in real life? Oh, heck yeah.
Let’s see how Campaign Builder performance view handles such interference.
Step 3: We start working the opportunity like no one’s business. (Working)
The two above images are saying the same thing. You’re right – no difference.
But wait – oh, just wait.
Step 4: Rewind. We start phone tag again. Dang it! (Contacting Stage)
The ladder stage handles it just fine. Because in moving them back a stage, we move them out of working (which stops that sequence) and into contacting (which starts that one).
But life’s not quite as easy over in linear land.
If you move them back into a previous stage, they’ll go back to that stage, but they also stay in their current stage. So now that contact is in the same pipeline in multiple stages. This can cause serious confusion and mixed up reporting.
If we move a prospect backwards in a sales pipeline using the linear model, the opportunity record gets stuck in two different sequences.
This gives you entirely inaccurate reporting. It makes life harder for the sales rep. And it can certainly create some confusion for the prospect too.
However, when you build in ladder format, you don’t end up with any of those issues.
The key difference here: Using the “Move Out Of” Opportunity Goal setting.
Each stage of the ladder style pipeline has a “Move Into” and a “Move Out Of” Goal at either end.
Easy-peasy lemon breezy. You just learned a new party trick. The key to configuring your sales pipeline is to remember that the pipeline is an accountability tool for an otherwise manual process. Any automation you introduce should be there to supplement what your reps should already be doing. (Tweet that!) And, if you build your stages with bookend goals (into and out of) then you’ll have a nicely contained, easy to manage, reporting friendly, sales process.
Oh, and if you want to save yourself a little time getting things set up, start with the Sales Pipeline Starter Kit from the Infusionsoft campaign marketplace.
Super compelling argument! Yes, ladder style does indeed slay linear models and now I’ll be much more judicious when choosing moving forward 🙂
So happy you caught slay in that language – I was channeling my inner Elivagar at that moment.
I love Reyna! She was one of my instructors for my certification training. She knows her stuff and just dropped bombs on why ladders style is better than linear. Boom! #micdrop
Mic drop indeed.
So, are you saying we have Reyna to blame for passing you?
Sending you love right back, Greg! And to defend your reputation, you were a golden child in class. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
What a great concept, I’m sick of multiple Opportunities and then having to get the assistant to spend days tidying it up.
Thanks for reading (and sharing) Lynda! Opportunities are so powerful, and I love helping amplify the people who spread the good word!
I’m so happy that this little trick will save you time, Lynda. It’s such a simple and easy fix that will tidy you reporting up in no time.
Reyna, Greg, I have yet to see a ladder setup like this. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.
Always happy to share – I’m so glad it was useful to you, Jarrod.
Great article! So what would be some use-case scenarios when choosing ladder vs linear? For example, the mortgage/real estate vertical…the process seems pretty linear, correct?
The main issue is that the linear pipeline configuration doesn’t really support moving backward at all. If you jump back from stage 4 to stage 2, you are moved to 2…but you’re also still active in stage 4 (because it doesn’t have the (out of) goal bookending it.
Hi Cheryl! My recommendation would be to pair a “move out of” goal with any “move into” goal. So any time you’re creating a pipeline, you are automatically adding this easy-peasy piece. There is not necessarily a use case, just a best practice overall. Thank you for reading, Cheryl!
Reyna = Rockstar!!!
She taught us the ladder method in our ICP course and I’ve used it many time since 🙂
Yup. She’s the best. I think I need to start a second blog to just feature her thoughts. Apparently she’s got a whole fan club!
And she’s currently gaining another 14 odd fans right now!
No surprise there!
Rock on, Kyla!
Ok, so who let on I was struggling with the Opportunity scenario in the ICP Pre-course? Thank you Rayna! Now what else can I put out to the Universe that will suddenly appear here on Monkeypod?
Haha, just concentrate really hard on something and I’ll see what I can do!
Your wish is my command, Ramona! I may take requests for ICP training coming up too!
Where have you been hiding? I’d hate to count the number of times we’ve dumped our inflexible confusing sales pipelines. Plus… pity those poor Infusionsoft customer launch people who are dealing with customers (like me at the time) who don’t know what they don’t know. The launch process should include real-world blueprinting first. Thanks Greg!
Thanks for reading Jamie!
I’m so pleased to hear that, Jamie!
I’m Sold – Will be teaching this today in Whiteboard Wednesday! Thanks Greg, Thanks Reyna!
That was easy! Good luck with your teachings, Kevin.