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Mark O’Brien: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Newfangled’s webinar on the Firm of the Future Part 1: Seeing Your Business for the First Time. The title implies this is a multi-part webinar and that is true. It’s a two-part webinar. Today we’re gonna be looking at business intelligence and then next month in September, we’re gonna be looking at marketing intelligence. If you signed up for this one, you’re automatically signed up for the next. You’ll get emails about when that is and all that kind of stuff. Today I am joined by Lindsey Barlow, our Salesforce administrator. Hey, Lindsey.
Lindsey Barlow: Hey.
Mark O’Brien: Really excited about this. There’s so much to talk about. We’ll start with a bit of a back story some of you may have heard, but in 2011, six years ago now, it was almost exactly six years ago, Blair Enns from Win Without Pitching basically made me join him at Dreamforce. I really wasn’t very interested in Salesforce or anything else, but we tried it. We tried Salesforce years ago and I didn’t like it, for all the reasons nobody likes it, and he convinced me that it’d be smart to go to Dreamforce. I went mostly to hang out with Blair. Dreamforce, yeah, maybe there’ll be some cool things, but no one’s gonna pass up a couple days with Blair.
I was really more going for him than for the actual conference, but on the second day of the conference, I was in a session. The session was the wall to wall enterprise. It’s not interesting, so we went, and about halfway through, Blair looked over to me and he saw that my jaw was almost actually on the floor. I could not believe what I was seeing. What I was seeing was a business basically showing up on their screen live, all of their data points. Everything. Everything from marketing stats to sales stats to invoicing stats to production stats, any cross combination of those things, all right there. They’re referring to that as the Salesforce wall-to-wall implementation, meaning that every system you’ve got is in Salesforce or integrates with Salesforce. The power of what they were showing and the power of what non-technical people were able to pull up and observe in real-time data, just blew my mind. I had no idea that was possible.
It wasn’t GE or Bank of America. It wasn’t some massive firm. It was a firm bigger than Newfangled, they probably had about 100 employees or so, but it was still in our target. It was something that a firm sort of like ours was doing and was raving about. That completely changed my perspective on business intelligence, on how to run a modern business. Like happens a lot, I come back to the office, speak with all the brilliant people here, and things start happening. The first few conversations had were with Lindsey Barlow and Chris Butler and Dave Mellow. Lindsey Barlow, right around then, started on track to become a certified Salesforce administrator, which is quite a rigorous program. It’s not one of these like, you know, green belt in karate things that you just get for showing up to a class. It’s a very real designation. Takes a lot of work and a lot of study. It’s a very rigorous but well run program. What was it, within a year or so, Lindsey, you became an admin?
Lindsey Barlow: Might have taken two.
Mark O’Brien: Two years? Yeah, yeah. This was while she was doing her job, which was resourcing, which is quite interesting. I know a lot of people on the webinar today have worked with David Baker, they’re familiar with the ReCourses resourcing model. Lindsey was and to the degree we have one, still is our resourcer. A lot of what we’re gonna be talking about today will talk about the overlap between those two things.
Basically today, we’re talking about business intelligence. We’re talking about that, the wall to wall implementation. We’re talking about the idea of being able to see any data point inside your firm instantly, on live data points. In this wall to wall epiphany I had six years ago, again, thanks to the work of everyone in here at Newfangled, is now true. We are a wall to wall organization. We’re gonna be looking at a lot of those screens, a lot of those systems, that are the product of being wall to wall. Keep in mind, the data points aren’t real. Right? Some are, actually, some aren’t. You won’t know which is which, but you know, this is not an open book session on Newfangled.
What we are doing is showing you how we use these tools, what these tools are like, and what the benefits of them are. To me, I’m thrilled, because it is, the title of this webinar is based on my perception, my feeling, seeing the business for the first time. That’s how it’s felt, particularly for the past year that all this has come together in conjunction with some new tools that Salesforce has acquired and released. Being able to just see any single data point and compare it to any other data point almost at will is extraordinary. It’s something that is really unbelievable for a business our size. We’re 16 full-time people here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. You know, I like to think we’re a well-run business, but again, we’re not GE. We’re not Bank of America. I believe that this is how all of your firms will be run eventually.
David Baker was here for the past two days, we were actually consulting him, which is a lot of fun. It was a great session. We showed him all these tools, and he’s never seen any firm running any of these tools. I don’t want to over designate Newfangled as being the firm of the future, but in this case, we really are. The way we’re running, the tools we’re using, I’m pretty comfortable predicting are gonna be the way most firms do run at some point over the next three or five years. As always, we want to be really open about that, about how we do things, why we do them, what the problems were, all of that stuff. There will be a Q&A session, we’re gonna cover a lot of ground today. Just as you have a question, as something comes up, just go ahead and put it in that Q&A panel and we’ll address it at the end. We’ll probably hopefully leave 10-15 minutes at the end for that. We’ll go ahead and have it as open a discussion as possible after Lindsey and I present what we think are the most salient points.
