Previously in the Cultivate Your Contacts series we have discussed the problems with silos of information. Contacts in your newsletter database which don’t match up with your email address book, and so on. Today we’re going to look at how one accounting firm has approached this issue.
Growthwise is a small firm in Newcastle, two hours’ drive north of Sydney. The firm is a strong believer in the online accounting program Xero and has moved to its practice management system Workflow Max with which it has had great success in lifting its efficiency.
Workflow Max assigns clients’ jobs to accountants in the business and Growthwise has customised the app heavily to provide a lot of detail about customers. “We use Workflow Max to data mine clients and we have a bucketload of fields in there,” says Steph Hinds, partner and founder of Growthwise. “We store who the client banks with, their bank manager, and so on.”
But the firm is careful to only store active clients in there. It uses a separate cloud-based program called Capsule CRM to store hundreds of contact details such as prospects, associates and partners. Growthwise decided not to use Workflow Max because “it was too clunky” to fill with hundreds of contacts, some of whom may only have a single interaction with the firm.
“It’s not really what you would class as a traditional CRM like Capsule,” Hinds says. Capsule uses social media accounts connected to a contact’s entry to show their interests and activities, which Growthwise’s accountants can use in their next conversation or to understand a prospect’s business better.
Social media is less important for clients because Growthwise is in more regular contact with them.
Running the two sets of contacts works well enough, except when a prospect becomes a client. The accountant then has to transfer the contact manually from Capsule CRM to Workflow Max.
Growthwise also has to manually transfer contacts between Workflow Max and its e-marketing database, MailChimp. Apart from the hassle involved with the transfer, MailChimp can’t show aggregated information on how many times a particular client has opened an email or clicked on a link within it because Growthwise has to re-import the list each time it wants to do a mailout.
(Workflow Max does automatically sync with a competing product, E360). The firm doesn’t have to worry about a separate email address book, as Capsule CRM is integrated with Google Apps, the firm’s email and document management suite.
Hinds checks details and social media connections of email contacts with a Gmail plug-in called Rapportive.
“Rapportive gives you a snapshot (of the client) really quickly. In one click I can connect to them on LinkedIn and Facebook,” Hinds says.
When BoxFreeIT called Growthwise, Hinds was re-evaluating the arrangement with the hope of finding a more integrated collection of apps – or to decide whether to build custom integrations. The sticking point is Workflow Max. While Growthwise has found it an excellent program for running the practice, it lacks a sophisticated interface for communicating with other programs (called an API).
“Unless you’re using a (program like) Salesforce.com where you’re using everything in the one system, we’re doing double entry,” Hinds says. Growthwise is sticking with the current set-up because of efficiencies gained in the tight integration between Xero and Workflow Max.
“There are just so many really cool things out there at the moment you just have to check that you’re using the best kind of system,” Hinds says.