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How Wrike + Salesforce Helps Departments Work Together: Q&A With Axiometrics
Project Management 7 min read

How Wrike + Salesforce Helps Departments Work Together: Q&A With Axiometrics

Ever wonder how different departments within a company can work together smoothly, like a well-oiled machine? A management tool like Wrike can team up with a customer-focused platform like Salesforce to help departments work better together. This coupling means every detail about projects is stored in one easy-to-access place, avoiding confusion. It helps teams plan their work efficiently, ensuring everyone knows what they're doing and when. Most importantly, it improves how the company serves its customers and smoothes out team collaboration, strengthening working relationships. Axiometrics is the leader in apartment and student housing market research, providing market intelligence and trends analysis to developers, investors, owners, managers, and others. Founded in 1995, the company has experienced explosive growth in revenue, job creation, and innovation over the past five years.  We spoke to the Analytics team about how they use Wrike to align teams that use Salesforce to manage accounts. See how they are able to archive all their data in one place and prevent requests from falling through the cracks:  1. Tell us about your team. The Axiometrics Analytics team is comprised of seven real estate economists and analysts, who crunch apartment and student housing market data, economic indicators, and demographics to uncover trends in the marketplace and forecast future trends. Analytics works closely with Axiometrics’ Sales and Account Management teams to provide custom analysis and studies for clients, and with the Marketing team to produce blogs, newsletters, and videos, including our weekly bylined blog on Forbes. 2. What were the goals that led you to connect Wrike with Salesforce? Sales and Account Management used Salesforce for project management, while Analytics and Marketing used another project management solution that did not integrate well with Salesforce. Therefore, we had no efficient, digital way to track the status of requests. We wanted to find a web-based tool that would integrate with Salesforce so all parties involved could view the status and progress on Sales and Account Management-related projects, such as Feasibility Studies, quarterly company-specific trends analysis, and simple client requests for data drill-down. We also wanted to find a solution that would allow for messaging within the software, for more efficient tracking of what has been requested and any questions/answers concerning a particular project.  3. How has Wrike + Salesforce helped your team reach its goals?  Now, all requests are in one place for easier reference. Since Sales and Account Management can see Wrike updates in Salesforce, Analytics is able to plan its schedule better, and communication is more efficient. Sales is able to create tasks, which are immediately visible to Analytics, and Analytics is able to assign and schedule the tasks so that deadlines are met.  And though it is not a part of the Salesforce integration, Wrike has been vital in reaching a goal set by our Marketing Content Manager to streamline the production schedule of our newsletters. 4. What improvements have you seen since implementing Wrike + Salesforce? There is much better follow-through on all projects. There is less frustration, in that everything is on the calendar. There were times in the past when an email or in-person request fell through the cracks because people didn’t put it on their to-do lists; that doesn’t happen anymore. The Wrike-Salesforce integration has also helped the Sales and Account Management teams with the client renewal process and with customer service. The representatives are able to update clients on the status of their requests within a couple of clicks and assure them that their needs will be filled in a timely and efficient manner. That enhances client satisfaction.  5. How has Wrike + Salesforce affected how you work with other teams/departments?  The integration has made Analytics’ collaborations with Sales and Account Management seamless and smooth. Instead of relying on emails or instant messages that could get lost in the shuffle, or brief in-person visits in which information could get misunderstood, everything is in one place, improving team collaboration with Wrike and Salesforce. This has allowed us to better assist these other departments and made the working relationship even better than it was before.  Wrike's app integrations enhance productivity and collaboration Wrike offers a multitude of app integrations that enhance productivity, streamline workflows, and foster collaboration among teams. These integrations allow users to connect Wrike with their favorite tools, creating a seamless and efficient work environment. Communication integrations Wrike integrates with popular communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Gmail. These integrations allow users to transform conversations into actionable tasks directly within their communication platform. For example, with the Slack integration, you can create, assign, and complete tasks in Wrike without leaving your Slack workspace. This ensures that important tasks don't get lost in the shuffle of everyday communication. File management integrations Wrike seamlessly integrates with file management systems like Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box. These integrations make it easy to attach files to tasks, share documents with team members, and keep all project-related files organized and accessible. With these integrations, users can collaborate on documents in real-time, ensuring everyone is working from the most current version. CRM and sales integrations For sales and customer relationship management, Wrike offers integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo. These integrations allow teams to sync their sales and project management data, ensuring everyone has the most up-to-date information. With the Salesforce integration, for instance, teams can track project progress alongside sales data, aligning efforts and improving efficiency. Development and IT integrations Wrike also integrates with development tools like Jira, GitHub, and Bitbucket. These integrations help development teams synchronize their coding tasks with the larger project plan. For example, the Jira integration allows teams to link their Jira issues to Wrike tasks, ensuring that both technical and non-technical team members stay on the same page. Time tracking and finance integrations For time tracking and financial management, Wrike integrates with tools like Toggl, Harvest, and QuickBooks. These integrations help teams track time spent on tasks, manage budgets, and invoice clients efficiently.Wrike's app integrations create a more connected, collaborative, and efficient workspace. By integrating with a wide range of tools, Wrike ensures that teams can customize their work environment to fit their unique needs and workflows. How do you use Wrike’s app integrations to align your teams? Share your strategies in the comments.  Join teams like Axiometrics and align your teams using Wrike and Salesforce today.

