What are Pipelines, Pipeline Stages and Opportunities?


This article includes definitions for pipeline terms, examples for pipeline use cases, and planning guidelines to help define a pipeline process.

To view information about Pipeline Administration, Pipeline Permissions, and UI Changes, click here.

To view information about how to edit or create a pipeline, click here.

To view information about how to use a pipeline, click here.

For a quick summary of how to get started and create a new pipeline, click here.

Pipelines Video Overview


Pipelines are configurable multi-stage funnels that represent a process at your institution that is associated with a goal of achieving a desired outcome.


Opportunities are associations between a person type record and a pipeline. When a person is placed in a pipeline, they are represented by an opportunity in relation to the pipeline's desired outcome. Within a pipeline, each opportunity can optionally be assigned an assignee responsible for the opportunity.

  • When viewing a pipeline, each opportunity is tied to a person (typically a student or a prospective student).
  • When viewing an opportunity, the opportunity details will display how the opportunity is moving the associated person record towards the pipeline outcome.

Pipeline Stages

Pipeline Stages represent the various milestones within an individual pipeline process. As opportunities move through the pipeline stages, each stage could represent what should happen next, eg. what bulk action will be taken and/or what stage the opportunities should move into, depending on the milestone reached. Pipeline Analytics conversion rates between the stages provide insight into the efficacy of the pipeline process.

  • Opportunities can be moved through the pipeline stages as different milestones are achieved.

Pipeline Examples

As opportunities are currently defined as an association between a person type record and a pipeline process, pipelines can be used to represent any person-centric process at your institution. Some common examples may include:

  • An enrollment pipeline with a goal of achieving prospect application and/or prospect enrollment.
  • A re-enrollment pipeline with a goal of enrolling existing students in the subsequent term.
  • An advising pipeline with a goal of ensuring that all new students complete pre-enrollment activities.
  • An advising pipeline with a goal of verifying that all student athletes complete/pass their academic review.

Pipeline Planning

Before creating a pipeline within SS&E, we recommend defining the high level objective and desired outcome of a pipeline. Once an objective is set, the next step is to plan the pipeline details which includes the pipeline opportunities, opportunity sources and pipeline stages.

When setting out to define a pipeline, the following guidelines can help achieve the following:


Provide managers and staff users additional insight into the scope of activity within their purview.

  • Establish pipeline stages, opportunities and assignees that allow users to see all opportunities/stages that are currently in flight, where items are getting stalled and how often desired outcomes are achieved.
  • Design pipelines with outcomes and analytics that provide meaningful data for strategic decisions.


Communication channels within Pipelines allows users to perform outreach to the people involved in their assigned opportunities.

  • Pipeline Messaging includes both point to point (direct messaging from the Opportunity Details View or the List View) and bulk messaging (from the Pipelines Details List View).

Case Management

Case management ensures that each assignee is aware of what they are responsible for and ensures that no work items, eg. opportunities are missed.

  • When applicable, pipeline planning should include who is assigned to/responsible for opportunities as they move through the pipeline.

Information Availability

By associating the same person record with multiple pipeline processes, information and outcomes that are collected in one process are available to others.

  • Information availability allows institutions to add opportunities to different pipeline processes based on specific outcomes.


Assessment provides insights and analysis into the performance of the process that a pipeline represents.

  • Utilizing the built-in Pipelines Analytics for All Stage/Any Stage Conversion rates and Opportunity Stage Duration, users can discover and resolve gaps or weaknesses in the existing processes.



Was this article helpful?
1 out of 1 found this helpful

Articles in this section

How to Contact Support
There are many ways to reach out! Click here for our support options.
Watermark Academy
Click to access the Watermark Academy for consultation, training, and implementation companion courses.