Your business doesn't have to have anything to do with plumbing in order to get help from pipeline management. This is yet another new piece of jargon for those of us who are using business software, although pipeline management often refers to activities that you would actually do with your business. Pipeline management is part of the wide world of Customer Relations Management (CRM) software. Pipeline management helps you with multiple projects to help you run your business.
The world of business and computers love to use spiffy jargon, so you may already be familiar with pipeline management but call it by something else. Some other terms are "sales funnel", "revenue teasers" or even the ever-popular and flexible "sales planning."
In the case of pipeline management, the "pipeline" is the flow of income pouring into your hot little hands by means of getting new clients and projects in place working for established clients. Pipeline management is another term for "money that's on the way". (As in, "What's in the pipeline?") Okay, the actual definition more technical than that, but basically it helps you plan and keep track of all the steps you take on projects.
People in sales, business and computers like to name their gizmos after other things people might be more familiar with. Hopefully, you'll be better able to remember what it does when it's given such a name.
What's So Hot About It?
Pipeline management is used especially in the sales divisions of businesses, although you can theoretically modify it to suit your unique business needs. For example, if you are a freelance writer, then you would need to keep track of all of the publications you sent a prospective article query to. You could keep track of this with pipeline management plug-ins for your CRM application program.
There are many things you can do with pipeline management programs. You can forecast for future growth, you can track upward and downward sales trends for each employee (or each client), calculating the tax for each project and making jokes about Pipeline Management Systems (PMS).
Pipeline management is often a tool used in larger businesses, as the department heads or CEOs have to constantly forecast, make plans and revise those plans once reality sets in. They are also a way of tracking the performance of individual employees and makes writing reports on how they are handling a project easier for the employee and the employer.
Another thing pipeline management can help you do is cut out unnecessary steps and see where you are wasting your time when you are trying to bring in more sales. You can see what's causing delays and see where you can get things moving. This is because it's so much harder to give an accurate forecast when there are a lot of factors involved. If it's too hard to input into the pipeline management program, it's probably too hard to keep!
Doesn't CRM Do This Stuff?
Although pipeline management is often part of CRM software, it's not always. You have to check with your specific CRM software to see if it has pipeline management functions. If your currently existing CRM software doesn’t have pipeline management functions, then you can wither change to a new brand of CRM software that does or get a pipeline management plug-in or add-on that works with your current CRM software program.
The best pipeline management programs will work within Microsoft Outlook and not have to have their own separate browser window open, taking up your computer's energy and time. You also need to be sure your pipeline management program is relatively easy to use, especially if you decide to ditch your current CRM software in favor of one that does include pipeline management.
Also, the best pipeline management plug-ins and add-ons don’t require that you change where you do your email with or make you go online to a special website in order to access the program. You can also make customized reports through Outlook and not have to use a separate service. Remember, pipeline management should make your business easier to keep track of, not make it harder!