No time for a live demo?

These days, it seems everyone is time poor.  In addition to the ‘day job’, you’ve got emails to answer, calls to make, strategies to devise.  What time have you for looking at yet another system that claims to improve the way you work?

Probably not very much.

Any time you have spare, you want to maximize and get the greatest return possible on it (just like you do your sales effort).

We get that.  Let’s face it, at CRM SalesFlow, we could spend eons trying to arrange a live demo with you.  Whilst we love the one-to-one nature of a live demo, and boy, do we still want to talk to you, we recognize you need to spend less time on admin and more time selling.

It would be pretty weird to bring you a product that gives you time back and ask for that time in return, right?

So, if you’d like to see a demonstration of CRM SalesFlow at your leisure, simply watch the following video from our YouTube channel below.

We still want to hear from you, and if you’d like a personalized demo, that fits your scenario, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me


Our Explainer Series Starts Today!

Remember the old days when you’d look up something in a user manual if you wanted to know how to do something?

With such a variety of devices at our fingertips (literally) the way we consume help has changed.  That’s why we’re launching our explainer videos.

Although we still have full installation and user guides for you, if you need a quick reminder of how certain things work, the explainers are definitely for you.

Our first explainer is on the salesflow board layout and can be watched here, or on our YouTube channel.  We’ve set up a playlist and will add more in the near future.  Enjoy!

Understanding how Kanban can work for you in Sales

You’re a sales person, and a successful one at that.  What you do, and how you do it, works, so you don’t need to change anything thank you very much.


You're not exactly still using this, are you?
You’re not exactly still using this, are you?

Like EVERYTHING, sales techniques change, go in and out of fashion, get recycled and come back in again.  If nothing else, consider the fact that you’re even reading this on the internet, probably on a device that didn’t exist ten years ago.  Sure, you may use this device to make calls, but I bet you also use it to manage your pipeline in some way too.

So it’s no surprise to learn that a tried and tested methodology for manufacturing and software development can actually be used to help manage your sales pipeline.

Kanban is not new.  Kanban for sales is not new.  However, with technology always improving, we’re changing the way we work to be more flexible and to use many different devices.  Now is the time to consider how such changes can benefit you as a sales person and help you improve your close rate even further.

What is Kanban?

There are many websites that can help you understand Kanban, so I won’t list them here (simply search online), but the Wikipedia definition is this:


Kanban as a concept can be used in sales because making a sale is a process: you start with interest, which you nurture enough to make a proposal, which will ultimately either be agreed to or not.  It’s not necessarily linear (particularly during negotiations) but there is a start and an end.

Unless you’re lucky enough to only be working on a single deal at a time, the chances are you have a multitude of different deals on the table, at different stages in their journey to the order book.  Part of your challenge is to keep all of these plates spinning; taking your eye off one could result in the lot crashing before your eyes.

You need to be able to see, quickly, where your deals are at, how long they’ve been at that stage in the process and what you need to do next to keep them moving.  In other words, you need to know when to give each plate a quick spin so they don’t fall off the spike.

Kanban is great for that visibility.  Seeing all your deals in one place (as cards), understanding quickly what you need to do next (using activities) and highlighting those deals that are becoming a little turgid (using alerts).

A key benefit of using Kanban is self-discipline, interestingly one associated with another Japanese export: martial arts.  Really owning your pipeline helps you achieve more.  Every sales person I know wants that!

Even if Kanban is nothing new, and even if you’re top of the leaderboard at the moment, this methodology is a change worth considering, so you can stay there.

We’ve written a SlideShare presentation to outline Kanban for sales.  View it (and download it) here.

Build 50 Now Available

Great news!  We’ve updated CRM SalesFlow and are ready to release it to those of you who have already installed our solution to your Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.

We love hearing what you think about CRM SalesFlow, and how it can be improved, and the update reflects some of the things you said you’d love to see.  These include:

  • Fix of a column width issue where business process has more than four stages
  • Some amendments to icons and style to better reflect the Microsoft Dynamics CRM style
  • Addition of SalesFlow Viewer role for organizations who don’t want users to edit their board settings
  • Other minor bug fixes

To get the update, please email me at and I’ll send it out to you.

Effective Pipeline Management

Today we feature a post from a guest blogger, David Nicholson of Nicholson Consulting in the UK.  David is an accomplished sales director who delivers strategies for sales and sales leadership.

What is effective pipeline management?

We all know what a sales pipeline is and how to interrogate the data, but how many of us actively manage the sales pipeline to extract meaningful and insightful data from which to understand and influence business performance?

