Best Practice - Managing a Sales Pipeline in fp.

Having an effective Sales Team, and keeping meaningful records is an integral part of a successful agency. Function Point can be a valuable tool in your sales cycle arsenal. Please review this article for our best practices for using fp. to manage your sales pipeline.

In your fp. system, there are 2 important areas that relate to pipeline management:

  • CRM related modules
  • the Estimates Module

CRM Modules

The CRM is made up of Companies, their sub Contacts and Notes. When adding Companies and Contacts to your system, we recommend you make use of both the default and custom fields available. Required fields are marked in blue:

  1. AE: Select the member of your team who owns the opportunity, or will be the main contact person once the business is landed.
  2. Company Type: Choose from among the pre-built options, or create your own under Admin > System Set Up > List Maintenance
  3. Qualification: Track what stage of the sales process each company is at. Choose from among the pre-built options, or create your own under Admin > System Set Up > List Maintenance
  4. Custom Fields: Create as many custom fields as you wish. These custom fields can be text entry, drop down menu selectable, or date pickers. Build as many as you wish via Admin > System Set Up >  Custom Fields

Search for companies by any of the default, custom fields, or a combination thereof. For example, we may want to find all the prospects in the system, where Steve is the AE, and they have completed a demo. Click Find Companies to get to a resulting list view.

The list of matching results can be:

  1. Manipulated to display different available data and in the column order of your choosing.
  2. Printed as seen on screen as a PDF.
  3. Exported as a CSV (best opened using Excel) in 2 ways - either the data that is seen onscreen, or all the available related data.

Access more details view for any company listed, by simply clicking their name.

From the Company view, we can access any associated information for this Company including Contacts, Briefs or Jobs. Click into any tab to see more data.

As you communicate with prospects (or clients) it's important to capture those communications.  From the Contacts tab, you can easily add a Note against any Contact, by simply clicking the + icon on the corresponding name row.

On the resulting Add Note page, required fields are marked in blue. The Contact and Company fields have already filled in for us, as we generated this note from the Company/ Contact page.

  1. Using Note Templates can keep the data you capture across team members consistent. Create templates under Admin > Feature Management > Note & Email Templates. There is no limit to how many you create. Learn more here: Creating Note & Email Templates
  2. Add as much detail as you can. Try to capture pertinent information, doing so while it is still fresh in your mind. Consider what would be important to know, and what will be clear to another reader, or if this note is being read 6 months from now.
  3. Options here can be configured to your liking via List Maintenance.
  4. Notes can serve double duty, and be used to generate a reminder/ follow up task for yourself. This can be especially useful when trying to follow up with a number of hot prospects. Learn more here: Managing Prospects Using Follow Up Tasks from Notes
  5. Share your Note internally, by pinning it to the Dashboard of one or more of your colleagues. Learn more here: Pinned Notes

Click Submit to save your work.

Estimates Module

From a Company page, the Estimates tab will be lit up to show us any opportunities with this prospect.

For this prospect we can see there is an estimate for a Website Re-Design, with a status of In Review, for a subtotal value of over 5K.  Click the name or number of the estimate to see a more detailed view, or make changes to the estimate.

When adding or editing an estimate, there are particular fields worth consideration:

Close Probability - the percentage value for the likelihood of landing this work. Try to establish what numbers you will use ahead of time and what each means ie. 20%, 50%, 75% and 99% - rather than having every AE entering values they decide upon at random.

Month Close - the month in which you expect the prospect/ client to sign off on an estimate and give approval to proceed.

Both of these fields can be used to find Estimates by, as well as feed into CRM reports available in the Reports module.

It is also important, once the estimate is created, to make use of the Approval Status options:

  • In Review - Estimate details and values are still being worked out by the agency.
  • Submitted - Estimate is now on the prospect/ client's plate for consideration. Marking the estimate as Submitted, also makes it visible on the fp. Client Portal, which may or may not be a tool your agency is using.
  • Approved - Prospect/ client has signed off, and chosen your agency for the work. Should you make any changes to an Estimate in a Declined status, those changes will save as Revisions.
  • Declined - Prospect/ client is going in another direction, or using a different agency for the work. Should you make any changes to an Estimate in a Declined status, those changes will save as Revisions.

When you are creating estimates in this way, it is very easy to pull meaningful reports from the system. For example, let's say we wanted to find all the Estimates in our system that are in a Submitted status - in other words, Estimates that are currently being reviewed by our clients and prospects, but we do not know how they plan to proceed. This is potential revenue that we definitely want to chase up!

From the main navigation bar, hover over the Estimates module, and choose Find Estimate.

In the resulting Find Page, we can choose Submitted in the Approval Status field -  as well as any other details we choose for any other field. Narrow down the search as much as needed.

Click Find Estimates when ready.

The list of matching results can be:

  1. Manipulated to display different available data and in the column order of your choosing.
  2. Printed as seen on screen as a PDF.
  3. Exported as a CSV (best opened using Excel) in 2 ways - either the data that is seen onscreen, or all the available related data.
  4. Generated into a pre-built PDF report called the Estimate List by Client (screenshot below).

Access more details view for any estimate listed, by simply clicking its name.

Estimate List by Client Report

Sales Reporting

Depending on your system permissions, you may also be able to access the Sales related reports under the Reports module > CRM & Sales.

The New Business by Month Close and % Probability report and New Business by AE and Qualification Level report can be hugely valuable, provided you are following this best practice of capturing information such Month Close, Close Probability, AE and Qualification Level on your Company pages and Estimates.

Both of these reports output as XML, and are best opened using Excel.

We welcome your questions or concerns: support@functionpoint.com

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