Customer Q&A: Wrike Helps Creative Agency Deliver With Confidence
Marketing 7 min read

Customer Q&A: Wrike Helps Creative Agency Deliver With Confidence

We sat down with Sköna to discuss the struggles their team faced prior to adopting Wrike and how they were able to handle a high volume of tasks and, ultimately, collaborate with confidence.

How Sales Teams Use Wrike: Q&A with Erik Kostelnik, Head of Sales
Wrike Tips 5 min read

How Sales Teams Use Wrike: Q&A with Erik Kostelnik, Head of Sales

Erik Kostelnik is the Senior Director of Global Sales at Wrike. He has 10 years of experience in sales leadership and SaaS software. We spoke with him about his job here, and how our sales organization leverages Wrike to increase visibility and save time. What’s your role here at Wrike, and what does your day-to-day life look like? I’m in charge of the sales side our revenue operations. If you call Wrike and speak with a sales rep, that person falls under my umbrella. That includes our SMB team, our Mid-Market team, and the Enterprise team. My day-to-day can vary quite a bit. I usually spend mornings talking to our international team based out of Ireland, and during the U.S. hours I spend a lot of time trying to bring talented people to Wrike. There’s also a lot of projecting, and developing training programs to make sure our new hires know the product and can provide the positive service experience our customers expect. What’s the biggest challenge of managing that organization? For a little perspective, I came to Wrike a little less than 2 years ago, and at the time we had 4 sales reps — all very talented — but basically in the same position. So adding structure, defining roles, growing the organization, and developing those reps was a big task. Now we’ve got 75 quota-holding reps in 3 offices worldwide, and I think my biggest challenge is making sure our new hires are getting the one-on-one time they need to be successful. How does using Wrike help make that process easier? The value of using Wrike for onboarding new hires can’t be stated enough. We have folders in Wrike that serve as templates for each position. “Account Executive Onboarding” for example. So if we hire a new Account Executive, I can duplicate that template, and assign it to the new hire. Then I get updates as they complete those tasks or ask questions. At the end of the week, I can run a report to see what they’ve done and what they haven’t, so we can follow up if needed. Basically, the big picture here is that we ramp new hires and have them closing deals within 30 days. The standard for sales teams at other companies is 90 days. Using Wrike for training and onboarding doesn’t just save time, it actually boosts production from reps. How do you leverage Wrike’s Salesforce registration? The Salesforce Integration is a big part of our workflow, and makes it possible for our sales team and consulting group to work together. It gives reps visibility into each consultant’s workload, and allows them to delegate services to the person who has the best availability. If we didn’t have this in our toolset, we’d probably need another operations manager. The fact that it relays updates back to the reps in real time, without the need for them to leave Salesforce, helps them stay focused on selling. It makes everything really easy. How does your use of these tools benefit our customers? Anytime we can eliminate delays from our process, we’re able to serve our customers faster. Whether it’s scheduling a training or consultation call, or helping us follow up with a support ticket, the speed on our side makes us a more effective service and sales organization. How would you recommend other sales leaders use Wrike? In addition to onboarding reps, I recommend moving your legal and contract process into Wrike. Wrike’s revision tools for documents can show you who made what change and when. So if we’re redlining paperwork with counsel or reps, it’s easy to make sure you’re all looking at the most recent version. I also recommend creating a feedback channel between your sales and product marketing teams. Your sales reps spend more time talking to customers and prospects than anyone, and giving them a place to pass and discuss that feedback is a good way to ensure your product development is in line with the market. How is Wrike different from other companies you’ve worked at? I think the visibility we have here makes this company very different. If you want an answer, you can search Wrike and find it. We don’t waste a lot of time waiting for permission to execute. Everything you need is right in Wrike. Also on the sales side, our culture is amazing. Those 4 reps I mentioned earlier are all still with the team and in leadership roles, and having that kind of backbone keeps us all grounded. It also doesn’t hurt that we have an amazing product, because the value we offer to our customers is very real. What’s in the future for the sales organization at Wrike? Good times! More hiring, more opportunities for our reps to grow professionally, and more chances to make a big difference in the lives of our users. The future is very bright! If someone would like to join our sales team, where can they learn more? Our Careers page has a lot of listings for people at all experience levels, including recent grads. We’re hiring in Dublin (Ireland), Mountain View, and San Diego, and would love to hear from you. Check out opportunities to join our sales team on Glassdoor!

