51Blocks - How to Automate Your Agency

Michael: Alright, Hello, I'm Michael.

 I'm Brittany.

 And we're from 51 blocks. And this is Episode Two that we're recording. Today we're going to talk about automation, and how we can automate a lot of tasks within your agency. Things that can make your life a lot easier increased communication to your clients. Yeah, and just overall, I think, better experience for everybody. Right, Brittany, once you agree, that's kind of what we're going to talk about in regards to automation to that.

Brittany: Yeah, yeah, it's been huge for us. I think it's definitely changed the way that we manage everything from operations to just what our clients see. So it's, it's been pretty big.

Michael: Yeah. And I think on top of that will be our processes in general as well. And maybe that's a way to kind of talk about next time is maybe some of the processes that help identify some of these automations that we do and then you know, lay those into to make that happen. So you know, we use Monday comm we just switched from click up, we had to Trello before them, and I'd say six or seven years ago, when I moved the agency from nothing to Trello, it really helped change the company really, really gave us a place to manage a lot of tasks and make it make it work very well. And then Trello came out and started charging for a platform, which they should after five or six years, and then we move to click up. It was a good solution for project management, but it wasn't as transparent as we needed to be for our clients and to do as much communication with our clients and stuff. So one of the things we did was we when we started with Monday, they have they have two abilities to for automations. They have all these automations that one status has changed or tasks are updated. You can send emails, you can do different things, you can notify people, and that's where I think the major communication has changed that, you know, when somebody comes in, and they, you know, want to integrate Gmail, for example, into your solution so you can use your support inbox automatically send out messages. So let's just talk about our feedback from clients on that so far and what you've seen, make this such a big deal and some of the responses we've had and actually even maybe talk about the client that we saved, right, that was going to cancel because of our communication and that now they're like, wow, we absolutely love the system. So,

Brittany: yeah, well, I think like any agency, we experience clients who don't need a lot from us, and ones that want a lot from us in terms of communication. So it's always about finding a good balance. With our old systems with click up, it was nice internally, because it kept us nicely managed on the inside, but clients couldn't see that we didn't have the ability to give them kind of real time access to what we were working on. Obviously, you don't want your clients seeing every, every bit of your communication internally. And then moving over to this. It was nice because we were looking for a way to reduce human error really updating client project tracker We're in a lot of spreadsheets. And that ended up being great for clients because it gave them the visibility that they needed except for the fact that the team struggled with updating internal systems and then going in as a secondary step, updating the cleanse tracker. And then on top of that, we were always like, hey, just let them know. It's done. The emails, there's three steps for anything that got completed. And so moving into this, and like Michael just said, I last week, we talked to a client. And her big complaint was, Hey, I used to get all this communication, you know, via email. And we slowly tripled back on that because we started getting feedback really from the team then it was just too much for them to keep up with it. And so going into this actually sat down with her and screen shared what we see and what she sees, and that it's updated in real time. And she thought it was just the coolest thing. She actually bookmarked it so that she really doesn't feel like she has to come and ask us she's going to check their first the real time updates, I think That is really what changes it for us, because we can just work like we would normally work in our system. And we don't have to worry about updating a project tracker. And then on top of that, Michael added an integration for the automated email that will go out as soon as we hit Done. And we associate an email address to that. So all of those steps that we used to take are just done like a normal workflow now, which I think is super.

Michael: Yeah. And I think I think what kind of sparked all of this was eventually we're we're actually doing less communication. And I believe I was the one that pushed for No, no, we got to be doing even more every task needs communication, right? And then the managers, you know, not all of us discuss, well, maybe not every task, but I would say, you know, the majority of the bigger items need to be done. And the cool thing with this is you can link something as well that can actually send the document to them as a deliverable. So they're getting emails that show things are done, but also things That our deliverables as well, which is really cool to see, to see for them to see that type of interaction, and then them to have the transparency and everything as well. So we don't have to duplicate all of our work to a tracker as well. And I know there's other platforms that does do this as well. But we've just the usability as well was very huge for us. And I think we're seeing our team really use this and being able to execute it and then with the transparency to the client, you made a point you don't want everybody to see everything, you know, so some of these update items the clients don't see and that's you know, something that's cool to cool to see that we can communicate internally, but then also still have transparency to clients as well. One other thing I think we did a lot of and we use  autopilot is a lot of marketing communication, like via, you know, UPS trying to log in here. Why don't you talk about how we leverage autopilot. And what we do to make that happen, I guess so.

