TAM 050: Scott Gellatly – Automating Workflows With Podio
In episode 50, I chat with Scott Gellatly of Bollo Empire. Scott and Bollo Empire specialise in Podio. With hundreds of business tools available today, it is really hard to find one tool to systemise all your workflow and projects in one place. Most of them are limited or restricted in what they can do how you can use them.
That was my problem. I did not want to have one tool for this and another for that. Fortunately, a colleague Charles Valher told me about this tool – Podio, it’s a project management tool but, it also lets you to do pretty much anything that you want. It is more of a business management system than just a project management tool.
From managing new leads to project management, to internal task management. Best of all, you can automate just about any workflow, and we are all about the automation here. You can also customise it according to how you work, you aren't locked into how the tool thinks you should do it.
Yes, it’s a crazily powerful tool. However, it can be a little overwhelming having the freedom to do all the things that you like! So listen in, as we talk about the powerful features of Podio, and how it can help you to maximise your business, your workflows and manage them like a ninja.
How many project management tool do you have? What do you like and hate about them? Are you a Podio user too? Share your thought in the comments below!
We chat about:
- How you can automate and scale your business using backend processes
- Why use podio in the first place
- What people are doing in Podio
- How to get started with Podio
- What is the easiest way to get started
- Powerful features of Podio
- What kind of workflow you can create in Podio
If you would like to have a chat about how you could be using marketing automation to grow your business join us in the Automation Nation private Facebook group
Links Mentioned In The Show
Announcer: Welcome to the Active Marketer Podcast, where we talk about how to design, automate, and scale your business to the next level using sales and marketing automation. You can find out all the tips, tactics, and techniques you need to get more customers and sell more stuff over at theactivemarketer.com. Now, here's your host, Barry Moore.
Barry: Welcome to the Active Marketer Podcast, the podcast that's all about sales funnels and marketing automation. I'm your host, Barry and this is episode fifty, the big 5-0. Pretty exciting. I've got fifty of these episodes in the can and I hope you've been getting a tonne of value out of them. That's what we're trying to do with the podcast. We're trying to give you some actual tips and tactics you can take away and put in your business and hit some home runs in your business every single week.
This week, for episode fifty, we're going to take a little bit of a different tack and instead of talking about the front-end marketing automation, your email marketing information, and you sales funnels, we're going to talk about how to automate the back end of your business … your project management, your service delivery, your CRM … all the things that go into actually delivering your product or service to your customer. I've been using a system called Podio for a few months now and I am just finding it fantastic. It does so many great things to automate the workflow in the back of the agency so we can deliver products and services to our customers and I think it's such a great, valuable tool in automating your business. I really wanted to dedicate an episode just to Podio and how you can automate the business flows and the workflows that go on behind the scenes in your business. This week, we've got Scott Gellatly from Bollo Empire in to talk about how you can automate workflow with Podio.
Be sure to stick around until the end of the episode. I've got a very special offer for you podcast fans who have been with is for a while. I want to give you a special offer about a new project that I'm really excited about. Please stick around to the end to get all the details about a great, exciting, upcoming project here at The Active Marketer. For now, let's get into episode fifty, all about automating workflow with Podio.
I would like to welcome to the show, Scott Gellatly from Bollo Empire. Welcome, Scott.
Scott: Thanks, Barry. Nice to see you mate.
Barry: Thanks for joining us today. For those listeners who might not be familiar with Podio, I've been using it a bit at the backend of my business and I really love it because you can automate your backend processes, your service delivery processes, and your customer service processes. Scott and Bollo Empire really kind of specialise in Podio, so I thought we'd get him on to talk about how you can automate and scale your business using backend processes, not only in platforms but with people, which we've talked a little bit about as well. We're going to talk about Podio today and how you can use it to automate the business parts of your business, not just the marketing parts. Scott, why use Podio in the first place?
Scott: Good question. Barry, there really isn't anything quite like it on the market. Podio is a tool that you can – as a single platform – run your entire business from. A lot of small businesses when they start out will actually kick off with, maybe an Asana or a Basecamp and various tools that'll enable a team to collaborate and the tasks that, as they grow, they tend to … That was just systems that got used becomes quite long. We've got to somehow integrate them all together. There's duplicated data, duplicated tasks, everybody's communicating, collaborating in different places and there's no real consolidated workflow across all those different tools.
