Search Interviews:

Gray MacKenzie 6:03

using the same TextExpander or text expansion, ClickUp obviously for project management. Have you Superhuman for email and switch back over breeds and HubSpot is our CRM. So I’m just using the Gmail interface right now? Primarily just because it’s easier to have emails logged and tracked and HubSpot. We’re doing a lot lately with Integromat and Zapier

Jeremy Weisz 6:24

to automate. I don’t know what Integromat is

Gray MacKenzie 6:27

was like the nerd. You’re familiar with Zapier? Yeah, it’s the it’s the nerdier Zapier and the main reason for it is they go deeper in terms of custom field integrations inside ClickUp. So wiring data back and forth,

Jeremy Weisz 6:41

is that their tagline and nerdier Zapier, what’s it’s not

Gray MacKenzie 6:44

that I’m sure they wouldn’t be happy that I said that that I even brought up their competitor, but everyone knows that Zapier way fewer. But it is a more technical platform to use. It’s not as user friendly as Zapier is, but it’s very powerful.

Jeremy Weisz 6:59

Anything else that you’re using? It’s good question. Let me go to so you like HubSpot over. You’re a HubSpot ninja. I mean, you know, when you were fully I know you’re focused on ZenPilot. But in when you were doing GuavaBox, I mean, you guys, you know helped, right people with accelerated growth plans b2b companies using a lot of HubSpot stuff.

Gray MacKenzie 7:22

Yeah. Yeah, we were HubSpot partners way back. I mean, there were 100 partners when we joined in 2012. So part of the HubSpot attachment today, I’m sure is still just legacy. That’s what we know. And change is hard. But I do like the the sales tools that they built out in the interface quite a bit at some point in time. It’ll probably make sense. And we’ll try and be early on the train to move CRM stuff into ClickUp.

Jeremy Weisz 7:49

But click Why haven’t you so far, it just doesn’t integrate with email yet.

Gray MacKenzie 7:55

They just launched email, you don’t have email tracking, it’s not as smooth as HubSpot is the merge fields or contact property, there’s that contact properties tied in the ClickUp. If you’re trying to automate any type of emails or sequences, that doesn’t happen, and then the relationships still very early days with lookup as a relational database. But in any CRM, so you’ve got your contacts, your companies and your deals. And those relationships get automatically connected for you. And click. It’s not automatic

Jeremy Weisz 8:25

in HubSpot,

Gray MacKenzie 8:26

and in ClickUp, it’s not automatically automatic. Yeah, yeah, I’m

Jeremy Weisz 8:31

I’ve used Pipedrive I used to Contactually, you know, so that integrates easily. So if you want to put them into a pipeline, you already have kind of the email exchange and the contact information. I don’t know if ClickUp is doing that right now.

Gray MacKenzie 8:44

Yeah, you can. You’ve got all these custom fields, you can have an email field, if there’s one email field, and you draft up an email, click will assume that that’s the email you want to send it to you can override it. So it’s, it’s certainly got promised, I know that that’s been a push for them internally for their own internal use case, using ClickUp as a CRM, but

Jeremy Weisz 9:07

certainly other people’s software, what do you use anything for email campaigns itself? Right now we’re

Gray MacKenzie 9:14

using ConvertKit. Okay. We’ve been on that for about a year after switching away from him. So let me actually go back to Appspot at the moment, so we keep one of the things that we do. We’re working with an agency. We’re helping them stream on their systems and processes inside ClickUp. One of the things you give them is this cool interface, basically how you manage your whole tech stack inside click up but built into that it’s kind of hey, here’s our recommended or here’s the agency tech stack that we know of. And you may not want to use all these tools, but here’s what we do with them how much they cost, you know, how you track them and all that kind of stuff. So some there’s been cases can work. It’s one of them where we went to a tool, not sure that it was the right tool for us, but to just try and get familiar and figure out hey, this The thing that we should recommend to agencies or not we may be switching to ActiveCampaign at some point and then probably cycle backed up.

Jeremy Weisz 10:06

We just switched. We just switched to ActiveCampaign,

Gray MacKenzie 10:09

ActiveCampaign. How’s that experience, man?

Jeremy Weisz 10:10

I mean, so far, so good. It’s early to tell. But I mean, a lot of people recommended it. Right. And I actually had the founder on my podcasts. He actually also happens to be in Chicago where I am. And but I mean, they are I mean, he’s like a technology first. So I like that. That approach and they’re, they’ve been growing like crazy,

Gray MacKenzie 10:33

right? Yeah, that’s, I think the fastest earliest in the sample size that we’re seeing of agencies. ActiveCampaign is growing super quickly.

Jeremy Weisz 10:42

Anything else in the tech stack that we didn’t talk about that you’d want to point out?