Quick point here, this is based on Salesforce. Salesforce is not a CRM. Repeat, Salesforce is not a CRM. People use it as a CRM, it started as a CRM, but the CRM aspect of what Salesforce is now is just dwarfed by everything else it does. We have used Salesforce really as a data processing engine. We view Salesforce as a data visualization engine. We view Salesforce as a systems integration unit. It is so many things. The CRM represents the tiniest bit of it these days. It’s important, it’s great, but the reason why Salesforce is great is not because of the CRM. The CRM is sort of like, the gateway into everything else it really does. That’s the process we went through. We did start using it as a CRM and it quickly grew into all sorts of other things. We’ll talk about that and how we did it and why we think you should do it too.
Salesforce is the right platform for this, for everything we’re gonna look at, for a number of reasons. One is the technology. It’s extraordinary technology, the data processing components are wonderful. Its uptime is ridiculous. I was having a conversation the other day about looking at Amazon, looking at RackSpace, you know, different companies we worked with over the years. They’ve all gone down. They’ve all had issues. We’ve never had a major issue with Salesforce. It does scheduled maintenance, but their uptime is unbelievable. In the amount you can process, if you want to look at a system that 10 people run through or that 10,000 people run through, you can do it today, right? You have access to all the computing power that they’ve got access to.
Second is integrations. As we were going through this process, we chose tools that would integrate with Salesforce. We’re gonna reiterate this, but never at one point did we say, “Oh, we love this tool, but it doesn’t integrate with Salesforce or we can’t use it.” That never happened, okay? Salesforce did not limit us because, I make this analogy all the time, much like the reason your iPhone is great or your Android phone is great, is because the app marketplace. The phone is cool, it’s a cool thing of technology, but all the apps that are on it, all the tools, all the developers who have chosen to integrate with that, that’s what makes the ecosystem so vibrant, and that’s 100% true with Salesforce. If someone wants to make an app and they want to integrate it with a CRM, they’re going to integrate with Salesforce first. The integrations are bountiful.
The third is the customizability. You’ll see what we’ve done with Salesforce as a development platform. It’s out of this world. For two reasons: one, our developers are awesome; two, Salesforce is a great platform on which to develop them. We’ve only been enabled by choosing Salesforce as a foundation for our entire organization. We are built on Salesforce. We don’t regret it any single bit. We are thrilled by what we’re about to show you. We’re so happy with where we are. Lots and lots and lots of good decisions made across the company and this is the product of those decisions. Again, I predict you will be following on this path at some point because you’re gonna need to know how your business runs in this way, and this platform is the path of least resistance to that rather ambitious goal.
Okay. Let’s move on. First thing we’re gonna talk about is sales and marketing, right? Let’s start with the easy stuff. Again, Salesforce does lots of integrations. We integrate our CMS with it, which is WordPress. All the contact manage systems integrate with Salesforce, all the marketing automation systems integrate with Salesforce. Invent, registration slips like Invent Bright, et cetera, SurveyMonkey, all these tools that you’d use for your marketing needs, they integrate with Salesforce. They have APIs. In the rare situation that they don’t or they don’t go as deep as you’d like, there’s Zapier. You create zaps that create these little bridges from whatever you’re looking to integrate with and Salesforce. There are lots and lots of ways to go about it, but the integration points are very rich. We know that any data point we have in our sales and marketing tools, many of which reside outside of Salesforce, will be able to feed the necessary data into Salesforce because of these great integrations through its API.
That being said, it’s important to know that Salesforce-owned properties such as Pardot, do not integrate with Salesforce anymore than any other system integrates with Salesforce because the Salesforce API is so open, extensible, flexible. Pardot has the same API access as HubSpot or Marketo or anybody else. It’s just a matter of how you choose to integrate them. They’re all as integratable as each other. Salesforce is not putting up any walls to say, “Well this thing can’t integrate this way and this can’t integrate this way,” because we want to be all-inclusive and go kind of like the Microsoft proprietary model. That is not their deal. They’re wide open.
They do acquire lots of organizations, they do integrate those organizations and bake them into the core offerings. That’s great. We’re gonna look at some examples of that, but basically they want to be wide open so anyone can plug into them on their terms. Their terms seem to be pretty reasonable.
