Plus Accounting and ActiveCampaign

Paul Feist and Lindsey Pickles sitting down with a cup of tea

What were the challenges you were facing?

The challenge was the manual system we used to process new business. So we’d be using printed sheets of paper. Some people wrote by hand, or some people typed them. They were being emailed or printed and passed around. As well as leads coming in on paper, lots of information was sitting in people’s heads. So interest from the potential client wasn’t logged or tracked.

The second challenge was once a lead became a client our induction system was basic, decentralised and quite time-consuming. It was also open to interpretation on what needed doing. There were a lot of ways to deviate from the agreed path. 

The other challenge was transparency; being able to see what was actually happening.  The other challenge was time and the amount involved with chasing those leads.

What was the tipping point to making these changes?

The tipping point was realising it didn’t matter if this new system only worked for certain departments.  Bigger ticket items in other teams are more customized and you don’t need or want automation for that. But focussing on the higher volume departments and creating savings, justifies the work.

How did you think our approach went to finding the right solution for the business?

I found it challenging to adopt this new system, partly because I believed it wouldn’t work for every department. We were using ActiveCampaign in quite a basic way before. It only went so far and I didn’t know how far it could go, so there was some reluctance on my behalf to adopt this. 

Once we started the project, it was a really educational journey because we spent a lot of time identifying the right business process. Bright Dials advised us how to simplify all of it. Whether it needed automation or not. So the approach worked really well for us. It’s so important to have a solution customised to your own specific needs.

What are the results you’ve seen so far?

Since we launched in April 2021, our Business Services team has seen a lot of time savings. One of our team deals with 10 leads a month on average. For leads which become clients, they have saved 4 hours for every lead. For those which don’t become clients they have saved 2 hours per lead. Which works out at around 30 hours per month. Time now spent on billable work instead. So I’m really happy about that, everything is working as it should do.

Also because the team has been able to optimize the process after it went live, it’s been a great way to encourage adoption as staff can feed back and make it better.

The people using Active Campaign are making it work for them and can clearly see the benefits of it. Career advancement, more salaries, better customer experience and so on.

So the team embraces it because it increases the number of inquiries. Combined with reducing the time they spend. A major benefit has been the overall time it’s taking us to convert leads too. We were averaging 15 days and now we’re down to 5. 

It’s removed the drudgery of repetitive tasks. And we are taking more advantage of opportunities that might otherwise slip past. Speed is of the essence in this type of work.

There’s an expectation from clients as well. They are more satisfied because they are being dealt with quickly and efficiently.  They want speed and digital access to information. There’s an attraction to working with a modern, forward-looking firm.

From an internal perspective, a younger workforce wants to adopt technology and modern systems. If the firm doesn’t adapt, it’s going to have disgruntled employees.

What were the benefits of working with Bright Dials? 

It’s been a positive experience and we’ve seen improvements on our process. We’ve saved time and the new system is value for money.

It’s also been the catalyst for other changes. We now have a full-time employee doing onboarding and my wife was able to retire. Our enthusiasm and adoption of ActiveCampaign has made this project a success.

What has been the impact of our work on the other departments? 

Now the first part of the project has completed and shown results, we are rolling out to other departments. In particular one where lead qualification was sorely needed because the previous process was long-winded. When you have employees with set numbers of hours, we need to get the best return on the time they spend.  

There have definitely been many fishing expeditions which have wasted our time. When you drag up the net, there’s a lot of tiddlers in there, but we’re all looking to pick out the turbot. Suddenly a lot of stuff you have got to chuck back. Our new systems will mean we only talk to the turbot as the tiddlers will have had the information they need upfront to decide if they want to continue the conversation with us. Providing information to leads up front enables them to see the points of difference, particularly on price.

What would you say to recommend others to work with us?

I know the results we’ve had and practical solutions that you’ve put in place. You can’t afford to stand still from a technological point of view. You need to look at a set of processes within your own business and think, is there a more efficient way of doing this?

If there is a way to save money or make more profit, then do a succinct cost benefit analysis. You gave a very clear demonstration of why someone should invest in a product. 

You knew we were able to save time and you’ve shown it. Time now used on billable hours and generating more revenue.

Plus everyone can now go home at five o’clock instead of six o’clock and can still get all their work done.