Gray MacKenzie 10:46

That is a great question.

Jeremy Weisz 10:49

I’m just like you mentioned superhuman HubSpot. Integra mat. Zapier. ConvertKit. We mentioned ActiveCampaign. Obviously, ClickUp. Yeah, there’s

Gray MacKenzie 11:01

a couple others that we’re using really like obviously Loom for quick videos back and forth has been a tool that we’ve fallen in love with. I feel like some of these tools are super cool at the beginning and then beginning to become near the butt of the joke. But, but we still like Loom a lot. A couple of others that we’re using. One is called Postaga, and then a tool called the Script for video editing. Have you played with that yet? I don’t know if you guys are just on the Adobe Suite for editing. Yeah, we are.

Jeremy Weisz 11:30

Yeah, yeah.

Gray MacKenzie 11:32

It’s descriptors for the non Rise25 for us. noobs. It’s a it’s a video ad

Jeremy Weisz 11:40

there were some things I didn’t it’s not bad. It’s not bad. There are some things that are not as desired there. But what’s Postaga? What would you say about that? Yeah, so

Gray MacKenzie 11:51

Postaga is the founder, Andy Cabasso ineluctable, he actually came out of running an agency as well. But it’s a little bit of a mix of cold outreach are like post promotion campaign, and we just started playing with this. There’s not a great fit in what we’re currently doing. But for doing things like podcasts, guest outreach, and there’s probably other tools that you’re familiar with.

Jeremy Weisz 12:19

But this one, I keep it pretty simple. So like, yeah, I mean, LinkedIn and email. I mean, it’s, it’s really, so I don’t use anything fancy. So that’s awesome. There are fancier things out there.

Gray MacKenzie 12:34

But yeah, those that’s our main, our main kind of productivity tech stack. Some of the things that we’ve done recently is Zapier with the ability to loop through some of the different features that Zapier has pushed out have been really helpful for us moving looping, where it can loop through a bunch of different fields, you know, here’s the delimiter that we’re looking for, and then loop through, find the record and keep applying them.

Jeremy Weisz 12:57

I feel like people should follow you Gray to see what tools your your agency is going in all in on and then invest in those companies. So we look at how you went all in early on HubSpot. Right. I mean, not only do you niche into agencies, but you tend to niche into tools for agencies. So probably I don’t know what, what, I don’t think you could invest in HubSpot at that time or anything. But you know, you you basically made a bet that that was going to be good in the same thing. I was talking to John Corcoran, my, my co-founder, say ask Gray what he they’ve gone. I mean, you do a lot of different things and help agencies but one of the things you do do is specialize in is helping with ClickUp. And it seems like you’ve gone, I went to all ends maybe a strong way to put it, but you’ve definitely are, you know, going into Clickup. And and why is that you feel like that’s like a calculated bet, you know, in Why did you do it?

Gray MacKenzie 14:05

I wouldn’t say we went all in on ClickUp, probably even more so than HubSpot. And I can’t come back to that. But I think it’s interesting. You asked that question because I don’t think of there’s all these things that we do. And there’s probably our patterns there. But we don’t recognize and so those outside eyes recognize them for us right away. So you put that together. I haven’t really thought about that.

Jeremy Weisz 14:24

So maybe everyone should invest in ClickUp because like what HubSpot has happens is you went in with HubSpot 10

Gray MacKenzie 14:31

years. So I do think though, the things that the one of the main things that prompted us to move to ClickUp was similar to HubSpot in retrospect, which is they had some good initial traction. And there were people who were who cared a lot about the products. That’s a little bit of an indicator. But getting to know the early team, as was farther along than ClickUp was at the point that we became partners in 2012.

Jeremy Weisz 14:58

Yeah, exactly. But

Gray MacKenzie 15:01

The vision for where they wanted to go, they proven some ability to execute on it, and the vision and the product improvement velocity. Were the were the big things. And I think that there’s a lot of people who have the vision, I mean, you don’t really get somewhere and to ask without some type of vision board, it’s a big haul. But that ability to quickly iterate and improve, has been big in ClickUp. And I can’t think of another SaaS company that embodies that any more than ClickUp. And not I mean, I’m the first person to speak out about things I dislike about ClickUp, in addition to what I do like about it, so that’s not coming from me, I’m just here to promote ClickUp. But they roll out new features, new improvements, so much more quickly than any of the other players in the space.

Jeremy Weisz 15:47

Since you are so you have such an intimate knowledge of ClickUp. I’ve watched your webinar to unclip I’ve encouraged people, if they’ve considered it, they should go. I’m not sure it’s on your website I found on YouTube, it’s you’re doing a webinar with ClickUp and is really good. What are some of the features that are really that you find are essential that people may maybe they’re using it? Maybe they’re not using it within ClickUp? Yeah,

Gray MacKenzie 16:13

I think so this goes back to speaking of going all in on ClickUp army, we had a software company doing project management for agencies. And we shuttered the software in favor of going in on someone else’s platform and say, Hey, agencies love us because of the process. builds seems like a

Jeremy Weisz 16:32

tough decision at the time. Yeah, for sure.