Effective pipeline management is essential to achieving outstanding sales performance

Business applications such as CRM help capture, structure and align your pipeline with your sales process and enable content push to assist your sales teams in the field – BUT a CRM tool will not govern the quality and integrity of the pipeline data input – this demands a behavioural shift within your sales and marketing organisation which, like all change initiatives relies upon effective coaching and reinforcement

The illustration below shows the relationship between sales pipeline Inputs and Outputs – the critical element to effective output management is the pipeline Insights, how they reflect leading performance indicators and the action taken to influence performance output.

Lets first consider the outputs and what they mean to your business.


Performance & Predictability – you should be able to predict your sales performance with reasonable accuracy from your pipeline, both short and medium term – enabling you to proactively influence the projected output.

Resource & Workflow – accurately predicting which orders will convert is paramount to sizing your business appropriately to successfully fulfil and satisfy customer demand while managing cost and precious resources.

Coaching – an essential ingredient of outstanding sales performance is the effective and consistent coaching of your sales teams. The leading performance indicators accessible from your pipeline enable continual performance development of individual and team.

Trending – mapping your sales pipeline over time to your strategy and segmentation will unearth invaluable insight supporting future execution – product, market and regional adoption and performance, commercial and life-cycle values influence your competitive strategies.

Performance impacting outputs can only be mined from accurate and meaningful pipeline Input – the integrity of the pipeline data is vital to the analysis and credibility of your data insights.


Pipeline input sources vary greatly from sales to customer enquiry to marketing generated lead with each presenting many permutations – not least the individual responsible for gathering, understanding and content recording.

Data integrity – to generate credible pipeline insights you must ensure the integrity of the input is appropriate to the output demand. For reasons outlined above, it is not practical to simply rely upon data entry without process and reinforcement – the content will be incomplete and inaccurate and not therefore credible.

Alignment – your pipeline must be aligned with your sales process and CRM tool to reflect the status and maturity of each individual recorded opportunity – from suspect to qualification to understanding, monetising and validation through to negotiation and close.

Reinforcement – as mentioned at the beginning of this post, change is a behavioural shift requiring consistent positive reinforcement to encourage adoption. Your sales managers should be coaching performance improvement ~70% of their time including the importance and use of CRM/pipeline to accurately record and share content. Sales enablement should embed and push relevant content through CRM to reflect and assist each opportunity relevant to its pipeline stage and progression through the sales process encouraging reciprocal quality content population. Regular pipeline reviews should be conducted to validate and develop prospects through the sales process aligned funnel.

Control – plan your content appetite carefully as often less is more and demanding too much content from field based sales teams will impact sales performance and data integrity – control the information needed and content input with verifiable outcomes for each stage of your pipeline/sales process, removing subjectivity and reinforcing sales methodology adoption.


When your pipeline content is accurate, consistent and mapped to a sales process you can extract credible insightful data from which to analyse and make decisions.

Volume/Value – retrospectively calculate the ‘pipeline conversion to win’ ratio per individual/team to understand the theoretical pipeline value needed to convert a required value (accuracy is increased by (a) data integrity) and (b) time measured). Look for volume exceptions adversely challenging conversion ratios ie) single large or high volume of low-value opportunities attracting risk or resourcing demands respectively.

Additions – visualise your sales pipeline as a funnel – whilst converting opportunities to real won business is ultimately the sales objective, you must ensure closure focus does not result in a lack of new opportunities being added into the top of the funnel. The impact of pipeline deficiency can be devastating to your business in many ways.

Maturity – understanding the relative maturity of your pipeline through sales process alignment offers pipeline health insight but also greater performance predictability, lead generation demand and sales funnel trending.

Distribution – track the distribution of your pipeline content across the funnel stages to better manage precious resources involved in the sales process.

Velocity – often overlooked, but is an essential metric to track pipeline performance – benchmark your pipeline velocity with best practice to expose exceptions and development areas.

Conversion – this essential leading performance indicator predicts the theoretical pipeline value needed to meet the sales targets. It also exposes sales efficiency and effectiveness metrics uncovering individual development and training needs.

There are many more pipeline insight metrics including product mix, activity and engagement levels which should be tailored to your business and sales strategy.


This post was first published on and LinkedIn and is republished here with permission from the author.

Version Update

We have released a new update to CRM SalesFlow. Please get in touch with me on if you would like to update your current version.

Changes are as follows:

  • Fixed a visibility issue
  • Changed some messages to make them easier to understand in case there’s a problem
  • Altered some of the error reporting so we can help more quickly
  • Changed security roles to potentially allow system administrators to have sole control over who
  • ees what boards
  • Removed some excessively long logs
  • Fixed a problem with Sales Velocity calculation
  • Fixed an error when full screen mode is on
  • Adjusted the width for column sizing

We hope these changes make your CRM SalesFlow experience better. Remember, we’re always on the lookout for feedback, so get flowing and telling us how we can improve it further.