That’s that. Let’s take a look here at a live screen. Gonna turn my webcam off now. This is Einstein Analytics, okay? I think it was four years ago Salesforce purchased an organization called Wave Analytics. It’s basically a data visualization tool. They rebranded it Einstein. They’re pushing a lot of their marketing around Einstein right now. They’re really excited about it, but it’s basically data visualization. We use this all the time. I’m really excited because we learned about this when we were at Dreamforce last year. Maybe you’ve heard me say this before, but Dreamforce is the state of digital marketing on planet earth. Maybe it’s the state of business intelligence on planet earth now, I don’t know. It’s big. It’s an amazing event. Every single time we go, we come out way with all kinds of great information. Our big take away last year was Wave, this data visualization tool.
That’s what we’re doing on the same side. Okay, sorry. There we go. Now you see the screen, thanks. Sorry you weren’t looking at this Einstein Analytics screen yet, but now you are. Okay, so every time we go, we come away with something massive. Last year we were there, we had a similar jaw on the floor experience when we saw this wonderful company Traction on Demand demoing Wave Analytics, now Einstein Analytics. The promise of that was that it’s a data visualization tool that is so powerful that you can use it in a non-technical capacity. I experienced the power of that just yesterday when I rebuilt our traction scorecard. You can see this demo traction scorecard for the webinar. I personally restructured this. I didn’t do any code or anything, but I rearranged the way this all looks through drag and drop tools. It was really fun and really powerful and very empowering.
Anyway, this is live data, not necessarily accurate data because we’re hiding things from you, but it gives a sense of what things are. We can look at the opportunities created in the system, the leads created, and all the forms submitted. Again, all these forms are broken up by the type of form and everything else. Of course this is based on the integration between Salesforce and WordPress and in this case, Acta. We can go and mouse over any of these little color blocks and see what these things were and get a real sense of where we are. This is live. We are also a traction organization. We follow the entrepreneurial operating system. The key tenant of the EOS, entrepreneurial operating system, is this idea of a scorecard. The brief story on the scorecard is if you’re on a desert island and someone comes up to you and gives you a piece of paper, when you read that piece of paper, you are going to be able to decide if you can stay on the island and chill and not go back to work or if you have to go back to work right away because it’s an emergency.
The question is what’s on that piece of paper? Because we are a wall to wall Salesforce org now, that piece of paper is live inside of this dashboard’s traction scorecard. All these data points, all of our marketing data points, all of our production, employment data points, all of our performance data points, all of it, sales data points, all of it, shows up live here automatically based on refresh. If I want to see the most current numbers, I hit that button and I see everything up to the moment across all those platforms. In marketing you see really cool things like that, and that’s very powerful and helpful.
On the sales side, as you’d expect, this is Salesforce. We all thought this was just CRM until now. We can see things like that. We can see what sales have closed, when, what the pipeline looks like in terms of what’s eminently closing, what is going, what the pipeline is through all different stages, and then upgrades sold to clients. We can look at that. That’s really powerful. If we wanted to change any of these reports at any time, we could. There are all sorts of different chart formats and we could form any single data pool, we could combine any data pools. It’s entirely flexible. Most of it, much of it, through drag and drop functionality, which is really exciting.
One other thing that’s great that we use all the time is contract automation, which is so, so, so exciting. Basically, what we’re able to do here, this is an example right here of what an opportunity looks like in Salesforce. Basically, short story, on the CRM side, when someone engages on a form on your site, when they fill out, say, a webinar registration, they’re a lead. Someone who’s expressed interest in what you do, but they’ve not expressed interest in working with you. That’s a lead. Then, once they express interest in working with you somehow, they become a contact, and the product of whatever that conversation is, that’s the opportunity. The project that you’re working with them on, beginning discussions on, is an opportunity. We’ve got leads and then contacts and contacts are a source of opportunities. This is what the opportunity screen looks like in the new Salesforce lightning interface.
One thing to note, everything I’ve shown you so far is Salesforce, probably looks nothing like the Salesforce you know. The Einstein Analytics data of this platform is amazing, and lightning interface is really beautiful as well. Much different than the very difficult to look at classic Salesforce interface.
Here we’ve got all kinds of things that are really exciting that we won’t look at right now, but what I want to show is how contracting works now. This is all digital contracting. I’ve got this client, happy client, right? In this stage, they’re a happy prospect, but we’ve come to terms with them. We understand what the engagement’s going to look like. They’ve asked for a contract, so we just go in here and click new document. Then that launches to Panda Doc. Panda Doc is an independently-owned company that has chosen to basically build their livelihood on Salesforce. There are so many of those. When you do go to Dreamforce, the expo floor is almost exclusively full of hundreds of companies who are independent of Salesforce, yet wholly reliant upon Salesforce. They exist simply to exist in the Salesforce ecosystem exclusively. Panda Doc is one of those, and there are many, many, many of those.
