In what situations should I use groups vs. pipelines to track contacts or companies?

Groups are good for tracking some sorts of things, but not so good for others. Groups are a list-building or contact/company segmentation tool -- they are good for keeping track of a shared quality between a group of records in your database. That quality might be where you met those people, the industry they are in, or even a project to which they are related. However, if you are tracking a contact or company through a process about which you’d like to be able to see a report or a history of updates at a later date, groups are probably not the correct option -- you’ll want to use a pipeline for that.

Why not use groups in such a case? Well, for one thing, we don’t have comprehensive reporting tools for you to follow the process over time. Because we did not design the system to handle groups as a method of tracking things over time -- you can move contacts in and out of groups at will, but that process is not logged in their history. Pipelines, on the other hand, allow you to build out a custom workflow, track the contacts through that workflow, enter notes along the way, and even create custom fields to capture additional workflow-related information.
 
So, how to use groups?

Bad Example: Sometimes users will create a group for prospects, a group for qualified leads, and groups for sales won and sales lost -- then the user will move the company/contact from group to group as their status changes. This mimics the process of a Lead pipeline. However, this makes tracking the progression over time impossible, which means you have no history logged with this contact/company. It also restricts you in other ways -- like preventing you from having multiple sales leads with the same contact/company.

Good Example: Here at LACRM, we use our own software every day to manage our customers (that’s you!). When users write in to suggest features that we already know we are going to build, we add their contact/company record to a group for users that have mentioned that feature. That way, when that feature is ready, we can check and see if they're interested in beta testing it, or simply send them a notification that the feature they wanted is being deployed.

Before creating a group, make sure you’re not actually creating a workflow that could be better handled with a pipeline. If you’re not sure about which way to go, contact us and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you and give you advice about what we think will work best with the system.


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Beginner's Guide
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Account Management and Users
Contacts and Companies
Leads and Other "Pipelines"
Groups—What They Are, and What They Aren't
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