What Podio allows you to do is bring a lot of those business functions onto one platform, run reports and get visibility across everything that's happening in your business, as well as run workflow from early stage sales right through to customer support, HR and everything else in between. So it's a pretty unique product as far as what's out there today.
Barry: Yeah, when I went looking for some project management and delivery tools in my business, I went the normal route – the same as everybody else. I went to Basecamp, Ama Teamwork and all those other ones and for every one of those – while they're decent platforms – for every one of those, there was some little thing that didn't quite work for me and I wanted to tweak it to how we deliver stuff here and you couldn't. You had to rigidly follow whatever process …
Scott: That's right.
Barry: … Whatever process they'd built into the tool where … I know one of my previous guests Charles Valhart turned me on to Podio and I was like ‘holy crap' because you can customise everything.
Scott: That's right.
Barry: You can follow the workflows that are in the apps but you don't have to. You can customise it to what really works for your business, which I thought was pretty amazing. You're right, I haven't come across anything like it since.
Barry: So other than that, what really makes it different from those other ones like Asana and Teamwork and those kinds of things?
Scott: Well I think it's not just the sheer magnitude of what it can do. Like I said, you can systemize your whole business in it and run everything on a single platform but it also has a real beautiful [inaudible 00:05:34] so it's quite easy to use. It's easy for your team to get on board and start using and start communicating together and as you said, if there's anything about it that you don't like or … This just evolves. It changes over time and having a tool that restricts that growth can be an impediment. Podio can actually grow with your business. You can constantly modify, customise it, tweak it to suit your exact needs as your business grows.
Barry: And your business is primarily putting this product and these processes into a business and helping them scale up, so what kind of things do you find people managing Podio within their business? Where do they start, where do they go through from there?
Scott: Well, I'm constantly surprised by what people are doing in Podio. As I said, you can really do everything. So the most common of course, is CRN – so your sales process, your customer relationship management and project management and any kind of collaborative environment that you need to create, so ensuring that your people – no matter where they are situated in the world – can communicate together and get stuff done. But I've seen everything from real estate and property managements and property investing to customer support, human resources, recruitment, systemizing your culture, your strategic plan and then you can get all those little operational backing things, like systemizing travel management so that your virtual team can book travel for you and just making sure they've got everything they need and this is a bit of work file place to make sure it happens. Does that make sense?
Barry: Yeah, absolutely. I completely get it because I've been using it for a while and I just keep putting more and more of my business in there and the cool thing was you can turn off all these other systems that you might have. So Podio's got inbuilt chat and video conferencing so you don't need Skype or Slack. We use it for – like I said – putting more and more in there but everything from service delivery and time sheets, all the way down to the production of this podcast, will be done using a Podio app that we've created as well, so it's very cool.
So let's talk about how you got started with Podio., for those people interested. I think the biggest hurdle for me when I came to it, was getting my head around how it was laid out. You've got companies and then you've got workspaces and then you've got apps. So what's the easiest way for people to get started when you're first presenting them, when you're first setting them up on Podio?
Scott: Yeah, so, good question Barry, because I think that's got a little bit of a learning curve to get started and more so because it's a bit of a blank canvas. You log on to Podio and you can then say “all right, where do I want to start on my business, or what do I want to systemize first and what area do I start?” And Podio comes with an app library with something like two to three hundred different apps covering different industries and just about every different business function. So whenever anybody comes to us and says “how do I get started with Podio,” We recommend the first thing they do is to jump onto that app store and take a look at the things that they want to set up. If it's CRN and sales processes, this stacks of CRM templates and then if it's project management, there's heaps of those. As I've said, all those different industries and business functions are all available on the app store to get started.
Of Course, when you do want to start taking on your app development and creating your own little processes and your own workflows, there's plenty of resources online and in fact, we've just recently released Bollo Empire University, which is a Podio training call, that'll get you started with all the basics – get you across everything – the navigation, the way it all works but also showing how to create your first apps and give you some advice on how to do that.
