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.