It takes a lot of legwork to find the right small business CRM. Chances are, you’ll experience more than a few headaches and dead ends, leaving you just a little bit closer to spent when you finally have to get started on the onboarding process.
This is what Greg*, who runs a retail equipment company in Baltimore, discovered when he realized that they needed more than just the right app; for their business to grow, they needed a whole new approach in their workflows. Thankfully, the WORK[etc] QuickStart Onboarding Program was there to make the transition far easier than it would have been.
Our product specialist Laurie Marsicano, who was instrumental in developing QuickStart and guiding Greg and company through the process, recently took some time off her busy schedule to help us give users a glimpse into what the program is all about.
Getting started on a completely new system is always a bit of a challenge. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and it’s especially evident with an app that can do everything from sales and marketing to projects and billing like WORK[etc].
This is one of the most common early issues that Laurie encounters in QuickStart and a potential bottleneck for Greg and his company. They had only ever used help desk software before. The fact that they suddenly had access to projects, tasks, and much more became a bit too much for them.
Greg, in particular, was getting so overwhelmed by the projects module that he just never knew what needed to be done next.
Typically, you’d create a project and add a bunch of subprojects and tasks to it. In Greg’s case, having a lot of tasks within a project would often cause him to lose track of which stage everything was at.
To help Greg, Laurie didn’t just point him to where he could see that information. She took the extra step to actually solve his problem while giving him the tools to get an easier grasp on what the system can do.
The Project – Subproject – Task Hierarchy
- Projects are the bin for all the work you do related to your client: all tasks, subprojects, discussions, files, timesheets, expenses, and other items.
- Subprojects are the milestones or phases that make up a project.
- Tasks are the individual, everyday things that need to get done, like “Get contract signed”, for example.
- Project Stages indicate the general progress or status of a project. It gives you a quick indication of where your project is at.
The Project would house subprojects which in turn can contain other subprojects and tasks; completing these would move the project stage forward until the whole project itself is completed.
“Because he was overwhelmed by the fact that he had tasks, projects, and support cases, I said forget the tasks for now,” Laurie recalled. “Let’s use projects and just forget about creating subprojects and tasks. Let’s just use stages. You don’t need the automatic workflow, because with stages you’ll be able to see what the next stage is.”
Laurie helped Greg create a bunch of different project types for as many scenarios as he could think of, then helped formulate a set of stages that those projects would go through. That way, he could just use his project dashboard to see where each of his projects are at currently.
Since each project type only a few stages in them, it’s easier to keep track and say, “OK, this project is in this stage so obviously the next stage is this.” And when a new team member comes in, it just takes one click on the project stage dropdown menu to get a quick refresher.
“Just by looking at his list of projects, he can see what the current stage is right away so he doesn’t have to create all these tasks and projects and figure out what the stages and the project types need to be,” Laurie explained.
One system, many different routes
“When you’re a new user there’s just so much to the system,” says Laurie. “Sometimes subprojects and tasks can get overwhelming if you’re not a very detail-oriented person and you really just want to keep things simple, so it can be better to go down the stage route to keep everything from becoming too complicated. Just using stages will tell you what you need to do next. You don’t necessarily need to use tasks to dictate your next steps.
“The system is so flexible for so many different types of businesses; it can easily adapt to whatever systems and processes you have in place. We give you the ability to choose which path you want to take, and that’s part of the beauty of both WORK[etc] and the QuickStart process.
“Unlike other systems — where it’s their way or the highway — WORK[etc] adapts to how you work and not the other way around. You’re never forced into just one way of doing things.
Laurie also notes that this is one of the reasons why even experienced WORK[etc] users can still stand to gain something from QuickStart.
“Some users who already have WORK[etc] setup for them come to realize later on, after using their initial setup, that it wasn’t working as efficiently as it could. It happens a lot, actually — because there are different ways of doing something, until you’ve spent time using a particular setup you don’t realize that there might another way that works better for you.
“Just because I think one way is better doesn’t necessarily mean it is,” she said. “You’re the one that’s going to be using the system and people like to do things their own way.”
This comes up even internally, Laurie intimated. Sarah [Stermole, another of our awesome product specialists] and Justine [Tukushima, who has answered a few choice user questions here before], for example, have totally different workflows from what she’s using — and that’s totally fine.
It’s all about what’s easiest for the user, she says. “My way might not be the best way, but it’s the way I’m most comfortable with,” she explained, and that’s the same with every client who joins QuickStart.
Protip: get free training first
With WORK[etc] you already get all of the free training you need. But with our QuickStart service you also get a personalized onboarding program designed with your exact business in mind. What’s more, 100% of the program cost is offset against your future WORK[etc] subscriptions. QuickStart will essentially cost you $0 but add thousands of dollars’ worth in extra productivity alone.