Sales Pipeline Guide
Introduction / Chapter 7 of 7
by Steli Efti, CEO
Last updated July 17, 2020
You know that a sales pipeline is essential if you want to scale your business and grow your customer base.
But if you’re a startup that’s just getting off the ground, you may not have the cash to purchase new tools, such as a CRM.
That said, you need a way to keep track of your prospects and the deals in play, even if you’re just looking to start with your first 10 customers.
Looking for a free tool to track your sales? Try a sales pipeline spreadsheet template that you can use in Excel, Google Sheets, or other apps.
That way, you can have your business organized as you build your first sales process and start to turn that million-dollar idea into something tangible.
In this chapter, we’re going to show you a total of 13 different templates you can start using today, including:
Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular spreadsheet programs, meaning you probably already have this on your computer and know how to use it.
Plus, with Office 365, you can collaborate with others on your team and keep everything up-to-date.
This tried-and-true program is perfect for building your first sales pipeline. If you’re ready to dive in, here are 4 Excel templates you can download for free and start using today:
⭐ Best feature: Clean design and easy customization options
👤 Who this is best for: For new businesses just getting started with sales
🚧 Prerequisites: Must input an email address
If you want the ability to customize your pipeline spreadsheet, this template from Salesmate gives you all the instructions you need. Not only can you adjust your deal stages, but you can also adjust the formula for win probability to create more accurate forecasts.
⭐ Best feature: Easy to use and customize
👤 Who this is best for: For businesses with very few deals on hand
🚧 Prerequisites: None
This spreadsheet separates deals into quarters and also allows you to customize the win probability depending on the deal stage. You can also add the expected close date, the sales rep working with this customer, and notes on next steps. When downloading this template, you can choose to download as an Excel spreadsheet or open with Google Sheets and make a copy for yourself.
⭐ Best feature: Provides quarterly sales forecasts, space for next actions, and projected closing date
👤 Who this is best for: Designed for small businesses
🚧 Prerequisites: None
Designed for small businesses, this template is organized into quarters and includes all the necessary information for your pipeline. You'll be able to see the status of the deal, who is the lead rep, next actions, and even forecasted earnings for each quarter.
⭐ Best feature: Includes detailed forecasting abilities with premade calculations, plus a handy graph!
👤 Who this is best for: For those who need a more detailed view of their pipeline
🚧 Prerequisites: None
Coming straight from the creators of Excel, this template fits nicely into your favorite spreadsheet program. With three sheets, there's plenty of space to fill in the information you need. This Excel template gives you detailed forecasting, plus a visual forecast graph to help you see if you're reaching your sales goals.
As another spreadsheet program that almost everyone has used at some point, Google Sheets definitely has some serious advantages when it comes to creating your sales pipeline.
When you use Google Sheets in place of a CRM, one of the biggest advantages is that everything is stored online. That means you can collaborate in real-time with your teammates, and all the information stays current.
Another advantage of using a Google Sheets sales pipeline template is that this program can easily be linked to other tools. Using Zapier, you can create automations that add information to your spreadsheet from other sources. For example, you can create new leads in your Google Sheet when someone completes a Typeform form on your website.
In fact, there are over 2,000 connections you can make between Google Sheets and other apps in Zapier.
⭐ Best feature: Includes a simple visual dashboard to see your open, closed, and won opportunities, plus their value
👤 Who this is best for: Small businesses who need customization and easy visual overview of their sales
🚧 Prerequisites: Must input your email address to download
SalesTable is an easy, straightforward spreadsheet with a visual dashboard that summarizes your current sales efforts, plus the ability to easily track leads and their important information. You can also customize your opportunity status and sages to fit your unique workflow and sales process.
⭐ Best feature: Very visually friendly, with clear graphs to decipher key data
👤 Who this is best for: For small business owners who love having visual data
🚧 Prerequisites: None
The dashboard on this template allows you to quickly see where the value is in your pipeline, what your average conversion rate is, as well as how long it takes on average to close a deal. You’ll also see which stage is losing more deals on average, and total value vs. expected value based on win confidence.
⭐ Best feature: Information separated by opportunity info, economics, and pipeline data
👤 Who this is best for: Businesses who need to see sales data separated by quarter
🚧 Prerequisites: None
Everything a small business needs to keep track of their pipeline: with space to add the probability of the deal, weighted forecast, pipeline stage, and notes. Just copy this Google Doc to your own Drive and get started!
While Excel and Sheets are popular options, they’re not the only programs you can use to create an easy, online sales pipeline.
