/ crm

Making a Simple CRM: Contact Pipeline

Things can be simple and things can be complex. However, this is not the same as hard or easy. Because hard things are hard, no matter how you put it. Solving that math problem or figuring out how to get a product to market is hard. And on the other hand, writing a grumpy Twitter reply is easy. There's not much to it.

Complex things however can be made unnecessary complex and may be made simpler by changing perspective and approach. The reverse is also true. Simple things may be made complex, by screwing it up. For example, serving food can be made complex by using a bad queueing system. Light switches may be made complex by introducing an app for it and removing the once simple switch (sorry, I know some home automation is awesome 😜). The point is, sometimes things are made overly complex, with no essential benefit. It looks a little bit like this:

alice-achterhof-FwF_fKj5tBo-unsplash

Customer relationship management systems (CRMs) are great at screwing things up 🙊. Let's take contact and pipeline management as an example. To add and change the status of a contact you often have to:

  • Create a contact
  • Assign the contact a project
  • Assign the contact a deal with value
  • Assign the deal a status
  • Update that deal and maybe the contact whenever something changes

Fantastic. Remember, all we wanted to do was to keep track of a contact.

While these steps are absolutely necessary for some big corporations, the sad thing is that small businesses, agencies, bootstrappers and startups are dragged along with the same systems. This usually happens when high paying customers requests some "critical" features and threatens to leave unless it's made. So the small, less paying customers suffer. When making Wobaka we didn't have to do that, because everyone who uses it pays the same, and are worth the same. So we wanted to do something different 🤓.

Imagine how we could make the process simpler without caring about big corporations:

  • Projects? Not really needed
  • Deal size? Nah, just write it in a note
  • Status? Yes please

We can remove all the big corp stuff and end up with a process that looks like this instead:

  • Create a contact with a status
  • Update when something happens

Let's remove most of the statuses and stages too and stick to: inbox 👋, in-progress 💌, hot 🔥 and deal 💰. And when someone says no, just archive it. Inbox zero ✌.

Some call it minimalism, we like to call it common sense. No matter how you put it, it's a simple system that allows us to easily keep track of all our contact interactions.

This is what it looks like:

Pipeline
Detail

If you also want a simpler CRM system check out Wobaka.com. You can find me on Twitter @drikerf and email on [email protected].