Best Practices: How Insightly uses Projects to manage accounts

Overview

Our Customer Success team here at Insightly manages hundreds of accounts in various stages of their lifecycle. Some are first year accounts that are busy implementing their new CRM, and some are native users who depend on their Customer Success Manager (CSM) for annual account reviews and ongoing CRM strategy support. 

We needed to create a solution that would solve for the following challenges: the high volume of accounts per person, maintaining a high level of engagement with those accounts, and unpredictable renewal forecasting. Our solution, which we are excited to share, was configuring our Projects to manage an accounts entire annual success subscription - here's how we did it!

Configuration

We wanted to keep the new Project layout as simple and easy to use as possible, so we identified the key functionalities we needed our CSMs to perform throughout the year. 

  • Onboarding new accounts
  • Conducting annual account reviews 
  • Tracking account health 

1. The Project Pipeline 

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We started by defining our Project Pipeline so we can track the customers' journey. We went back and forth on whether we wanted this to read Onboarding > Adoption > Renewal, however that would only apply to first-year accounts and we would need to create a second pipeline for returning accounts - this would overcomplicate things for our CSMs. 

We decided breaking the annual subscription into quarters would solve for our needs as well as provide the CSM a visual of where the customer is related to their most important stages: onboarding (Q1) and renewal (Q4). 

An Automated Workflow updates the pipeline stage based on the age of the account so the CSM is not responsible for updating it manually (that would be a nightmare). The same automation can also generate tasks for the CSM to complete during that quarter with their account, like 'Schedule Quarterly Business Review' or 'Prepare Renewal Documentation'. 

2. The Project Fields

We wanted to avoid having our CSMs look in multiple places for account information, so we set up Lambdas (available for Enterprise accounts) and Opportunity Conversion to ensure as many of the Project fields would be automatically populated as possible. 

Opportunity Conversion mapping pulled over the account details like subscription level and success plan level, as well as the details collected during the sales process that would help the CSM define the customer's use case. 

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Lambda, if you're not familiar with it, is code written by a developer and uploaded into Insightly to check, monitor, and update Insightly and other systems. In this case, we used Lambda to update Insightly Projects based on other Insightly objects, like Organizations. This makes it possible to sync fields together, so if an account health field on the Organization is updated, the account health field on the Project will also automatically update. 

In the end, our CSMs are left responsible for completing the fields related to the Onboarding Program (timeline & milestones) and the Business Reviews (quarterly goals and review dates). 

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3. Tasks for Account Engagement 

Our goal is to always maintain ongoing engagement with our customers, so tracking our conversations and sessions is a huge priority. We use tasks to log each session we have with a customer, from kickoff calls to general sessions to renewal calls. We like to track the total number of sessions we have for a customer, which we have automated using Lambda (update the number field whenever a task is marked complete). 

We added custom fields so our CSMs can log notes and follow up details directly on the session task. We used Dynamic Page Layouts (available on Enterprise) to make these fields appear when the Task Category equals 'Success Session'. Without Dynamic Page Layouts, you can simply create a field section on your layout to organize the fields. 

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4. Connecting with other tools 

Our team uses other tools like Calendly for scheduling sessions and Gmail for email, so it was important that we automate as much as possible between the systems using a tool called Zapier. Here's a list of some of the 'zaps' we have going currently: 

  • When a customer schedules a session with a CSM, a 'Success Session' task is automatically added to the Project with the Due Date updated to the scheduled call date 
  • When a customer schedules their onboarding kickoff call, a 'Kickoff Call' task is added to the Project, and Lambda updates the 'Kickoff Call' date field with the event date
  • Until the 'Kickoff Call' date field is populated, an email sequence is sent from a CSMs Gmail account reminding a customer to schedule it
  • When a customer cancels a session, an email is sent from the CSM's Gmail account to the customer reminding them to reschedule
  • When a new user is created in Insightly (we track this using another platform called Pendo), an email is sent from the CSM's gmail account with helpful resources for getting started 

5. Tracking Success with Dashboards 

When brainstorming what dashboard cards to create, we recommend starting with defining your metrics. 

Our team dashboards directly reflect the metrics we hold our CSMs to, including: 

  • number of accounts onboarded within 90 days
  • net retention
  • number of upsell opportunities closed
  • number of renewals per quarter that were closed

By creating a custom dashboard for our team, we are able to structure our weekly team meetings around reviewing the up-to-date information and use it to define individuals' priorities throughout the week. 

Check out our Dashboard Guide for more information. 

 

 

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