Best practices Technology

10 Outside The Box Ways To Use Project Pipelines

Whenever you consider the phrase “pipeline,” what involves thoughts?

When you’re like most enterprise house owners, you in all probability consider the gross sales course of. Leads, alternatives, and new clients are all prime of thoughts.

Though gross sales pipelines are very important to any firm, a “project pipeline” could be equally helpful from an operations standpoint. In the event you’ve by no means configured a venture pipeline in Insightly, consider it as a approach to keep away from re-creating the wheel. Pipelines are nice for issues that comply with a predictable sample. As a venture advances from one stage to the subsequent, Insightly may even auto-assign duties to particular person customers

On this publish, I’ll share ten concepts for placing venture pipelines to good use

1. Internet hosting a Buyer Appreciation Convention

Your buyer base is rising. To present your appreciation and hold them knowledgeable, you’ve began internet hosting an annual convention. Pulling off this occasion requires a ton of coordination and planning. The first yr had its share of bumps alongside the best way. Nevertheless, you’ve since developed a rhythm for organizing the convention.

Relatively than maintaining a handwritten guidelines or spreadsheet, why not construct a challenge pipeline? This manner, when the convention rolls round subsequent yr, you possibly can merely add the brand new occasion as a undertaking and, magically, all the mandatory steps are preserved from the prior yr. For instance, your convention pipeline might have the next levels:

  • Preliminary planning
  • Venue planning
  • Official announcement
  • Occasion promotion
  • Collateral
  • Day-of priorities
  • Submit-event comply with ups

As you full all the related duties for a specific part, your undertaking pipeline helps you recognize what to work on subsequent. In any case, there’s no level engaged on an official announcement till you realize the place the occasion will happen.

2. Scaling Your Content material Advertising

To get discovered on the various search engines, you have to frequently publish wonderful content material. This typically sounds simpler than it truly is. Your material specialists are too busy to take a seat down and write 1,000-word posts. Even when that they had limitless time, every author has a barely totally different type. It’s subsequently no marvel why so many corporations fail to supply content material. Too many shifting elements, and never sufficient foresight.

A pipeline could be a useful gizmo for structuring (and scaling) your content material advertising efforts. Break the method down into bite-sized, repeatable chunks, reminiscent of:

  • Matter pitch
  • In-process
  • Modifying
  • Approval
  • Publishing
  • Reside

For added firepower, you may attempt including exercise units to your content material advertising pipeline. It will hold everybody on process and scale back pointless confusion.

three. Exhibiting at Commerce Exhibits

Your organization reveals at a handful of necessary commerce exhibits annually. Though the occasions are at totally different places, all of them comply with the identical basic sequence:

  • Reserving the sales space area
  • Paying the seller
  • Making journey preparations
  • Ordering swag and brochures
  • Delivery the sales space to the exhibit corridor
  • Touring to the occasion
  • Establishing the sales space
  • Exhibiting
  • Tearing down the sales space
  • Touring again
  • Following up with leads
  • Evaluating ROI

To ship a extra streamlined pipeline, it’d make sense to interrupt this sequence down into much less particular phases:

  • Occasion enroll
  • Pre-event planning
  • Day-of occasion
  • Publish-event priorities

Keep in mind, you’ll be able to all the time hyperlink duties to levels for a extra detailed occasion plan. Touring again, following up with leads, and evaluating ROI can be logical duties to affiliate together with your post-event part.

four. Creating Your Social Media Plan

Social media isn’t simply in your center faculty niece.

Sensible companies leverage social media to drive conversions and improve buyer engagement. One technique for attaining this objective is to routinely publish share-worthy content material. Sadly, nice content material doesn’t fall from the sky.

Making a social media manufacturing pipeline may help you optimize the method. In the event you purpose to supply on a weekly cadence, contemplate these phases:

  • Acquire content material
  • Draft plan
  • Approval
  • Scheduling
  • Reporting

Relying in your preferences, you may select to reuse the identical venture for future social media plans. This may be useful if you wish to centralize all social media-related chatter right into a single report.

If that’s not essential to you, simply ask your social media supervisor to create a recent venture every week (incorporating the identical pipeline, in fact). Is your social media supervisor considerably forgetful? Assign a recurring process with specific directions and due dates, making certain no weeks go by with no new social plan.

5. Fulfilling Buyer Orders

Order achievement is the right use case for an Insightly challenge – particularly when mixed with a pipeline.

Let’s say that your organization presents quite a lot of handmade leather-based merchandise. Your catalog provides a couple of dozen SKUs, and your clients are on-line retailers and brick-and-mortar outlets. When clients place orders, they sometimes achieve this by submitting a purchase order order for a number of dozen models.

