A Review of DoInbound Project Management with Gray Mackenzie: One Last Tool Episode 4
Announcer: Is your digital business efforts in need of a tune-up or major overhaul? If you’re ready to get your sales, marketing, and service machine up and running, you’re gonna need just the right tools. Welcome to One Last Tool, your pit stop for learning about all of the latest and greatest digital tools to get your business engine running on all cylinders. And now, here’s your resident technician, George B. Thomas.
George: All right, ladies and gentleman. This is another episode of One Last Tool and as always is brought to you at this point at least by wpinboundmachine.com where if you have an average WordPress site and you wanna do inbound marketing with zero budget or at least a little budget, you can do that.
Now, today, I’m super excited because one of the things that I love about me, well sometimes, if I’m being realistic, is that I love to be organized and this tool, the tool that we’re gonna talk about today will do that for sure. So let’s go ahead and dive into One Last Tool. Gray, why don’t you explain who you are, what you do and then we’ll get into this even further.
Gray: Let’s do it. Well, thanks for having me on, George. So I am Gray MacKenzie. I’m one of the co-founders of I guess back in the day, we started a marketing agency called GuavaBox in the same kind of playground that the sales line is in in the HubSpot in the inbound marketing ecosystem. Myself and my partner, Andrew Dymski then started a software business in 2013 called DoInbound. And so today, we are a project management system software specifically for inbound marketing agencies and there’s a lot that we’ll dive into and unpack there. But that’s kind of the short synopsis.
George: Yeah and that’s a great kind of a lead-in, no pun intended for your buddy who gets that, but let’s go and start at the very basics, the beginning. If I’m watching this and I’m just getting into inbound marketing or content marketing and I don’t have a project management system, what is DoInbound? And get as granular as you’d like on that.
What Is DoInbound
Gray: So I think most folks probably who are listening to this have used some kind of project management system before, basically someplace to organize your work, keep track of your tasks, make sure that your team members and you are collaborating on the work that you have to do. So there’s a lot of great tools that are out there and have been out there for a while. Basecamp is one of the household names in the space, Teamwork has come on really strong recently but Asana and Trello, there’s a ton of really solid tools out there.
The problem that we ran into as we were scaling our agency at GuavaBox was there wasn’t one tool that was built specifically for the way that we wanted to manage projects, and also, not a tool that combined the power of processes into the software itself. So what we were looking for was a way basically to bring in kind of the best practices, the way that we wanted the projects done right into the tool itself through templates so that as we were planning out work, whoever was getting that job whether it was a copywriter A or copywriter B, they’d both have the instructions for how to write a book just the exact same way. And that would be built into the tool.
So what the tool is built around is these prebuilt templates for the way that you’re gonna deliver the work that you have for your clients. So your deliverables, the way that you build out campaigns and run that, and then you’re managing projects based off of the power of having prebuilt templates for the way that you’re gonna execute those deliverables.
George: So, Gray, when I hear that, I think about saving time, right? And there’s nothing better than being organized and saving time at the same time. How does . . . let’s go maybe a level deeper than what it is and how does it actually work? Is it magic? Is it voodoo? What’s going on in the backend there?
How Does DoInbound Work?
Gray: It’s not magic. There’s parts of it that are magical and have been described as magical. And obviously, there’s a lot of parts that aren’t magical and are still a work in progress. But basically, what you do is you set up your system, one of the things that sets DoInbound apart from a bunch of the competitors out there is that there are a bunch of templates for how to execute common inbound marketing services right inside the platform when you sign up and get started using DoInbound.
But you’re gonna go in and customize those and basically set up, “Here’s our library of deliverables that we do for our clients” so whether that’s running a client meeting campaign where you’ve got the client up and running, you’re doing weekly check-ins or whatever, you’re gonna build out your template for how you are going to run those meetings, what’s gonna happen to those meetings.
