Using Asana to Keep Track of Your Sales Pipeline
Storyware has used Asana for almost 10 years now with a few brief interruptions when we tried other platforms. There are a lot of great task management applications out there, but we’ve stuck it out with Asana primarily because of the user experience. It’s not perfect (no task management platform is), but it easily creates clarity for all of our team members regarding their priorities.
The only major shortcoming we’ve encountered with Asana relates to sales. We have used Asana to keep track of all of our projects and tasks with the exception of that function. While I’ve researched lots of ways to use Asana as a CRM or deal pipeline, it simply was not created to be a CRM and therefore lacks the features and flexibility of an affordable CRM platform like HubSpot CRM or Pipedrive. However, Asana is our primary source of information. With our sales efforts in HubSpot, it’s easy to lose track of deadlines associated with that side of the business.
We’ve tried to bridge the divide by using tools like Zapier to connect HubSpot and Asana. Some of those automations have worked for us, but having all sales-related tasks in Asana would be the ideal situation.
One of our most recent projects, LoyalBrew, has given me another opportunity to see if we can use Asana for sales. LoyalBrew is a web app that Storyware created for the craft beverage industry. It launched in March of 2021. The app was initially created for beer and wine trails. We needed a place to track our sales research, so a Trails project was created in Asana. For every trail that we found online, we created a task in this project. We created custom fields to capture data, such as state, number of locations, website URL, social media URLs, and contact information. Most importantly, we flagged whether or not the trail already had a passport (a checklist, often with rewards for completion) on digital or paper.
In LoyalBrew’s case, we use subtasks for tasks related to the deal. For example, we might create a subtask to create a pitch deck, set up a demo, or draft a proposal.
We’ve also used subtasks to list the locations (breweries and wineries) on the trail. Now that the app can be used by individual breweries and wineries, we can take those subtasks and add them to our Pipeline project once they are identified as a potential opportunity.
Once we finalized our initial outreach strategy, we began to evaluate the research data. When a trail is identified as a potential sales opportunity, we added the trail/task in Asana to our LoyalBrew Pipeline project. This practice is called “multi-homing” a task, and it might be the most important Asana use case for Storyware.
Multi-homing tasks gives us the ability to capture all data about a task within one task, but place that task in multiple projects. For example, web development tasks could be added to a specific client project, a resource planning project, and a project just for an individual. The client project is used to track the overall progress of a scope of work. The resource planning project contains tasks from all of our client projects and is used to ensure that our team is assigned the right amount of work. The project for the individual is used to track all tasks assigned to a specific person, which that person could use to keep organized or a manager could use to keep track of that person’s task list. In LoyalBrew’s case, we are using multi-homing as a trail moves through the sales pipeline.
Once a trail/task is added to the LoyalBrew Pipeline project, we change the task to an Approval task. This allows us to indicate if the opportunity is approved or rejected – I’ll get back to that in a bit. We have sections set up in the Pipeline project that reflect deal stages: Potentials, Active Opportunities, Closed Won, Dormant Opportunities, Closed Lost, and Passed On. Then, we use an Opportunity status custom field to provide further detail. This field contains options such as “Contacted Once, Contacted Twice, Contacted Three Times, Responded, Call/Meeting, Verbal Commitment, Proposal, Closed, and On Hold”. We then set up a few Asana rules that are triggered when the Opportunity status field is changed. For example, if a trail has responded to our outreach, the task is automatically moved to the Active Opportunities section. If a trail has been contacted three times without a response, the task is moved to the Dormant Opportunities section.
Once a trail becomes a client, we click the Approve button within the task and that fires off the following automations using an Asana rule:
- The task is moved to the Closed Won section
- The task Opportunity status is changed to Closed.
- The task due date is reset to today’s date.
- A notification is set to our LoyalBrew slack channel.
Of course the work isn’t done once a deal is signed. We have a third project for client onboarding and use a task template to create a new task for each new client. The sales task is referenced in this new client onboarding task, but maybe we will look at continuing to use the sales task for client onboarding in the future.
Todd Wickersty is an Asana certified pro. Through the certified pro program, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Asana here. If you are interested in learning more about how to use Asana for your organization, please feel free to contact us.
As CEO of Storyware, Todd oversees the direction of the company, business development and operations along with consulting key clients on digital strategy.