Podio – Creating Apps and Automating with GlobiFlow and Zapier

Scott Costello All, Blog, Featured 17 Comments

In my previous post I talked about my first impressions of Podio.  While I was a bit overwhelmed it was easy to see that Podio was a good option for managing your wholesale business.

One of the big draws for using a system like Podio is how customizable it is. That is a great feature but it also can be a negative one if it creates to many complexities.

After spending about 2 weeks figuring things out, I’m happy to say that Podio is very simple to setup.  It took me a few Do Overs before I understood the best way to set things up.  Once I did though it all made sense and allowed me to quickly build up my apps.

What are Podio Apps?

Apps in Podio are basically just data storage boxes.  Being a developer I like to consider each App to be comparable to a database table.  So all my Properties go in one App, my Buyers go into another app and campaigns have their own app.  It’s an logical way to break your business down and works very well within Podio.

Starting Off Small

When learning a new system it’s always best to start small.  Doing this helps you figure out the basics and get a feel for how the system flows.  Once you are comfortable enough you’ll naturally start growing your app.

My current goal was to Create a system that will completely automate the process of referring my online Property Leads to Wholesaling Partners.

Create a system that will completely automate the process of referring my online Property Leads to Wholesaling Partners.

My Current Process

In total it takes me about 5 to 8 minutes to do this per lead if I’m in front of my computer.  Doing this by phone takes me longer and is much more of a pain in the butt.

  • A Seller fills out my Investor Carrot website form.
  • I get an email notification with the property’s information
  • I google search to find the county for the property
  • I look at my Wholesaler Partner spreadsheet to see who I have for that county
  • I go back to my email and click Forward
  • I paste the Wholesaler’s email address into the To field
  • I modify the subject to read New Scotty Buys Lead – Morris County – Whippany – 123 Main St
  • I add information to the body of the email saying what website the lead came from, the date I got it and then any notes.
  • Then I send it
  • Lastly I enter the lead into my lead management system

My Process in Podio

Once I have this all setup, it will take absolutely NONE of my time.

  • A Seller fills out my Investor Carrot website form
  • The information gets automatically entered into Podio (Zapier)
  • Podio will use the Zip code to determine which County the property is located in. (GlobiFlow & CountyZip App)
  • Podio will use the County to automatically link one of my Wholesale Partners to that Property (GlobiFlow & Partner App)
  • Podio will send out an email to the linked Wholesaling Partner with the property information

There are some really cool added benefits as well.

View a Partner’s Linked Properties. I will be able to see all the properties that have been linked to my different partners by just viewing the partner’s information.  I could also create a report.

Communicate with my partners about a property within Podio.  Each property item gets it’s own Communication Dashboard where you can enter comments, attach images or other files.  When something new is added all linked people (myself and any partners) will get a notification.  You can even use “@” notation to talk to someone specifically.

No manual lead entry. I won’t have to manually enter my leads into my lead management system.  Using zapier, all my leads will be automatically placed into Podio directly from my website.

What my Apps Look Like

Property Leads. This app is where all the leads that get submitted through my Investor Carrot website go.  The fields are almost identical between the website submission form and the App fields.

I did add a few more fields in the app to handle the County and Partner relationships as well as a Map field so I can see where the place is located. Clicking on the map opens up a more interactive Google Map.

Partners. This app is where I keep information about all the wholesaling partners I have across New Jersey.  It’s very simple and I only have fields to keep track of the bare minimum.  Name, Phone, Email and Target Areas by County.

In New Jersey it seems that most wholesalers work by the County and not the City or Zip.  So I don’t feel the need to keep more specific location data.

County & Zip. This App is strictly for storing all the Zip Codes and Counties in New Jersey.  I’ll never need to update this App, but it’s a key piece to the process.

Once I get a lead from my website, the GlobiFlow process grabs the Zip from that lead and finds the matching Zip in this App.  Once found it adds a Relationship to the Lead. This allows me to access which county the lead is located in and using that info I can grab the Partner who works that County.

Bonus Content

Step-by-Step video guide on how to setup this exact process.

