There are so many different occasions when Approval is required from different areas of a business - to determine whether it is viable to pursue an Opportunity, to decide if the credit status of an Account should be upgraded or even whether to add a Contact to a Christmas Gift list!
It’s for these many and varied use cases that we’ve created Approval Processes. Approvals can be created by individuals based on their User Role and can be applied to Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities and Quotes.
When setting up the process, you select which colleagues should be responsible for Approving or Rejecting records in the process as well as a time scale and an automatic fallback if that timescale is exceeded.
Approvers can receive both email and in app notifications and can also view all Approvals requiring their input - or that are Pending for records they own - in the new Approvals menu.
Much like in Automatizer, you can create multiple Actions that are triggered by Approving or Rejecting a record. Options also allow you to lock records while Approval is Pending as well as tie Approvals to your Lead, Opportunity or Quote process so an unapproved Opportunity cannot be Won (for example).
The new Approvals widget shows the current Approval status of Approvals when you open a record as well as a process history.
Creating a new Approval Process
If your user Role gives you access to Approval Processes in the Tools menu, you’ll be able to create new processes - and manage existing processes - for your users to apply to individual records as they are working on them.
Click on the Tools menu and select Approval Processes. ⤵
Click on the “Create New” button to add your new process ⤵
Add a Name for your process as well as a Description to make it easier to manage in the future. By default you will be the Owner of the process - this gives you the rights to manage the process and you will also receive process notifications. ⤵
NOTE: if you’re not the Owner, your User Role must have enabled you as an “Approval Process Manager” in order to edit another user’s processes.
Click on “Create” to add your new Approval process.
Building your Approval Process
All Approval Processes are made up of 3 distinct parts:
3. Approval Step
The Trigger defines the entity that the Approval Process is designed to be applied to, as well as when the process should run ⤵
Approval processes can be built for Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities and Quotes and can be set to run:
When a record is created - when a brand new record is added to Pipeliner
When a record is updated - when an existing record is edited in Pipeliner
When a record is created or updated - when a brand new record is added to Pipeliner or an existing record is changed
Manually - the process is manually applied to a record by a user
You’ll also need to choose which user(s) in Pipeliner should trigger the process. The options are:
Any user - any individual user - including API integrations - could create the record or make the update to the record to trigger the process
Users or sales units - only the selected user(s) or users assigned to the selected Sales Unit(s) create the record or make the update to the record to trigger the process
Applications only - only selected API integration(s) can create the record or make the changes that trigger the process
For our example, the Approval Process is for Opportunities and should run when a new Opportunity is created or when an existing one is updated and it can be triggered by any user ⤵
Click on “Save” to move on.
The Approval Condition defines the criteria that identify that a record should have the Approval Process applied. You have to set up at least one condition.
NOTE: setting up Conditions in an Approval process is the same as creating a filter in the App. If you’re not familiar with using filters, this article will help you get up to speed with the basics.
In our example, to meet the conditions for our process to be applied, an Opportunity must have a value of $50k or more and also should be in step 3 “Proposal/Bid” in our Direct Sales pipeline ⤵
When you’ve finished adding your Conditions, click on “Save” to move on.
There are multiple attributes to set in the Approval Step.
Approvers - the individual(s) who have to approve the selected record, along with an option to specify if any individual user (Anyone) or all selected users (Everyone) have to approve the record as well as if Approval can be delegated ⤵
User - choose a User from the user list and click on the + symbol to add additional individuals
Record Sales Unit Manager(s) - users who have Manager rights to the Sales Unit that the record is assigned to
Record Owner - the owner of the record
In our example, three individual Users have been chosen. The selected option “Anyone” means that any of the three can approve an Opportunity ⤵
Record Lock - this option defines who can still edit the record in question while it’s subject to the Approval Process.
Choose from Approval Process Managers or both Approval Process Managers and Approvers. The record will be read-only to all other users. ⤵
NOTE: Approval Process Manager rights are a feature assigned to User Roles (not individual users) by your Pipeliner Admins.
In our example, we’ve set it so that Approval Process Managers and the three Approvers we selected can edit the record ⤵
Approval Expiration - an option to define a limit (in days) to how long the approvers have to submit their response. After the specified time, you can choose whether the record will be automatically Approved or Rejected.
In our example, the expiration limit is 4 days and, if not approved by then, the Opportunity will be automatically approved ⤵
Process dependency - if you are building an Approval Process for Lead, Opportunity or Quote, you can select to “Make this approval process dependent on Pipeline” which then makes it so that a Rejected Opportunity cannot be moved to a different sales step and also that an Opportunity which has not been Approved cannot be moved into the Won column.
We’ve switched this option on in our example ⤵
Click on “Save” when all your options have been selected.