Brittany: So for us autopilot is used more so in our leads space. So another cool thing about Monday has been that we've gotten every department in here. It's not just the SEO and PPC and social management, it's actually like sales and operations and everything else that we need to do. So we use autopilot to essentially set up sequences in our follow up campaigns. So we actually eliminated an entire job in our company, we have a person doing this, where they would leave would come in and they would follow up via email and drop a call and try and get, you know, a meeting scheduled with me. And then they would follow up after my meetings and we were able to set up a sequence that basically does it for us, which is really great. So I mean, we're saving money already, just in that sense. Obviously, we use it for its traditional uses like newsletter. It Monday we're able to send someone to our newsletter list if they're not a, you know, qualified lead or, you know, we've just kind of run out of touches with them, I will send them there. So that's been super cool as well.

Michael: I think that is the cool thing. Like with Monday, like she mentioned, we can just change one of these statuses and we change it to send a newsletter. And then we use Zapier to send that information from, you know, wherever to autopilot, right, and then autopilot grabs that data and then it drops them in and brings them through the sequence that we want to bring them through whatever the sequence may be. And you know, same with our contact forms as well, you know, we'll get a submission from Gravity Forms will enter a slack message on our team and then I send it I send it via web hook to Ingram at and this does a little more powerful stuff. And then I've seen Zapier do so we're able to filter people based on high priority leads or other leads and do different actions based on those things. And then, you know, I get alerts if for some reason doesn't have data So in, it just allows for a nice simple workflow. Like, like, like Britney mentioned, we're able to eliminate a full position now that you always want to be doing that. But obviously, this, you know, makes you more profitable is having a lot more automation. Now, we still have people that will call and pick up or call the phones to get scheduled meetings, things like that. But a lot of the statuses in our leads, you know, have a manual process like half the half the email automation process happens inside of Monday, the other half will go to autopilot and start to send that stuff. And through automation, we're just able to get so many more touches and do different things and we're able to see people months later through our newsletter raise their hand again, right that they're still added on our newsletter to do those things. And like I said, they raise their hand and they mentioned I think Brittany sent out what was that one? The news the new year one?

Brittany: Yeah. Oh, email blast too. So we sent out like a, a new year. email blasts and of course, just a normal, monthly newsletter. And I think, for us, we were never great at nurturing our leads. And this has changed the way that we can nurture our leads, because now I feel like we're putting a lot more effort without actually taking a person to have to do that. So I think that's been really great for us doing. The automation that we can use now has made it so much easier to manage, really all of our spaces, but in the lead space, especially because we, we definitely needed to get a little bit better about falling

Michael: out. And it's almost funny how, as soon as we started to implement this, we got more leads, like we've do, we just we use traction inside of our company. And we use that we monitor some major KPIs and one of them being the number of leads. And we had a goal for a certain number of per month, per week of leads that we want to hit. And prior to that a lot of this automation we were not hitting those nine items, and now we are right so it's interesting In either people are now seeing us again and raising their hands and doing different things we actually hear a lot of times from our leads themselves that people don't even get back to them when they reach when they fill out their forms. Right. You hear that? Sometimes when you're on sales call the head, you're like the third white. Thanks for calling me back. Right? Like they say things like that. That just kind of mentioned that even people are not even following up on leads. We follow up but we weren't nurturing them well enough. And now I believe we have a pretty solid system to kind of do that through leveraging autopilot, Zapier and in Chrome app to kind of do those things all together. Monday being a huge part of that as well. What other anything else you kind of want to talk about in regards to automation and how, you know, I guess, talk about how it's probably made the account managers life's easier or anything else you want to kind of address with that.

