Product Review

Pipedrive

Reviewed by: 
CRM Idol Primary Judges - EMEA

Pipedrive is a startup from Estonia founded in 2010 that has put together an easy to use and intuitive sales pipeline management solution. At the time of their presentation they had just moved their headquarters to San Francisco to better make their mark on the North American market, as well as find funding for their company from Silicon Valley venture capital firms ( they have been self-funded so far). They now have over 120 customers in 19 countries who use Pipedrive. Their customer base typically consists of 1 to 20 seats within SMEs in a B2B environment. They mostly sell their product to small technology companies, trainers and consultancies. We have seen this whiteboard driven pipeline in action in, for  example, recruitment consultancies & real estate agencies  where sales people are measured quite hard on activities.  

Pipedrive was founded by Timo Rein, Urmas Purde and Peep Vain who are experienced sales experts in the Baltics and the Nordic countries. Frustration with the CRM solutions that were available to them led them to imagine a product that was more closely aligned to the needs of sales people – which they describe as "A Pipeline Tool for Active Sales People". They currently have a tiered pricing model based on a package of seats, but will likely move to a per-user model. Customers are enticed to adopt the product with a six month trial period during which it can be used for free.

The founder Urmas Purde presented the company and product to us. It is design to be setup quickly (within a few minutes). The functions are reduced to the bare essentials. The interface is inspired by whiteboarding with each of the opportunities represented by a sticky note pasted within a column; as an opportunity matures, you take the piece of paper and paste it into the next one.

As an opportunity progresses from one phase to the next, the sales manager can drag and drop the corresponding item from one column to the next, which is kind of like taking the Post-It and sticking it in the next whiteboard column. The advantage of using the web-based tool is that the sales pipeline is then recalculated in real time and shown in the header of the column.

Another interesting feature is the visual representation of items that demand attention using simple and easy to understand colours and icons (red dots, green dots, yellow warning triangles etc.), turning the interface into a clear and effective dashboard for the sales manager.  The way it is laid out lends itself quite nicely to a mobile platform such as the iPad (part of their roadmap), so that a salesperson who is on the road can rapidly make updates as opportunities turn into deals.

Now for some of the remarks we had. The interface is very much focused on the activities of the single sales person. Although it is possible to visualize the activities of another sales person, there seems to be very little focus on providing management with means and tools, such as reports, that aggregate all the activities, or a way of seeing which stage in the sales cycle a deal is. There really is no good way to get an overview of where the entire team is at and is going, thus limiting the ability to carry out corrective action when needed.

The interface is clean and comprehensible but seems to lack depth. In addition to missing the tools to aid the sales process, we didn't see any tools that supported, for example, sales collaboration, business and competitive Intelligence; or a  prospect's Interaction and transaction history to help the sales person sell better. By moving the whiteboard online - because of the very nature of the medium - tools to  improve the sales cycle could have be added and this is where Pipedrive could add a lot of value to take it beyond the whiteboard analogy.

The administration of the application is quite simple, and it is easy to set up the columns for the sales process and set the values for the thresholds such as alert levels when the conversion is too low, or not fast enough. Currently there are, however, only two levels of filtering of rights; either you're an admin user or you're not. As a result, either you can see the performance of the other people in your sales team or not.This may not be an issue in very small organisations, but this is dependent on the management culture.

It could be that we missed some of the essential features in this review, but the presentation seemed to be rather ill-prepared and thus we did not get all the relevant information in the alloted time, and we feel Pipedrive could have done better in managing this. A competition such as CRM Idol not only serves as an opportunity to gain exposure for some of the smaller players within the industry, it also can be used as training to be able to clearly convey your value proposition and differentiators to analysts, investors, prospects, clients and VC companies. Doing a product demonstration may seem to you like the best sales pitch as you think the product will speak for itself, but clearly articulating how and where you add value to your customer's business is extremely important.

All in all, Pipedrive innovates with its whiteboard driven sales process which, now it has been transposed to the internet, can provide a flexible, focused and effective sales tool. It however misses an opportunity to make the life of sales person easier with tools aimed at giving him more insight into their prospects at each step. We hope to see Pipedrive evolve in this direction in the future.