An established marketing agency used Accelo to replace cumbersome paper files with a centralized platform to manage projects, tasks, tickets, retainers and promotional product orders.
DesignWorks Group is a full-service agency in Wichita Falls, Texas. The experienced team specializes in digital and traditional marketing, branding and website development services and provides promotional products for businesses in all verticals.
Founded in 1982 by Craig Draper, DesignWorks is a goal-driven agency known for creating custom mixed-media solutions for its clients.
For over 30 years, the agency relied on paper. They kept client files in manila folders and had no software to help manage projects. Logan Draper, Digital Marketing Director, recalls this period of time before 2017 as slow and archaic. There was no continuity between departments or stages of work, with each team siloed.
“Our digital team was pretty cohesive, and we were trying to figure out as we were growing how we could incorporate the art department and project management. But we had no idea what kind of solution we were looking for at all,” he explains. “It was hard to find something that encompassed tickets, projects, retainers and something we could all work in across the whole agency.”
Logan and his team considered other work management solutions such as Teamwork and monday.com, but got excited about Accelo when they realized it would help them with time management and, most importantly, act as a replacement for their sizable physical filing system.
“We thought less about the profitability and more about how it would help our employees manage their projects smoothly,” he says.
Since they knew it might be difficult for some team members to make the leap into a tech platform after years of manual processes, leadership took care to offer support and parameters. DesignWorks took advantage of Accelo’s Professional Services training and Q&A sessions.
“We really invested the time to find out how we’d make the change,” Logan says. “The day we trained everybody, that was the only way we were going to do things going forward. Within weeks, people started to realize the value and that it would make their jobs a lot quicker and easier.”
His advice for implementation? Assess what you currently do and consider how the platform provides an opportunity to set up your workflows differently instead of trying to make Accelo fit what you’re doing now.
The agency has tailored Accelo’s products to its needs. The team uses:
- Sales for managing orders for promotional material
- Projects for video and audio production
- Tickets for ad-hoc client requests
- Retainers for automating ongoing contracts
Logan says the smart retainer management features — which they couldn’t find in any other platform — have had the biggest impact of all. Along with assigning tasks inside retainers, the team can bill for recurring work in far less time.
He describes the tedious process they endured before: “We used to physically open up 120 folders every month to review what we’d done for ongoing clients.”
The DesignWorks team also loves being able to auto-schedule tasks and track recurring expenses for their clients’ paid ads, and some employees use the built-in timers to hold themselves accountable.
In the five years since adopting the platform, the agency has saved thousands of dollars per year in paper costs and comfortably taken on 30% more work.
As it’s experienced a digital transformation, DesignWorks has also evolved culturally. While some of the staff had a hard time leaving the manila folders behind, Logan says those who have since joined the team think Accelo is “the greatest piece of software ever.” Now that the team has gotten used to working cohesively and having absolute clarity about their work, he believes they couldn’t go without it.
Logan and his fellow leaders have been able to make profitable decisions, including upping rates for clients they were previously underquoting. Real-time data was a lifesaver during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I think Covid would’ve been a massive step back if it hadn’t been for Accelo. We went from survival mode to thriving again.
Logan Draper, Digital Marketing Director
After realizing what Accelo made possible, they decided to go ahead with other tech-forward choices, such as moving all of their internal communication to Slack. Logan has big plans to revisit and refine triggers and custom progressions to fully automate every process and continue to propel the agency forward.
See what's possible when you update your agency's tech like DesignWorks.