The Importance of Project Management: Q&A with PMO Leader Robert Kelly
Project Management 7 min read

The Importance of Project Management: Q&A with PMO Leader Robert Kelly

For many business professionals, project management is often in the back of their minds. Building business and ROI are two of the top priorities for executives, while project management is generally not on their radar. Most people are unaware that not having a proper work management process in place is actually costing them money.  We spoke with Robert Kelly, PMO leader and Managing Partner of Kelly Project Solutions, LLC, about the value of project management and the impact it has on business. We also discussed ways to combat chronic low productivity, the evolution of PM technology, and what he predicts project management will look like in 2020. Read the full interview below: 1. Tell us a bit about yourself. I am a proud father to three wonderful children and a blessed husband to my wife Jasmin, for going on 12 years now. Professionally, I am an accidental project manager who continues to perfect the craft after 15 years. As the co-founder and host of #PMChat on Twitter, I am always collaborating with some of the best minds from around the world on leadership, project management, and other business topics. Lastly, I am a Managing Partner of Kelly Project Solutions, which is a consulting firm that focuses on Project Management and Communications Leadership for small and medium-sized businesses. 2. What are the top issues you face as a PMO leader? I believe there are several challenges facing the PMO leader, which are shared across the organization: 1. Quality Talent. The productization of project management (turn-key templates, magic-bullet methodologies, etc.) have watered down the talent pool with candidates that can really speak the jargon. It makes it difficult for general recruiters to truly find a solid project leader. 2. Investment. Too many PMOs are still viewed as a cost center, rather than a source of revenue. Regardless of your business, project management is a Service. Your project management has significantly more touchpoints with your customer (especially external) than sales or an internal executive. Research from Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) shows an engaged sales model (albeit managed IT services) has 15:1 touchpoint, compared to sales. Retention revenue and CSAT all drive up double digits, with sales cycles and customer acquisition costs driving down drastically. Companies must invest in the training of the project managers, client facing tools, and travel budgets to build the relationships. This applies to internal facing PMOs as well. 3. Identity Crisis. PMOs have long faced the challenge of choosing to be a resource pool or a governance body, and that has only become more challenging with the growth of “shadow IT.” PMOs must get clear direction from the CIO or this will continue to be a major challenge in 2016. 3. As a PMO thought leader, do you think it's imperative that companies embrace standard PM methodologies? Why? With caution and a focus on “-ies”, I would say yes. If you look across Lean Six Sigma, traditional stage gate, Agile, MS Dynamics Implementation, etc., you will be able to develop a toolkit of core processes and tools that are customized to fit your business and the common project types you deliver. With that said, keep the variations to a minimum because a core benefit of project management includes scalable, repeatable process that can be learned and implemented quickly across the organization. When there is a common methodology, associated lexicon project managers, team members, and partners can be brought up to speed quickly. Lessons learned and measurements can be baselined and compared for an environment of continuous improvement.     