I can go here, choose which contract I want to send to happy client. Choose who the recipients are. I’m gonna be the recipient of Newfangled, and happy client’s gonna be the recipient. I go ahead and start editing the contract, and it pulls from that template. Pulls it right up, creates on the fly for that individual. Check out the tokens, and I’ve now got a contract that’s pre-built, ready to go. I can make whatever edits I need. As soon as that’s done and looks good, I basically click send. Then off it goes. At that moment as soon as I click send, I get a copy and the client gets a copy. Then both of us from our email can simply click this, open the document, can go right in here and start basically taking the next steps to sign the contract. Within one or two clicks, basically I’ve got a contract signed and so does the client. That’s it. Next and then we’re done.
The entire contracting process has been radically simplified, thanks to Salesforce right, and thanks to the ecosystem they’ve created. Previously, you know how it is, you print the contract, scan it, you have to send the PDF. They print it, they sign it, all kinds of junk. I have no doubt in my mind that over Newfangled’s history, we’ve actually lost jobs because the contract process was too onerous. The moment the prospect said, “Yeah, I want to do this,” maybe they had their second scotch or something and they’re like, “Alright, ready to go,” they realize they have to print the thing and they weren’t at home and they don’t have a scanner and then it’s Monday morning and they’re caught up in the rest of the business and it doesn’t happen, whereas now, you know, they’re wasted and they want to drunk sign a contract. Awesome, they can do it. It’s really easy. Just a few clicks away and then they’re legally bound to us forever more.
You get the picture. It’s super easy. All of this is triggers. Then from there you can trigger all things to happen inside of Salesforce, set up projects and all the rest. It’s so, so wonderfully powerful. That’s just a little taste of how things go on the sales and marketing side. That’s the primer, the real beauty of the wall to wall, is how the business is managed through it. That’s why we have Lindsey here because she is actually one who partnership primarily with Dave Mellow, has created these business management functions and systems. You know, we’re gonna take a little tour of how we’ve done that. Then at the end after this we’ll get into how we use it for measuring the overall performance of Newfangled. Lindsey, want to take it away?
Lindsey Barlow: Yep. I’m gonna actually show you what it looks like to use Salesforce as more than just a CRM. I’m gonna show you the tool we created to manage our daily operations. You know, a couple of years ago, as Mark said, we were using Salesforce to track pre-sales and sales activities using it as a CRM, leads, campaigns, opportunities. When something sold, all of our post-sales operations, the processes around actually delivering our services to clients, were managed through a number of disparate systems. We had a project management tool, a time keeping tool, we used Base Camp, Google Docs, heavily relied on email, and we even used a hacky combination of our project management tool and QuickBooks for billing clients for work. Pretty obvious downsides to that. No data sharing between the systems, none of them were really integrated with each other, which made it really difficult to analyze any of the data that we did have. We had to pull it out of those systems and put it in Excel to make any determinations. We also had a really limited ability to customize any of those tools. It’s difficult to improve processes if you can’t actually improve the systems that support them.
Mark O’Brien: Yeah, and Lindsey, if I can just jump in there, I think that that setup probably sounds familiar to a lot of people. I think that the single biggest difference between then and now was that back then, you were left to guess. You had to make a lot, a lot, a lot of guesses based on pouring through all these different data silos, right?
Lindsey Barlow: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mark O’Brien: Yeah, and now having consolidated this it’s a very different deal. Yeah, taking the guess work out of things is really one of the main reasons to consider adopting this approach. Sorry to interrupt there.
Lindsey Barlow: Oh no, you’re good. Yeah, definitely. Obviously we knew we needed a better solution, and because of Mark’s vision, we knew we wanted it to at the very least integrate with Salesforce. We ended up deciding to build our own system on the Salesforce platform. The reason we decided to build it ourselves is mostly because there wasn’t anything in the marketplace at that time. If we were making that decision now, I don’t know if we would have built something ourselves. There might be something out there now just considering how much the ecosystem has grown.
Once we decided to build it ourselves, deciding why we were gonna build it on the Salesforce dot com platform instead of developing, say, like a web application that syncs with Salesforce. We made that decision for really four main reasons. Mark touched on a number of these at the beginning, the infrastructure of the Salesforce platform. We don’t have to worry about servers or uptime or security for any of our data. That’s all on Salesforce to manage. They have a team of programmers and engineers who are constantly building new functionality. There’s three new releases each year with new tools that we can leverage, and then they’re adding as well other things, like Einstein Analytics or Data dot com that we can add on. Then there’s simply the ecosystem, the partners, the app exchange, and as Mark mentioned, the ease of integration with their API.
