I feel pretty confident in announcing that I’ve tried all the sales CRMs out there. At least most of them.
Because I run a dynamic business I am sometimes selling services, sometimes selling products, and sometimes I’m not selling anything at all and just need to manage relationships with people. I need a tool to help me keep it all straight!
The problem with many tools I’ve tried is that they work really well for one type of sales, but are cumbersome and difficult for anything outside of that one sales funnel process. I’ve been using Trello to manage my content for about a year now, and without even realizing it, one of my boards evolved into a really powerful sales funnel manager.
What started as a simple list to track follow up emails grew into a visual and easy-to-use method of tracking leads through the sales process. Unlike many of the more dedicated sales programs, Trello streamlines the info required for each deal and lets me create and update contacts fast… like, lightning fast.
Managing Your Sales Funnel 101
In order to set up a killer sales funnel management system for your business, you need to understand where your leads are coming from, and where a planned system can be most useful in your overall funnel.
You might already have a sales funnel in place for your content, which probably looks a little like this…
This funnel is geared towards guiding people from zero awareness of your business all the way through a completed purchase at the end. And while a funnel like this is great for helping you design content that supports your sales process, it’s a bit oversimplified for tracking the reality of making a sale.
If a user fills out a contact request form on your site, or you initiate a 1-on-1 conversation with them (right around the “Engage” stage), your actual sales funnel expands beyond the above.
The Engage stage and the Close stage develop into an entire funnel of their own. That funnel looks a little more like this...
Before a sale of services or large products can be closed, most businesses require paperwork to be signed, questions to be asked, and logistics to be managed by a salesperson.
This is where an awesome system for tracking the process comes in. Why? Consistent and well-timed follow up usually means a single salesperson can dramatically improve close rates with little or no additional time investment.
Your own sales funnel will have stages that are unique to your product or service, so take the time to figure out what exactly each of your stages are, what a salesperson will do during that phase, and how exactly the communication will be executed.
What I love most about Trello is the fluid nature of the platform, which can grow and change as your sales process evolves.
Now let’s build this thing!
Trello Sales Funnel Set Up
I’ve set up my board to reflect my own content and sales funnel so that I know what to send people, and when to send it. The idea is that people enter my sales funnel when they make an inquiry on my website (a process which is automated and will be covered in a minute), and move from left to right through the various stages as they get closer and closer to a sale. You should take some time to personalize yours as well.
Design Your Sales Board
Get started by clicking the the “Boards” button on the top left of the window and choosing “Create new board.” Mine is called “Sales.”
Now that you have a shiny new board, it’s time to get to the fun part: The lists.
Your lists will become the stages of your sales pipeline and should represent your unique selling process.
My Funnel Stage Lists Are:
- Follow Up
- Skype Call Scheduled
- Proposal Sent
- Decision Maker Brought In
- Closed - Won
- Closed - Book For Future Date
- Closed - Lost
What Goes On The Cards?
Most of the other CRMs (Customer Relationships Management tools) out there track sales by either following a specific deal or a specific person through the funnel.
The cards in this setup can either follow a deal or a person, but I would suggest you pick one or the other and stick with it for all the cards on the board.
I find that tracking “deals” is a little too abstract for me, and instead opt to focus more on the person I’m speaking with. To put it a different way, each card is a new business relationship I am developing, and includes any relevant information that I would need to reference:
First, the card title includes the person’s name and a little note about which product they are interested in.
The description starts by including contact information, and as the conversation develops and a sale becomes clearer, so does the card’s description. Continue adding top-level deal details like the specific product that person is drawn to, the dates they want to start, any limitations or concerns they have, the cost being discussed, and anything else that would work to shape the sale.
As the relationship develops, the card grows.
Updates and emails are added through comments and each card becomes a comprehensive timeline of the relationship.
Elevate Your Sales With Extra Features
The biggest boost for your Trello sales funnel comes from the add-ons available for each card.
Use Labels For Funnel Stage
Use a color coded label to note contacts that require follow up from you, and contacts that you are waiting on. Looking at your deal flow, a color system lets you quickly see who is waiting to hear from you and who you should be pinging again.
Due Dates Keep You Prompt
Use the due date function to assign dates to follow up tasks for each deal. Be sure to enable the Calendar Power-Up to see your monthly tasks at a glance.
Organize Quickly With Email-To-Board
My favorite add on, by far, is the email-to-board function. I’m all about automation and this makes it easy to keep your Trello board updated right from your email account. Each card has an email address which you can forward or send content to.
Forward any relevant emails for the sale to the address, and the card will get automatically updated with a comment containing the email’s contents.
Pro tip: You could even add the card’s email address to your sales contact card in your email program for easy reference!
Automate for a Killer Sales Funnel
Have I mentioned I’m a big fan of automation? If you want a seamless system in place that never misses a lead, you need to find a great way of getting inquiries from your email directly into Trello without relying on you to manually create a card.
IFTTT has a ton of recipes just for this.
I use this recipe to grab emails that land in my Gmail inbox and have been labelled “Inquiry” by a filter. The recipe automatically create a card in my “Inquiry” list for that connection.
Your sales process changes and evolves with every client. A killer funnel means that you’ll always keep sales opportunities in view thanks to great organization and process. Use Trello to build a dynamic tracking system that makes developing business relationships easy, visual and lightning fast.