4. How can poor project management affect business? At the risk of sounding dramatic, your business can crumble as a result of poor project management. Poor requirements can result in a horrible product brought to market… affecting brand equity for years! If you are in a heavily regulated environment, then lack of process documentation could set you back years in penalties, loss of licenses, etc. If you consider the day-to-day, without solid project management, organizations typically see duplicate efforts, poor resource utilization, wasted dollars on change requests, wasted time on lack/poor communication, and so on. [inlinetweet prefix="" tweeter="" suffix="— @rkelly976"]"Your business can crumble as a result of poor project management"[/inlinetweet] 5. How is technology changing project management and the way people perceive it? Technology is providing project managers with tremendous tools to improve collaboration, planning, and efficiency on their projects. A single platform to plan, communicate, track budgets and time saves hours each week! For the PMO, many PPM platforms are allowing management to better track/plan resource utilization, view dashboards on project status and issues, etc. These PPM tools allow management to get out of the way of the project teams with status questions and allow them to DO the work.  6. What are 3 tips you would give someone who struggles with productivity at work? 1. Finish your day with some organization time. Review the day: do you owe anyone anything before you leave? Consider tomorrow: what does the calendar look like? What are my key action items do over the next 24-48 hours? This will reduce the "gotchas" that creep in during the day and gets you mentally prepared for the next day. 2. Leverage reminders. Regardless of whether or not you have a sophisticated project platform, almost every email platform has reminders. Set dates and times, with reminders to pop-up when things are due. 3. Get away. In today’s world of open cubicles, sometimes you just need to book a conference room for 30 minutes to catch up and stay focused and uninterrupted behind closed doors.  7. How do you think project management will change (or stay the same) in 2020? I think it will go one of two ways. If we don’t get away from the turn-key checklist approach, then PM will become a life skill that any employee within a department will leverage. As more and more technology is shifted to self-serve, cloud automation becomes an even greater risk. I know, someone has to develop the self-serve platform… just like large hosting farms only require a few engineers, those platforms won’t require as many PMs.  The other way this could go is that we PM professionals get past the project charter and process to develop leadership and business skills. If we can bring more value to the table, as a profession/discipline, then we will begin to handle more business-aligned, strategic initiatives. When we start bringing more business value, then we will be tied more closely to the CIO and CEO of the organization. 8. What's a big new trend that you see coming that people aren't paying enough attention to? PMO as a Service. Organizations have long leveraged the PM consultant, because there often isn’t enough activity to fund a full-time employee. Unfortunately, the churn associated with new consultants and getting them up to speed eats into the project benefits a company is hoping to receive. In today’s society, people only want to pay for what they consume, but they also want personalization. A PMO as a Service model accomplishes that. An organization can tap into this PMOaaS when they need it and the Service Provider can re-assign the same PM or be required to ‘onboard’ them for readiness. The company doesn’t have to spend money on certifications, level of PM, licenses for PPM software, etc. We have seen a lot of interest in this model. How has a successful project management process impacted your business? Share your before and after story in the comments. We hope everyone can learn from one another. Save your company money and improve project outcomes by starting your free trial of Wrike today!  Bio: Robert Kelly has been managing projects and project teams for 15 years. His project teams and results have spanned 40+ countries and a diverse portfolio of projects; including sales, marketing, and IT initiatives across a number of industries. Robert is a Managing Partner at KPS, a project management consultancy in Raleigh, NC. He is also the Co-Founder and Host of #PMChat, a global community of project managers and business leaders that discuss best practices and lessons learned via Twitter. Follow him on Twitter @rkelly976

Andrew Filev on Hiring and Startup Leadership: The New York Times Interview
News 3 min read

