Tim and Clint have been managing WrightIMC since 2007, an agency that specializes in online marketing. After 5 years of growth, they had a problem. With more than 30 ongoing clients in varying industries and almost two dozen staff, the business was struggling to effectively manage its people and projects successfully.
How could a business with lots of great clients be doing it tough? In short, Tim and Clint were really struggling to manage their teams and workload; they were using too many disparate systems that didn’t talk to each other. Manually trying to keep track of opportunities, projects and ongoing accounts meant they weren't as profitable and productive as they could - and should - be.
"We've tried many different project management systems: ActiveCollab, Basecamp, Workamajig. We typically outgrew them within 6 months," explains director Clint Spaulding. Sometimes the products were too basic, but mainly, the project management systems they tried were only interested in project management without any connection to sales, service or billing.
"One of our prerequisites was to find a system that could integrate seamlessly with Quickbooks and Salesforce and still give us the project management functions we need to improve the business."
The other challenge the team faced was that a lot of their services weren't really one-off projects; they needed a solution that was more about client "service" and working on a recurrent retainer basis rather than seeing work as single projects all the time.
"The Project Management solutions we tried were focused on individual projects (which took time and energy to set up) but when we're working on an SEO engagement with a client, for example, our work is much more bite-sized and part of an ongoing engagement", explains Spaulding. "The need to create lots of small projects and having them disconnected from each other was a real problem - not just for me, but also for our users and our clients - it was a real mess."
The team at WrightIMC were determined to do things differently in 2013, and in late January they signed up for a trial of Accelo. Today, more than 6 months later, their team isn't showing any signs of outgrowing Accelo - and more importantly, they've solved their management challenges with one integrated platform to manage projects, billing and staff - freeing up time to work on their client services.
“Profitability per client has gone way up,” says Tim Wagner, Vice President of WrightIMC. “We have a better view on where the time is going and which clients are getting over-serviced. We can see efficiency by individual, service and client - all while reducing the amount of money spent on different systems.”
Thanks to Accelo’s Contracts & Retainers tool, they are now able to automate their ongoing services. "We chose Accelo because it was the only system that could track monthly retainer work. We previously had to manually set up projects every month. Now, it’s mostly a hands-free process." Clint explains.
WrightIMC specializes in Search Engine Optimization, with fixed fee services that occur on a monthly basis. Staff will record the amount of time they spend on certain tasks and are then completed as part of the monthly retainer.
"I'll lay out the hours based on the amount of revenue in the contract. I can look at the retainer and get a macro view of the progress, or I can dive into the micro level and see the individual time and journal entries," explains Clint.
At the end of the period, an invoice is generated for approval and send-off. Overall, the system has made their monthly billing less painful and more profitable.
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