Emailing contacts who are in the same pipeline stage

Hi,

I run a tax practice.  I have 109 different projects in process, most with a name like "15 Tax Prep for Smith/Jones". I have both Jane Smith and John Jones linked to the project.  (Smith and Jones may have other projects going, too, perhaps "14 Amend for Smith/Jones" or "13 return for Smith/Jones" that is completed and has past notes.

An abbreviated version of my pipeline stages:

"engaged, info not in yet"

"ready to do"

"needs additional info to clear review""waiting for

"waiting for efile authorization to efile".

"completed and accepted".

We track the pipelines religiously, where every event and email and note is linked to the project, and several tags and activity sets are used. Each project is linked to the client(s) (two of them for married filing joint returns, many of them for partnerships) when the project starts. 

We need to send some emails out to all the clients at a specific stage.  "We show that you still owe us information and if it isn't in by Sunday you'll have to go on extension" or "we have your return marked as ready for us to do, please stop calling to ask if the ball's in our court, we know that we have 83 returns ready to finish up, here's an email telling you that." The projects are moving in real time: I might have something move from "needs info" to "ready to do" the next time I check email. I can't spend an hour tagging all 83 who are in that stage before I send an email, the tags will be obsolete before I get them finished!

I cannot figure out how to email everyone linked to projects, must less everyone linked to projects at the same pipeline stage.  Help!

I routinely serve 300 clients a tax season.  Being able to track their tax return through the pipeline has been fabulous. Being unable to use the pipelines for communication of events common to everyone in that pipeline?  OMG, no.  Please make this useable for me!

 

Wendy Marsden, CPA

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  • The problem is that there is no way of reporting on pipeline stage as well as giving the email address or the specific contacts and doing so in one smooth process.

    You are able to email a group of contacts or leads by filtering on them in the contacts or leads area. This is typically done with tags but could also be done with custom fields.

    Another approach would be to make use of Advanced Reporting. You would set up a report based on projects (this also works for opportunities). Select the current pipeline as a filter so that it only selects the pipeline stage you are interested in. You can also select all pipeline stages and just sort by them if you want to report on all. However, that is all very well but you are not able to output the contact details other than the name of the linked contact which does not help you to email them.

    Unless I am missing something here I am not sure how best to proceed. There are plenty of ways of doing this using the API (which is typically the solution I would use and we could develop for you). What I would do is either use the API to send emails directly based on the pipeline solution or, if you wanted more control over the emails, then the API process would run every day to add a tag to the contacts. As soon as the contacts are tagged it is then possible to email the tagged group. It could also be done with custom fields which could mirror the pipeline stages.

     

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  • Hi Wendy, 

    This work around might do the job. You'll probably need to fiddle around a bit to make it right for you (or discover it's a dead end).

    – create a category that represents each of these batch emails that you periodically send out

    – this category is applicable to tasks only

    – create a task in the relevant pipeline for the mailout (you probably have this already), but now also do the following steps when you allocate that pipeline / stage and therefore when you create the task

    – task category is the new one defined above

    – task description contains nothing but the allocated contact's email address (this is the moment of truth. is it worth you pasting this in manually erach time you create the project???).

    Then, when it's time to do the mailout, run the Advanced Reporting Task report. Filter by category, and include "task description" in the reported fields. You can filter by pipeline, stage and status also, to make sure you only get the ones you want. This will give you a list of the email addresses you need to send to. You can past this into your email To list (though not from within Insightly).

    If this works, you might also include the project specific Insightly email address. Perhaps comer separated with the client email. Or perhaps put the client in the title and the project email in the description. A little bit of XL fiddling and you have to email lists. One for the TO box, one for the BCC box, and all your emails will be nicely linked to the appropriate project.

    I'd love to know if this or some variation works for you. It's a bit clunky, but you seem to be a disciplined operator and might make it work smoothly.

    Cheers, Peter.

     

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  • Wendy,

    I have yet another workaround that involves exporting to Excel-- not sure how feasible it would be for you, but I manipulate a lot of our data that way (I'm in tax too, for what it's worth).

    I would export your projects into Excel, and then filter by the pipeline stage you want.Copy and paste that data into a new sheet so you only have the projects that are in the correct pipeline stage.

    Then export your contacts into Excel, and do a v-lookup by linked project. This would give you the contacts related to the projects that are in the desired pipeline stage. 

    From there you can manually email each one, or mail merge to send them in bulk.

    I didn't go into a ton of detail here because I know some people don't like using Excel, but I personally find it to be a great compliment to Insightly. Let me know if you want me to elaborate more if you think this might work for you.

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  • Thank you Jessica, Peter and David for jumping in and helping Wendy!

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  • First, I love that you are using Insightly as a CPA. I work with accounting pros almost exclusively and all my clients use this tool.

    Next, I dug into Zapier a bit and even with the new Formatter Action they are releasing, I don't see a way to tackle this just yet. It's promising however. We need to talk to Zapier on adding new triggers and "changing pipeline stages" are an ideal trigger addition. While I know this is not an immediate solution, it may be soon. I will start the process on your behalf as I believe this is very useful. My thinking is to use Zapier on a trigger called "When pipeline changes" add contact to a Mailchimp automation list that will send the respective email.

    So, the solution today with Zapier would be to use tasks. Zapier currently allows you to do this based on the creation of a task and as your pipeline changes stages, the task or activity set that trigger can be automated by Zapier to add to an email list on Mailchimp that triggers an email via their automation. Should work great.

    Perhaps someone else can add to my "mind dump" here to fill in the blanks.

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  • Hi Eric,

    This is interesting. Thanks for looking into it.

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  • My pleasure Nora. Excited to be your next Hero! It's like adult Lego building. 

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  • What I ended up doing was adding a custom field to the contact menu called "Email to Send" and then adding a task in the project to "Go change contact custom field to update email to send". It's not perfect, but I was *ALMOST* able to send people an email saying the stage they were at.

    But then email broke completely on April 15th, just as I was headed out on vacation, and I couldn't send it.

    And when I tried to send it again on April 18th it got 93 sent and then shut down again because I became uncertified to send email or something.

    And then when I went to send it again it defaulted to sending to people's WORK emails even though my clients typically wish me to send to their PERSONAL emails (which I have listed first).

    So, all in all, a pretty major failure this year.

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  • Wendy

    I work almost exclusively with accounting professionals. We've had tremendous success. Let's work on this further and make a plan for 2017. It can work and like anything else, insightly is evolving. Did you take a look at Zapier as a means to tackle this? I love insightly email templates but when they are not a good fit, Zaps and Mailchimp automation can work magic. 

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