Then for me the biggest one is the ease of customization and expansion. This idea of clicks, not code. Salesforce comes with native functionality and point and click declarative development tools that allow those developers and non-developers, like me, to build new functionality and customize Salesforce without writing any code. What exactly did we build? Well, we built a new system that replaced almost all of the other tools we were using. We use that now to manage most of our daily operations. We added a number of new custom objects to the database. Those include for us, projects, tasks, time entries, messages, check list items, client users, and notifications. All of those were added with absolutely no coding required. We are developers though, and Dave Mellow’s very good at his job, so we did do some custom coding. We have a custom user interface that we work with. We built a client portal and we have a QuickBooks integration.
The main processes we’re managing with this tool are first, our client communication and collaboration. What you’re looking at now is a client’s home screen. This is where they can access updates about their project, they can see their schedule, where they are, they can access deliverables and project resources, and get in touch with us at any time. We can also add and revoke access to this system so it’s easy to onboard new team members on the client side so an important deliverable isn’t stuck in someone’s email archive. It’s right here in this portal that’s forever accessible.
We also use the system to manage our internal communication and collaboration around our client, so this is a project home screen for a client. We can monitor the health of our accounts, we can access important resources like contracts and pricing information. Yeah, right here. Then if you move back to the next slide, you can see we can also easily communicate with each other around tasks. If you look at the screenshot to the right, you can see that we also log time within the system. That system is no longer separate. It’s right there in context as the time is spent, or via a very nice time sheets interface that Dave built. Then the fourth thing that really is super important and amazing, at least for me, is the ability to create and send QuickBooks invoices from the system. You never have to leave.
Those four things are amazing and they replaced the tools we had, but we also gained really new and powerful functionality that we didn’t have before. We’re able to use the Salesforce work flow engine and process builder to automate processes now, based on users’ actions. If something I’ve been able to build, for example, are a series of alerts that notify team members of key milestones in a client’s journey with us. From the moment an opportunity is created, as it advances through the sales process, and then as key projects and relationship milestones are hit it allows us to kind of keep everybody on the same page and be proactive with our relationships. Then of course we have access to the report and dashboard builders, so we’re able to measure things that we never even dreamed of and so easily. I was able to create this dashboard to track our monthly sales back into our current client base. Like Mark said previously, in order to get an idea of what we were gonna sell for the month it was kind of going around to each project manager and getting a gut feeling. Now, I have so many different data points and trends and historical data that I can look at and make approximations.
I can see other things, you know, like project profitability. Then the reporting engine combined with the automation engine, I’m able to get reports to my inbox every week, you know, telling me what I need to know, so what tasks are lingering, who needs to do their time sheets, and what have we sold that we haven’t billed?
Yeah, with what we’ve built in using the baked-in reporting and automation engines, we’ve really been able to be much more nimble in improving our processes, both in the way that we were able to deliver services to clients, but also improving how we measure our own success. There used to be a lot of guess work involved, and we’ve been able to replace a lot of that with actual data, so that’s kind of amazing. I think that tees us up to talk more about measurement and analytics.
Mark O’Brien: Great, yeah, yeah. Before we get into that I just want to make a point, it might be clear to everybody but just to be crystal clear, this screen we’re looking at here, that is Salesforce, okay? This is a layer that we built on top of Salesforce, but it’s running on Salesforce and it’s powered by Salesforce. As Lindsey mentioned, she can go into Salesforce and see any of this info in there as well. The idea that Salesforce is stodgy and the interfaces are horrible and all that kind of stuff, which has been a very valid complaint for a very long time is no longer a valid complaint. It’s quite possible, I won’t say easy, because a lot of work went into this, but it’s quite possible to built really amazing, beautiful interfaces on top of the Salesforce development platform. Would you agree, Lindsey?
Lindsey Barlow: Yeah, definitely.
Mark O’Brien: Yeah. The thing I mentioned earlier, Lindsey, about how over the past six years as we’ve made intentional integration decisions when we are thinking about different tools we want to use for marketing or billing or project management, whatever it might be, that our line was it has to integrate with Salesforce and we’ve had to sacrifice nothing because of that, is that true? Can you think of any time over the past six years when we really wanted to use a tool and we couldn’t because it didn’t integrate with Salesforce?
Lindsey Barlow: I don’t think so. You know, if we’ve come across that there’s been something that we can either build or use that is in the Salesforce ecosystem. I don’t think we’re, whereas before we were leaving a lot, there was a lot we wanted but couldn’t do, but now it’s just not the case anymore.