Gray MacKenzie 16:35

Yeah, I think it was the biggest identity crisis like would be too strong of a word, but biggest struggle with identity that Andrew and I get my co-founder and I have gone through where being a SaaS founders cool. And having a technology startup is way cooler than running a services based business to, to most people and in the eyes of people who write checks to buy businesses, they would agree. So for us to say, Hey, this is what we like to be. But this is not where our our core skill set is. So it’s a big bet, whoever we picked to go with. And obviously we did decide to niche down we didn’t just want to have, we wanted to add the ability to know agencies really well the ins and outs of how you should operate, but also know the ins and outs of a software so we can kind of it’s not just here’s what you should do. And also here’s explicitly how to do it. So and that gets back into your question around what should people be using? One of the things that drew us to ClickUp was they had some of the best mapping from what we currently had at the time back in 2017. From process or from a template building perspective. So the ability to have your templates, pre built timelines, dependencies.

Jeremy Weisz 17:48

Is that what you mean by mapping?

Gray MacKenzie 17:50

Yeah, basically have it all built out and then deploy from a template and remap your due dates to that whatever. You know, however, you had your project set up a new clients coming on board for you guys are new podcast is launching, we’ve got all of our dates set up in our template. And when you roll it out, in Asana, in your case, you’ve got all of your, all your dates mapped to the right, you know, roughly the right spaces if you need to tweak things or just things that happens.

Jeremy Weisz 18:14

So you like the mapping? So you can deploy the templates, and with the dates and probably assignments of people, what else do you really think, is great, and maybe some things that are hidden gems that because you have an intimate knowledge that you should be deploying X, Y, Z and most people’s baby maybe don’t even know those features are there? Right?

Gray MacKenzie 18:35

The Great question, the one thing that ClickUp brought to the space that’s making its way into other tools, including Asana was the concept of views. So you can take all the underlying data and you can visualize it however you want to if you like Tomba on board, you can see it that way. If you like less views, because you’re a nerd like me, you can see it that way. If you like tables or calendars are telling

Jeremy Weisz 18:54

you are weird, actually, when I watched the webinar. You like somehow like it in black view with white right?

Gray MacKenzie 19:02

That’s not that’s not weird. That isn’t weird. Oh,

Jeremy Weisz 19:05

am I weird, though?

Gray MacKenzie 19:06

I think you’re I think you’re the weird. I feel like it’s hard to read. You’re right. That comes from a background. All developers love. Dark screens. I think it’s late nights coding.

Jeremy Weisz 19:15

Oh, is that what it is? Okay.

Gray MacKenzie 19:17

I didn’t know background. I love dark mode. Now.

Jeremy Weisz 19:20

dark mode. That’s what’s called

Gray MacKenzie 19:22

saving, saving me from headaches. But it was it was funny. I mentioned that in the webinar. And everyone was like, Yes, dark mode, yes, dark mode and ClickUp for the webinar. It was like make sure it’s not in dark mode. In light mode, like don’t don’t discourage people from the platform.

Jeremy Weisz 19:36

So those views, there’s mapping. What else did you like?

Gray MacKenzie 19:40

The hidden feature, which you kind of asked about, it’s not hidden, but in almost every account it’s underutilized is automations. And part of the reason it’s underutilized is just until you have the basics, right. You can’t really use automations anyway, so I understand that. But once you get the basics right and then can start automating things. You’re one of our ends This week I built a really cool ideas bank. So you have all these ideas backlog. You change the status on something, it automatically creates a task over here based on the custom field to add it applies the right template assigns the right people and changes the due date. But all this stuff with automations, where you can call

Jeremy Weisz 20:18

What things do you automate? Yeah, like, What things do you like to automate? I joke around with John, every time he says, automate, I have to take a shot because he says it so many times. Yep. And I’m totally the manual. I’ll just pick up the phone and call you like someone’s like, you can create an automation with Zapier, it calls a verse like okay, I’ll just dial the number. So I’d love to hear what automations

Gray MacKenzie 20:39

Yeah, you like. So there’s a couple simple examples, a new client signs up with us. And they’re joining our guided implementation program. We work with them over a period of 10 weeks to get all their process documented and lined up and clickable. That’s a make payment that takes them to a cook up form, they’ll fill out that form that automatically creates an account for us in our account dashboard internally, and it’s got, here’s their goals for the project. Here’s the core team, are they doing time tracking? Are they not? Are they working in Scrum? You know, agile Scrum methodology? Are they not?