Barry: Cool and I think you bring up a good point. The good thing about Podio is it's kind of like a blank canvas and you can do whatever you want but the drawback is it's a blank canvas and you can do whatever want, so that's … I think you need some frameworks to get started, otherwise it can be overwhelming. So, as you mentioned, there's an app store there where you can download apps so if you CRM app, you can just go download it yourself but the very cool thing is – and it doesn't cost anything – the very cool thing is you can download this template, as you said, the CRM template and go “we really don't need that but we do need this,” so you can just hit ‘click modify' the app. Get rid of the fields you don't need, put in the fields you do need and it's exactly customised to what you want, it's fantastic.
Scott: You said it bro. You said there's a framework to get started and then customise it to suit your business.
Barry: The thing I really liked about Podio – and I didn't even know it was there to begin with – was your ability to automate and create inbuilt automations for any part of the workflow that you wanted to. I was like “oh my god.” You can automate anything, for example, this podcast. This episode's going to be done and as soon as it's done I'm going to drop it into my Podio app and I'm going to drag it through a little stage that says ‘the episode has been recorded' and that will automatically kick off three tasks from my notes, but just the fact that I've dropped it into the recorded category, is going to automatically fire off three apps which will start some workflow with my VA behind the scenes.
So just the very fact that I've saved it in there, will kick off some workflow and then when we move it from recorded to post production, that's going to fire off five more tasks, so the whole workflow's really automated. All I had to do was go in and check that it's doing a task that fire do, they need to get fire to chat window, little chat messages can be sent to me when it's done and ready for my review. Really powerful, crazy powerful stuff that you can build in the Podio so …
Barry: So, just quickly – to give an overview to listeners – inside Podio, there's three levels of organisation. You've got company, which is your overall … And you may have multiple companies set up in Podio but for most people, they'll probably just have one company and then inside that company is workspaces and those workspaces are discreet areas where I get a certain type of task done. That might be CRM, it might be Lead Flow, it might be content creation – as we're talking about podcast – and it could be customer support, it could be project management, whatever. So you have a project management workspace, or content creation workspace and then inside that workspace will be any number of apps or whatever number makes sense. So you could have a podcast creation app, we've got another app for how do we get guests on. So how do we get Scott on? That was are podcast guest app, who do I want to get on the show?
And then inside those apps, you can automate any workflow within the app, you can also automate workflow across the applications and across workspaces as well, which is really cool. For example, when you create a new customer – somebody becomes a customer, they bought a product – that might fire up some workflow inside your project management app or your service delivery app or something like that, which is super cool. So how do you get started with the automated workflow part of the tool?
Scott: Yeah, so it's a pretty simple little structure effectively. It's … On any given app, you can go to the settings of that app and just create workflows and trigger workflows on record being created or any kind of record being changed and to take the example you just said, that I had status field, which represents your overall business process and whether that status changes … It tasks different people to do different things, maybe updates, the progress or the probability of deal, that was the [inaudible 00:13:13] and even assign people to different roles on that particular item. So I think really … And this is sort of going back to one of your first questions here. A lot of tools out there give you database, or give you a platform that you can set something up but without the workflow that goes right across the business. You cannot support all those people that could be virtual assistants in the Philippines or people straight across the country to work together, but actually tasking them and ensuring your process is actually being executed, is really one of the most important and powerful feature of Podio, with those workflows.
Barry: Yeah, I find it really cool. When you log into Podio, you instantly get a little status notice of what's happened while you were away, basically. So, my staff's been working on these five tasks and they've completed these five ones or they've updated this one and you can instantly see an activity view, almost like a Facebook news feed, of what's been done while you were away.
Scott: Spot on bro and this is where it gets extremely powerful when you combine with outsources – whether they're people from us or anywhere. You can not only set up a process that you want those people to follow, but then task them to do individual activities at certain points and give them all the materials that they need to do the job. They can communicate that information back to you and you can record a process. So then you're not just engaging some outsource people and say “hey, I need you to do this and here's the tasks,” you're actually empowering them with everything they need to do a good job and empowering yourself to keep them accountable and to see everything that's occurring in the system.
To give you an quick example, I was able to go to New York exactly this time last year, in fact and operate my whole business from my iPad or my team in the Philippines – execute the work – I can just monitor and answer questions as they came up knowing that all the tasks were being pushed out at different points, as they needed to be and anything that they did was then captured back in the system.