Mark O’Brien: Yeah. The other point you made that I think is really valid, we were on the very early edge of this six years ago, even though six years ago I was watching someone who completely implemented it. We were on the early edge of it. We had to build a lot of things that didn’t exist as Lindsey mentioned. As each day passes, more and more things exist and more tools become licensable by you through the Salesforce app exchange. As each day passes it gets easier and easier and easier and more of these tools are available for a very reasonable price. It’s becoming less of a hurdle as time goes on. Any other points on that, Lindsey? About the general app exchange?
Lindsey Barlow: I don’t think so.
Mark O’Brien: Cool. Alright. Now, let’s get into the place I wanted to be, the Mecca for us, which is really seeing the core business metrics. Again, we’re not gonna show them all. What we are showing are mostly fabricated, so don’t get excited about seeing too much about Newfangled. The fact that we are looking at this type of data whenever we want, daily, I live in these tools, is really, really, very exciting.
Okay, so looked at sales, we looked at marketing. Here’s a really cool thing that allows us to look at actual sentiment. What we can do is we, Lindsey talked about time tracking. Here we can see the hours worked by everybody. This runs an average of the past four weeks. We get to see like, a fair, like in an average, basically. What we do now, this is one of the things we learned during that Wave demonstration last year at Dreamforce, is that we ask everyone to rate their, the tasks they just did. Every time she enter, every single task, we ask people at Newfangled to say how they felt. Amazing, brutal, mildly painful, or pretty good. It takes maybe a second to just click that checkbox or click the dropdown and choose what they want. Over time, we’ve built this massive source of data that is intriguing and allows us to make good decisions. The reason we do all these things is not to police our employees, we do it to make sure that everyone has a reasonable workload and we want to know what they enjoy doing and not.
We’re big believers here at Newfangled in unique ability, and that people are doing all we can as often as we can to put people in situations where they’re really just loving what they’re doing. Different people enjoy different kinds of tasks. What might be one person’s burden is another person’s, you know, pleasure. We just want to make sure that we’ve got all those things lined up because you know, it’s our company and all your companies are many different types of things to do. This is a great tool to make sure that one, we’ve got the right people doing the right things and we’re utilizing everyone’s gifts as effectively as possible, and two that we’re working with the right clients. We can use this to see things. Any of these data points you see here, we can dig into. We can look at the individual tasks, we can look at the client, we can look at what type of task, we can look at the time of year, basically define any sort of combination we need to in regard to what’s working, what’s not.
You see generally things are tracking pretty well. What we can also do is take a look at any individuals to see how they’re feeling. This is aggregate across Newfangled, you can see since October when we started doing this. October is when we got back from Dreamforce and Dave jumped right on this and made it happen almost immediately, which is amazing. For example, Lindsey, we can see how she’s feeling these days. I’m not sure if it’s in prep for this or now, but Lindsey all of a sudden is feeling really amazing about a lot of things. She maybe knew we were gonna be looking at her data and decided to start feeling quite chipper about so many things here. That’s great. We can see what’s going on and what the trends were. We can look back and say, “What’s going on in February? Why was February a tough month?” The fact is, people have tough times. They go through projects that are really, really hard on them. Who knows what’s going on? We can look back and say, “Okay, what’s going on and how can we do everything we can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again and that we can avoid that scenario that led you to not be particularly excited about your job during that month?”
That’s really great. You all know that the most expensive thing that there is is turnover and that your people are everything. A tool like this, which is basically possible because we’re simply doing time sheets in a way that’s compatible with Salesforce, all this opens up, which is really, really quite amazing.
Then in terms of performance, we can look very clearly about profit performance. Again, these numbers are not true to Newfangled. We can look at average profit percent across completed upgrades, look at our monthly services or recurring services, see how profitable they are, and see how profitable our legacy services with hosting and support and bug work and that kind of thing, how profitable that is by month. As soon as the month flips over, you see here, we’re looking at July. It’s August 2nd, but as soon as it flips over it moves onto the next month automatically. All of this integrates with the project system, with the time keeping system, and with QuickBooks. Every single billing system, every single invoice, every single account that’s been paid up or not paid up, it’s all in here. We can see all kinds of things.
As Lindsey mentioned earlier, the entire invoicing system is run through here. Lindsey actually queues up all the invoices for an engagement and clicks submit. Those invoices all get lined up and then Dan, our controller, simply has to login and click send. That’s it. That’s how it happens. Then the system knows when those invoices were paid and weren’t, because 100% integrative QuickBooks. That’s another example. We did not build an invoicing system inside of, we didn’t build an accounts management system inside of Salesforce. We didn’t rebuild QuickBooks. We just used QuickBooks, right, which many of you use. QuickBooks integrates with Salesforce, and we took advantage of that integration. Many, many times, it’s not that you have to use Salesforce for everything, but you do have to use tools that do integrate.