Many of the productivity apps we use every day have integrated templates for sales pipelines.
Check out the 6 best templates that our favorite productivity apps have created:
⭐ Best feature: Great visual view and productivity features from a productivity app
👤 Who this is best for: For teams with multiple reps or prospects in multiple countries
🚧 Prerequisites: Must have an account with Monday.com (basic plan starts at $39 per month)
Productivity app Monday.com offers this great template for users. It includes excellent visuals, such as a progress bar, color-coded task updates, time zones for businesses with international customers, and expected close dates that turn red when you go past. There's also a star rating for the priority of deals, and customizable labels for quick organization.
Monday.com makes collaboration easy, and you can add guests and subscribers to your pipeline. The only downside is that you'll have to pay for their upgraded version if you have more than 5 reps on your team.
⭐ Best feature: A Kanban-based pipeline that uses custom tags to help you see which prospects are the most promising
👤 Who this is best for: For small businesses who love Kanban
🚧 Prerequisites: Must have a Trello account (Works best with Business Class, starting at $9.99 per user, per month)
This Trello board template allows you to add teammates, assign tasks to them, and organize your prospects with custom tags. You can also add more information in the descriptions, and add custom checklists for important tasks. The collaboration features in Trello also help you talk with your team through comments and discuss next steps or ideas.
⭐ Best feature: Productivity with tasks and better sales overviews all wrapped into one neat package
👤 Who this is best for: For small sales teams with big goals
🚧 Prerequisites: Must have an Asana account (Free account for less than 15 users, or paid versions starting at $10.99 per user, per month)
Since Asana is a productivity-based app, it's no surprise this template is easy-to-use and extremely intuitive. But it gives you something the other native app templates don't: the ability to forecast. In your lists, you can see all active opportunities and their estimated value, plus add custom lead statuses and priorities for each prospect. You'll see a sum of the value below each section, helping you forecast better and keep track of what your team is doing.
⭐ Best feature: Intuitive and detailed template for more advanced teams
👤 Who this is best for: For anyone who loves Airtable, or teams who need easy collaboration
🚧 Prerequisites: Must have an account with Airtable
For fans of Airtable, this template is extremely intuitive and powerful. You can easily switch views from a list to a Kanban board, an expected close calendar, or a list grouped by the rep assigned to each deal. Airtable also allows you to open up records, work through the data, and add comments for your teammates. You can even customize your view by adding Blocks (like add-ons) with custom charts, batch updates, maps, and more!
⭐ Best feature: A creative, fully-customizable pipeline view that allows you to organize and annotate to your heart's content
👤 Who this is best for: For creative souls who want full control over their pipeline
🚧 Prerequisites: Must have an account with Milanote (Free, or paid version starting at $9.99 per month)
If you're a creative at heart and want to mind-map your way through a sales pipeline, Milanote's template is the right place to start. This is a great tool for small sales teams or freelancers who want to customize how they view their pipeline. Easily add notes and tasks, and tag coworkers in the comments. You can also add due dates and assignees to your tasks, and the drag-and-drop aspect makes your pipeline easy to adjust and update.
⭐ Best feature: For a no-fuss pipeline, a simple list view of your leads and their status
👤 Who this is best for: For solopreneurs and freelancers with few deals to handle at a time
🚧 Prerequisites: Must have an account with Todoist (the free version should be fine)
While admittedly more of a to-do list than a pipeline, Todoist's template allows you to add your leads and their details, then organize them by their status. This is a simple way to keep track of a few leads for freelancers or solopreneurs who are just getting started.
When you’re just starting to grow your business, it can be hard to justify investing in software and tools.
That’s why these sales pipeline templates are perfect for new startups who are just getting off the ground. They’re easy to set up and use, they’re great for online collaboration with teammates, and they’ll help you organize those first few deals in your pipeline.
But while using a spreadsheet sales pipeline is great at first, there is one serious disadvantage: None of these were built to scale the way your business will over the next few years.
That means your startup will eventually outgrow the sales pipeline spreadsheet template you’re using.
You’ll know when it’s time to move to something better suited for your business when:
When these things start to happen, you’ll know it’s time to take a step up and invest in a sales pipeline CRM that can handle all the new deals you’re raking in.
Your business is going to keep growing, and the tools you use should be able to grow with you. With a truly versatile CRM (like Close) you’ll not only be able to create your sales pipeline: you’ll be able to analyze, iterate, and expand your pipeline as your business grows to its full potential.