Actions when Approved or Rejected
Now you can move on to deciding what should happen when a record is Approved or Rejected by your Approvers (or by the expiration period timing out).
Click on the + symbol to add an Action ⤵
Give your action a Name and then choose from the available Action Types. ⤵
NOTE: if you’ve used our Automatizer workflow tool, you’ll already be familiar with how to set up Actions. If not, the “Setting up Actions” section of the Automatizer — Creating and Running Processes article has lots more detail.
We’re going to send an email to the Owner of the Opportunity if it’s Approved to notify them to start the bid process ⤵
The email might look something like this ⤵
If an Opportunity is Rejected, however, the Action Type we’re going to choose is to Archive the Opportunity as well as send an email to the Opportunity Owner ⤵
The Opportunity Lost Form for our Archive Record Action might look something like this, using a specific Lost Reason and pulling information from our original Opportunity using the personalisation options ⤵
And the Send Email Action will be very similar to the one we set up for Approval.
Publishing your Process
Once your Actions are completed and saved, you need to Publish your process ⤵
Choose “Publish & Activate” to set your process live and running or “Publish” to save it without activating so you can continue to work on it ⤵
Viewing Approval Processes
You’ll be able to see all Approval Processes from the Tools>Approval Processes menu.
Processes are split into sections, depending on the record entity for which the process is built. Within each section, processes are sorted by Priority. If a record meets the conditions for more than one process, Priority determines which process will be applied ⤵
NOTE: Priority can be changed by dragging and dropping processes.
When a record meets the conditions for an Approval Process to be triggered, or a manual Approval Process is selected by a user, Approvers will be sent an email notification ⤵
Clicking on the link in the email will open up the record that needs to be Approved or Rejected.
If a record that you own is approved or rejected, you’ll also receive a notification email ⤵
You’ll also be able to see Approval Notifications from the In App Notifications hub ⤵
Clicking on an In App Notification will also jump you straight to the record ⤵
NOTE: you can switch off Approvals notifications in your Email Notification or In App Notification Settings.
Viewing Approvals from the Approvals Menu
Clicking on the main Approvals menu will display a list of:
All records that you are the Owner of and which need to be approved
All records that are currently waiting for your Approval (or Rejection) ⤵
You can navigate to a selected record or submit your response right from this screen.
If you are an Approver, you will see all possible actions by clicking on the dropdown arrow to the right of the list ⤵
If you’re the Owner of the record which is waiting for Approval, your options will be more limited ⤵
Viewing Approvals from a Record
When you open up a record that is subject to an Approvals process, you’ll be notified that the record is locked for editing. The Approvals widget in the right hand panel will show you which Approval Process is running and the current status ⤵
Clicking on the dropdown arrow will open up the Approvals widget and will show you who the Approvers are. If you are one of the Approvers, you’ll be able to use the “Respond” button ⤵
If you’re not an Approver, you’ll see the name(s) of those users who are responsible and will also have the option to “Cancel” the current Approval Process ⤵
You’d use this if there has been a material change that means that the process is no longer valid for that record ⤵
Initiating a manual Approval Process
You can initiate a manual Approval Process from a record by clicking into Approval Processes in the Approvals widget and selecting the process to trigger ⤵
NOTE: if no processes are listed when you click into the Approval Processes box in the widget, that means that no manual Approval Processes have been built for that type of record.
Responding to Approvals
If you’re an Approver, you can respond to an Approval request from the notification, from the Approvals menu or from an open record.
Your options are:
Open - jump through to the record
Approve - Approve the record
Reject - Reject the record
Delegate - pass the approval request to another user of your choice
Resubmit - resubmit the record to the process
Cancel - cancel the approval request
If you Approve, Reject or Delegate the approval Request, you’ll be prompted to fill in a comment which will be included in the notifications to the record owner ⤵
If you’re the Owner of a record that is rejected, you’ll be able to see which Approver(s) rejected the record as well as Respond to them directly from the record ⤵
If you click on "Respond", you’ll be prompted to Confirm (or Cancel) your record for Approval. Click "Confirm" or "Cancel" to continue. ⤵
Managing access rights to Approvals
Your Pipeliner Admins control which individuals are able to create and edit processes based on User Roles. Access the Admin Module using the App Switcher icon in the top left corner of Pipeliner and select “Administration”.
Next click on Units, Users and Roles and then the Roles tab. Choose the Role to edit and then navigate to the Features tab. In Navigation, the Approvals option gives access to the Approvals main menu ⤵
From Tools, you can allows users based on the Role to create new Approval processes and can also choose to set them as Approval Process Managers who are able to:
Edit and change the ownership of Approval processes
Edit locked records which are pending Approval (depending on the set up of your process)
Cancel Approvals ⤵