I’ve been on the hunt for a good crm for my small business lately. So my Podio experiment continues and this time I take on one of the scenarios that i mentioned in my post about creating custom Podio Apps. One of my readers, Charles, asked if I could create a process that did the following…
…Automatically create and send an offer letter to my Real Estate Agent when I change the status of one of my leads to Make Offer…
I was able to create this process completely using a combination of Podio, Zapier, Globiflow and Lob. Here is a video demonstration of the entire process in action. It’s amazing how much time this could save you.
Here is an explanation of what each one of those services is and how I used them.
Podio is my lead management system. All my leads get pulled into here in a variety of ways. Once a lead enters Podio, it is then pushed through my Lead Funnel until it is either a deal or dead. Each stage of the funnel is represented by an App. The app is where I can keep track of the data that best relates to the stage of the lead. In my Offers App I keep track of such things as offer amount, date, status, recipient and how the offer is made.
I like to call Zapier The Connector. The reason being is that it is a service that allows you to connect different products on the internet. In my last post I showed you how I use Zapier to connect my Investor Carrot website to Podio. To be a bit more specific, Zapier doesn’t really connect the apps as so much allows you to pass data from one to another automatically. It’s such a great tool!
GlobiFlow is what takes Podio to the next level in terms of an automation tool. It allows you to setup process flows (work flows) in Podio to replace many of the manual tasks you would normally have to do. A workflow gets triggered when a certain action takes place. Add a new lead, a task gets automatically created to call them tomorrow. You change a lead’s status to Make Offer, an offer letter gets created and mailed (or emailed) to them. Get the idea?
Lob is a nifty little service. They say Send Physical Mail as Easy as Email. To be honest, they are correct. You basically send them a file and a mailing address and they do the rest. What differentiates them from a service like Click2Mail is that it can be integrated into ANY service….Yup…even Podio! This is exactly what I used to automate the sending out of my Offer Letters.
Podio Setup for this Process
As a growing small business, I need my crm to really help me organize my processes. So to set this all up properly I wanted to create a logical lead flow from one stage to the next. I’m going to refer to this as my Lead Funnel. For this process I need 3 stages for this funnel and each stage will be represented by a Podio App…
This has been my main app from the beginning so I’m not going to go through how I set it up. You can refer to my post Podio – Creating Apps and Automating with GlobiFlow and Zapier to get the details. However I did make some minor changes in order to make it fit into my new process.
To facilitate pushing a lead into the Pursue App I needed to create a trigger. After looking at some other implementations of Podio, the best way to do this is by using a category field. The most logical category field was the status field. So I adjust it a bit to include a status of Pursue.
The rest of the Property App pretty much stayed the same.
If after the initial conversation with a seller I determine that I want to pursue a lead further, I’ll pass it along to this App. Now I’m not really passing along the property lead. What is happening is that the Property Lead is still staying in the Property App, but a new record is being created in the Pursue App. This is where I can record additional property information that will help me determine if I should make an offer or not.
The Pursue record is linked back to the Property record by a relationship field. This allows me to refer back to the property lead information if I need to.
Hopefully this makes sense. If not, maybe after explaining the Pursue App setup, things will become more clear.
The Pursue App is Stop #2 for a property lead. It’s purpose is to allow me to manage and keep track of leads that I think might be a deal. As a wholesaler, my next step is to do property research to determine things like ARV and Repair Estimates. This app will hold that information.
Just like with the Pursue App, a record will be created here when I decide to make an offer on a property that I’m pursuing. There will be a link back to the Pursue App record and Property App records so I can refer back to them.
When a record gets created here, Globiflow detects this and automatically creates the Offer Letter. That offer letter then gets attached to the offer record. I’ll explain how this is done in more detail below.
I then have a category field setup called Send Offer By. This category field consists of 3 options…
Not Sent. The default status. Gives me the opportunity to review the offer letter and make any changes before sending it out.
Email. Changing the Send Offer By value to this will send the Offer Letter to the seller by email.
Mail (Lob). Changing the Send Offer By value to this will trigger send a message to Zapier. Zapier will then pull the information and Offer Letter from Podio and load it into Lob.com. Lob will then do the mailing for me.
The rest of the Offers App will consist of information that is used to keep track of the offer. Here is what the Offers App looks like…
Step-by-Step Video Guide
I will walk you through the entire setup process for these Podio Apps. I created 8 custom made videos to show you every step that was taken. It really is very simple and if you can duplicate this process you can pretty much do anything in Podio.Walk me through it
How They All Play Together
There are 4 different tools at work here which is a few more pieces then I normally would like. Since Zapier, Globiflow and Lob only consist of simple, one off routines it doesn’t bother me that much…as long as it works consistently. I haven’t been working with Podio long enough to be fully confident just yet. I’m getting close though.
Here is a quick overview of how all the pieces will work together. Start at the left and move right. You can see that GlobiFlow is responsible for moving the flow from the Properties App through to the Offers App. Then Zapier is used to send the offer letter to Lob.
