Question

Do you use kanban in your CRM, or do you have another way to organize leads and contacts?

Pipedrive perhaps most famously made a kanban-style workflow the default way to move leads through a sales process, and similar kanban workflows are now common in many CRM apps (along with project management apps and more). But is that the best way to manage the sales workflow?

Do you move contacts and leads through a kanban style workflow, or does your team have another way to organize and manage leads throughout the sales process?

Share
aleemmawani's avatar
a year ago

I'm a little biased as the founder of Streak but we thought about offering Kanban boards. The problem is that they don't scale very well. Past a dozen or so leads, it's hard to find things and isn't information dense.

We chose a grouped table instead. The table has different groups/categories for leads (by default we group leads by their stage in the pipeline). We also provide an easy way to jump between the different groups. This setup is more information dense and scales to more leads. It also makes it intuitive to change the sort/filtering/grouping of a table.

Hope that helps!

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @aleemmawani )
a year ago

Hey @aleemmawani, appreciate you joining in the conversation! I’ve long thought Streak is an incredibly fascinating app, as an entire new SaaS product that lives inside Gmail.

What’s funny is I’d actually thought of Streak’s organization style as a kanban board, but in looking at it again and with your description in mind, that makes sense. It’s like parts of a spreadsheet/table mixed with some of the kanban concepts. Ever used Monday.com? Their take on a task list that shows columns on each task for their stage feels like another interesting take on kanban-like ideas in a new direction.

1 point
aleemmawani's avatar
@aleemmawani (replying to @maguay )
a year ago

Yeah we have a column that also corresponds to the grouping the row is in, change the value in that column and the row moves to the other group

2 points
mturquette's avatar
a year ago

At BayLibre we use Pipedrive. The very short answer to OP's question is that I personally no longer find the kanban view useful in Pipedrive versus a spreadsheet / table view (which is also supported natively in Pipedrive). And even the spreadsheet view is just a means to an end as I'll detail below.

The longer answer is that the kanban view was VERY helpful during a period where my company grew a lot. Our sales process had been organic up to that point, which is a euphemism for shitty; everything was tribal knowledge without any repeatable process.

The kanban view gave us permission to identify each stage in the pipeline, who owns each stage, etc. In general this kanban view helped us to define repeatable processes for sales, pre-sales engineering, contracts, invoicing & communication. Even after receiving a PO from a customer and marking the sale as WON, we still have further steps in the pipeline such as communicating the win back to our team. Our pipeline has grown large enough that I have to zoom out in my browser to see every stage.

That last sentence might help you understand where this is heading.

Now that the process is defined and the team is trained up, I rarely use the kanban board at all. We have deals that no one ever bothers to move from left to right through the pipeline, but the process is followed and the sales org operates smoothly.

So what replaced the kanban board? A document. A fully editable, human-readable document that gets published the day before our weekly sales meeting. It provides the status that everyone should read before the meeting, sets the agenda for the meeting, and captures talking points and action items during the meeting.

A quick digression: In a previous comment here about note-taking apps, I mentioned that we're using the Streams feature of Fellow for tracking long-term topics. One of these topics is our Sales Lead Tracker.

Now back to the topic at hand: sales CRM kanban boards, and the document that replaced them at BayLibre!

As a proper database, Pipedrive allows me to add fields to the various records. For the Deals record schema (which records each sales opportunity), I added fields for Priority and TL;DR. Choices for Priority are: CRITICAL, Important, Normal, Backlog. TL;DR is a 255 character field meant to capture a human-readable, one-line status of what's important with this deal.

I have a custom filter in the Pipedrive spreadsheet view that exports all of the open deals to CSV. The fields include the deal name, a URL link to the deal, the deal owner and the TL;DR one-line status update for that deal. Deals are sorted in the CSV by the Priority field that I added.

This CSV gets turned into markdown and then dumped into the Sales Lead Tracker stream in Fellow. It's our guiding document during the weekly sales call. Each deal is typically just a single line with the name of the opportunity, a link back to it in the Pipedrive DRM and the TL;DR status. It's a very efficient way to view that data and it enables us to collaboratively annotate and mark up the notes during our call. All the deals are on one page, and that page is entirely editable (and supports Action Items!).

I hope that provides some inspiration to everyone. If you have a tool that uses kanban, but find yourself still falling back to your notes to really understand what's going on, then you might consider that kanban isn't the right tool for that particular need. It's a nice way to report progress and status in a dashboard, but I find it is often not actionable enough for me and lacks the nuance and context of a more longform + freeform text approach.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mturquette )
a year ago

Neat to hear your experience, thanks for sharing @mturquette!

You know, that progress from a kanban board to outgrowing it and needing something more detailed mirrors my progress with project management apps. I first managed a small writing team in a Google Sheets spreadsheet, and Trello felt like a huge step up in adding steps and a visible workflow to the list. Over time, we outgrew that and ended up with an Airtable list where we could sort the list or use a kanban view if we wanted, but for the most part we had the workflow internalized and the extra detail in Airtable was more useful at that point.

This may be the bull case for Notion, too, as everything's a note and can have as much detail as you need.

So your CRM documents are in Pipedrive, just as an extended version of the notes + custom fields in a standard Pipedrive entry?

1 point
mturquette's avatar
@mturquette (replying to @maguay )
a year ago

Each Deal in Pipedrive has a ton of detail, including all of the documents, emails and calendar events associated with it. It's a fully featured CRM and we make use of it those features.

The flow that I described in my post above is just a weekly ritual to export to Fellow.app the bare minimum Pipedrive data that is useful to discuss in a Sales Team weekly meeting.

Regarding Notion, I actually see my sort of use case as a reason to be bullish on Coda.io. I really feel like Coda has a much more mature database implementation than Notion. If they could just catch up on the quality and beauty of their writing surface. I want all of these tools to aim for Bear.app level of quality! I think that this will ultimately require on-premise hosting or a significant amount of data cached by the local app to have that smooth, native writing experience that you get with Bear.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mturquette )
a year ago

Ah that's awesome!

The only thing that feels more confusing for me with Coda is the way you manage documents in it—Notion makes it easy to share everything, Coda makes you have to remember to share each item, more like Google Docs et al. But their database is powerful, and the in-line spreadsheet-style functions can make it quite easy to write dynamic reports.

2 points
Good Segment alternatives (It's too expensive for B2C)

We're currently looking at a few alternatives - https://getanalytics.io/ roll your own - https://rudderstack.com/ - https://www.freshpaint.io/ any experience with the above tools, other tools?

How do you manage your chat inbox?

Hey guys, first post here. As part of my work, I have to deal with and respond to a lot of incoming messages from different chats: Linkedin/WhatsApp/Signal/IG. I try to use Unreads/Archive features...

Whats the best blogging platform that also provides comments

I'm looking for a blogging platform for my product. However I also want it to be a light weight support page. For this I want to make it easy for people to comment on articles and even have thread...

The community for power users.