Jeremy Weisz 21:12

Really quick, I’m gonna back up for a second. So there’s a payment system integrated into this that will trigger that

Gray MacKenzie 21:18

there’s not No, no, yeah, we’re using the HubSpot payments link. Got it. Okay, make the payment, then redirecting them from there to this clip. Okay. Got it. So that is not an automation, this is just a form creates a task. And so then we’ll use an automation to set a bunch of additional information that we need to based on them them signing up and what services they purchased. What that new account and clickable do is it’ll automatically create a new task to go through all the onboarding process. So our team gets notified right away, we can accelerate how quickly we can you know, in any purchase that you make, as soon as you press Submit on that credit card form, that period from that moment, until the first thing that you get from that customer that’s filled with buyer’s remorse. And that’s the period where it’s like, man, I hope that I made the right bet when I make this decision. So in any of our businesses, we don’t accelerate that time to value from Hey, I made a purchase to Okay, I’ve heard from them. And it turns out, I was right, everything’s gonna be okay, they’ve got me taken care of. And so that using automations, to trigger that and trigger the right people being notified to do the right things on time pulling from templates. That’s been really helpful for us.

Jeremy Weisz 22:29

So someone pays into HubSpot. It sends them a form, they fill out that form that goes intoClickUp, and then that will set off a chain of events, of people to start the process of onboarding,

Gray MacKenzie 22:43

right. Yep.

Jeremy Weisz 22:43

Correct. You know, this is a key point, because I have this written down for us to discuss, which is I wrote down smooth onboarding, because I feel like with what you do, you guys, do it for yourselves. But you also help agencies do that. Because when you’re ultimately creating, it’s not sexy to say we help build out your systems, but it is sexier and nicer to say like, well, we create a smooth onboarding process from when the client buys, they don’t buy remorse, and they have a good experience with the onboarding, right? And so what are some of those pieces? So now it triggers a chain of events? Have you seen, because you’ve helped build these out for agencies that needs to be included in a smooth onboarding process. So one is obviously quick response, like immediately when they buy, respond, you know, and what, what are some other things that will help create a smooth onboarding,

Gray MacKenzie 23:38

a lot of agencies trying to skip a, or just delay a kickoff call. I’m a big fan of getting a kickoff call on the books and just having assuming that there’s a handoff from the sales side to the delivery team, that there’s a smooth handoff that those meetings have a clear agenda, here’s what you can expect moving forward that we can set their expectations as far as how they’re going to work with us. And they’re hearing largely an echo of everything. They were told in the sales process, that that handoff or that transition in a lot of agencies is a tripping point that sets off some alarm bells in the clients mind when they heard one story from the salesperson. And they got in and their account manager or whoever’s leading the line services side of things, is telling them a different version of what they’re about to receive. They need to make sure that those two I think that’s the fundamental relationship in agencies that has to be streamlined is the relationship between sales and client services. And so you want that to be aligned them to have their expectation set. The cool thing about running an agency is you get to set or any services business, you get to set whatever expectations you want to about how people are going to work with you. So internally, we measure NPS Net Promoter Score, like crazy. And Net Promoter Score only works if clients actually fill it out. So during that onboarding, calling and we tell people that during the sales process during the onboarding call, that’s the rule that we make is you have to give us honest feedback, the key to this relationship there gonna be times when you love us are gonna be times when you’re frustrated with how much work this is or how overwhelming and all seems, but you have to talk to us about that stuff, you can’t just be done inside and not tell us and we can fix it if we can communicate through it. So when you make those rules, it’s much easier to get people’s buy in and have them actually, then they’re obligated to follow up because they agreed to do it on the onboarding, who’s gonna say no to something that they’re asked to do on a kickoff call. So quick

Jeremy Weisz 25:28

email, quick, quick off call and the quick off call, make sure you restate what they’re getting. So there’s that expectation, and then also set expectations that it’s okay. Like, you’re gonna love us, and sometimes you’re gonna be frustrated. That’s okay, we’ll work through it. What else with this news?

Gray MacKenzie 25:49

Obviously, the setup process, so the faster you can get them value, in our case, we’re setting up, you know, here’s a prebuilt ClickUp install for you. The faster you can turn that around in an agency case, that might be how fast? Can we have them fill out our design preferences questionnaire for doing branding? Or how fast can we turn around, you know, first draft of an ad campaign if we’re doing paid ads. So figuring out what’s needed getting that process started. And then one of the key things that we’ve added into our onboarding process, and do with every agency is there’s gonna be someone who’s double checking before what goes out to the client and kind of double checking all the details, you know, did we did the contract gets signed? Did the invoice come in? Did we assign the right service? Do we look, all these common things that are that are kind of silly to say out loud, but in most agencies, everyone can think of examples of where we’ve messed that up or gotten that wrong, or there just wasn’t a smooth handoff internally. And then there’s a whole bunch of other things that happen from time to time, you know, are we sending a handwritten note or a personal gift to a client who just came on board? What are the different things? are we sending them any gear or not? Are we can you what are the things that aren’t, aren’t always there, but are often there? that there should be a process for?

