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CRM and Sales

Sales and CRM pipelines explained

Rachel Hakoune 12 min read
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A well-structured CRM pipeline can help you organize your interactions with prospects to align with your sales cycle and forecast potential revenue. But managing a sales pipeline can be challenging unless you have the right CRM system in place.

So, what is the exact role of a CRM pipeline in your sales process? And more importantly, what criteria should you use to select the right CRM system for your organization? We’ll help you answer those questions and show you some of monday sales CRM’s best features — you can preview them now by signing up for free below!

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What is a sales or CRM pipeline?

A sales or CRM pipeline is a visual representation of your sales cycle that helps you logically organize your prospects and predict revenue based on past behaviors (i.e., conversion rate, average length of sales cycle, average contract value, etc.). By understanding your numbers, you can forecast the exact amount of new leads needed to meet your sales quota. The distinction between these terms could be that a CRM pipeline can include the workflow and action items taken by your team members during the sales cycle.

Graphical representation of a sales pipeline

(Image Source)

These “touchpoints” or stages may include:

  • Preliminary research: Figuring out whether a prospective customer is actually “reachable”
  • Lead generation: Building trust and interest with prospective customers
  • Qualification: Determining which potential customers are more likely to buy and prioritize your list based on engagement
  • Proposal: Building a personalized proposal for each qualified prospect
  • Negotiation: Negotiating deals and contracts with prospects who are interested in your initial proposal
  • Closing: Closing the deal
  • Post-purchase: Onboarding clients or customers

The previous structure isn’t written in stone, though. Some organizations may add or remove stages, depending on their specific life cycle, industry, and client behavior. For example, the sales process of a gym membership might be shorter compared to a manufacturing company negotiating millions of dollars. The former is something you can handle easily with gym management software, whereas the latter requires complex negotiations. Your specific industry will dictate the exact structure of your pipeline.

How CRM pipelines help you meet your goals

Research from Sales Insights Lab suggests that roughly 5 out of 10 prospects won’t be a good fit for your organization. Add to that, CallHippo reveals that 30% of leads never receive a follow-up call after initial contact due to zero or poor CRM usage.

Strategically built and executed sales pipelines will help you better qualify prospects and, thus, increase your chances of success. Without a proper sales pipeline, you’ll waste a lot of time and resources talking with prospects who aren’t a good fit.

For example, let’s say you’re the sales manager at a software development company, and you’re trying to approach prospects without a structured sales funnel in place. You’re simply cold calling them and hoping that some are interested. Let’s also assume that your conversion rate is 10%, meaning you close 1 out of every 10 sales meetings you have with qualified leads.

The problem is that you aren’t qualifying prospects in an effective or systematic way.

Based on the research quoted above, you’d spend half your time talking with prospects who aren’t a good fit, which means you’d need 20 meetings to close a sale instead of 10.

An effective sales pipeline software includes qualifying criteria built into the team’s workflow, to ensure reduced time wasted on unproductive activities and maximizing your sales efforts.

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6 areas of your CRM pipeline to customize

With the increasing complexity of modern businesses and the level of sophistication in the market, having a CRM strategy is no longer an option. It’s now a necessity for any organization.

So, how can you get the most value out of your CRM strategy and system? From smart pipeline management to adding automations, customizing the following areas will make it easy to measure performance and optimize your efforts through AI and proven frameworks. Let’s cover six top areas of your CRM software to customize for a better pipeline.

1. Sales pipeline management

Once you’ve mapped and developed your sales pipeline, you need a strategy to manage it. That includes streamlining your processes and setting up a system to track the progress of deals. Otherwise, everything can grow pretty messy.

The right CRM solution can help you prioritize leads based on conditional data like deal size, engagement, industry, etc., to see where your deals stand at a glance. Modern CRMs are flexible enough to map out any kind of deal flow, no matter how complex.

For example, with monday sales CRM you can easily build your sales workflow and monitor the progress of each deal through a visual, colorful interface. This is entirely customizable — you can add or edit deal stages and columns, or move things around at will to build and manage any type of pipeline.

Screenshot of monday sales CRM pipeline management, using color-coding and progress charts for a clear visual overview of the sales function.

You can also manage multiple sales pipelines with ease. If you have your heart set on the traditional linear process, our Kanban View is ideal. It helps you visualize your pipeline in a more “progressive” way. Thanks to our multiple data visualizations, you can switch views in just a couple of clicks. Alternatively, check out our Funnel Chart which allows you to seamlessly view the flow of your deal stages from new, through to won or lost.

Screenshot of the monday sales CRM pipeline Funnel chart, which illustrates each deal stage from new to won or lost.

2. Contact management

Contact management is the process of storing and organizing all the information related to your leads and customers in a single place. This is especially helpful when adding context to your deals and personalizing your approach.

Most modern CRM systems come with contact management database functionality. For example, with monday sales CRM, you can store unlimited contacts and create enhanced profiles — we call them “contact cards” — to get a full overview of a specific lead. Connect all your new and existing contact management data from one place, then track all the touchpoints you’ve had with your leads to gain valuable insights on how to best nurture and convert your potential customers.

Screenshot of monday sales CRM contact management feature that allows you to store and connect all your new and existing contact data in one central location.