And then, you plan that out on the frontend so basically, kind of the hierarchy and the tool is every client, all of the work is categorized in the high level campaigns, every campaign’s broken down into deliverables. Then, each deliverable has a series of tasks and every task has a specific step or checklist that your task owner is going to walk through to complete that task to make sure that we’re kind of moving back up the chain.
So the whole philosophy here is just breaking down a really high level, complex project into simple, one-at-a-time achievable steps. And so, you’ll use your template prebuilt to populate all of the steps in here that we need to follow through to make sure that this campaign goes off without a hitch and is a success and produces the right results for the clients. And then, your team is just gonna follow along, basically following the process, executing on it to deliver the results that your client ultimately has asked for.
George: Loving this great, simple steps to save time and be organized. So far, that’s what these questions [inaudible 00:05:25]. Now, I don’t wanna open up a can of worms with the age old conversation of content marketing or inbound marketing, and the name of the system is DoInbound but if I’m a content manager out there and I’m going through these processes, is this a tool for me? And a better way to ask this maybe is who is DoInbound best built for?
Who Is A Best Fit For The DoInbound Community?
Gray: The very best customer for DoInbound right now is somebody who’s running either an agency or a small team who’s trying to do whether it’s inbound or content marketing, it doesn’t matter. But they’re serious about putting into place a scalable system. So if they wanna add someone else to the team or someone’s out of the office for three weeks, you need someone else to jump in and cover, that you’ve got things systematized and ready to roll for that person. It’s definitely gonna be regardless of who’s getting into the software, there’s gonna be some set up time that occurs within this platform if you’re gonna set up some repeatable templates, someone who’s willing to make that investment for the long term pay off and the time savings, and the consistency and the deliverables that you’re producing.
What we’ve learned as we’ve continued to build out the product, we’re building this specifically for inbound marketing agencies like GuavaBox, our agency that we’ve started. And so, the terminology in there is all kind of built around inbound and the agency world. But what we’ve discovered is other customers have come in is this whole model of simply breaking down a highly complex project into all the way down this hierarchy into step by step tasks is something that works across industries and can work in a lot of different contexts.
So, ultimately, I can and give you a quick profile of who the best customer is but really, it’s anybody who wants to get work done well and invest in the power of process.
George: Yeah, if you wanna #gsd which by the way for us, that’s Get Stuff Done, just so everyone knows, I don’t know what you were thinking about. So it may seem like we have answered this question I’m about to ask but I like asking it in this way because Gray, I think it makes us dive into just a little bit deeper of the micro conversation and that is really what problem does DoInbound handle?
Gray: The biggest problem and pain point that we solve . . . so I guess the benefit side of things would be we’re helping agencies scale through some prebuilt processes through a software it manages. But the pain points that we’re most commonly solving are one, like large inefficiencies within the team. So people don’t ever share the best way to get things done and you have somebody who’s really struggling along. So DoInbound, the process of going through and building out some of these processes to be able to really get the most out of the tool has helped a lot of people save a ton of time and realize there’s a better way to be doing things. And then we’ll get that documented, we’ll all follow that every time that we execute this deliverable.
What we’ve also seen is we’ve allowed people . . . there’s kind of this classic, small business owner dilemma where you don’t have the money to hire somebody to come on and help, so you’re doing everything on your own. And when you’re doing everything on your own, there’s no need to build out the processes, you know how to do things. But then you get to this point where you’re too busy and you need to bring someone in to help out but you can’t because you don’t have anything documented. So you get into this kind of lose-lose situation where a lot of agencies wind up where the owner’s getting to the point where they’re burnt out but they can’t bring people on because it would take too much time and effort and work to train somebody to come on and help out.
So, trying to solve that problem has really been . . . that’s kind of allowing people to have a prebuilt resource to accomplish a bunch of that has really helped and been helpful with the platform so far.