Jeremy Weisz 27:06

You know, have you seen anyone do anything creative? As far as that goes? Like those personal touch points, whether it’s sending something or what have you seen? That’s creative, I love to hear that the kind of out of the box used to send people a guava fruit or something,

Gray MacKenzie 27:22

right, right. Yeah, little little box of guava juice. The coolest one has been pod ear one sends box. All every item that he sends in is it’s a little gift box of stuff. There’s a couple treats, cookies, or whatever. And there’s a couple other decorative items and little thing Maker’s Mark or, you know, whatever, whatever he’s, he’s mailing to people. But the cool thing is, he’s got a note in there, and that note has a link to a video URL, and you can go to it. And it’s him sitting there with a box with the exact same items, unpacking it, and the whole time. He’s got big smile, like Welcome on board. And he’s sharing the story behind each one of them. So it’s not just the items themselves by sharing, hey, this is made right here in my hometown. This is the reason that I included this in your box is the reason I included this in your box. And I just thought it was the kind of the coolest thing that you know, it’s a small cost something but it’s not a huge expense to do. And you can make that video one time and share it with people. You can include the same link if you wanted to, you can then have tracking to see did they get the box? Did they open it? It’s got your feedback loop? And that’s my favorite example.

Jeremy Weisz 28:36

Yeah, no, I love that. Yeah, thanks for sharing. That’s really cool. Um, you know, it’s interesting, when you look at it, I encourage anyone to check out, you know, you have on the about page as a timeline. So some important pieces of your timeline and one of the pieces which is interesting, which is ZenPilot narrows focus, to helping agencies streamline that average and ClickUp so you not only narrowed your focus to the type of audience but also narrowed it to a software, both of them. And was that narrow focus you came to helping agencies? Was that an easy decision? Was that did you get on a whiteboard and map this out? What What brought you to that? Because before you I think you’re helping b2b SaaS with GuavaBox. Right? Right. So what was that your thought process by focusing on agencies

Gray MacKenzie 29:29

in the agency focus had come out of so the software we built internally for ourselves was called doing boundaries specifically for our agency. Then when we talked to other people who wanted it, they were agencies. We certainly had people sign up who weren’t agencies, but all of our marketing, everything was geared towards agencies. So continuing that focus when we decided to not be the software anymore. made sense because we were we weren’t even sure at the time was it just going to be Was ClickUp going to be a core part of every engagement, or just so you know, I don’t, we’re tied tightly to click up. But there’s an element of that. There’s a couple of things that accomplishes. For us this probably a point worth making. One, it really standardizes how we deliver value for clients. So we don’t need to know I don’t need to know everything that Asana does and stay up to date on all those updates, I’ve got one platform and one’s more than enough to try and keep up with as we’re doing everything else and improve on. So there’s a delivery or an efficiency from a delivering value to clients and the depth of value that we can give people that have been ends on 24 seven and ClickUp since 2018. So there’s not a lot of people out there who’ve got that that’s how I’ve experienced from a marketing perspective. Because of that focus, and we’re tied to them and there’s a partnership there clickable then either send leads to us, or bring us on to lead their webinar and their training for agencies. And so that’s an inexpensive client acquisition channel, then for us to come, come back to where we don’t have to pay to go get that because we’re, we’re focused, and we’re real deep on one platform. But at the same time that comes with some trade offs, which are, we don’t need for what we’re doing, we wouldn’t fully need ClickUp as the platform like what we’re teaching people to do is streamline standardize your processes, document them, build them into your project management tool, train your whole team on how to do it, hold them accountable to that then reward based on performance. And that applies. And that’s the 80% of what we’re doing that would apply in any tool. It’s just lookups the most efficient way for us to deliver that value.

Jeremy Weisz 31:37

Have you found Gray, who are ideal agencies to work with you? Because I you know, agency is still I mean, even though it’s niche, it’s still a broad, broad enough term, for sure.

