FAQs on Sales Pipeline

FAQs on Multiple Sales Pipeline

1. What is a sales pipeline?

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of your sales process that shows where your prospects are in the buying cycle, how many open deals you have, how long a particular deal stayed in each stage, and whether you have a good chance of winning a deal. It is nothing but a systematic method that one follows to navigate between multiple stages through which a sales prospect goes - from becoming a lead to becoming a customer - and a sales pipeline helps you determine where exactly your opportunities are. Besides, it also outlines the actions that you need to perform in order to convert a prospect into a customer.

2. When should I use multiple sales pipelines?

If the way your business works means that the sales process differs based on the product, service, or client, then you need to use multiple pipelines to monitor your sales processes.
For example, consider the sales process in a real estate business that varies based on the property location. The stages are different and have more intermediary steps for properties that are in the northern region. In this case, it would be beneficial to create a separate pipeline for properties from the northern region so that you can track the deal and prepare the list of follow-up activities based on the deal's progress throughout the process.

Similarly, if the real estate business handles different projects like:
  1. Upcoming properties
  2. Properties that are ready to move in to
  3. Resale
It is likely that the sales stages for each of these projects will differ, so instead of accommodating them in a single sales pipeline, it is best to create three pipelines, one for each project type with the relevant stages.

By creating multiple pipelines, you will be able to monitor the stages and identify the root cause of delays or stagnation, keep track of the number of deals that are likely to close or churn, or amend the follow-up activities if needed.

Another benefit of creating separate pipelines is if a particular stage is removed from only one of your project types, you can remove the stage for the relevant pipeline without affecting the other pipelines.

3. How do I create multiple sales pipelines?

Pipelines can only be created for the Deals module. To create a pipeline, follow the steps below:

To create a sales pipeline
  1. Go to Setup > Customization > Pipelines.
  2. Click New Pipeline.
  3. Enter a name and select the Layout to associate the pipeline with.
  4. Add the Stages to the pipeline.
    The default values from the Stage field from the standard layout will be available to choose from.
  5. Click Create New Stages in the Sales option to add new stages.
  6. Enter the Stage NameProbabilityForecast Type, and Forecast Category in the Create New Stage pop-up.
  7. Click Done.
    The new stage will be added to the new master list of stage values.
  8. Select the Set as a Default checkbox if you want this pipeline to be the default when creating a deal.
  9. Click Save.

4. Is multiple sales pipeline same as a sales funnel?

The terms sales pipeline and sales funnel are often used interchangeably due to their similarities. However, there is a difference between the two:
sales funnel gives a visual representation of the sales pipeline and displays the number of leads that enter and exit the funnel. This information may not be sufficient to show the sales team how many qualified leads they need to connect with to result in more deals.
sales pipeline provides a more comprehensive view of a deal that allows the sales team to get an overall perspective of a buyer's lifecycle. It lets them:
  1. Visualize and track the progress of a deal through each stage
  2. Take necessary actions based on the stage the deal is in
  3. Monitor how long a particular deal has stayed in a stage and take action to prevent stagnancy

5. Is it possible to choose a pipeline automatically when a deal is created?

No, you cannot associate a pipeline with a deal automatically during deal creation. When configuring multiple pipelines, there is an option to set a pipeline as the default. If this option is selected, then whenever you create a pipeline it will be displayed as the default pipeline type. You can select another pipeline from the dropdown list before saving the deal. 

6. How is a page layout different from using multiple sales pipelines?

Page layouts are used to capture details of different records in a single module.
For example, you need to gather different details from customers who purchase a mobile device than for customers who have a mobile device service. So, though both the records can be stored in a single module, you will use different fields for each customer type. For example, Service due on will not be required when a mobile device is sold. You can use layouts to show only the fields that are relevant to the specific record type you are adding to keep the database organized and decluttered.

Now, since the sales process for selling and servicing the mobile devices differ, it would be challenging to track the progress of these two deal types in the same pipeline. This is because the deal stages will be different for each process and accommodating them in a single pipeline will not give a complete overview of how the deals are progressing.
To address this, we allow the creation of pipelines based on a deal's stages. Multiple sale pipelines allow you to:
  • Visualize and track the progress of a deal through each stage
  • Take necessary actions based on the stage in the buying cycle
  • Monitor how long a particular deal has stayed in a stage and take action to prevent stagnancy
Read more about layouts and multiple pipelines

7. While deleting a pipeline some deals were not transferred to the other pipeline?

If a pipeline has deals, then you will be prompted to transfer them to another pipeline before deleting it. However, note that only the open deals will be transferred to other pipeline.
For example, deals that are in closed stages like closed won, closed - lost to competition, closed lost etc. will not be transferred to another pipeline. You can view these un-transferred deals under the Kanban view by selecting "Unaccounted" in the dropdown.

