How using Zapier coupled with Pipedrive revolutionized our lead management process
Have you tried out Zapier yet? It may be time to hop on board. Columnist Rae Hoffman walks you through the workflow automator and explains how it can save you a ton of time.
I am an admitted Zapier addict. I found out about Zapier a few years ago during a discussion with a colleague at a conference. He was explaining how his agency was using it to help automate their more mundane processes.
I signed up for an account as a result and have spent the time since automating every business process I can that doesn’t adversely affect the task being performed.
We don’t use Zapier to automate client work — we use it to automate our internal business processes. One of the most powerful combinations I’ve found through my addiction to Zapier has been in using Zapier coupled with Pipedrive.
The resulting automation it has allowed has saved us over a week’s worth of time per month.
An introduction To Zapier
Zapier makes it possible for apps and services to talk to each other and automate communication — and actions — between them. (If you’re familiar with IFTTT.com, Zapier does similar things but is more sophisticated.)
Zapier Partnerships & Community Manager Alison Groves describes Zapier as a way to “connect over 500 different apps to help you automate tasks and build business workflows. Set up an automation once and Zapier takes care of those tedious tasks for you while you tackle more important things.”
The first Zap I ever created was for our lead form. It Zapped all of the information contained within the lead form into a Google sheet, so that we had an organized list of all of our inbound leads.
I spent the next year looking for ways to automate any repetitive business management tasks using the service. I would no longer even consider signing up for a new service unless it integrated with Zapier.
In Zapier terminology, a trigger is an event that you want to use to create an action. In the lead form Zap example above, the lead form being submitted would be the trigger and the information being Zapped to the Google sheet would be the action.
It used to be that each trigger could only generate one action. If you wanted a trigger to perform three actions, you had to create three different Zaps.
But the recent introduction of multi-step Zaps meant that one trigger could perform an unlimited number of actions — and that changed my business automation world.
Zapier has a free plan that allows for five Zaps and 100 actions per month, but that plan doesn’t allow for multi-step Zaps. The basic plan costs $20 per month and allows up to 20 Zaps, including multi-step Zaps.
We use the $50-per-month plan because at that level Zaps run every five minutes (instead of every 15), and a Zap will autoreplay if it fails for whatever reason on the first attempt.
I’m often asked why I use Zapier when IFTTT provides a similar service — for free. IFTTT is a valuable service, but it doesn’t support a lot of popular apps and platforms used by businesses.
It’s great for home and social automation, but of its 292 integrations, a very small portion of them are business-themed. Zapier, on the other hand, has 500+ integrations — the bulk of which are business-themed services. These include Gmail, Google Sheets, Twitter, Facebook, QuickBooks, Slack and many more. (Note that some of Zapier’s integrations are considered “premium” and are only available to paying customers.)
An introduction to Pipedrive
Most of the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools I had been exposed to over the last decade were expensive, were complicated with multiple features we didn’t need, and were primarily built for larger sales teams. Learning how to use them seemed like a daunting task.
As such, we were initially resistant to using a CRM to manage our leads. Then I came across Pipedrive through the recommendation of a friend.
Pipedrive describes itself as a “Sales CRM for small teams with big ambitions.”
It lives up to its claim. In its base form, Pipedrive is remarkably straightforward.
Define the steps in your lead process to create a “Pipeline.” Input your leads into the system, create a “Deal,” and then drag and drop those Deals into the stage of the Pipeline they are in.
Our primary Pipeline looks like this:
Lead Form > Responded > Call Scheduled > Create Proposal > Proposal Sent
As a potential client moves forward in the process, we can drag and drop their Deal into the corresponding pipe.
The great thing about Pipedrive is that it doesn’t overwhelm you with a complicated and confusing system. But despite making the adoption of a CRM a simple task, the service still has a ton of powerful additional features that users can implement — should they choose to do so — as they become more comfortable with the system.
And the service is affordable — even on a shoestring budget. Pipedrive costs $12 per month per user. They also have a free (and full) 30-day trial you can sign up for to test out the service.
Zapier + Pipedrive = awesomesauce
While Pipedrive is a fantastic tool, you still need to do quite a bit of data entry to transfer your leads into its system when you use it as a standalone service. I wanted to have my cake (using a CRM tool to keep our lead management organized) and eat it too (shave time off our lead management process).
Note: I’d label the Zap below as being advanced in nature. If you have never used Zapier before, I’d recommend you play around with this simple Gravity Forms to Google Sheets Zap using Zapier’s free plan to gain an understanding of how Zapier works and what it can do before attempting more advanced Zap usage.