Gray MacKenzie 31:48

Yeah. And I think that, you know, at the beginning, we were, we worked with a ton of inbound marketing agencies, because that was our network, those were our people. That was what we knew those were what our templates were for. For three or four years ago, we got into a pocket where we just had a ton of paid social, and paid search agencies. And then we’re working with a handful of people here. And probably the most recent kind of swath of agencies, that’s a new demographic for us is kind of the sales enablement, ABM type agencies. And so that’s, that’s interesting to get to learn in different different service sets. And along the way, we’ve worked with a lot of web and development agencies and folks doing SEO, and there’s a handful of other services in there. But it’s kind of interesting how we bounce around to different circles. And, and go back and forth. There’s a couple characteristics that are in place. One is, the size is less of an indicator. But size is certainly an indicator, your average team size, who works with us right now is about 12. And that’s a mix from teams as small as two or three to teams who are 80 or 130 people in but most are in that, you know, an 820 person, person range. And the one thing that’s pretty consistent, they’ve all figured out how to deliver meaningful value to clients, there’s something real to operationalize. And they wouldn’t buy from us if there wasn’t a path to Hey, if we could get more efficient, and we can streamline delivering this, we produce enough value that we can go acquire more clients like this. And that’s important, the ROI of us going in and helping someone who can’t go out and sell theirs and doing something good.

Jeremy Weisz 33:28

Like if someone’s too early on in the journeymen. Right?

Gray MacKenzie 33:31

Yeah, yeah, they haven’t figured out. Yeah, we least have some idea of what we’re doing or what we ought to be doing. And then having somebody who’s not the owner, internally, in our very best fit clients, is often 10 to 30, or 40 person firms. Someone who’s not the owner, who’s the internal champion, it’s fine if the owner is involved in saying, Hey, here’s the things that I need out of it. But in terms of the person who’s going to stick with the project for 10 weeks consecutively, and do the work needed to get everything built and coordinate people internally. That one of our rules is in the long term, the internal ClickUp champion that we’re training can never be the owner that any agency that we work with.

Jeremy Weisz 34:08

Yeah. I’m talking about how do people engage with you? I know there’s a couple different types of services that you do. Yeah.

Gray MacKenzie 34:20

So we’ve got come our custom projects. Custom. Sometimes it’s just a depth of how many different processes were operationalizing for someone or streamlining or somebody. And often a function, though, of how much work we’re going to wind up doing with them. So are we going to be doing a lot of the build for them? And then, like,

Jeremy Weisz 34:43

let’s say someone has nothing, right, as opposed to someone has everything already built out in Asana, there’s a big difference.

Gray MacKenzie 34:51

Oh, for sure. That was really saying, Yeah, yeah. Or we’ll get a, you know, a really large agency who comes in, like, we don’t have the time to build any of these processes. We just need a man and work, and we’d rather pay more to have you interview or people get the processes out and you just build them, then you lead us through it, and then we get our people to build the process. And then if I could wave my magic wand for most agencies, I’d rather have the agency build it and do it alongside of us. Because those processes will change over time, if they don’t know how to update them, we’re going to go back and line up training them again anyways, or doing the same thing.

Jeremy Weisz 35:24

So that’s gonna want to be custom, like totally custom. And actually just you have to actually roll up your sleeves and get everything in there.

Gray MacKenzie 35:33

Then we’ll do like our guided implementation programs is kind of our standardized 10 week, program or engagement with agencies where we’re teaching them leading them through every step of the way, we’ll do the systems design piece together, we’ll put their team through our agency benchmark survey and written agency assessment, spit out what needs to happen. lead them through the process development, and this is where they’re building it. And we’re reviewing and, and doing it together with them. That’s kind of my, my favorite model for working with agencies. We’ve got a program called ClickUp. For agencies, it’s basically we’ve taken a lot of our previous assets and productize them in United chatted a little bit about this previously, but we’ve got of our clicker for agencies training program, all the stuff you need to know about setting up and migrating and training the team. Now we’ve got our agency project management certification that we use in every engagement with any team, every single team member through that say, listen, here’s the rules of engagement. Here’s how you execute and ClickUp. And then a prebuilt, click up install. And so we’ve got those training programs. And in our clicker for agencies program is more than it’s not fully DIY, but it’s mostly DIY, you get access to those items, we were on a kickoff call, and then we’re with you in slack over the weeks as you’re implementing it, but you’re on your own to do the actual implementation. And we’ll we’ll review it, we’ll do an audit report a once a week as you’re going through the process and make sure you’re making progress. But that’s more of the DIY model.

