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How DVA Arrived at HubSpot

Matt Vincent Nov 14, 2022 5:27:46 PM

I’ve titled this blog, how DVA ‘arrived’ at HubSpot and not ‘decided on’ because it has really been a journey. A journey through a variety of apps and problems solved to arrive at HubSpot. We’re using HubSpot to create real sustainability in our Compliance business and less reliance on Principals.

I’m going to share that journey to show the pathway we have walked at DVA, so that you may use it to help forge your own path, give you courage to make some decisions on your tech journey, and give you a point of reference to where you are in your own journey.

I joined DVA in 2014 with the mandate to modernise the firm. We were a team of four, the firm had found its feet and the prospects for growth were really promising. The tech environment was what you would expect for an average age of 50 in the business. The founding members hadn’t been bought up with tech like I had (I started with playing games on a Commodore 64 when I must have been about at the age 5 or 6).

They were however, when I arrived, in the throws of moving away from MYOB AO to something in the cloud. We decided on Xero.

That is where my tech journey began, and with the goal - DVA should only need a computer and an internet connection to operate. Our cloud migration saw Xero, XPM, Xero Workpapers, Office 365 & SuiteFiles as the key players in our App Stack and our goal achieved.

Traditionally, workflow was managed at a Principal level, they were essentially doing the work to begin with (like most start up’s), work was pushed down to our accountant team and then again to outsourcing. Where the principal had been across managing their own jobs, they were now dispersed across the team.

We managed workflow using 80+ page print out from the IRD with all our agency returns required to be filed, owned by the practice manager. This was grossly inadequate for the change in our business size and model.

The practice manager left, and this ‘book’ was passed to the new person, who had insufficient training from leadership (me). The Trust section of this book not properly attended too and BANG a flurry of overdue notices from the IRD for Trust returns unfiled and we missed our filing stats – Oh no!

I’m a big believer in Pain + Reflection = Progress, this hurt and being the moderniser of the firm, I felt it the deepest.

Upon reflection the root causes of the problem were:

  • We couldn’t SEE where our work was across the business.
  • The process of managing workflow was maintained by a PERSON and not a SYSTEM (see The Ideal Business Mindset).

The Ideal Business

We threw a couple of band aids at the problem, job print outs and some spreadsheets, but those were never going to be permanent. Knowing what I wanted to SEE, I went searching and found a free app called Trello. For those who don’t know Trello, it is what they call a Kanban board. Basically, a ticket board that you can drag and drop tickets into columns and tag tickets with a variety of data.

Kanban Board-1

Photo Source: getnave.com/blog/trello-kanban-boards

Using Zapier, an integration app that doesn’t require coding, and some clever email filtering, we were able to hook this up to XPM and have the tickets driven and moved in Trello by the updating XPM job states.

I’m not a religious man but, let there be light! I now could see our workflow. This led to a flurry of learning and innovation. We could see the bottlenecks, the inefficiencies in our processes, who was overloaded with work, what were the assigned jobs with our offshore team, what jobs were slipping through the cracks, what clients we were waiting on, what jobs were stuck and so forth.

Mending and in some instances rebuilding our processes from the insights we now had, we focused on throughput. Getting jobs moving through the system became our laser focus. And we smashed it, we have since 2019 been between 80% to 85% complete at Christmas regarding our Compliance work (I believe we could get to 100%, however, keeping some work in the pipeline to pay the bills over January to March works better for DVA). This was one of our greatest successes at DVA.

So how did we arrive at HubSpot?

We reached the edge of what we could achieve with Trello regarding managing our Workflow. Our app stack had also grown regarding reporting, marketing, sales & onboarding. But this was all disjointed. We wanted all information funnelling back against one client record.

HubSpot was the solution for this. A platform that covered CRM, Marketing, Sales and Service but the gold was the automation tools. Making the decision to move to HubSpot saw us basically copy and paste our Trello processes into HubSpot’s Kanban tools but now all of this information was funnelling back to a single client record. We can see where all jobs are at for a client and all of the communications around that job flowing into the HubSpot feed for a client.

If a client calls asking where their job is, at a click of a button, I can confidently say, “Currently in the process, it is at Queries Outside DVA, meaning with you 😊 Jen sent you an email on this date, asking for this piece of information and also left a message following you up on this information, lets jump on a Team’s meeting now and I can walk you through pulling that together” or something to that effect.

We were able to consolidate 5 apps across our business into HubSpot. The real magic, and solving the second root cause - The process of managing workflow was maintained by a person and not a system, was some of the automation tools inside HubSpot.

Specifically, when a ticket reached a certain state, a HubSpot Workflow notification is sent to the team member to let them know that:

  • The ticket or job is in their court
  • What they need to do to progress the ticket
  • And the expected time that the ticket should be resolved

Workflow

We can at will and in bulk add and remove team members from jobs, clients & contacts, therefore we are recognising the Ideal Business Model the Systems run the Business and the People run the Systems. As team members come and go, the systems get newbies up-to-speed (with training of course) quicker than them having to wade through manuals and lean significantly on other team members for support. This has created real sustainability across our Compliance Business.

The beauty for me as a principal is I can focus on leading the team, growing the business and high-level chargeable work whilst the machine ticks over in the background and delivers a regular and consistent profit.

So to recap and conclude, we had some growing pains that saw us desperately need to solve two root cause problems:

  • We couldn’t SEE where our work was across the business.
  • The process of managing workflow was maintained by a person and not a system (see The Ideal Business Mindset).

This lead us on a journey of building our compliance process in a Kanban board using Trello. The insights that we gained from this saw us build a world class compliance process. We then looked to automate this process and bring some sustainability, consolidate our App Stack and have information flow into one centralised client record. HubSpot has seen us achieve this.

This was however just the beginning, once we emersed ourselves in the platform we opened the door to a bunch of tools that has enable DVA to truly differentiate ourselves in the market, delight our clients and make a our teams lives easier.

Click here to receive the next blog, What we have done with HubSpot, this will cover the market leading innovations we have developed for DVA using some of the HubSpot tools.

If you are considering HubSpot for your business we are HubSpot Partners at DVA, book for a 20 minute consultation call below.

 

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