We recommend you start by watching our video on this subject, which you can find on the Custom pipelines page in your Settings. The video can both show and tell, and it will cover much of what you'll read below.
Part of the function of any CRM worth its salt is helping you keep track of the processes at your business. In Less Annoying CRM, pipelines are at the heart of this kind of tracking. A pipeline is simply a set of statuses that you can attach to a contact/company to keep track of a process in relation to that contact. You can think of it as a workflow or a categorization tool for a particular type of process or relationship at your business.
Okay, that’s pretty vague. Let’s look at a specific, real-world example: the most common pipeline type is a Lead, which we include automatically when you set up your CRM. Try to think of a Lead in LACRM as just a set of statuses—by default, there are four: “Prospect,” “Qualified Lead,” “Sale Completed,” and “Sale Lost.” At any time, a Lead can be attached to a contact or company and given any one of these statuses.
Looking more closely at statuses, there are two types: active and closed. Whether a status is active or closed will affect how/if it appears when you’re checking a given pipeline's report (more on that later). The distinction is simple: if the status indicates that the process is ongoing, that status is an active status; if the status is final and there will be no further action with this pipeline (at least in the immediate future), it should be a closed status.
Let's get back to a real example. Looking again at the Lead pipeline, the two active statuses are “Prospect” and “Qualified Lead,” whereas “Sale Won” and “Sale Lost” are closed. You could add another status like “Finalizing Sale,” which would be an active status. You might add more closed statuses, as well, such as "On Hold." Active means you're working on it. Closed, you're not.