Jeremy Weisz 37:01

You know, there was a letter on the internet. Okay, that this person wrote it started with I almost made a big mistake. And talk about that. And it kind of walks through hiring agency versus Freelancer versus in house. Yep. Just just want to talk to me and talk to me a little bit about that what that person was getting at and said,

Gray MacKenzie 37:29

Oh, super cool agency. This agency name is Alioned. They are a Shopify Development Agency, and came to us and looked at their moving over to ClickUp came to us and talked to some other ClickUp clips, got vetted, vetted consultants program. So people who know the software in and out, were a little bit atypical in the vetted consultant community. But we’re also a veteran consultant. At some point, like everyone internally goes through certifications and spoken with other people came to us talk to us, we’re more than twice as expensive as a quote that they got from, from a couple other vetted consultants. And they wound up working with us had a really, really positive experience. And she wrote this awesome marketing email, I love the angle that she took. She was writing about the experience that she had working with us and just how positive it was that we already had. The stuff that we had pre built because we’re in such a tight niche felt like it was custom for them, even though it’s our standard install that we’re that we’re giving to people. And so the modification process and improving templates was relatively easy. And just getting to the seamless experience of Hey, we show up on calls, they tell us exactly what to do, we can maximize our time. We know we’ve got confidence because this stuff’s been tried before, we’re not the first time that better consultants working with an agency or anything like that. And so she took it and said, basically use it as gave all these examples of here’s what’s been awesome about this experience. And here’s the value of hiring an agency is you’re paying for two different things. You’re not paying for someone to listen to you tell them what you want them to build, and they know how the buttons work and ClickUp. So they go build what you’re saying. But they’re coming in with the master plan and saying no, based on your situation, here’s what you need. Here’s the way that we prescribe what the solution actually is. And it’s probably different than what you think that it should be. And so I thought it was a really cool way of kind of telling her story of Hey, we invested in an agency and this way. And these were the results and the things that came out of it. But it was a cool, cool story and a cool piece to share them.

Jeremy Weisz 39:37

Yeah, it’s it’s basically more of it’s not just the value of doing the pushing the buttons. there’s a there’s a strategic value there and experience value. Yeah, I mean, we see.

Gray MacKenzie 39:53

And, obviously I’m only seeing it from our side, but we work with a lot of agencies who’ve hired somebody else. Before to do this sometimes, as recently, as you know, a month ago, hey, we hired a consultant. We tried to do this, we thought it all seemed like it looks good. But if you miss the pieces of the puzzle, which are Does ultem know how to use it? Like, is it really the right system setup? And I don’t know how you get to that without I mean, we’ve made so many mistakes early on. I don’t know how you get to that without a lot of reps in the same type of area. But then you got to get the team trained, and there’s got to be accountability. And there’s got to be there’s all these different components to making it work well. And that’s not the it’s really hard to compare what an agency’s got, it’s kind of a, hey, this is everything that you need to be successful in an initial implementation versus Yeah, I can, I can jump in, I can start with you at $60 an hour, and we can just figure it out. And you know, you’ll have you’ll be live and click up for 10 hours. But But whether it’s the right kind of live or not, and the team knows what to do different outcomes.

Jeremy Weisz 41:00

Always wouldn’t be an example grave mistake. Either you saw us you went in you saw some makeup, it was common mistake or that you made your teammate early, early on?

Gray MacKenzie 41:11

Well, it’s something you see common. Yeah, this is both, we messed it up. And then I still see it messed up pretty, pretty frequently. One of the things that’s appealing agencies obviously, are service based businesses. So your main commodity is people’s time, your trading people’s times, in most cases for revenue of some sort. So the time tracking component is pretty important. And ClickUp time tracking works granularly and goes uphill. So if you’ve got some tasks that time then tracks up to a parent task level, which tracks up to one ClickUp as his lists and folders and spaces and whatever. And because of that, if you’re using clips, time tracking your data structure, the way that you set up your hierarchy, and click up becomes really important, because that’s going to be your feedback loop for Where did your time go. So if you want to see things like profitability by client profitability by service line or profitability by team member, that hierarchy has to be correct. So a ton of agencies will come in and they’ll say, Okay, here’s our folders or clients. And then we’ll do you know, we’re running retainer. So we’ll say, March is of less than April to list and maser list. And now all you really have is, is feedback that you would have had anyways, from the data, you don’t have anything tied to service line or other things. So hierarchy is commonly built out wrong. And this mistake that we made to I think the one thing that, based on our experience with do inbound, we’re kind of ahead of the curve in knowing. So I don’t think that we’ve messed this up to the same extent that I most commonly see. But look, I was just super powerful, super flexible. People love it for that clip sells it for that. And it’s an awful feature at any type of scale. Because everyone gets in everyone builds their own way of, Hey, I love to see things this way. Or like, it makes sense that I should have my own personal space or my own whatever. And there’s no unification, no way to get stuff back out of it. So we do see a lot of teams who said, okay, we just want to go in and play the clip up for a couple months before we come back, and then we’ll work with you. And then if they do come back, you’re just revamping

Jeremy Weisz 43:07


Gray MacKenzie 43:07

is basically like starting from scratch the team. And often the team is a little bit burned out on the platform, because that’s not working for us. And there was no coherent plan, there was no unification. I’m sure that’s a little bit of a function to of being an agency space, where we’re all creatives, we all have our own ideas about how things should work. And we all want it to be unique and special for us. And I don’t know, I’m, I’m more of a believer in, hey, there’s the best way to do most of this stuff.