8. Can I set an approval process based on a pipeline?

Yes, you can set an approval process based on the pipeline so that the sales agents can only perform actions if the deal is approved. Approval processes can be triggered on creation or edit of record.

For example, based on pipeline a deal can be sent for approval and its stage can be automatically updated upon approval or rejection.


9. Can fields be shown or hidden based on the pipeline field?

Yes, fields and sections can be shown or made mandatory based on the pipeline using the Layout rules.
For example, you can show certain fields if a record is in a specific pipeline.


10. Is it possible to show the pipeline and stage only when a certain condition is met?

No, you cannot set a visibility criteria for pipeline and deal stages as these are mandatory fields in the Deals module.

11. Can I delete a sales pipeline?

Yes, you can delete a pipeline.
Deals that are closed will be kept in the deleted pipeline and will not be transferred to a different pipeline.

12. What will happen to the deals when a pipeline is deleted?

When a pipeline is deleted following will occur:
  1. Closed deals will be retained in the pipeline. You will not be prompted to transfer them to another pipeline.
  2. Open deals must be transferred to another pipeline from the same layout. You will be prompted to transfer them when you delete a pipeline.
To delete a pipeline:
  1. Go to Setup > Customization > Pipelines and hover over the More icon and click Delete.
Remember that deals that are locked due to pending approval or review will not be transferred to another pipeline.

13. Can I move deals to a particular pipeline and assign a stage during data migration or import?

Migrating from another CRM:
When you migrate from another CRM, the Pipeline field will be available during field mapping. The deals will be assigned to the layout's pipeline based on this field.
If the deals that are to be migrated do not have a pipeline associated with them, they will be associated with the default pipeline in the selected layout.

Data Import:
When importing records, the pipeline must be mapped so that deals are automatically assigned to the correct pipelines.
  1. Importing deals for a different pipeline: If you want to import records to different pipelines, you need to add a column to the import file for details of the pipeline that the record belongs to. Map this field with CRM's Pipeline field when you import.
  2. Importing deals for the same pipeline: Pipeline is a mandatory field, so if the import file does not have the pipeline details then all the imported deals can be assigned to one selected pipeline. You can select a pipeline in Assign Default Value.

14. How can I update the pipeline and stage fields automatically after sending a mass email?

The pipeline and deal stage can be automatically updated through follow-up actions (field updates) after sending mass emails.

When sending the mass email you can select the follow-up action by selecting the trigger for the action (email clicked, opened or bounced), then selecting Field update, selecting either Pipeline or Stage and selecting the pipeline or stage type to update to.
Note: Pipeline and stage fields cannot be updated if they are used as lookup fields in other modules, like Contact or Accounts. You can only update a file when a mass email is sent for records which are in the Deals module.

15. How do I make the pipeline field visible to all users?

The visibility of the pipeline field depends on the layout permission. You cannot set field permission separately for the pipeline field. The pipeline field will therefore be visible to all the profiles which have permission to access the layout the pipeline belongs to.

To ensure the layout permission is enabled:
  1. Go to Setup > Customization > Modules and fields > Deals.
  2. Click the More icon and select Layout Permission.
  3. Choose the profiles that should have access to the pipeline. 

16. What is the standard pipeline and when is it created?

A standard pipeline is created automatically by Zoho CRM when the user tries to create a new pipeline. This pipeline will consist of the existing deal stages. You can rename or customize the stages by adding or deleting stage fields in the pipeline.

A standard pipeline will not be created if the records are not in the Deals module.

17. Can I move deals to another pipeline?

Yes, you can manually move the deals from one pipeline to another. You can easily move a deal to another pipeline within the same layout. For example, if the Standard layout has two pipelines, you can move deals from pipeline A to pipeline B.

If you want to move a deal to a pipeline that doesn't belong to the same layout, then you must first change the layout of the deal and then select the pipeline.

18. Can I bulk update the layout or stage field of a deal?

Yes, you can bulk update the layout and stage of deals. Both layout and stage will be listed in the Fields dropdown after you click Mass Update.

You need to select which pipeline and stage to move the deals to.

You can choose Pipeline instead of Layout to bulk update the pipeline of the records.

19. How can I select a pipeline for a deal?

The pipelines that you have created will be available in the Pipeline picklist field. When you are creating a record in the Deals module, you can select the desired pipeline from the dropdown list.

Remember that only the pipelines that belong to the layout where you are creating the record will be listed in the picklist field.
Note: If you have enabled the Set as Default option for a pipeline, then the pipeline field will be auto-populated with the default pipeline. You can change the pipeline if required.

20. Can I create pipelines for custom module?

No. Multiple sales pipelines can only be created for the Deals module.


We hope that this list of frequently asked questions about sales pipeline is informative. If you still have questions that haven't been addressed, please let us know.We will be happy to discuss them with our subject matter experts and add them in the future.

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