George: Gray, I have to tell you I love the point of educating new team members that you might be bringing on, super important. So this question is usually when the interviewee gets a little bit uneasy. They maybe move around in their seat a little bit but I’d love to ask it. It has to be in the conversation. What’s the cost? If I’m listening to this and I’m like, “Man, I want simple bite-sized, easy steps organization, is it gonna break my wallet?”
How Much Does DoInbound Cost?
Gray: Oh yeah. Just kidding. So the pricing right now and I will throw in the caveat that probably everybody throws in that the pricing will change and the DoInbound platform itself has seen some really substantial improvements over the last two months, especially as we rolled out a bunch of features that we have rebuilt over the first half of 2016 here. And so, pricing is probably going to change here around the end of 2016, beginning of 2017. But right now, yeah, I don’t think it’s gonna be too radically different.
Right now, we offer three different packages and basically, the basic package which gets you the software, an unlimited version of the software, unlimited client’s projects, team members, all of that kind of stuff, plus a handful of prebuilt deliverable and campaign templates plus some basic training in how to set up and manage projects not just inside DoInbound but in the context of how should you be running this at your agency. It’s an annual commitment and if you pay upfront, it’s $150 a month or $1,800 a year and if you pay on a month to month basis, it’s $175.
The other two packages range at $400 a month and $625 a month if paid monthly and discounts for annual payments. But that includes some additional training and some resources that’s been really helpful for agencies especially younger agencies in the inbound space.
George: Which is highly important. I like that you mentioned younger agencies because when you first get into this game, man, is it hard to swim sometimes. There’s just so much you gotta learn, so much you gotta do right off the get. Now, you kind of mentioned project management companies at the beginning of this but I’m still gonna ask this question because I want you to maybe narrow down a little tighter when I ask this question. Who are the competitors to DoInbound?
Who are DoInbound’s Competitors?
Gray: There are . . . so the most frequent ones in terms of what people are using before they switch, an alternative is out there at the very beginning is definitely Basecamp. Teamwork has come on strong and then, HubSpot Projects is something that not very many people have switched from because it’s so new and I don’t know whether I’m even allowed to bring up HubSpot Projects yet. But HubSpot Projects is definitely something that in some ways kinda mirrors what we built out at DoInbound. It’s not agency specific and it’s not kind of the . . . they have to take a little bit more of a broad approach. But HubSpot Projects is certainly something that’s going to be in the competitive landscape here for sure.
I’d say outside of products, the competitive solution for most people before they find DoInbound is probably not one of those softwares. It’s probably . . . I’m using Google Docs and all the Google app suite to try and manage all this stuff and I don’t have any one centralized place for my workloads.
George: Yeah, the way it used to be Post-it notes and Excel spreadsheets and oh my gosh, I’m gonna just faint thinking about it.
Gray: I know it’s here somewhere.
George: Yeah, I got it. It’s on my desk, I swear. And you know what, I’m glad you brought on that HubSpot Projects. I was actually gonna ask you about that like pre or post the interview. I do think we’ll be fine, A, because HubSpot has already put on a blog post about two days ago about HubSpot Projects which is nice. And B, because this interview probably won’t go out until around or after inbound. So either way, we’ll be good to go. Too funny.
So here’s the part that I . . . so I asked about cost and I know what makes most of the folks a little bit uneasy. So I give them this, I serve them up, the slam dunk, the spike if you play volleyball, what makes you better than the competitors?
What Makes DoInbound Better Than It’s Competitors?
Gray: First, I mean from the very beginning, I have a ton of respect for those other platforms that are out there and technically, they’re very sound. The big advantage to DoInbound is that it’s built specifically for the inbound marketing agency niche, that vertical of people. So folks who are . . . and agencies are kind of the core focus but anyone who’s got a small team is trying to run inbound or content marketing, that ultimately falls into the demographic of who we’re targeting.