Jeremy Weisz 43:34

Ya know, there’s a lot of parallels with what you do with what we do. Yeah. And the same conversation happens. Let me just like, try this out for a little bit. And if the right foundation or strategy isn’t put in place from the beginning, that it’s almost like it’s like starting over. But I mean, you have to revamp a bunch of things, right? Yeah. So I totally get that. I’ve one last question. Gray. And first of all, thank you and I want to point people to check out more episodes of the podcast check out to check out more of what they’re working on. You know, we were in there any other places we should point people towards online for you guys. Know, I

Gray MacKenzie 44:14

think if people do click up for agencies, they’ll probably come across the video that you found are our own. And we get a 4000 word guide on the things that we’ve learned on on ClickUp as well.

Jeremy Weisz 44:25

Yeah, check it out. And, you know, check out their their podcasts. Where can they find the podcast?

Gray MacKenzie 44:33

Yeah, Thank you to our podcast Agency Journey, night weekly interviews with agency owners and leaders.

Jeremy Weisz 44:40

So last question, we talked about this before we hit record. Gray is you have a scorecard that you give agencies. And I think it’s important to just walk through a little bit of what agencies and probably you know, any business can look at evaluating their business. So Talk walk through a little bit about the scorecard.

Gray MacKenzie 45:03

Yeah. So this is still a work in progress to streamline it. But the there’s a couple of main things that we look at with every agency that we’d like to have gathered in terms of how client relationships are going. So I’m going to focus on that side, we can get into other items, if you want to two main tools that we use, we use an internal health score. So on a weekly basis, each client has their account health updated, as relevant, there’s no brief weekly update and check in on each client. And that’s a text based report from the account manager to the scale of one to five, five is, hey, we’re ahead of results, the tangible results that they asked for, and the relationship is great, they would happily refer us we’re trending in the right direction. One is we’re not hitting target, things are trending the opposite direction, and they’re very upset with us. And then there’s, there’s standardization internally. So look at that on a client by client basis, and obviously client average, what’s their What’s our average across the board. And those definitions need to be need to be standardized. And then we’ll look at so that’s our internal scorecard. And we’ll ask questions on a weekly basis. Like, why would the client be unhappy, sir, and digging with some of these questions? Are you happy with the account for an account manager themselves? series of five basic questions that were asking the internal account manager. So we look at that health score on a weekly basis across the board for clients. And then you can obviously pare that down based on what services they have, or the account manager is, from a client perspective, though, we need the client feedback as well. There’s gonna be some accountability to it. And those, those two things need to be measured together. So I still really like NPS, just as rudimentary as Net Promoter Score is, are giving us the feedback, and then we’ll we’ll track that that goes on to our internal scorecard and agencies, especially if they’re running EOS their scorecard on weekly basis. Here’s what the MPs number is, these are our internal number is. And what’s really interesting to track is when those two things deviate from each other. And there’s obviously a bunch of other, you know, client profitability metrics and on the growth and operation side of the metrics detracted. But that’s kind of a quick glimpse at a couple of the core numbers in the scorecard.

Jeremy Weisz 47:10

Yeah, no, I appreciate you walking through that. Because you’re starting to work through and get that and help agencies kind of determine their health, right?

Gray MacKenzie 47:20

Yeah, for sure. I mean, ultimately, if you hire somebody to lead, who internally leads client success for you, are you ultimately responsible for it

Jeremy Weisz 47:28

is defined success for the onboarding, or

Gray MacKenzie 47:34

who ultimately owns whether a client stays with Rise25 or not?

Jeremy Weisz 47:38

Yeah, I mean, I guess we it kind of goes up to us in the sense we have someone who is kind of a, you can call them whatever they want, whatever you want, like client success manager, you know, someone who handles up, but ultimately, it kind of

Gray MacKenzie 47:54

goes out to us in the end. And as soon as you guys are looking at you’re on a retainer model for I would assume, maybe they’re all engagements are most engagements. So you’re looking at things like what’s our turn, or data set retention? What’s the LTV of a client? What’s the average client paying us monthly? Those types of metrics. And that’s exactly what you should be looking at. But those are all the lagging indicators. And by the time we know, when people turn like it’s too late to get them back. So these are our leading and our NPS and our internal health scores. Those are our leading indicators to tell us where do we need to pay attention and where do we need to jump in and try and fix things? Where should we be acquiring referrals? That isn’t

Jeremy Weisz 48:32

totally Gray. Thank you. It’s always a pleasure to get your expertise everyone check out And check out more episodes. Thanks, everyone. Thanks Gray.

Gray MacKenzie 48:44

Awesome. Thanks, Jeremy.