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Sales productivity app? For Simpleshow, Pipedrive Is project management software

Recently we learned that the German-based animation studio Simpleshow is using Pipedrive as a project management tool as well as a platform to manage their sales pipeline, sales team processes and customer information. We were curious to learn more about how they leverage our customer relationship management (CRM) platform as a project management solution, so we got in touch with Simpleshow CEO Jens Schmelzle to take us through the details.

Simpleshow makes three-minute videos that explain complex issues, products or services, using only two hands and black-and-white illustrations. Each simpleshow is 100% custom-made and handcrafted. Since 2008, the company has produced thousands of clips in over 50 languages (which look awesome) for customers worldwide.

Simpleshow has a fixed production workflow for the clips. As Jens explained, they were searching for a project management tool that allowed them to visualize and manage tons of parallel projects (and their statuses) in an intuitive way. As they were searching for PM software, they realized most project management systems were built for managing one big project with lots of tasks, rather than lots of parallel projects with the same workflow and project plan.


Pipedrive’s CRM project management capabilities

What Jens and his team liked about Pipedrive’s CRM software, despite it being a sales tool, was that it provides both a clear overview of everything in the CRM system as well as detailed project information that you can access by clicking on a project’s name. They also liked how easy it was to add new projects and team members into the CRM tool, and that everything was automatically saved and linked in the database in real time. This functionality was something they hadn’t experienced with other task management platforms, apps, wikis or spreadsheets they had used.

Pipedrive was the first software that met all of Simpleshow’s requirements: a simple project status overview combined with agile filtering options for customers, resources, milestones and timelines in a smart way. While they weren’t using it solely to improve project management for sales, they thought outside of the box and started using it as both a CRM solution and customizable project management software.

Because it worked “incredibly well”, Simpleshow decided to leverage Pipedrive’s platform as a CRM project management tool to track all of their customer data and project data in one centralized system.


How Simpleshow is using Pipedrive in Jens’ own words:

The stages Simpleshow uses in their sales process:

  1. Text concept

After the official order, we start with a short questionnaire which the customer has to fill out. Then, we have a personal briefing – a meeting, phone or video conference – after which we write a text concept including a description of the visuals.

  1. Storyboard

After the concept approval, one of our illustrators draws the storyboard that is presented to the customer for another approval.

  1. Production

As soon as we get the go, the scribbles are printed on a special paper, cut out and, where appropriate, some bricolages are prepared. After the shoot in our in-house studio and the audio recording, there is the video and audio editing, the music arrangement, color correction, mastering and encoding. Then, the project manager sends the finished clip for the final approval.

Every clip is a separate Deal in Pipedrive, which we just drag and drop through the production line. We work with several pipelines: one for sales, one for project managers (example above), one for the postproduction and some for special animations or individual projects. The postproduction workflow has its own stages like “audio recording”, “shooting”, “editing”, “sound”, “color correction and encoding”. Each deal leaves the project manager’s pipeline after Phase 2b to the postproduction pipeline and is dragged back in some days later, when the clip is produced and ready to send to the customer.

In the future, Jens and the Simpleshow team want to use our API to combine Pipedrive’s sales project management platform with their timekeeping tool mite to build relevant interfaces so that everything works together in the same central project database..


Final thoughts

Even though Pipedrive is primarily leveraged by sales professionals to monitor sales activities, enhance the customer experience, track sales goals and quotas and optimize the sales strategy, Simpleshow has taught us something new: Pipedrive can be leveraged to help small businesses and large enterprises alike manage business processes of all kinds.

It makes sense when you think about it. Sales managers use Pipedrive to get a big picture overview of what’s going on in their sales organization, but they also track the individual activities sales reps carry out daily. You could call them sales project managers. Similarly, project managers track team wide and individual project team activities.

In essence, the project management principles and goals are the same: Track activities, deliverables, due dates, metrics, communication with stakeholders and customer needs to ensure you end up with a successful project (or in the sales world, a closed deal).

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