The True Magic Behind Podio

Podio by itself is very slick and is great for data entry, searching and organizing all your business information.  Having the ability to do all that from a computer and smartphone is even nicer!

What I quickly found out was that the magic behind using Podio is creating workflows.  You create workflows to automate your processes.  Depending on the type of Podio account you have there are different types of workflows you can create.

Free accounts are limited to only creating tasks and comments, while the paid accounts get access to a couple more workflow choices.

  • Auto Create Tasks when new records are created or updated
  • Auto Create comments when records are created or updated
  • Auto Update Record information triggered by an update (like changing the status)
  • Auto Create a new record in another App (like an offer record in your Offer App when status changed to “Made Offer”)
  • Auto Update a related item when a change is made

You can create some very cool Workflows to reduce manual tasks and save you tons of time.  It’s not all great though.  Even with the Paid Accounts, the workflows are very limiting with Podio.

Things like sending customized emails, creating documents, doing a lookup in another app, auto sharing app items and more you can’t do.

I ran into these limitations rather fast when I was planning out my Apps and processes.  There is GOOD NEWS however and it’s called GlobiFlow.

Taking Workflows to the Next Level

After talking with a few Podio users it was clear that you have to use GlobiFlow to take full advantage of Podio.  GlobiFlow is a service that you sign up for that offers some really advanced workflow options for Podio.

I wish it was free and I dislike monthly payment products but the value here is too great.  The base plan is $9 a month which should be plenty for most people.

The only useful thing you don’t get is SMS Text messaging support. I’m not going to get completely into what GlobiFlow offers as I’m still learning all the features.  What I can say is that it has made it possible to do exactly what I wanted to do with regards to this post…that is…take myself completely out of the process of referring leads to my partners.

What I can say is that it has made it possible to do exactly what I wanted to do with regards to this post

If you remember steps 3, 4 and 5 from my above process…Finding the County, linking my Wholesale Partner and sending out the email.  GlobiFlow makes that all possible.  You can’t do those things with just Podio’s Workflows.  Lets revisit what I wanted Podio to do and how I used GlobiFlow to do it..

My Podio Process

A Seller fills out my Investor Carrot website form
Nothing different about this step.

The information gets automatically entered into Podio. With Investor Carrot (Gravity Forms actually) you can use a service called Zapier to Link your Investor Carrot input forms to Podio.  This means that anytime a seller fills out your contact form and presses the submit button, Zapier will be notified and grab that information and create a new Podio Property record.  It’s awesome!  You don’t have to do a thing once you set it up and it’s fairly easy.

Use the Zip code to determine which County the property is located in. Once Zapier has inserted the new property record into Podio an alert (also called a hook) gets sent out saying a new record has been added.  GlobiFlow hears this alert and kicks off the Workflow I created to find the County where the Zip code belongs too.  When it finds the county, GlobiFlow will create a relationship between the Property Record and the County Record (from my County&Zip App).

Podio will use the County to automatically link one of my Wholesale Partners to that Property (GlobiFlow & Partner App) Next the workflow will find all the Partners (in my Partners App) that have a target area matching that County.  A relationship link will then be auto-created between Property and Partner.

Podio will send out an email to the linked Wholesaling Partner with the property information. Finally the workflow is set to send out an email to those linked Partners.  This email will contain information about the property.

I don’t know about you but I think this is crazy cool.  It amazes me how technology can be combined these days to create some powerful tools.

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Additional Podio+Globiflow Use Cases

Use Case #1
When a new lead is entered into the system, a Zillow link is created to give you  more property information and a Task is automatically created for you to call the lead back the next day.

Use Case #2
When you change a lead’s status to “Make Offer”, an offer sheet is created as a PDF and attached to the property record and then sent to your Real Estate Agent to make the offer.  In addition a New Offer Record is created and placed in your Offers App so you can track the offer.

Use Case #3
When you mark a Property as being <em>under contract</em>, a new record will be created in the “For Sale App” and all Buyers in your “Buyers App” who match up with that property will get an email with the property description.