Below I go into more detail about each step and how it works. There are 4 processes in total. Plus I go over an alternative way to send the offer letter to your leads by Email.
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Property [icon type=”arrow-right”] [icon type=”arrow-right”] Pursue
Triggered On: Property status changed to Pursue
Process Does: Creates new record in PURSUE APP based on Property Lead
GlobiFlow is in charge of moving the lead through the Podio funnel. My first GlobiFlow Workflow advances the lead to the Pursue App. It does this by creating a new record (item) in the Pursue App that is linked to the Property App item.
The action, in Podio, that triggers the GlobiFlow workflow to run is the changing of the Status value to Pursue.
The GlobiFlow process for this is very simple. There are only three steps involved and none of them are complex at all.
Step #1: Identify the Trigger Type of Item is Updated
Step #2: Select the Trigger Field and set the Value
Step #3: Create the Action to add a new Pursue Record
Here is my exact process…
Pursue [icon type=”arrow-right”] [icon type=”arrow-right”] Offer
Triggered On: Pursue status changed to Make Offer
Process Does: Creates new record in OFFER APP
Again, GlobiFlow is in charge of advancing the lead through the Podio funnel. This time the process moves a lead into the Offer Stage by creating an Offer App record.
This process is triggered when I change the Pursue record’s status to Make Offer.
This process (workflow) is almost identical to the create pursue process except that I need to get a reference back to the Property App record. So this is what the process does in layman’s terms…
When a Pursue App item is updated I check to see if the Status value has changed to Make Offer. If it has, then I grab the Property record that the Pursue record references to help me create the new Offer App record.
Offer [icon type=”arrow-right”] [icon type=”arrow-right”] Offer Letter (PDF)
Triggered On: Offer Record is Created
Process Does: Creates the Offer Letter and attaches it to the Offer
GlobiFlow allows me to do a pretty cool thing here. It will allow me to auto-create a mail merged document and attach it to the offer record with one click of a button (or creation of a record). This literally just happens!
The only draw back is that you have to recreate your offer letter in GlobiFlow which may have some formatting limitations. My example Offer Letter is pretty basic so I didn’t really have any issues…but I’m sure there are some.
Here is the layman’s term of what the process does…
When an offer record is created I get the Pursue & Property references so I can use the information in the offer letter. I then create a PDF file by merging my Offer Letter Template to the Pursue & Property information. I finally create a task to tell me to send the offer letter.
Offer [icon type=”arrow-right”] [icon type=”arrow-right”]
Triggered On: Send Offer By value was changed to Mail (Lob)
Process Does: Sends offer letter to Lob.com to be mailed
This step is a bit more complicated because it requires Zapier to connect Podio and Lob. Even still it was pretty straight forward because Zapier does a good job of walking you through the process of setting the connection up.
Simply put, here is what the process does…
When I change the Send Offer By value to Mail (lob), Zapier will grab the Offer Letter (attached PDF) and Recipient information (Name, Address, City, State and Zip) and send it over to Lob to be mailed out.
So the trigger to all of this is changing the Send Offer By value to Mail (Lob)…
Since I haven’t actually sent any letters yet, I’m not quite sure how long it takes the letters to be printed and sent. My best guess is within 24 hours. I will be testing this out by sending a letter to myself and I’ll update this post with the results.
The good thing is that in the testing environment of Lob, my Zapier connection instantly uploads the offer letter to be sent. Here is what it looks like within Lob…
It doesn’t cost you anything to create your Lob account. They charge you about ~$0.97 to send a letter though. The great thing that I have found is they have a Test Mode so you can test out your Zapier process without actually sending any mail….or being charged.
Offer Letter[icon type=”arrow-right”] [icon type=”arrow-right”] Email
Triggered On: Change Send Offer By value to Email
Process Does: Emails the offer letter to seller’s email address
An alternate to sending your offer by Mail using Lob is to just email the offer to the seller. I like this solution for it’s simplicity but getting an offer in the mail seems a bit more official to me.
This is basically how this one works…
When the Send Offer By value for an offer record is changed to Email, GlobiFlow will grab the Offer Letter and send it to the Lead’s email address if one exists.
This is how it looks in GlobiFlow…
See my Video Step-by-Step Guide on Setting up this Process
I will walk you through the entire setup process over 8 custom made videos. It really is very simple and if you can duplicate this process you can pretty much do anything in Podio.Go to the Video Tutorial
Outside of the usefulness of this process in my wholesaling business, it has really helped me get a full understanding of Podio. I now feel extremely confident I can setup any type of process with little problem.
The issue with Podio as a crm that I see is…there is a high dependency on third party tools (like Zapier, Globiflow and Lob) to really automate your small business needs. Don’t get me wrong though, this is also an AWESOME THING!
Podio is an open platform which allows third parties to build tools to extend the use of Podio. Where would smart phones be with out app developers? That is such a great thing I can’t tell you.
The only down side is that you have to keep track and learn multiple tools. The best way to do that is to document your processes kinda like how I’m doing with these blog posts.
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