Barry: And I like to that it's got that chat app and video conferencing app built straight into it, so it's really cut down on the email back and forth about a particular thing. “Where are we up to with this or what's the next step for that?” That can all be done inside the Podio app and with Podio chat. So one – my inbox isn't as full anymore and two – there's a record of that conversation that's automatically attached to whatever workspace it needed to be attached to, which makes it so much easier to catch up.
The other cool thing is the fact that Podio integrates with a bunch of other stuff. They don't just lock down their own ecosystem. They open it up as well. So, for example, going back to that outsource workflow example, when I create a new podcast episode, it goes through a number of stages, it goes planned, scheduled, recorded, post-production, review and then promotion. Like a Kanban board or like a Trello board and it moves its way through those variant stages but instantly, when I create one and when I say “all right, we're going to do this episode with Scott and we're going to talk about Podio and I create that item inside the app, it automatically not only notifies my VA that a couple of things need to be done … We need to get an episode artwork done up, we need to get a blog post created and it also attaches he SOPs for those items straight from G-drive.
So if that VA has any questions about “hey how do we create a blog post or how do we create an image for the episode,” those SOPs are already attached to the item. They don't have to get out of Podio and go somewhere else, they're already right there. I love the fact that it talks to you or interfaces with the other systems you use and not only that but also, it's got Zapier support as well, which makes it really able to talk to just about anything.
Scott: That's sexy Barry. That's really sexy, I love that.
Barry: Super sexy because now, if someone's on an email chain – inside active campaign for example – and they click a particular link or whatever, that might … Or they hit a checkout page for example, they bought a product and hit the ‘checkout thank you' page, that action of them hitting the ‘checkout thank you' page can automatically zap across the Podio to set up on your customer profile inside Podio. The setting up of that new customer profile on Podio can then, in turn, trigger an automated workflow for everybody to do whatever we need to do onboard a new customer [inaudible 00:17:59].
Scott: Love this.
Barry: You can just go down this never-ending automation loop. If you're an automation freak like me, it's just like heaven.
Scott: That's awesome.
Barry: So what kind of workflows are people are automating that seem to the biggest impact in their business.
Scott: Probably number one is sales. That's one area that we see a lot of automations, particularly for services-based industries actually. So people that want to put some workflow around their deals or opportunities and the kind of steps that they need to go through, starting perhaps, lead qualifications, so it's just the right in for us to chase through to actually doing some kind of discovery or analysis, doing a proposal and eventually closing it. So that's a pretty common workflow, or a common series of steps that we might set up for our consulting services or our services-based sales CRM but we see equally complex stuff in the way they deliver projects and in things like HR as well.
Barry: All right, so let's talk about how you actually … The nitty gritty of the automation. So I know Podio has got some built in workflow automation and then there's another tool that you recommend called GlobiFlow, so could you compare and contrast what you can do in each one of those and which one you think people should go for if they wanted to set up some serious automated workflows?
Scott: Yeah, sure. So Podio's native workflows … I'm not going to just say it's limited but the [inaudible 00:19:35] extremely easy to use and it's pretty straightforward to create. It can create tasks, it can comment or chat against an item and you can update and create items – or records rather – in other apps, which is all pretty cool. It will handle seventy-five percent of just about every workflow newscasts but we find we often just need a little bit more horsepower and that's when we go to a tool called GlobiFlow, which is a plugin to Podio, giving you really advanced automations. So when I say advanced automations I mean being able to trigger on data-entry or workflow, [inaudible 00:20:17] being able to trigger a workflow or a [inaudible 00:20:21] email coming in.
It's got integration to [inaudible 00:20:27] to get your platform rights signature so you can trigger workflows when a contract is signed and then it's got some pretty advanced actions it can do. It can generate PDFs, it can send emails, it can produce tables or extract tables of data and put them into Microsoft itself. It can present Podio data out onto a website. So you can actually make Podio a content managing system. Think of a Podio app with a list of properties in it and then presenting those properties on a webspace for sale or a website for sale, or products. It's got a lot of other really neat features that enable you to get very discreet and very smart with how you trigger, filter and execute workflows, so it's definitely a tool for real Podio ninjas. It's still not particularly hard to use but it does have a little bit more of a learning curve than Podio's standard native workflows, if that makes sense.
Barry: Yeah. I dove in and had my … It's pretty straightforward. Again, it's one of those things where you'll get the sixty percent straight off the bat, without too much work but if you want to – like you said – ninja-fire yourself up to level ten ninja then you're going to do it.
