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How To Use Pipedrive to Close More Sales

Many sales conversations go nowhere. It’s frustrating and like it’s a waste of time. How often do you start a conversation with a potential client, only to have them ghost you after two emails? Having a process to follow up and start new discussions helps alleviate this problem. I use Pipedrive to keep track of this, and here’s exactly how:

But First, A Trade Secret

Most consultants don’t follow-up. Most don’t have a process at all. Getting something, anything in place puts you ahead of 80% of the competition. This is the process that works for me. Your mileage may vary. If you aren’t sure where to get started, I hope this gives you some ideas.

The Standard Pipeline

The standard pipeline has seven stages:

  1. Outreach — Include people I’ve reached out to, or that I intend to reach out to.  This is the “before a conversation has started” phase. Once I get a response, they move on to:
  2. Following-Up — Here we are having a conversation, or I may be following up if the other person has gone quiet.
  3. Warm Leads — When people express interest in working together, they graduate to this phase.
  4. Discovery — Usually a consultation call, here we are trying to figure out the details of working together so I can send them a proposal.
  5. The proposal — A proposal has been sent, and I’m waiting for a yes or no.
  6. Finalizing Details —  The client has agreed to the proposal, and we are working on the final details to get started. i.e., contracts, initial payment, and credentials.
  7. The Pen — For clients who say “may a few months down the line.” Hat tip to Kai Davis for this idea.

The Happy Client Pipeline

Once a project is complete and handed off, I add people to the Happy Client pipeline. This ensures that I can stay in touch with clients, and make sure the work I do for them continues to provide value months down the line.

  1. Needs First Followup — Reach out to people after a project to make sure everything is still ok.
  2. Referral Request — Asking the client if they know anyone similar that I can serve.
  3. 30-day followup/testimonial request —  Checking in that the project is going well, plus seeing what kinds of results the client has seen.
  4. 90-day followup — following up again three months out, to see how the client is doing. After this, they go to the completed projects section of the garden.

The Garden

This pipeline is for regular outreach. I try to stay in touch with people at least once per quarter. This one isn’t a “pipeline,” it’s more of a hack.

  • Active clients — Clients with ongoing projects. A place for periodic reminders to reach out during inactivity.
  • Completed Projects — Clients from more than three months out.
  • Lost Deals — Conversations where I ended up not landing the deal. Especially if I lose to a developer offering to do it for $5/hour. Those clients often end up needing help further down the line.
  • Colleagues — Other consultants or people in the industry. I like to keep in touch and see what they are up to and stay top of mind.


Every morning, I get up, I pour a cup of coffee and work through the pipeline. One of Pipedrive‘s best features is that every time you complete a task, you are prompted to enter the next task. Sales are never allowed to linger. You either move towards a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ This helps ensure I always have new business advancing in my pipeline.


A Guaranteed Strategy to Get Your First Clients

Getting clients as a freelancer is like a catch-22 problem. If you ask other freelancers how they find clients, they typically say “word of mouth” or “referrals.” How are you supposed to get referrals without previous work? Getting started seems impossible.

If you are thinking about starting a freelance business, you need to be proactive when it comes to getting your first clients. Building your business will get easier with time, but when it comes to your first customers, you have to hustle.

These are the five steps I took when I started my career. I recommend starting this process at least 30 days before you plan on leaving a current position / starting your freelance career, and continuing these habits until you have built a steady pipeline of client work, and doing them in the order presented.

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