Custom Apps vs Market Place Apps

Two weeks ago when I first jumped into Podio I was afraid to create my own Apps.  That is no longer the case and I actually think that it will take you just as much time to learn how to use someone else’s app as it would to create your own.

To create what I did above really only took me about 10 hours including learning curve. Because we all have slightly different business models and needs, I highly recommend building your own app.

The time you spend learning how to do it will be a huge advantage if you ever want to make tweaks as your business changes.

I’m not going to find an app that does all of that
For me I had a very specific need to pull leads from my Investor Carrot website, figure out what the County is and then send out emails to my partners.

I’m not going to find an app that does all of that.  Heck Podio can’t even do that with out the help of Zapier and GlobiFlow.

My Final Thoughts + Pros & Cons

At this point there are not a lot of bad things I can say about Podio.  However there are a few little annoyances that bother me as a software developer.

Cons

  • No Field Validation or Formatting for text fields
  • No ability to set a default value for category fields
  • No sections within an app. One long scrolling list of items
  • Free version has limited workflow options – only Create Task and Create Comment
  • Limited customization to the email that gets sent out when you want to Share an App Item (Can’t change subject which says…Take a look at property address)

Pros

  • Easy to setup by dragging and dropping field types
  • Create relationships to link records in different Apps (Properties to Buyers)
  • Import/Export Excel Spreadsheets
  • Easily create Contact Forms to insert into your websites
  • Share Individual Items with a guest
  • Create workflows to help automate processes (Podio has limited workflows for free accounts)
  • Each Item has it’s own comments thread where you and other team members can collaborate

I finished setting up my Apps and my workflows using GlobiFlow last week. Since then there have been 12 leads fill out my Investor Carrot form and get processes into Podio.

The workflows worked flawlessly and the appropriate partner got an email letting them know a new lead has come in from Scotty Buys.    To have that process completely automated and working is awesome.

The only issues I’ve had are because the leads don’t fill out my website form correctly.  If they don’t provide a Zip code, the County and thus my Partner do not get attached to the lead.  Until I figure out a work around I have to keep an eye on this.

So my current opinion of Podio Apps is 2 thumps up!

Step-by-Step Video Tutorials for Setting This Up

To go along with this post I created a 6 video guide on how to setup this exact process. Learn how to setup Podio, Zapier and Globiflow to automate the process of getting leads into your Podio app, linking your Buyers/Partners and sending them an email.

See the Video Tutorials

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Scott Costello

Scott is a part time wholesaler, but full time real estate investing addict! As his family grows and his free time shrinks,He has been slowing building his wholesaling business over the past 7 years in between life events.Drive, dedication and never giving up are his strengths.
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Comments 17

  1. Scott,
    Thank you for the great update and analysis. Ive had Podio for a little while but haven’t had the time to really dig into it. Your post is outstanding. Would you be willing to share the steps involved with setting up your extra Use Cases #1-3?

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      Author

      Hey Charles!

      I haven’t setup any of the other use cases, they were just ideas. Is there one in particular that you would like me to setup and create a “how-to” for? I’m more then happy to do it

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      Author
  2. Maybe something similar to Case #2, where once you change a lead status to “make offer”, it would create a pdf offer with prearranged pricing formula and send it to a online print service to mail it directly to a motivated seller.

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      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  3. Hey Scott thanks for making all the write ups. I’m also from NJ so this one helps out alot. I wanted to make a globiflow function to help just a little bit more through the process. I’m still learning globie flow so maybe you can assist. In the Cash buyers app you have a multi select category for “target areas” buttons to select the (target county’s) then you type the county’s into a text field and that’s what your globie flow picks up and uses as the linking device to match the zip codes. My question is how do I use the click able buttons of county’s to automatically fill my text field with the county’s Name. And how do I set up the sanity check to make sure if you deselect a county it is removed from the list.
    Thank you

    1. Post
      Author

      This should be pretty easy to do. In globiflow, if you grab the value of a multi-select category field it will have each value separated by a comma. So…

      Morris, Sussex, Bergen

      So what you would just need to do is create an update trigger flow and just transfer the values. Now I believe in my “search for partners” flow I’m search for county and a semicolon (Morris;). You could just change that search to include a comma instead (Morris,). OR you could replace the commas with semicolons by using the str_replace function..

      str_replace(“,”,”;”,[(variable)Counties]

      That should do what you want.