Another example here, we are a daily banker firm, meaning we subscribe to the recourses model for managing a business. Here, we’ve built all these systems just to run off of his model. We can see the play between our revenue and expenses and payroll. Again, live. Then also we look at payroll percentage, so we understand that we’re tracking on the right side of that historically. Imagine doing this years down the road. We’ll be able to look at it years and years and years worth of data, which will be incredibly powerful. Then we also pull our utilization live. A lot of organizations, when they want to pull utilization, it’s a manual thing and it takes a long time, even when you do it. I know this happens. I’ve done this many times for Newfangled over the years. Even when you do it, you’re not really sure if you’ve got the right numbers or you’ve missed something or you know, if you got this thing wrong. Here, there’s none of that. We’ve got the formula in there, we know it’s bulletproof, and it just runs, which is super exciting for us.
Okay, well, let’s see. I think we want to address what’s next. We want to address what’s next in a number of ways. What’s next for you, if you’re interested in doing this, is to start using CRM for sales and marketing. We know by working with enough agencies that a lot of you have Salesforce or some kind of CRM, but you’re not really using it, even for sales and marketing. For sales, again, it’s to log leads, contacts, opportunities, campaigns, and create reports based on all those things. Just start using it like that. That’s how we started. We just basically did a little more and a little more and a little more for six years, and we ended up here. We’re going to continue to progress and change and add new systems in and tweak things we’ve got. It’s gonna be constantly evolving and we’re really thrilled about that because this is how we run our business. This is how we understand what’s actually happening in our business. Without it, we would not know the truth of Newfangled. Today we do know the truth of Newfangled and can make incredibly effective decisions and predictive decisions because of it.
For you, start using it responsibly as CRM. Then as you do adopt new technologies, even if you’re not integrating them with Salesforce today, choose technologies that you know will integrate with Salesforce. It is really easy to find that out to see if they’ve got an API, if they’re listed on the app exchange, if Salesforce lists them, if Salesforce does an API for them, anything inside of Zapier, Zapier is Z-a-p-i-e-r. Anything inside of that, if there are any zaps that exist inside of the Zapier ecosystem, all of that. When we go through this the first question we ask is okay, can we do this thing with Salesforce? Is it possible? What’s the Salesforce way of doing this? We basically subscribe to that and that has led us down many, many, many really great roads that we’re really happy with.
The next level after you start doing those things is to really consider doing what we did in getting someone on staff certified as a Salesforce administrator. It doesn’t cost a whole lot to do. The main cost is time, that person’s time, and like Lindsey said, she started it in 2011. By 2013, she was certified. It wasn’t two full years of time, she was fitting it in in odds and ends. There were some nights that we get involved for sure, but it wasn’t back breaking. It was hard, it took effort, it took dedication, and she did it. I have to say, even as she was going through that, she started learning so many things about Salesforce. Before she was even certified, well before she was certified, I knew I could go to her with any single question I had about Salesforce or anything I needed to have happen inside of Salesforce and she’d be able to get an answer to me almost immediately. Oftentimes the answer was “I just did it,” which is pretty amazing.
Another thing that you might want to consider is speaking with us. This is what we do. We’ve done it for ourselves. We’ve helped a lot of clients use Salesforce as a CRM tool. Now, thanks to Lindsey and Dave, we started to do some far more advanced Salesforce integration work and customization work. If you’re interested in getting into this, let’s have a conversation and see if we can help. If not, we probably know the people who can help.
Lastly I just want to mention before we get into Q&A, this idea of the Firm of the Future webinar. This was about business intelligence, really understanding how your business operates, having full access to all the data points in real time. I hope that we delivered on that promise, but in September we’ve got the marketing intelligence presentation that we’re really excited about. We’re going to be demoing some mutuals that we’ve got that are pretty revolutionary. We’re really excited to share, and that will be the first view that anyone has into those tools outside of Newfangled. We’re really excited about that. For now, let’s get into Q&A. Happy to take any questions anyone might have. Let me pull up the screen here.
As you’ve got them just dump them on in and we’ll see them as they pop up. Okay, Lindsey, I’m guessing a lot of these questions are gonna be for you Lindsey, since you’re the one on the webinar who actually knows what she’s talking about. The first question is what are some of the barriers to adopting a system like this? Obviously there are probably lots of them, but what are some of the lead barriers to adopting something like this?