What really sets us apart from every single other platform out there is the training and the templates that come inside the platform. There’s a lot of features. I mean we can talk about features all day and what features we have that are different and better and what features the other platforms have that are different and better. But ultimately, it’s the training and the templates and I guess it’s this core belief that Andrew and I have, both of us are fervently driven to build an amazing product and software, but at the end of the day, the tool is never as important as what is happening, what you’re doing and the inputs that you make to that tool.
So you could certainly take the training and templates and I think that we could have a successful business teaching people how to do this. And you guys have done an amazing job teaching people how to do this without having a specific tool that you’ve built because you understand the same truth that ultimately, it’s that level of education and drive and motivation, and execution, the GSD mindset that is completely different. And so, we’re trying to help people accelerate the learning curve.
George: Yeah and see, I think that’s really . . . I think you hit the nail on the head because for me, what made HubSpot sort of magical wasn’t necessarily software, it was the academy that came along for the ride. And it’s the continual education knowing that you don’t know at all, knowing that every day, you’re gonna learn something new and I love the fact that DoInbound has that, just the, “Don’t worry. You’re gonna be able to figure out. We got documents or tutorials or videos or whatever for that.”
Okay, so listen, let’s keep it real for a second. Just because somebody decides to do inbound, it doesn’t mean that they’re Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs or Gray MacKenzie. Not everybody is really technically savvy and so what are some of the possible problems that a new user might run into when they’re starting to use the tool DoInbound?
What Are The Problems With DoInbound?
Gray: Yeah, I mean quite frankly, at this point in the platform, our onboarding inside the application itself is not as far as like a guided in-app onboarding. Now, there’s a lot of that that has been added into the tool and is improving. But the onboarding itself is not the smoothest process for people. So what we’re doing right now to augment that is one on one, personal onboarding is where . . . that’s part of signing up is you’re gonna go through a couple of calls with us and we’re gonna hold your hand to get to that point.
I see the other huge issue that people can run into is you have to understand if you’re gonna start using DoInbound is really get the most out of it because all the platforms out there that come with a blank slate, DoInbound accelerates that but you’re still gonna wanna customize the templates that we have to match the way that you do inbound and do content. So because of that, you need to be willing to spend a little time on the frontend if you’re gonna reap the benefit on the backend where you’re going to be able to with one click, deploy a campaign that’s prepopulated with all these templates and the steps, and the right task owners, and budget the time, and all these kinds of details. If you’re going to have that, you need to invest with time on the frontend.
So that is something that we have to communicate to people who are signing up, “Hey there is gonna be a little bit of . . . honestly, there’s a financial investment in any tool you use but there’s gonna be some time invested, and there’s certainly gonna be ROI on that and we’ll do all we can to showcase that ROI and help you achieve that. But you need to be one to put in some work on the frontend.”
George: Got to put in the work, people. Gray, this has been incredible, great answers, great interview. I love the DoInbound product. I love the things we hit on as far as the cost is achievable for a lot of companies. The training is there if you wanna get started even to the point where you hold their hand, make sure that they’re having a great experience. Where can people reach out to find out more about DoInbound or maybe even connect with you in the future if they have questions or I don’t know, wanna buy you like a new Lamborghini or something?
Gray: Yeah, Lamborghinis can be shipped to . . . just kidding. So doinbound.com, just D-O and then inbound. If you’re listening to this, I’m gonna guess you know how to spell inbound. So doinbound.com, it’s all one word, that’s the website. You can certainly just use the contact form, I’ll get a copy of that if you come through the website. But you can also email me firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter. I’m at @sgraymckenzie. Good luck spelling that one.
George: Ladies and gentleman, you have just witnessed another episode of One Last Tool. This is how we roll, no fluff, just really great tools. Make sure you go out, pick the right one and do great things.
Announcer: Thanks for tuning into the podcast. Now that you’ve checked out today’s latest helpful tool, you can be equipped to head back to the shop and make some repairs because when you’re looking to fix your digital problems, sometimes all you need is One Last Tool.