Formidable Agency Smoothly Rolls Out Accelo Mid-Acquisition

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Apr 13 2023 read

Adopting new software can be high on the list of major changes entrepreneurs fear. But there comes a turning point in the life of your business when inefficiencies — known and unknown — may threaten its success. The right platform can offer a solution.

Andrew Stephenson, CEO of GIANT Creative, reached that point in late 2022. Having founded the results-driven marketing agency in 2020, he was eager for invaluable new tech because GIANT Creative values innovation. He says, "We’re always looking for ways to evolve individually and as a company.” 

With this credo driving them, the big thinkers at GIANT Creative have developed quite a presence in their home base of London, Ontario, and beyond. Their mission to change the way brands see marketing has been wildly effective for their clients, including the London Health Sciences Foundation

Vetting Platforms: A Monumental Task

Like many client-based businesses, the agency arrived at a classic dilemma: using too many disconnected software platforms to keep track of client data, projects and more.

Andrew knew things had to change, but he found the research phase “quite overwhelming.” There are plenty of platforms that claim to offer what GIANT Creative needed, but after digging in, he discovered they weren’t what they seemed.

“I made the decision to go with Accelo because it offered the most clearly defined end-to-end solution,” he explains.

Still, there were two looming concerns that made him hesitate: 

  • Andrew didn’t have a dedicated project manager to help with the software implementation process.
  • The agency was getting ready to acquire a digital marketing company with a strong presence in paid media. This would double its team size.

Ultimately, the need for a new, efficient way of managing client work won out. Andrew signed on and put his trust in Accelo’s Professional Services team.

Change Management Is Vital

Implementation officially began in November 2022. Andrew was a bit anxious because, he says, he felt he was doing something a bit outside of his normal scope of skills and responsibilities. His worries disappeared the first time he interacted with Accelo expert and Senior Professional Services Manager, Corin Vallee.

“Shortly after starting, I realized my concerns were unwarranted,” he says. “Corin was super accommodating in helping to get our new team members up to speed.”

In the consultation phase, Corin got to know GIANT’s processes inside and out to gather the details necessary to set up appropriate project templates and efficient custom workflows. She prepared Andrew and his colleagues for each meeting, allowed time for ad-hoc questions and sent detailed post-presentation follow-ups.

These preliminary discussions involved strategizing about the best way to roll out the platform to the agency’s growing team and provide transparency around its business goals. They dove deeper into its customizable capabilities with every session.

Our most successful clients have a clear vision and defined outcomes, roles and responsibilities. Executive sponsorship, engagement and open-mindedness are key, along with a clear communication plan to support a smooth rollout.

Corin Vallee, Senior Professional Services Manager, Accelo 

Andrew and his team were examples of this type of client, willing to invest in the change management strategies required.

“This is the biggest change the company has ever experienced,” Andrew says. “Not only did we implement a project management change, but we implemented a CRM change, a billing change, a reporting change and a new communication policy.”

READ NEXT: 5 Common Fears of Business Owners Adopting New Tech

A Priceless Guided Learning Period

To ensure existing and new team members would be aligned on the aim of and use cases for adopting Accelo, the GIANT team and Corin developed a plan for remote training, plus a two-day in-person training.

Andrew gathered the newly expanded team in one location and shut the company down to focus on learning the new platform. He describes Corin’s presentation setup and approach to explaining Accelo’s suite of products as systematic, clear and focused.

She reflects his sentiments, sharing how he and his team contributed to a seamless experience. 

“Andrew really understood how critical quality training is to a team’s success in software adoption, so he decided to invest in our Live Training add-on,” Corin explains. “Together, we developed a training plan that I would execute to take some pressure off GIANT’s leadership during this massive transition. The content was derived from Accelo’s best practices and customized for the agency’s unique needs.”


Tailored vs. Out-of-the-Box Implementation

One of the platforms Andrew and his team used before Accelo was After playing around in the software, he felt it catered to the solopreneur and couldn’t see it working well for a multi-layered business like his agency. He was also frustrated by the lack of help with setup.

“Part of the reason failed for us was because they didn’t offer implementation support,” he says. “They basically said, ‘Here’s a platform; figure it out.’ They offered a helpline and online tech support, but it was frustrating at times, yielding limited results.”

Knowing his team would have high-level support was a big reason he chose Accelo. 



Need proof that this experience is repeatable? Read Grey Matter’s Accelo implementation story.  

The Immediate Impact

Within a month of going live, the GIANT team was using Accelo to: 

  • Send internal and external communication 
  • Store and review client updates in the Activity Stream
  • Book meetings directly from the platform
  • Track and fulfill client work using Projects 
  • Accurately bill for completed work
  • Automatically manage recurring contracts with Retainers
  • Address ad-hoc client requests with Tickets

The result? “We save so much time,” Andrew says. “And the level of visibility we all get is so valuable.”

This visibility has already helped out in specific situations. The creative team refers to the Activity Stream to see what clients have said rather than relying on internal messages. And Andrew recently discovered a client’s dissatisfaction before an employee needed to bring it to his attention.

He raves about the transition from retroactive timesheets to intuitive time tracking, too.

“In a fast-paced environment, the curation of data is slow. I used to ask, ‘How do I make decisions about the company without proactive data?’”

Time usage data has presented Andrew with the opportunity to set benchmarks for individuals and more accurately determine billing rates. His team enjoys the structure and motivation generated by tangible goals, and he’s noticed thoughtful discussion about budgeted vs. actual time.

“By tracking time against projects, we can set a benchmark before the project starts and very easily make appropriate decisions as the project unfolds in real time,” he says. “That allows us to steer the ship proactively rather than retroactively. We’re able to see three moves ahead and capitalize on missed revenue by better tracking our time.”

Telling Signs of What’s To Come

Right after deploying Accelo in February 2023, Andrew started watching his Slack data to determine how much the platform was reducing constant — and mentally exhausting — pings.

“It was becoming a big problem because our team was project managing and asking for accountability using Slack.”

In the 30 days prior to going live with Accelo, GIANT Creative sent 19,294 Slack messages. After funneling as much communication through the platform as possible, they sent 15,827 messages in the following 30 days — an 18% reduction.

Andrew’s goal is to keep streamlining communication to eventually reduce Slack messages by 35–40%. 

“GIANT is a great example of how going through implementation with Accelo empowers businesses to optimize and innovate,” says Corin. “Our systematic, streamlined and effective software adoption has helped their team realize value out of the platform immediately. Instead of wading through just to get operational, they are positioned to leverage Accelo to grow their business.”

GIANT Creative’s Future With Accelo

So far, Accelo and the new processes it’s inspired have been well-received by Andrew’s team. As they continue to optimize their platform usage, he says he’s most looking forward to uncovering and correcting inefficiencies.

That’s what I’m most excited about: finding missed opportunities that we wouldn’t have even thought of. Accelo will allow us to grow from within instead of chasing revenue growth through more leads and more sales.

Andrew Stephenson, CEO, GIANT Creative

He expands on the latent potential: “Finding new efficiencies is what’s going to set us up for operational success and allow us to price our services better based on the time we spend. If we can increase our utilization by 15%, for example, what does that mean for our bottom line on 40,000 available hours per year?”

With this curiosity, the power of Accelo and access to our Premium Support program, GIANT Creative stands on the precipice of even more colossal change. Luckily, they’re no strangers to going big.

Intrigued by GIANT Creative’s experience implementing Accelo? Find out what it could be like for your business to optimize your processes with the platform. Start a free trial or schedule a demo.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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