Case Studies. Don’t settle for a cobbled-together CRM system. Do what this design firm did instead.
25Jun '14

Don’t settle for a cobbled-together CRM system. Do what this design firm did instead.

This print and digital design firm from the UK has plans to expand, but they’re not confident that they can do so efficiently if they stick to their non-centralized and at times slapdash business process software. Learn how WORK[etc]’s integrated modules can help make the growing pains a lot easier to bear.


This company from the UK deals in design. Websites, logos, print and digital designs – the works. They’ve kept a relatively small workforce since their inception and are now gearing up for further growth.

Their current setup revolves around a custom homemade CRM system with very basic client and project handling features. They’ve supplemented it with separate quoting and accounting software, although they do have plans to make the switch to QuickBooks for the latter.

In addition to the old CRM system that they use, the firm also compiles client information using a spreadsheet. They track each quote manually as they go out to the clients.


The firm’s cobbled-together system works well for the moment but the firm believes it would ultimately prove too unwieldy in the long term. They’re now looking for an integrated system that will let everyone on their team get an overview of what the different members are working on at any given time.

Among their requirements are CRM, project management, and budgeting – just a few of the things that already come built into WORK[etc].



WORK[etc] Contacts PageData entry is still a large part of WORK[etc], of course, but unlike your typical spreadsheet every piece of data you enter can be tied to a specific client, employee, or project. You can keep track of everything you do with a client (projects, communication, interaction, support cases, etc.) on their activity history. All of this information can then be accessed easily and quickly via WORK[etc]’s search, tag, and filter functions.

Let’s say a client calls you to talk about something he mentioned in a past call three months ago. He might not remember the topic, but if you took notes and entered them into WORK[etc] then the system definitely will. Just open up the client’s activity history tab, find the date, and you’ll get the information you need.

Client communication and interaction can also be handled by WORK[etc] itself, making it easier to track any emails you send out.  Here are just a few of the communication staples that WORK[etc] can do:

  • Send one-off emails
  • Send email marketing blasts
  • Create mailing lists
  • Segregate mailing lists

Conversely, there’s a Gmail Gadget that lets you turn emails into anything from leads to support tickets in WORK[etc].

As for quotes, you can use WORK[etc] to create them from a list of products and / or services that your company offers. The quotes you send out then become part of the customer activity record and show up on the “Quotes and Estimates” page. Any quote can be edited, updated, or converted immediately to an invoice.

While WORK[etc] is not a full-featured accounting platform, it offers integration with popular accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero Accounting. The integration is two-way: you can also export your invoices, transactions, and expenses in a variety of formats. The system itself gives you an instant, real-time view of the progress of your business without having to refer to an outsourced book keeper or accountant.


 Custom ProjectsEvery project that this design firm handles goes through a varying number of steps. A website design job, for example, can consist of four or five subsections. Once they’re ready to proceed, the firm comes up with a budgetable project so they can track whether or not they’re staying within the budget.

In WORK[etc], this can be done through the projects dashboard. You can also opt to create projects on a contact’s page to automatically associate that project with them.

On the dashboard you’ll see all of the projects the company has worked on, is working on, or will be working on. WORK[etc]’s extensive customizability means that you can also, for one, create filters that will let you see only those projects assigned to specific people.

Project budgeting and tracking is another aspect that the design firm needs. After all, no business wants to go above budget and end up losing money in the process. WORK[etc]’s projects tab can act as a central hub for tracking project budgets, timesheets, and expenses.

One nifty feature that should prove important to budget conscious companies is that the platform lets users view actual as well as projected expenses. At any point in time you can see how much you’re receiving, how much you’ve used up, and how much progress has been made. You can track your budget with this and send your client just a single bill.

A project entity can even be used to handle and track clients who operate on retainer. You can turn a project into an ongoing set of work that can used to tick off and tally the jobs you’ve done while on retainer.


As an integrated cloud-based platform that performs beyond what the typical CRM can do, WORK[etc] can provide the firm with the system they need to place them in a better position to expand. WORK[etc]’s powerful project management module lets a project-oriented company such as a design firm keep track of any and all of the work they’re doing. The system’s highly customizable project entities also help them stay within budget.



To find an integrated system that includes client and project management systems as well as budget handling capabilities.


Enter, compile, and track client information as well as associated projects, interactions, billing, and support cases in WORK[etc]’s contact page. Leverage the built-in budget tracking features in WORK[etc]’s customizable project module to ensure that every budget is done within the budget and on schedule.


The firm can become more efficient and better poised for eventual expansion.


Designs go through stages. It’s almost never just a single finished product. As these projects are their bread and butter, efficient and proper project management is a must for any design firm — especially one that is already looking towards future growth. Growing pains is a reality for any company, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it unaided.  WORK[etc] can be your painkiller. Try it out for yourself now with our free 14-day demo.