Version Update

We have released a new update to CRM SalesFlow. Please get in touch with me on if you would like to update your current version.

Changes are as follows:

  • Fixed a visibility issue
  • Changed some messages to make them easier to understand in case there’s a problem
  • Altered some of the error reporting so we can help more quickly
  • Changed security roles to potentially allow system administrators to have sole control over who
  • ees what boards
  • Removed some excessively long logs
  • Fixed a problem with Sales Velocity calculation
  • Fixed an error when full screen mode is on
  • Adjusted the width for column sizing

We hope these changes make your CRM SalesFlow experience better. Remember, we’re always on the lookout for feedback, so get flowing and telling us how we can improve it further.

Watch our video!

If you have a few moments (2’32” to be precise), why not take time to watch our short video on what CRM SalesFlow is all about.

Why not take it to your next sales meeting and show the boss?

We’ll be adding more videos going into detail about specific areas of CRM SalesFlow in the future.  Please subscribe to our YouTube channel to get updates.

Managing Change = Empowering Users

Change is good.  We all know that, but whether we actually do anything about it is, of course, a different matter entirely.

When I first became a CRM consultant, back in the heady days of the Millenium, everyone was too concerned about the end of civilisation as we knew it – caused simply by pre-millenial developers not using four digits to signify what year it was.  My fellow consultants and I could talk until we were blue in the face about sales opportunity automation, and how much more efficient it would make an organization, but it frequently didn’t register against the perceived larger problem.

That millenium bug problem, by and large, failed to materialize.  Planes did not fall from the sky.  Systems did not stop (well, not all of them).  But the challenge of getting John, frequent sales over-achiever, to stop writing in his notebook and start updating CRM, remained.

This is all change management.  In the end, John started using CRM to update his opportunities, not because it benefitted his manager, but because he could see the personal benefits it would bring him and how it would make him a more successful salesperson.

In my view, this is how change management can be effective.  We all know which problems we have in our working lives, and we’d love to these to be solved.  Anyone responsible for managing a change in process needs to include users/staff.  Benefits to the business can be enhanced if the user community is on board.  Solving individuals’ problems can be rewarding to the business, as the efficiencies of those individuals scale up to benefit the business as a whole.

In John’s case, using CRM, he could start to see which type of deals he won more of and why.  He started to repeat the techniques used in the winning deals on those where he’d been less successful, and in turn, increase the win rate of his pipeline.  By using CRM for himself, his managers received the benefit of being able to look at the overall state of the pipeline and make decisions based on accurate projections.  Which is what they were hoping to be able to do in the first place.

Wind forward fifteen years.  CRM is mainstream.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one of the market leaders (it wasn’t even around when I started working with CRM) with an eco-system of partners and solution providers that spans the globe, providing every type of accelerator possible.  Sales force automation is a given, but there are still challenges to overcome.

We’re in an ‘always on’ society and the sales person of today is required to provide the latest information on their deals live, as it happens.  There is more data to manage, and our insatiable appetite for it means businesses ask their sales teams to provide more and more.  How does a salesperson cope with these extra demands?

Well, one of the many benefits of CRM SalesFlow is the use of a single screen, a board, to display all deals within each sales stage lane that is defined in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  The user can choose how the board is displayed, whether each lead or opportunity should be colored depending on its age, value and so on.  They can choose how much or how little information is displayed, how totals should appear or even, (let’s assume that John is still over-achieving and simply has too many to view,) use a filter to only show certain types of deal.

The user is in control.  He or she gets to manage their workload in a way that suits them, highlight areas they wish to concern themselves with, identifiy issues before they become problems.  In short, CRM SalesFlow allows the salesperson to work smarter and help them achieve more.  Which organization doesn’t want that?

In my experience, the best way to start managing change, particularly for the sales team, is to show them how a change can be beneficial to them.  That’s why there’s a whole section on this website on the benefits of CRM SalesFlow to the sales user.  If you’re trialling CRM SalesFlow, get your team to review the solution – give us feedback if there are further benefits we could include.

We’ve created a SlideShare as a summary of CRM SalesFlow – so feel free to share with your team!

Catch up with all the news on our blog!

Hey everyone!  Thanks for visiting and reading our blog.

Firstly, I realise this is a bit meta, blogging about the blog.  Hey-ho.

Why blog?  Well, blogging is a great way to get news and information out to our fantastic user and partner communities quickly and efficiently.  Whether it’s a new release and accompanying ‘What’s New’ info, or details about a specific feature, we hope that the CRM SalesFlow blog will become your assistant in keeping you up to date and help you get more out of this solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

We’ll be featuring guest posts too, particularly from sales gurus around the world who are happy to share their knowledge with you.  Of course, we’d love to hear from you too, so if you would like to get in touch, please email me directly at