Barry: You've got to do a little bit of digging in the back.
Scott: Yeah, that's right.
Barry: So what other kind of Podio integrations or plugins have you seen that you really like?
Scott: Yeah, there's a couple of good ones. Again, as you mentioned, the fact that you've got the Zapier integration means that you can pull Podio up, effectively to … How many is it, three hundred apps in the Zapier library now? So we pulled Podio up to propose a [inaudible 00:22:06] we've hooked it up to zero to push contacts and then generate invoices out of zero as well as even hook it up to Infusionsoft, which we used for a really advanced marketing coordination that can also be hooked up to an active campaign and most common [inaudible 00:22:25] as well. Some of the other really cool integrations that we use regularly is a product called SmartGet, which takes the information that you've got on Podio and actually presents it out as a Gantt chart, which is really cool, obviously, for project management companies that were used to using something like Microsoft Project but don't need all the complexity that Project's got and probably, the crowning glory is Klipfolio, which is a pretty amazing dashboarding tool. That can actually hook into Podio with a little bit of development wizardry as far as far as creating a data source and then presenting Podio data out into some pretty amazing advanced visualisations.
Barry: Yeah, I just briefly had a look at it the other day. Is it Klipfolio you can even push it out to a TV screen or something …
Barry: … So it could be like an ops dashboard in your business somewhere?
Scott: Spot on.
Barry: Very cool.
Scott: … Yeah.
Barry: Well what about email? Can you integrate email with Podio. Can you mail from within Podio or do you have to still do that externally?
Scott: Yeah, so using that plugin GlobiFlow – which also comes with a product called GlobiMail – they're part of the same company – you can actually trigger email creation from within Podio and then capture those emails – the sent emails and received email – against, let's say, a client or a contact in Podio as well but it will actually use your email client. So if your email client already has all the templates, the signatures and everything set up as you like, you can still use that. Then it will capture the results back into Podio.
Barry: So if you've got Gmail or something you can integrate too?
Scott: Yeah. So, again, using that GlobiMail extension, anything that you trigger or click ‘send from' within Podio, will fire up Gmail and send the email through the Gmail servers but capture the contents back against Podio.
Barry: Will they come into your inbox in Gmail as well or just go straight into Podio?
Scott: Yeah. They'll do both. They'll come into your inbox and actually copy across into Podio as well.
Barry: Very cool. I'll have to look into that, for sure. So how does somebody get started? What's the first step if somebody thinks they might be interested in Podio? How do they get started?
Scott: Well, easy. Podio.com and sign up and if you're already a Google user you can just click the ‘sign in with Google' button and it will use your Google credentials without you having to remember yet another password. As soon as you're presented with the Podio interface – so if i go back to my previous advice – I recommend you get in and take a look at the default apps that it creates. It'll guide you through a process of how do you want to use Podio and what apps will be right for you and then jump into the app store and take a look around. Set up all kinds of things and if you need some more advice or help, we've got a free training platform that you guys can pull straight into and get some advice and some help.
Barry: All right Scott. Thank you very much. You've shared some great and valuable information there. So if people want to reach out or learn more about Podio, you want to tell them where they can go to do that again?
Scott: Yeah, definitely. Just drop into BolloEmpire.au/4 or feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and if you're interested in checking out that Bollo Empire University free Podio help, it's just members.bolloempire.com.au.
Barry: We'll have all those things in the shout-outs and I was actually just in there yesterday looking at GlobiFlow videos, so I appreciate it.
Scott: We've just hooked those ones up, so GlobiFlow is the new addition to the training blog.
Barry: Cool, very cool Scott. Well thank you very much for coming on and sharing all that information with the listeners and we'll see you online at Bollo Empire.
Scott: Thank you very much Barry. Good to talk to you.
Barry: All right. If you you'd like any of the links mentioned in the show or you'd like to see a little video walkthrough of how Podio works, you can check all that out on the show notes at theactivemarketer.com/fifty. At the beginning of the show, I mentioned a special offer and here it is. When I started the Active Marketer, I really did it with one primary focus in mind and that was to educate and to get sales funnels and marketing automation into the hands of every business owner who wanted to know how it worked. I think it's that powerful of a technology that everyone can benefit from putting it to use in their business. But when I started on my journey, there was really nowhere to go to earn. There was no resources, there was no marketing automation membership community where you can go learn from people who are doing it every day, download templates, get feedback, get personal coaching, pick apart your business, put it back together, find out where the points are where you can implement marketing automation to have the greatest impact.