Andrew Filev on Hiring and Startup Leadership: The New York Times Interview

You hear it from every startup founder: the secret to success is in hiring the right people. People who can be creative with day-to-day challenges. People who work well with others. People who aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and get things done, no matter what that may entail. Just this Saturday, The New York Times' Adam Bryant ran an in-depth interview with our CEO, Andrew Filev regarding his background, his motivations, how he manages his teams, and especially how he hires. A few notable excerpts: On hiring and recruiters: "Hiring is one of the biggest parts of a CEO’s job — and it’s true for every executive. I tell my team: 'Your job is to build the best team. The recruiter is there to help and support you, but it’s your responsibility, and you own it.’" On how he evaluates job candidates: "I’ve learned to test people in action. So you give them some sort of task to see how they think about things." On his management style: “We check our egos at the door. It’s about, 'This is the best decision for the company, and here’s why.' I need to always have that explanation in my head, and I require that from everybody in the company, no matter how young or experienced they are."   Read the complete interview over at The New York Times.

Why to Use Google for Work + Wrike: Q&A with Vitalza
News 3 min read

Why to Use Google for Work + Wrike: Q&A with Vitalza

Vitalza is a small startup in México in the financial services industry founded in 2015. Their purpose is to improve communities and create synergy by building alliances with universities and associations that will help their clients develop and grow their businesses. We spoke with Bernabé Torre, who runs analytics and technology, about how he uses Google for Work + Wrike as the foundation for their new startup. 1. Tell us about your team and the role it plays in your company. We've been using Wrike for about 6 months, and we're implementing Holacracy management — this means full responsibility for our roles, tasks, and tensions, and the outlining of OKRs for our strategy projects. As part of our Holacracy, I currently have 3 roles: analytics, technologies, and payment gateways. My day-to-day tasks range from support to operations (technologies), creating reports and analyzing information (analytics), and managing as well as looking for more payment gateways. 2. What were the goals that led you to connect Wrike and Google for Work? We are a Google Apps supported company. We use Google Sheets, Docs, and Presentations for our normal day-to-day tasks, Google Drive as our permanent database, and the Google Console for our company users. So a big factor that led us to choose Wrike is that you have almost full compatibility with Google Apps. 3. How have Wrike + Google for Work helped your team reach its goals? Part of our work ethic is that we need to be very transparent, since we are free to assign a task to anyone. Part of this transparency is giving updates, having a record of tasks, and questioning anyone on their progress. So we upload a file to a task from Drive, and then proceed to give a status update in Wrike. It works really well. For our OKRs, we have different projects with important dates and deadlines, and having the tool synchronize with your Google Calendar works perfectly — although having customized Dashboards in Wrike sometimes works even better. Additionally, some of our staff always have Gmail open, so it's way easier for them to reply to a task, give a status update, or even create a task through the Gmail gadget. And last but not least, we use the Wrike Chrome extension to easily create tasks from any webpage. 4. What improvements have you seen since implementing Wrike + Google for Work? It's tricky because we started implementing Wrike and Google Apps simultaneously, right at the birth of our company. At my previous company, we used to have these meetings where we defined projects by writing tasks on Post-its, dividing them by affinity, complementing the tasks, assigning dates and dependencies by hand or sometimes with Microsoft Project. It was all a real pain, and the process took about two sessions of 2-3 hours each. At my current company, we had one OKR meeting a couple of weeks back where we defined the tasks, dependencies, dates, and responsibilities in one session of only 1 hour and 20 minutes! That was crazy considering the size of the project — everyone was very impressed. Your turn: How have you used Wrike + Google for Work to strengthen your business? Share your story in the comments. Wrike also offers a Wrike Google Apps Partner Program for those interested. If you want to learn more about the program, click here.