New Lead Data Entry Automation
Time Saved: 10–15 Minutes Per Lead
Combining Zapier (using a multi-step Zap) with Pipedrive allowed us to eliminate manual data entry for new leads — saving us about 10 to 15 minutes of data entry time per lead in the process.
The manual lead entry process looked like this: Lead form submitted via Gravity Forms and sent to us in an email, open Pipedrive, add new organization, add new contact person attached to the organization, and then add a new Deal for that company to put the lead into the first step of our Pipeline.
Using a multi-step Zap, the submission of a lead form (we still use Gravity Forms) now creates four separate — yet connected — actions:
Trigger: New Gravity Form Submission
- Action: Create Organization in Pipedrive
- Action: Create Person in Pipedrive and associate contact with the organization in Action 1
- Action: Create Deal in Pipedrive and associate with the organization and person in Action 1 and 2
- Action: Create Note for the Deal in Pipedrive and associate it with the Deal in Action 3
The organization and person are created using only the data submitted in the form. When you assign the same organization name to the organization in Action 1 and to the person in Action 2, it attaches the person being created to the (already established in Action 1) organization.
When the Deal is created in Action 3, you can utilize the data from Pipedrive created in Action 1 and 2 to attach the deal to the correct organization and person. We use Action 4 to add any additional information within the lead form that Pipedrive does not have a matching field for (such as a paragraph form field where a client may add additional details about their needs).
Advanced tip: If leads in your company are assigned to different people depending on the circumstances, you can create a filter that will assign the Deal based on whatever factor makes sense for you. As an example, I handle SEO leads for PushFire. My partner manages PPC leads, and one of our employees handles design and development leads. We use a filter to assign Deals to the correct person based on the Reason for Contact drop-down field in our Gravity Form.
Provided you have accounts with both Pipedrive and Zapier (that provides multi-step Zaps), you can give this Zap a whirl here.
If the thought of a multi-step Zap overwhelms you, you can set up a single-action Zap for automatically adding a Gravity Form submission as an organization in Pipedrive. Go here to get more familiar with the process.
The combination of Zapier with Pipedrive had a huge impact on our lead management process. The obvious benefit was the time shaved off leads entering into that process — which equated to saving several days’ worth of an employee’s time per month from a data entry standpoint using the above Zap alone.
But it also meant we had fewer leads falling through the cracks. Our response times became quicker because leads weren’t being buried during days with heavy email volume.
We no longer have to spend time searching through emails to figure out what stage we’re at with any individual lead — we know with a quick glance at our Pipeline. We’re not only spending less time, but we’re also much more organized — which results in increased revenue.
Additional Ideas & Inspiration
In the title, I said that using Zapier combined with Pipedrive had revolutionized our lead management process. You’ll note that this article discusses how it affected one step of that process.
But we use Zapier to power several other Pipedrive-centric actions across our entire lead management process, as well as with our on-boarding process for new clients.
• When a client enters the Create Proposal stage of our lead management Pipeline, a multi-step Zap is activated that creates a Client Company and Client Person to associate with that company in our proposal software.
Then all we have to do is create the proposal (though you can automate that step, too — we simply choose not to). This Zap saves us about 10 minutes per proposal.
• We refer out a lot of SEO leads due to capacity. I have a separate Pipeline set up for our lead referrals.
When a client is moved from our main Pipeline to a specific pipe in the referral Pipeline, a single-action Zap is activated that sends a personalized email to the lead explaining that we are at capacity and offers to make a referral to a colleague.
We use Google apps to power our email, so this is created via using Pipedrive as the trigger and Gmail as the action. While the time saved is only a few minutes, it has significantly decreased our response time for offering referrals.
• When a deal is marked as Won in Pipedrive, a multi-step Zap creates a project for the client in our Teamwork account, creates the client within Freshbooks, and automatically drafts an invoice. This Zap saves us about 10 minutes per new client.
• When a deal is marked as Won in Pipedrive, a single-action Zap — using filters — sends an email to the client that contains next steps as far as what we need to move forward.
The filter changes what email is sent based on what service type(s) the client is signing up to receive. For SEO-based clients, this would include instructions for providing us with access to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.
It also contains information for whitelisting our crawler if they proactively block bots from their website.
Once again, while the time saved is minimal, it has significantly increased how quickly we receive access to the data we need to begin onboarding new accounts.
Hopefully, this article gets your creative juices flowing about how you can use or modify our system to fit your needs — or spark some ideas on how you can use Zapier to automate processes with the services you’re already using for your business.
You also can check out the Zapier Zap directory to find out what kind of Zaps people are creating using your favorite apps and services for some additional inspiration.