3. Supporting sales materials

One of the main benefits of using a CRM platform is keeping your entire team on the same page. By giving every team member access to the same information and documents, you can ensure organization-wide alignment. For example, you can create case studies, brochures, presentations, and sales scripts, making them available for every team member. This way, everyone will understand the processes behind each operation.

monday sales CRM provides instant access to all your important sales documentation and materials so you can keep them handy for your team. You can also categorize these documents based on different criteria, such as priority, status, date, owner, etc. It’s even possible to assign them to specific team members. Sign up for a free monday sales CRM trial below to see how easy it is to improve results by training your sales team with proven processes and frameworks.

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4. Data centralization

The main purpose of a sales pipeline is to improve your bottom line. To achieve that objective, your pipeline must be based on real data. Otherwise, you can’t forecast revenue or predict potential flaws in your process.

That’s why you need a CRM platform that pulls information from different places and centralizes that data into a single source of truth. By providing your team with a single, trustworthy database, they’ll be able to understand their own performance and optimize their practices to get better results, including a boost in productivity.

For instance, with monday sales CRM you can seamlessly integrate 37+ of the most popular tools and platforms in different industries, including:

  • Mailchimp
  • Gmail
  • Clearbit
  • Slack
  • Zoom

For more information, check out our complete list of crm integrations.

Screenshot of the different app icons that integrate with your monday sales CRM pipeline. Choose from software like Zoom, Slack, LinkedIn, and more.

You also get access to advanced reporting dashboards where you can monitor the most relevant information for your team, like revenue, sales activity, deals closed, top referral sources, and many others.

Screenshot of the monday sales CRM pipeline dashboard which gives a birds-eye view of the entire sales cycle.

To be precise, you get access to multiple dashboard widgets that help you oversee different aspects of your business. This will help you never miss a sales opportunity, as well as spot potential threats quickly.

5. Workflow automation

In today’s world, no team can operate without the help of AI, at least not efficiently.

Research from McKinsey suggests that 30% of the activities in 60% of all occupations can be automated. If you aren’t automating at least some of your most tedious work, you’re leaving the opportunity to become more efficient on the table.

The right CRM system will automate recurring activities, so your team can focus on what they’re good at, namely closing deals. In monday sales CRM, you can use powerful “If this, then that” automation recipes for streamlining processes. You’ll win back valuable time to spend on selling.

Screenshot of monday sales CRM pipeline no code automations which takes care of the manual work that steals selling time.

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6. Marketing operations

Finally, the right CRM system won’t only support your sales team but also the entire organization, including marketing. If your marketing team operates more strategically and efficiently, your sales team will benefit directly by getting access to more qualified leads. If your sales team spends their time talking with prospects who are a good fit for your organization, you’ll better use your resources and improve your results.

Keep pipeline communications efficient by integrating email activities with your CRM, including:

  • automatically logging sent emails
  • keeping track of lead interactions
  • syncing with Gmail or Outlook to send and receive messages
  • receiving notifications when a lead opens or replies to an email
  • using personalized email templates to save time

Screenshot of monday sales CRM pipeline email management showing how sales and marketing teams receive automated notifications that inform their follow-up strategies.

Modernize your CRM pipeline with monday sales CRM

With all the clues we’ve provided so far, you’re probably considering monday sales CRM as the platform to manage your pipeline. monday sales CRM merges the worlds of marketing, sales, and customer service with a project management environment to modernize your sales processes.

To help you make a more informed decision, why don’t we give you a quick introduction to our platform and everything you can do with it? Let’s start with a basic question:

What is monday sales CRM?

Screenshot of monday sales CRM pipeline providing an overview of lead management for sales professionals.

First, monday sales CRM isn’t just another CRM software. Of course, we offer powerful CRM functionalities, but that’s just barely scratching the surface.

To be precise, monday sales CRM is a fully customizable software that allows you to handle your entire sales cycle and related activities, all from one single place. From marketing to sales and even team management, monday sales CRM provides you with everything you need to work more efficiently.

Why monday sales CRM?

In terms of CRM, some of our core features include:

  • Sales dashboards: Monitor the sales metrics that are most relevant to you, including revenue, performance, productivity, and progress
  • Automations: Build custom automation recipes to save time and streamline any type of workflow or task
  • Activity recording: Oversee every customer interaction and get more control over your sales cycle from our dashboard
  • Email management: Track, sync, and templatize your email communications to save time and capitalize on any contact activity
  • Seamless integrations: Integrate 37+ of your favorite apps and tools with ease

Get to know monday sales CRM, our revolution in CRM pipelines and planning, by signing up for a free trial below. Feel free to watch our Introduction to monday sales CRM video to whet your appetite too.

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What is a sales pipeline in CRM?

A sales and CRM pipeline is a graphical representation of the stages in your sales process. It allows you to categorize potential clients and make predictions about revenue based on previous performance data and industry trends.

What is pipeline management in CRM?

Pipeline management is a key component of a customer relationship management (CRM) system. By keeping track of the figures in your pipeline, you can determine the exact number of new leads required to achieve your sales target.

What are the common pipeline stages of a CRM?

A sales and CRM pipeline can be customized to include your preferred number of stages based on your life cycle, industry or client behavior. Typically, there are six stages including lead generation, lead nurturing, lead qualifying, product demo or free trial, proposal or negotiation, and closing. You might also define a post-sales stage in your cycle.

Ready to ramp up your sales CRM pipeline?

The right CRM system will help you manage your sales pipeline more efficiently, and will also deliver valuable customer insights to increase conversion rates. If you’re looking for a platform that’s flexible, powerful and simple to use, why not try out monday sales CRM?

Rachel Hakoune is a Content Marketing Manager at Originally from Atlanta, she is finding the balance between southern charm and Israeli chutzpah.
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