Consulting: Project Management For Aars | Wells Marketing Firm

aarswells-300x300Aars | Wells is a marketing and advertising firm which hired me to consult on their implementation.  They were seeking to automate their project management processes for their boutique agency.  Their approach was novel based on customizing their system for their industry.  I took some time to catch up with Alex Wells, Principal of Aars | Wells.


Don D. Alex, thanks for taking the time to discuss your success. How did you get started?
Alex I had been researching systems that could serve as a project management tool for our agency for years. I never knew much about Salesforce, but once I started looking into it and realized that there was customization available, it became clear that it was going to be a great tool for us.
Don D. You had contacted me at some point in your process. What compelled you to seek consulting?
Alex Salesforce can be intimidating right out of the box, and with the level of customization we needed for our system, we knew we would need a consultant.
Don D. How did you go about deciding on me for consulting for your organization?
Alex You were recommended to me by Salesforce. They recommended 3 or 4 consultants, and after speaking with each of them, you seemed to have the best attitude about helping us figure out what we could do with Salesforce. The other consultants seemed to want a blueprint of how we wanted our system to work, and we really didn’t have that. We needed some strategic and philosophical help first, before we ever got into technology
Don D. What kind of strategies did you discover during your consulting experience?
Better ways to keep people on the same page, better organization, better cost control (for outside production costs), better birds-eye view of how our projects were going. Lots of strategies
As you know, we use SF almost entirely as a project management tool and not as much for the lead generation/sales pipeline features that are sort of native to SF. We plan to use those though, as our business matures and grows over time.
Don D. Great. How was your business run in the past before with regards to project management?
Alex We had another software program that we were using to track jobs, but it was very limited in its functionality and didn’t necessarily perform in-sync with how we do things here. We also weren’t able to track job costs in that system, and as we began to commit to larger production expenses for our clients, this became a major issue.
Don D. Can you explain how your customized system works today in your business to manage projects?
Alex We don’t do a lot of impersonal prospecting here {at Aars | Wells}. Most of the leads are referrals or warm leads, so the first layer of the system is what we call the “program” level, where we keep track of the discussions we have with these people and chronicle our activities during the process of bringing them on board as a client. It is a long sales cycle, so the program layer is critical. Once we have the business, the program sprouts into jobs. Jobs are the individual projects that we do for our client. Most of our clients have many components to their campaign, but all the components are working in conjunction with one another. So the campaign is essentially the program, and the components are the jobs. We can have a birds-eye view of either one at any time. Within the jobs, we have detailed time tracking, cost tracking and note taking features, that are really essential to keeping everyone on the same page and ensuring profit on the job.
Don D. Sounds excellent, Alex. You have worked hard to perfect your system. Can you comment on the work we did together and the contribution to your Salesforce success?
Alex You have been very helpful…in addition to really listening to us and helping us refine our working process (so that we would know how we can get maximum value from Salesforce) you continually, proactively sought out and suggested quicker, more affordable solutions to help us do what we need to do, if you felt there was a possibility that such tools would save us money (rather than doing a lot of expensive custom development).
Don D. Thanks, Alex. For someone considering hiring me as a consultant, what would you say?
Alex I would say they’ll get a thoughtful, smart partner that will help them get full value out of salesforce.
Don D. What would you say to other advertising and marketing firms for considering for their project management?
Alex I would say, if you haven’t previously considered salesforce, you need to. If you are considering salesforce, you’re going to need a consultant that can help you integrate the system into your business and unlock its full potential for you. If you don’t you really could be wasting money or at least leaving money on the table. 
Don D. I appreciate your time, Alex.


About Alex Wells

Alex Wells 1198Alex Wells is a principal at Aars | Wells, a full-service advertising and marketing firm based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to managing the firm’s business development and service delivery programs, Alex leads the account planning and campaign strategy initiatives for Aars | Wells’ diverse roster of clients.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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