“Team Pipelines” Have Arrived to CRMs: Here’s What Small Businesses Need to Do

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    Businesses benefit most from new software when the product not only boasts increased functionality but aids in streamlining process, as well. Much of this can be accomplished with data pipelines—an automated method by which pieces of data are recorded, analyzed, stored, and shared across teams.

    However, despite their efficiency, these sorts of pipelines are rarely seen in modern customer-facing teams largely due to their absence from CX, CRM, and EX platforms. 

    Companies looking into new software solutions would be wise to specifically consider those offering pipelines. They offer unparalleled levels of efficiency and establish structure from which a company can scale as they grow.

    Here’s a breakdown of what Team Pipelines have to offer and how businesses can begin using this feature.

    Single Source of Truth

    Customer service teams are taking on multiple initiatives at once, and thanks to the popularization of remote work over the last few years, employees are likely spread out across time zones. With proper planning and a decent technology suite, companies don’t have to worry that team members are looking at erroneous data or outdated information.

    Pipelines solve this issue by uniting all of a team’s activities under one banner per department. All sales folks work within the sales pipeline, marketing folks within marketing, support within support, and so forth. Customer information is updated to a central location and can be accessible by anyone working within the team pipeline.

    Sounds good in theory, but unless a business employs people by the tens of thousands, it’s unlikely that one department’s work can be carried out in isolation from others.

    Small and growing businesses need to consider team pipelines—encompassing more than an individual pipeline while remaining usable by, and visible to, all members of an organization. A centralized dashboard allows employees to check across tasks and maintain access to only the most recent customer data.

    3 Benefits of Team Pipelines

    Detail Oriented

    Task lists without specificity are ineffective. Often, these sorts of tasks can theoretically fall under the purview of multiple employees, and therefore they lack accountability. While there might exist some overlap, the way to maximize team pipelines is to drill into the specifics of a task as much as possible.

    For example, a general sales pipeline can be segmented to include pathways for warming leads that have gone cold, another for reselling to satisfied customers, another for account management, and more.

    This level of detail elevates EX alongside the software concept of unification. It exists when a company’s technology suite is produced by a single vendor, eliminating the need for pieces of data to transfer across applications via API. Instead, data remains accessible to every employee, and any changes made by one person proliferates across the organization. Unification ensures security, data integrity, consistency, and ease-of-use, as the UI elements across the system remain consistent and changes can be made to one app from within another.

    Team pipelines, alongside unification, enable resource-light teams to tweak CX on-the-fly. Let’s say a legacy customer is having issues with submitting a bug report. This represents a problem for sales, account management, and technology teams, and the solution doesn’t cleanly fall within any individual department. Within a system of team pipelines, account management folks can track the nitty-gritty of customer communications and troubleshooting efforts to calibrate how they are going to navigate repairing their relationship with the customer.

    Meanwhile, the tech team maintains access to each task that built this customer up from a one-time user to a long-time advocate, and can tailor their work-back timeline to prioritize this strong relationship—all from a centralized dashboard customizable for teams of any size.


    The field of technology remains in constant flux—but while many companies use this fact to require that users pony up for a new version of their software, those with team pipelines enabled offer the opportunity to enact small tweaks along the way. At Zoho, we call these “Toppings,” and they resemble widgets, scripts, or extensions that enhance functionality without an overhaul.

    Think of toppings as icing on the cake, not as the cake itself. It’s important that a company’s CRM be capable of executing most functions without toppings; otherwise, toppings will simply elevate a flawed system to one that works only in certain circumstances. Plus, toppings work best when associated with tangible actions that provide clarity.

    For example, one of the more popular ones automatically feeds emails into the appropriate team pipeline and disseminates the pertinent information across an organization.

    Satisfied Cravings

    Most importantly, toppings and team pipelines allow employees to make a company’s CRM their own. team pipelines enable communication while toppings enable quick execution, and with increased visibility comes a happier, more accomplished workforce with fewer barriers to actually getting work done.

    The field of EX is starved for consistency, and a CRM that includes team pipelines and toppings serves plenty of piping hot productivity.

    This article, ““Team Pipelines” Have Arrived to CRMs: Here’s What Small Businesses Need to Do” was first published on Small Business Trends