Picture this: You’re a small company, but you’re busy as hell (never happens I know, but stick with me). You’re running out of hours in the day and you need to hire someone new to help out. However, you don’t want to dilute the workload of others in the team, and you’re teetering on the edge of cost viability.
Large organisations usually have the cash-flow to simply get the role approved and hired. But when your business is small, the size of investment in a new employee can be a significant percentage of your total revenue.
At Waypoint, we were recently in a similar situation. We needed more hands to help out. Our Projects Team required someone else, and the costing was already solid, so we could go ahead and advertise. Our Sales Team (me) was swamped, but not so much that I couldn’t handle it. It just meant other tasks in the business were going on the backburner. If we hired someone, we knew they could fill an entire role with what I was doing, but then I would need to build a new role from scratch and essentially prove the viability.
What to do? Could we hire someone on a short-term contract and get them up to speed with Accelo (the platform we use to manage our entire operation) with minimal training, and see how fast they could self-manage? We decided to bite the bullet and put our systems and processes to the test.
An ideal moment came when I discovered someone I had worked with before was waiting to start their new full-time job in a few weeks. After discussing the opportunity, Emma Krouglova came on to handle our inbound sales enquiries. Her systems experience, prior to me joining Waypoint, was similar to mine.
Emma is an accomplished senior sales professional with global experience in SaaS, startups and technology. In 2013, she worked for one of the fastest growing tech companies in New Zealand. Over the years, her roles have ranged from Sales Executive, Account Executive and Director of Strategic Partnerships, with some independent contracting roles in between.
“After working in fast moving organisations and my recent move to Melbourne”, Emma says, “I wanted to ensure I found the right company to invest my energy into with contracting roles, until I found ‘the one’ that promised the perfect fit.”
Emma’s first day was her one and only day of training. I gave her an overview of our Accelo setup, then we did a step by step walk-through of handling new enquiries, managing deals, issuing proposals, and converting accepted proposals into projects. This took place on a Friday, and by the end of the day I had assigned three of four general tasks for Emma to start on Monday.
As a SalesForce administrator, tasked to introduce and manage new systems for previous employers, Emma has seen her fair share when it comes to CRM systems. And she believes onboarding is a particular area where companies underestimate the importance and value of good training. That said, Emma found it easy to step into work with the Ocius team.
“I was impressed with Waypoint’s automation, workflows, the way they operate and the systems in place,” she says. “Being a lifestyle business and working 25 hours is a great strategy when you have the automation and culture behind it.”
By the end of her first day, Emma had completed each of the tasks I assigned her. All tasks were completed with full annotations, communication logs, and status updates – so I assigned an entire deal over for Emma to manage and propose our scoping process. And then another.
“I’ve had some amazing onboarding and training experiences and also some which were completely non-existent,” says Emma. “The training process with Ocius took one day, actually only a few hours. I started sending out proposals and completing tasks within day one.”
By the second day, Emma’s first approval came through. From this point, we convert a proposal into an open project, assign a manager, and generate an invoice. We also move the deal’s progression along and rely on a task automation to inform our next steps and follow-up timelines. From conversion through to handover to the scoping manager, this took Emma approximately 10 minutes in total – not bad for a first timer. The second time it took just three minutes.
“Through the automation Ocius has setup, the level of detail and communication to clients is outstanding and makes it so easy,” Emma explains. “Not once did I have a client calling to ask for clarification on the next steps, or ask what and when something was happening.”
“That’s the proof in the pudding,” she says.
Halfway through her first week, Emma had been assigned nearly every task for new enquiries that came in. As a manager, I was running my own schedule like it was business-as-usual by the end of Emma’s first week. Being a remote business, tools like Slack and G Suite proved indispensable for sharing information and resources, but the real power came from the automated reporting that Accelo gave me.
Each task that was assigned to Emma by automation was reported directly to me without the need to trudge manually through the system, including when the task was started and completed, and any activities that happened as the tasks occurred. This also meant I didn’t need to micro-manage or constantly ask Emma what she was up to.
And this was a two-way street. A lot of the tasks and leads I gave Emma already had previous correspondence. The real test was that we didn’t need a full handover or introduction for each client that I was placing in Emma’s hands.
“I was working remotely, fully autonomously by the second day,” says Emma. “Having tools like Slack and G Suite allows us to collaborate so easily. And my first impression of Accelo – visualise a heart-eyed emoji. Great user interface and easy to use. But what wow’d me the most was how much detail and reporting the system can provide to a business owner. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a nerd now with Accelo. It was love at first task completion. The following week I turned to our company-wide communication app Slack to make a PSA…”
So here we are, at the end of Emma’s contract. Our handover and debrief took 25 minutes. The remaining tasks have been re-assigned to me, and we didn’t need a formal handover process to get them back in my hands.
Of course, I’ve had a look – and this experiment has proved Accelo’s mettle. Every piece of detail and prior correspondence is there. Further to this, we can safely say that we were able to transition someone with no experience of our business or our systems, into a fully self-managed and successful remote role in one week.
Cloud-based software like Accelo, G Suite and Slack allow small businesses to manage all their client work in one place, and maintain constant communication and access from anywhere. With the right tools and automation in place, when it comes to hiring short-term and permanent staff, onboarding becomes a breeze and has minimal impact on the activities that keep your business profitable.
Contact us today for a chat, and we’ll talk you through the options most suitable for your business.