Google for Work Q&A: FootSteps Marketing
Marketing 3 min read

Google for Work Q&A: FootSteps Marketing

FootSteps Marketing — a digital marketing agency that specializes in providing websites and services to retailers in the hardware, outdoor, or archery industries — took time to share their experience using the integrations between Wrike and Google for Work.  Their main focus as a company is partnering with larger organizations to provide affordable marketing solutions for their members and retailers, so they need the right tools in place to help their team work efficiently. This how Google for Work and Wrike have helped them reach success: 1. Tell us about your team and the role it plays in your company. Our initial need for Wrike stemmed from our Marketing Services (MS) department. They work as an external digital marketing agency for many retailers. Currently, we have 5 people on the production team for the MS department. Day-to-day, this team creates email marketing campaigns, social media posts and campaigns, and website landing pages. They also update websites on behalf of our clients. There is a high level of interaction that has to take place between them, as well as a high volume of tasks that need to be filtered through the team.  2. What were the goals that led you to connect Wrike and Google for Work? We work with many retailers in hardware, the outdoor industry, etc., and much of the content we use is repeated in our campaigns. Since not all of our clients participate in the same promotions at the same time, we needed a system that would allow us to keep track of a large volume of similar tasks. Due to the crossover, we needed the ability to segment our tasks by activity, and mass-edit tasks (such as rescheduling, etc.). All of our marketing requests are sent to us via email, so the Wrike Gmail gadget was a critical feature for us to efficiently get these requests into a tasking system. 3. How have Wrike and Google for Work helped your team reach its goals?  Since implementing Wrike + Google Apps, we've become much more efficient in our workflows. The ability to create tasks directly from email is the biggest time-saver.  To make work easier to track, we have now created a digital marketing plan template for our clients to make selections. Their selections are sent to us in a spreadsheet, which we then directly import into Wrike, rather than manually logging every marketing plan (as we did before).  Our web development team is also able to use Wrike to keep track of our web development whiteboard, completely eliminating our prior system of passing around a document. This helps with efficiency, as everything for our teams can be kept in one place. 4. What improvements have you seen since implementing Wrike + Google for Work? Our overall collaboration, organization, and management of tasks has improved drastically. Wrike and Google Apps have helped each department gain transparency into other departments, alleviating the need for more emails or lengthy discussions. Share your story in the comments. How are you using Wrike + Google for Work to gain transparency into your projects? If you're a lover of Wrike + Google for Work, join our Wrike Google Apps Partner Program. You can learn everything you need to know about the program here.

Using Google for Work + Wrike: Q&A with Roadside Multimedia
News 3 min read

Using Google for Work + Wrike: Q&A with Roadside Multimedia

Founded in 1999, Roadside Multimedia started as a small firm offering simple solutions to the complex world of marketing. Through twists, turns, and the occasional hair-pulling, they've come out on top of their game. When they began to struggle with managing projects and flexibility, they turned to Google for Work + Wrike for a streamlined workflow. We spoke to founder Chris Mackey about how the use of both tools has helped them create a system where all projects are managed seamlessly. 1. Tell us about your team and the role it plays in your company.  We are a website design and marketing team of around 30 people that primarily focuses on dentists and dental marketing. We’ve been using Wrike for close to 3 years to manage both projects and ongoing monthly marketing budgets. We found that using Wrike, Google Apps, and Batchbook CRM we were able to eliminate using Salesforce — which was both expensive and yet still very frustrating and time consuming to customize to our needs. 2. What were the goals that led you to connect Wrike and Google for Work?  We wanted flexibility and the ability to manage many clients and projects at once. We found that most project management software was made for fewer clients and projects. Working with the folders in Wrike and being able to measure work done during different time periods was easy. By using Google spreadsheets and documents, we were able to create a system that could manage our workflow well and improve our communication regarding clients within our team to keep things on track for each project. 3. How have Wrike + Google Apps helped your team reach its goals?  Our goals are pretty straightforward: complete a set amount of work each month per client and complete specific projects as sold within a specific budget. All of our work is collaborative. So being able to immediately see the status of a project, communications with the clients, and the time spent on each task has made tracking our progress and success possible. We can work in different parts of the country and different parts of the world and all be on the same page. Priceless! 4. What improvements have you seen since implementing Wrike + Google Apps?  Wrike and Google Apps have made project management simple and organized for us. We are able to replicate dynamic systems quickly by using templates, folder organization, and Google spreadsheet calculations. This has eliminated the need for a software programmer, which has saved us thousands of dollars. It has also empowered our project managers with the tools they need to be organized and successful (and happier!). We have eliminated the time that was being wasted searching for information and funneled that directly into productivity for our clients. How are you using Google for Work + Wrike to power your productivity? Share your story in the comments.

