Managing your pipeline

First point – what is a “pipeline”?
It’s a term I originally heard back in my financial services days (the 80’s) to describe

the period of time between first conversation with a prospective new (or existing) client and completion of the first (or additional) item of business

The details will differ from business to business but an example in private dentistry could include:

  • initial enquiry
  • free consult with TCO
  • paid consult with clinician
  • preparation of treatment plan
  • presentation of treatment plan
  • overcoming concerns and objections
  • closing the business
  • delivery
  • final feedback
  • request for recommendations
  • invitation to join membership scheme

I often find that new patients and/or treatment plans get “lost” because there is no robust system to monitor where they are in this process.
Equally, I find that patients drop out of the pipeline and lose interest – not because of any change in their own circumstances – but because the clinician builds a backlog of treatment plans which are completed late and impersonally.
(A subject for another post is the quality of those treatment plans – are they exciting sales documents that have the patient WANTING what you offer?)
Methods of monitoring your pipeline vary:

  • Written lists
  • Word documents
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • Practice management software
  • CRM software

But few do the job.
Its a journey that I have taken myself in the last few years – looking for that one system that will nag me to keep on top of things, can be used by the whole team and isn’t so complicated that it becomes a PIA to use.
I think I’ve finally found the answer in a simple but powerful cloud-based application called Pipedrive.
Data entry is easy, you can create your own custom-made pipeline in minutes, allocate tasks to team members, design specific product types and prices and monitor progress of individual patient enquiries in just a few minutes each day.
Ultimately, the application will also automatically generate reports that can measure the effectiveness of your systems every step of the way.
We are using the app at 7connections (as are some of our dental clients) and finding it very useful.
Follow the link for a free trial


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.