Though every SKU is exclusive and has a barely totally different lead time, it’s protected to say that manufacturing follows this basic workflow:

  • Materials sourcing
  • Manufacturing scheduling
  • Manufacturing
  • High quality assurance testing
  • Packaging
  • Delivery
  • Cost

It’s additionally value noting that as  pending offers turn into orders, Insightly permits you to convert alternatives into tasks. This supplies a 360-degree view of every buyer’s order. Doing so additionally preserves all associated emails, notes, and information. Because the order advances by means of the manufacturing course of, your staff may have fingertip entry to all the things they should do their jobs. No extra attempting to find info – it’s all proper there within the digital venture file.

6. Performing Routine Web site Upkeep

The net presents numerous alternatives for immediately’s enterprise proprietor. Nevertheless, alternative shouldn’t be with out danger. The web is not any exception to this rule.

Some enterprise house owners falsely assume that web sites are a “set it and forget it” proposition. Not so, particularly from an internet safety standpoint. In an age when authorities businesses and well-known manufacturers are hacked, prudent enterprise house owners take steps to guard their on-line belongings. One necessary step includes maintaining your content material administration system updated.

A pipeline may help convey order to your net upkeep program. In case you’re utilizing an open supply CMS, your pipeline levels may look one thing like this:

  • Backups
  • CMS replace
  • Plugin updates
  • Testing
  • Backups
  • Documentation

7. Recruiting Freelancers

It’s simpler than ever to rent freelancers. Tens of millions of freelancers can be found by way of digital work platforms, similar to Upwork.com. And, the advantages of hiring freelancers are fairly apparent to your corporation: no long-term commitments, much less paperwork, and higher expertise.

As you add extra digital staff members, you’ll want a greater approach to recruit and onboard them. Project pipelines might help you automate your freelancer administration. For instance, you may construct a pipeline with these levels:

  • Job submit
  • Invites
  • Shortlist
  • Interviews
  • Rent
  • Onboard

As you employ your pipeline to convey on extra freelancers, Insightly may also automate a number of the administrative duties, too. Should you’re a Professional or Enterprise consumer, you’re capable of harness workflow automation to your benefit. Why is this useful? Nicely, let’s say you need to mechanically ship new hires a welcome e-mail shortly after onboarding. Insightly can ship emails in your behalf, taking another process off your overloaded to-do listing.

eight. Closing Out Your Books

We’ve all heard the saying concerning the two certainties in life: demise and taxes.

Relying on your small business mannequin, taxes come due at many various factors within the yr. Estimated taxes are often due on a quarterly foundation. Gross sales tax varies by the state you’re in. And, your annual tax returns, all the time come due on (or round) April 15th.

For the sake of dialogue, let’s focus in in your annual tax returns. Though you pay your CPA to “close the books” annually, there’s a good bit of coordination in your finish:

  • Acquire 1099s / docs
  • Reconciliations
  • Abstract for CPA
  • CPA work
  • Evaluation & approve

Since this course of solely rolls round yearly, you in all probability end up reinventing the wheel annually. As soon as once more, a well-structured exercise set may help you recognize precisely what to do subsequent. For the “summary for CPA” stage, you may affiliate a activity that incorporates hyperlinks to your reporting template together with detailed work directions.

Cease beginning over annually – put final yr’s information to good use!

9. Evaluating Software program

Cloud-based software program is revolutionizing how enterprise will get accomplished. For each drawback, it appears there’s at the very least a number of instruments that provide an answer.

Some corporations make the error of getting no formal software program choice course of. Departments are free to outline their very own inner choice standards – or, worse, use no standards by any means. To present somewhat extra construction to your workforce’s software program choice, construct a primary pipeline like this:

  • Wants evaluation
  • ID distributors
  • Demos
  • Shortlist
  • Choice

Even a easy pipeline (just like the one outlined above) can present your staff with simply sufficient path to make an knowledgeable choice.

10. Mining for New Leads

Let’s deliver this dialogue full circle.

As I said at first of the submit, many individuals affiliate the phrase “pipeline” with the gross sales course of. In the event you’re nonetheless having a tough time associating pipelines with tasks, right here’s an instance which may deliver it collectively: knowledge mining for leads.

It’s fairly widespread for gross sales reps to spend a couple of hours every week mining for leads. Net boards, social media teams, and business directories could be wonderful sources. Sadly, not each rep is aware of what to do when instructed to “do some lead research.”

Deliver order to the lead mining course of with pipelines. The pipeline phases could possibly be so simple as:

  • Examine websites
  • Add leads
  • Executed

Clearly, you’ll need to spend time constructing out the primary stage and embrace useful ideas. Wouldn’t it make sense to set off an exercise set for every website to examine? Or, would a single process with detailed directions make extra sense? It actually depends upon your small business, however both answer is best than nothing.

Get Artistic with Project Pipelines

I hope that this text has gotten your artistic juices flowing. As you possibly can see, challenge pipelines can actually be a recreation changer in relation to making a extra systematized enterprise. Now, go on the market and get artistic with pipelines!