How to Build the Perfect Team: Q&A with Award-Winning Author & Business Coach Nancy Butler
Leadership 7 min read

How to Build the Perfect Team: Q&A with Award-Winning Author & Business Coach Nancy Butler

There's no magic wand you can wave that will transform your team into the Avengers. However, there are qualities that you can see and others you should avoid when building your new team. We spoke with Above All Else author and business coach Nancy Butler about how to build the right team from the ground up. In this interview, Butler talks about her "Only Touch Things Once" theory, discusses the best ways to train your team, and reveals the biggest obstacles she's faced while building a business.    1. As a business owner or manager, how do you choose the right team? I discovered three things about building a team: first, what are the things I do well, and if I did them all day, would I leave at the end of the day feeling energized? Second, what are the things I do well, but if I did them all day I would leave exhausted and miserable? And third, what are the things I do because I feel I have to, but am not good at and shouldn’t be doing at all? Instead of searching for people that were the same as me, I looked for the opposite. The goal was to get as close as possible to everyone doing the tasks that they really enjoy, they're good at, and make them want to come to work.  And although this may not be 100% possible, I was able to get extremely close. I have since sold that business, but last I checked everyone was still working there. Everyone has been employed there at the same small business for over 15 years in an industry that often has high staff turnover.  2. What is your "Only Touch Things Once" idea and how does that help teams work more efficiently? I have a rule that, whenever possible, I only touch things once. Most every business has tasks or projects that are worked on many times throughout the day, month, or year. Whenever there is a repeatable task, there should always be a well documented system in place to enable greater efficiency and effectiveness. Technology can be a great tool to help automate many processes. Figure it out once, document it, and then follow the plan. You do not need to reinvent the wheel every time the same task needs to be completed. Here is an example of how this strategy can be effectively implemented to save both time and money: whenever a client called the office for a service issue the staff would give me a note to call them back. That was extremely inefficient and time-consuming for both the client and me. Instead, a system was put into place; the staff was trained on what to ask the client, and they set a next appointment right then for when someone in the office (which may or may not be me) would be calling them back to address the issue. The staff was also trained on how to research issues that clients may have, and to provide me the documentation needed to handle the issue appropriately before my phone appointment. That way, in one touch, we look over the information and already have a specific time to connect with the client with an answer to their question or to update them on the status of their request. I no longer had to call and call to try to reach the client again, and the client could usually be contacted only once, in a reasonable period of time, with an answer to their issue.   "There should be a well-documented system in place to enable efficiency&effectiveness." 3. What do you think about cross-training people vs. having them specialize in one area? Which is better, and how do managers decide? It is important that the success of the business is not reliant on any one person, including the owner. If someone was out sick, away on vacation, quit, or was out for any reason, systems should be in place to enable others in the office to easily step in and see what needs to be done and have the skills to complete it. Cross-training and documenting all systems in an office is imperative not only for the smooth running of the office, but also for your clients. One reason this was so important to me for my former business is that I was managing other people’s money. There was a time when I became very ill, in and out of the hospital many times in six months, including an emergency surgery. If I did not have a qualified, reliable person to step up in my place, what would my clients do? I would also run the risk of losing clients because of my unpredictable circumstance. Since I did have good systems in place, not a beat was missed and everyone was well taken care of — which also took a lot off of my mind, so I could focus on what I needed to do to get well. 4. What was the largest obstacle you faced during the growth of your company, and how did you overcome it? The largest obstacle I had to overcome is one that many small business owners have: when to hire more staff.  I knew I had reached a point where I could no longer do it all myself, but I also knew the business wasn’t bringing in enough income to afford hiring staff.  I started by bringing on a high school student a few hours a week to do the simpler things like filing and stuffing envelopes. The first time I tried to find a very important paper and couldn’t access it because it had been filed incorrectly, I quickly learned that you get what you pay for.   The lesson learned is: do not wait until you can afford staff to hire them. If you hire the right person for the job, they will more than pay for themselves. For me, this meant someone else could do the simpler tasks, allowing me to spend more time doing a better job for my clients and bringing in more money to the business. Once I took the leap of faith and hired the right person at an appropriate level of pay, my business took off very quickly. "If you hire the right person for the job, they will more than pay for themselves." Now Your Turn: What are some qualities you look for when building a team?  We'd love for you to share your tips in the comments. About Nancy Butler: Nancy D. Butler, CFP®, CDFA™, CLTC is the owner of “Above All Else, Success in Life and Business”,  a national professional motivational speaker, award-winning author, business coach and continuing education instructor. After twenty-five years building a very successful financial planning and asset management practice, to approx. $200 million in assets under management, while a single parent with no other source of income and only $2,000 to her name, in 2007 Nancy sold her practice and now uses her knowledge and experience to help others reach greater levels of success in their personal and business lives. She helps business owners do a better job for their clients and improve their bottom line and helps individuals live more successful, fulfilling lives and realize their dreams. Nancy has been quoted in Money magazine, Forbes, The National Business Institute, The New England Real Estate Journal, The Financial Planning Association magazine, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Day and many more. She has been a speaker for major corporations such as Pfizer, General Dynamics and Dow Chemical. Nancy has been a guest on many radio and television shows and is the author of the book “Above All Else, Success in Life and Business” published in 2012 and “A Realtors Guide to Greater Success, Above and Beyond the Competition” published in 2014. 