Really there was none of that around when I started. It was all trial and error and kind of scratching my way through to figure out how it worked. That's why I started the Active Marketer. I think this is so great, I want to put it in the hands of everybody who wants to know how to do it. So here's what I'm doing. This year, I'm starting the Active Marketer Insiders. This will be a mentoring, coaching, mastermind community where you can join and get personalised attention for your business so that you can really put marketing automation to work forefront in your business and you can design, automate and scale those processes that are bringing you customers, attracting leads and converting prospects.
So here's what's going to be inside. Inside the community is going to be shared automation templates that you'll be able to just click and download straight into your active campaign account. Now, we're going to start out being very active campaign-focused, but we're quickly going to branch out into other platforms. A lot of the stuff we teach about funnels and funnel architecture and when to employ them and where to employ them, will be generic across any kind of platform, so that you can go and implement this on a platform of your choice.
But in order to quickly get some quick wins on the boards, we want to share out some automations and to do that, we're going to use active campaign for that. So you'll be able to come to the automation library. You'll be able to get a quick video on how this automation works. What you're going to need to tweak about once it's into your account – what little changes you're going to have to make to make it work for you.
You'll be able to download that. You'll get a little bit of training of how it works. You'll be able to put it straight into your business. They'll be sales funnel blueprints. These will be a breakdown of a sales funnel, all the way from the traffic to the sale, to the up-sale to the cross-sale – these are blueprints you can implement straight into your business. There'll be a coaching community where we do mastermind calls and we'll do hot-seat calls as well. If you want to put your hand up and get up on the hot-seat, myself and the other members of the community will give you feedback on your business, feedback on your automations, feedback on your funnels and so you'll have some really targeted advice and you can go away and implement that and improve your business. There'll be a whole community of like-minded people in there – people who are on the same journey as you. Some will be just starting to implement, some will be well down the road.
So you'll have access to the other community members, you'll have access to me to ask questions and there'll be lots of training inside as well. So not just training on active campaign, there'll be some advanced active campaign training in there but there'll also be training on other systems and other platforms like Thrive, Leads, ClickFunnels, Podio. There'll be some training on how to do SEO on your WordPress blog. So tonnes and tonnes of training in there across a number of different systems that you need to get this stuff up and running the way it should be.
So here's a special offer. I want to reward those people who have been on the podcast for a while and have been inside the private Facebook group for a while. I want to reward you guys with a founding member price and I haven't decided what that price is but I guarantee it will be the lowest-priced access into the community forever. This price won't be advertised to anybody. The price is never going to be this low ever and I'm not even going to advertise it publicly. This price is for people who have been loyal to the podcast, loyal to the group and have been with the Active Marketer since the beginning. So you'll be able to lock in a special founder price and that price will never go up.
The price of the community for other people will certainly go up over time as we have packed more and more content into the community and it becomes more and more valuable, that price is going to go up, I'm assuming, quite a lot over the course of time. But you'll be locked into your special founder rate, that's never going to change. As long as you stay a member of the community, you'll be in at that rate – grandfathered in at that price for the lifetime of your membership. So I'm pretty excited about that. What you want to do, if you're interested in being a founding member of the Active Marketer Insiders, just go to theactivemarketer.com.specialoffer and on that page will be a little bit more of an explanation about the community, what's going to be in there and what it's all going to be about and you'll be able to click on the button, put your name and email address in there and express interest.
When we're ready to launch, which shouldn't be too far away – we're just putting the final touches on now – when we're ready to launch you will get an email advising you this special price and you'll be able to lock that special price in then and you'll be the first in the doors for the new Active Marketer Insider sales funnel and marketing automation community, I'm super excited. So head over to theactivemarketer.com/specialoffer and register your interest. See you next week back on the podcast. In the meantime, get out there and design, automate and scale your business to the next level with sales and marketing automation. Thanks everybody.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to the Active Marketer podcast. You can find the show notes and all the latest marketing automation news over at theactivemarketer.com