Brittany: Uh, so I think first it's really helped us keep an eye on things from afar. It's tough. We have hundreds of clients. And so it's really tough for one manager to go in and actually check on every account. So something when we built these boards, we built an automation. So when someone clicks in review, we had to pick something that obviously wouldn't allow a client that someone needed help. But what it does is it actually sends me an email saying this person has raised their hand and they need some help on this task. So I think a big thing I was getting feedback wise, because we have a tiered structure, we have specialists and we have strategist was the specialist was saying, hey, I've reached out for help. I know this person is busy, they haven't gotten back to me, and then it delays them on getting their tasks completed. So with this kind of alert system in place, now I'm able to go in and jump in and actually assist with this and get the right person on top of them. So that's been really good. The other thing that it's done for our dev team is there's another automation in there when they click it's a web dev task is shoots. It's their list, which is really cool. And then we can kind of see an internal ticket before we were sending them into our normal supporting boxes. It was a constant follow up like where we add on this, those types of things. So now they can see transparently just a lot more. And then I feel like it's it's made it so that people feel like they're getting help. In addition to that just onboarding new team member, we have automation set up. So I can see on the first day as someone's completing all of their paperwork, all of the reviews that we have in place for them to acknowledge, like, what's their responsibility and going through each one of our training systems. When they click done, I'm alerted that they're finished with it, I follow up and see if they have any questions. So it's, it's just made it so much easier to manage people and not be the one that has to remember to reach out but actually wait and have a system tell you, hey, this person needs you. And that's been super, super cool. For me, at least I think for the next person who manages a team. It's going to be great for them as well.

Michael: Yeah, I think you mentioned two things in there that were pretty powerful. Obviously, you can run your agency. You know if when you have one or two clients, if you don't need a systems and processes. But when once you start to get to 10 2030 clients, things start to get messy, right, and you have lots of tasks and you got to be very organized. So using a system that has automation can make that very, very powerful. So I haven't you know, scale while you're may not be there yet, is something you should be thinking about, as well. And then, you know, we I think we maybe one of the next videos with you will be showing them our, our employee onboarding board that is so built out and so well organized, thanks to Brittany, that when you come on, there's so many training videos that show you how we interact with our company. And what we do inside of our agency. That is, I think, the best we've ever been in regards to onboarding an employee so that when they raise they know where to go to ask questions. They know what we mean when we say certain things, they know the expectations, all those things are already laid out. And that process has been built on. We're just starting to build out our process systems. And that's what we've really noticed with automation is we really need, we really need processes as well. So anything you want to add on that?

Brittany: No, I mean, you you touched on it all. It's, it's an evolution, I think we're always going to find new ways to use the system, which is cool. And I think just finding the platform where we can have so much in one place was the biggest move. And now we'll be able to leverage it in so many different ways. And I think it's it's really helped us with the ability to actually scale ourselves. So when we have a new team member, we know we're in good hands with what we have in place. And then if we have new clients, so much easier using the templates that we built out to be able to onboard them quickly and show them everything that we're doing which is another thing that we didn't used to do so everything and there's just so many benefits to this system that i i think it's been just huge for us. Anything for any business that does have a lot of clients. This is this is going to be big for them to

Michael: watch There we go. There we go hearing about automation today, if you have any questions or anything you need help with an understanding of how our workflow works more than happy to talk about it. You can reach out to Brittany or myself, we built the system. And we have implemented it. So any questions? I guess the just reach out. Otherwise, we're at 51 blocks where a white label digital marketing agency helping people with SEO, website design, social media, and hosting as well. If you have any questions or anything, feel free to reach out. We're here. Thanks so much for listening.

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