Using Google for Work + Wrike: Q&A with Vertaccount
News 3 min read

Using Google for Work + Wrike: Q&A with Vertaccount

We spoke to one of our enthusiastic customers, Vertaccount, about how Wrike + Google Apps work together as the powerhouse behind their workflow. Vertaccount is a Pan-Pacific bookkeeping service provider catering to small and medium-sized businesses. Their offices are located in Hawaii, Manila, and Sydney, Australia. Their mission: to empower clients to make informed decisions and become a real contributor to their success. Below is our interview with Ace Garcera, Marketing Manager at Vertaccount: 1. Tell us about your team and the role it plays in the company. I handle the Marketing Team of Vertaccount. We're a team of four, dealing with marketing, customer service, and special projects for the company. On a day-to-day basis we track customer sentiments via transactional surveys, quarterly surveys, and any potential complaints addressed via email to the company's associates. Every quarter, we also engage in various marketing projects, some online or on-ground events, and our day-to-day involves handling the various aspects of running those projects. The team also handles clients' business requirements which are not necessarily related to bookkeeping, such as reservations, ticketing, and more. 2. What were the problems you faced that led you to connect Wrike and Google Apps? We use email extensively in our work since we collaborate with people all over the globe. Before integrating Wrike with Google Apps, it was a headache moving from our emails to the Wrike platform just to manage tasks. We would normally receive requests or instructions via email that we had to put into Wrike as tasks so we could better track progress. This took up a lot of our time and hampered our productivity. 3. How have Wrike + Google Apps helped your team reach its goals? By integrating the two, our productivity and efficiency improved. First, logging in became seamless. We no longer had to remember separate login credentials since using our Google account made logging in a breeze. We normally receive surveys in our inbox that we need to send to Wrike as a task so we can assign it to the right people and perform the tasks related to the survey (i.e. thank the client, work on the client's suggestions, etc.). Using the Wrike Gmail gadget makes everything really easy. From our inbox we can change the details of the task and assign it to the concerned individuals. The Wrike Gmail gadget is really the best feature we've come across. When we receive Wrike notifications, we can add a comment right from our inbox. It makes collaboration much easier. 4. What improvements have you seen since implementing Wrike + Google Apps? Productivity has increased. Here's a concrete example: Every quarter we send out surveys to our clients via Survey Monkey. The app is configured to send us an email every time we receive a response. When we get this email in our Gmail inbox, we immediately use the Wrike Gmail gadget to create a task in Wrike. The assignees and other task details are easily populated. From here, the entire process moves seamlessly. In the past, it would take us more than 5 minutes per client survey just to be able to move everything from the email to the Wrike task. With the Wrike Gmail gadget, it takes a few seconds.  How do you use Google Apps + Wrike? Tell us your story in the comments!