Lindsey Barlow: Sure, I think one of the main barriers is just the right buy-in. You know, it’s really great to have a top-level executive who’s really excited about the possibilities like you are, Mark, but it’s really important to have the people who are gonna be responsible for implementing the tool buy-in to buy into the vision. You know, it took me as long as it took you to sort of really realize what Salesforce could do. Once I did that it was a no-brainer. I’ll fight with you if you try to talk to me about why Salesforce isn’t the right tool.
Mark O’Brien: Right.
Lindsey Barlow: Then you know, it’s time, it’s dedicating enough time to really do this right, and to sustain it. You know, giving me the time to get certified or continue to you know, maintain the system for Newfangled. Do you see any other barriers?
Mark O’Brien: I think that’s a pretty good lead one. That’s true for anything, really, right? When you buy-in across the decision making team. Also sticking with it. It can be a long road, and like with anything else, it’s worth doing. There are ups and downs and I think having a little bit of perseverance there can help quite a bit. This is a question that’s gonna be difficult for every firm, but question is how much does it cost? What’s the price point for something like this?
Lindsey Barlow: Well yeah, I mean, for us, it costs a pretty decent amount. We have three enterprise seats and we also have a customer community. I think all in all, what our yearly total for everything we use, so Panda Docs or CRM Fusion data management tools is maybe 13k. If you think about how much we’re able to do, you know, if we were paying for six separate systems to do all of those things it could be way more than that.
Mark O’Brien: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. Yeah, and I think also what we’re doing is probably a lot more extensive than what a lot of people need to do in order to pay for this.
Lindsey Barlow: Exactly.
Mark O’Brien: I think probably a benchmark between 500 and 1000 a month would be reasonable to run all of this. Would you say that’s probably accurate?
Lindsey Barlow: Yeah, I think that sounds reasonable.
Mark O’Brien: Okay. Okay. One more question here. This group does not have in-house resources, how would they, you know, we referenced Dave a lot during this. How would someone who doesn’t have an in-house Dave go about building a system like this?
Lindsey Barlow: Well I mean, I think like I mentioned before, if we were making the decision today to do this, I don’t know if we would have needed to build our own system. There are so many things that other people are building. I mean, there are so many companies who see the value of Salesforce and the value that exists in their customer base that the tools are out there. If there’s a problem that you need to solve, the first question to ask is does the solution already exist?
Mark O’Brien: Yep.
Lindsey Barlow: In all likelihood, it probably does.
Mark O’Brien: Right. As I mentioned, it’s just getting better and better and better. There’s more and more of this. You know, one thing that we’ve seen through developing our own project system and working with agencies as we have is that there’s not a lot of standard synergization in terms of business management tools for agencies, or in terms of business management best practices for agencies, right? Every agency does it a little bit differently. Because of that, there’s not gonna be just a product that’s released that you can just turn on and all of a sudden your business is running on this. There’s gonna be some work, there’s gonna be some stretching, there’s gonna be some adoption that will be necessary, probably no matter when you decide to get into this, in order to get into a system like this. You know, the peripherals do get easier and easier as time goes on.
Lindsey Barlow: Right, and …
Mark O’Brien: Go ahead.
Lindsey Barlow: I would add to that, you know, if you don’t have developers, there’s so much that I’m able to do. I’m definitely not a developer. There are things that I can build without needing to talk to Dave at all. You know, the system makes that really, really easy. It’s pretty amazing.
Mark O’Brien: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, sure. We had a question about who can you contact at Newfangled if you want our help, or if you have some specific questions you don’t feel comfortable asking in a sort of public format, because I might actually ask your question. That would be getting in touch with me or Lauren Siler. I’m email@example.com and Lauren is firstname.lastname@example.org. You just email either of us and we can help out however we can. Be happy to do that. Also, there will be a recording of this. We did record it and it’ll be posted to our site probably in the next week. When that happens you’ll get an email with a link to it. There will also be a transcription on our site if you would prefer to read 10,000 words than listen to 10,000 words. Again, you’ll also get email reminders as our next webinar comes up in part two of this, the Firm of the Future series in September, second half in September, which will be about marketing intelligence.
Lindsey, I just want to thank you. Lindsey is oftentimes behind the scenes. She is amazing at working with systems, and I appreciate you being willing to be put in the forefront and basically give what is the equivalent of a public talk here. You did it great. Thanks for sharing all your information as openly as you did. Really enjoyed partnering with you on this one. Looking forward to seeing everybody for the next webinar. On that one I’ll be joined by this Dave we keep referencing, who I don’t believe has ever been on a webinar. We’re finally going to unleash Dave to the public, and Chris Butler, whom all of you have heard from many, many times. We’ll be looking forward to that. Any questions, please just get in touch with me or Lauren Siler. We’ll look forward to seeing you in about a month. Thanks, Lindsey. Thanks, everybody else. Have a good August.