      1. im having a hard time figuring it out. Im using Dan schawrtz’s value field change method. he has the
        FILTER-
        If “Target areas” Before Not Equal To Atlantic county.
        And If “Target areas”equial to “atlantic”
        ACTION-
        Update this Cash buyers
        “County(text field)”=Value (I wrote Atlantic county)
        this works fine if its only one county but i dont know how to make it work for more than one county. I think im going at it wrong

        1. I’m not familiar with Dan’s stuff. In any event…are you saying that you are having a problem with that filter because your Category field (Target Areas) is a multi-select field?

          If so that would make sense why that filter works only when you have one item selected.

          You need to have the filter do something like…

          If “Target areas” Before Not Contains Atlantic county.
          And If “Target areas” contains “atlantic”

          Problem is I’m not sure you can do a contains on a category field. That’s why in my partner lookup podio setup, I needed to have the target areas in a text field. Then you have the option to use “Contains”.

          Thinking about this more, you can remove the filter from the Flow and instead use a sanity check. In there you can do something like…

          strpos(*Target Areas*, ‘Atlantic’) > 0

          * you would replace *target areas* with the field token for your category field.

          This checks to see if ‘Atlantic’ is in the Target Areas. If it is then you would run your code.

      2. Hi Scott,

        Your tutorials are great! Thank you!!

        Could you expand on how to use str_replace(“,”,”;”,[(variable)Counties]) ?

        I am also trying to automate so that I don’t have to manually copy the county names from a category field to a text field. So far, this is the flow I created:

        Trigger: When an item is updated (in app: Buyers)
        Filters: If field (Counties (category field)) value has just changed
        Actions: Update this (buyer) Field: (Counties – (text field)) = value [(Buyer) Counties (category field)]

        it works great – except that it updates the text field with a comma separated list instead of a semicolon separated list.

        I tried using str_replace(“,”,”;”,[(variable)Counties]) in the Actions section, and instead of returning a semicolon separated list, it returned “str_replace(“,”,”; ”,County #1,County#2)”.

        I am also not sure how to modify the “search for partners” flow to search for a comma (Morris,) instead of a semilcoln (Morris;).

        Any ideas? Your help is greatly appreciated!

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          Author

          While you have the command correctly typed out, you may have it within quotes somewhere. I.E. “These are the counties str_replace(“,”,”;”,[(variable)Counties]) that we are interested in”. Globiflow won’t recognize that as a str_replace command, but rather part of the string because it is inside the quotes. You would have to do something like this…

          “These are the counties ” + str_replace(“,”,”;”,[(variable)Counties]) + ” that we are interested in.”

          Sometimes it is easier to create a variable action to store the result of the str_replace command and then use the variable inside your string.

          Variable Action
          myCounties = str_replace(“,”,”;”,[(variable)Counties])

          Update Action
          “These are the counties ” + [(variable)myCounties] + ” that we are interested in.”

          Adds another step, but makes it easier to manage.

  4. Just getting started here with Podio and Globiflow and your article is exceptional, so thank you for putting this together!

    My question here – have you found a way for Globiflow to do what you have Zapier doing (grabbing information from a contact form and creating a new Podio Property record?

    Much thanks for your insight and help Scott!

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      Author

      Tim,

      It all really depends on the form tool you are using and whether it can send the information out by a webhook. Then you can create a webhook url using globiflow and then set the form tool to send notifications to the globiflow webhook. In that video I use Investor carrot and they use gravity forms. Gravity forms has an extension that allows you to send out a webhook to zapier (and anything else really).

      Hope you under stand what I’m getting at.

      -Scott

  5. I think I understand what you’re saying. Does that mean that some submissions n forms might create a webhook that could go directly to GlobiFlow? And then GlobiFlow could automatically link it to Podio?

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