All businesses want to grow, but growth comes with its own challenges. For Teamwork.com, a company specializing in project management and client operations, such challenges became evident revenue began to rise – and the sales and marketing teams scaled up.
Teamwork.com found itself lumbered with legacy tools that hindered integration and reporting capabilities, and it was difficult to sustain the company’s growth ambitions – with the firm aiming to grow from 30 employees to 300.
Using different tools was a problem. On one hand, its marketing team relied on Marketo, and on the other, its sales team operated on a custom-built content management system (CMS). This disjointed approach resulted in a lack of seamless integration between departments, impeding efficient collaboration and hindering crucial reporting processes.
“We just had more and more challenges with wanting things to integrate with, especially external software vendors,” explains Peter Coppinger, CEO of Teamwork.com. On recognizing the limitations posed by the firm’s legacy tools, Coppinger set out to find a robust and integrated platform to streamline their operations.
"We discussed and looked at every platform that was available – from Pipedrive to Salesforce. However, one of the appeals of HubSpot was having the marketing and sales parts together under one hood."
A unified approach to sales and marketing
This strategic decision laid the foundation for a seamless transition and better collaboration between the sales and marketing teams. But Coppinger says the company saw itself as very technical, and believed it could handle the implementation itself.
While it laid down the groundwork for aligning sales and marketing, to ensure a smooth implementation, the firm enlisted the company enlisted the support of an implementation partner. “And that person was really critical to our success of helping us tie everything together, plan it out, and get everything up and running in the right way,” Coppinger says.
Coppinger founded Digital Crew as a consultancy back in 2007, as a consultancy that makes software for pharmaceutical companies. He then created Teamwork Project Manager as a cloud-based software to help run the business. This became Teamwork.com in 2014. Coppinger is also a recipient of Entrepreneur of the Year Ireland 2018.
A significant aspect of the implementation involved data migration and integration with existing systems. "We wrote custom scripts using the HubSpot API,” Coppinger explains. “And what was particularly useful here is that HubSpot automatically gave you a sandbox platform.
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You’re able to use the sandbox to test everything at length and in-depth, and then pipe many years of data in there to make sure everything was working perfectly before we committed to importing everything directly into the live platform.
“I actually rolled up my sleeves and helped with this process, actually did some of the coding for piping in the data,” he adds.
Teamwork.com also created a mechanism in which staff could continue to access legacy systems, alongside a process in which the firm sanity-checked all the data was working perfectly. The sales team also came in to battle-test the platform for a number of weeks in advance of the live date. Coppinger added a critical aspect of the process was bringing in champions from the sales team early, and having them deliver feedback on the setup.
Communication and coordination are key
Teamwork.com’s implementation journey wasn’t without its hurdles. The complexity of the business model and data requirements was chief among the challenges.
"Our model is complex,” Coppinger explains. “We can have a customer be a member of multiple organizations, and then each organization can have multiple Teamwork.com sites, and then those sites can actually be in a hierarchy."
This intricate structure required consideration to find the best configuration within HubSpot. The team invested time in analyzing various data modeling options, ensuring they made the right choice for the long term.
Another obstacle arose when the implementation primarily focused on the sales side of the equation, necessitating retrofitting and fixes when setting up the marketing side. Coppinger acknowledges they didn’t spend enough time debating the marketing needs.
“We're still tweaking some systems," he concedes, highlighting the need of balancing speed with planning – and involving all stakeholders from the outset.
"We should have involved the marketing team more, or at least understood their concerns,” he continues, citing the need for better coordination between sales and marketing. “We could have ended up saving ourselves a couple of months of hardship on the marketing side”.
Coppinger also emphasizes the importance of balancing the desire for a perfect system with implementing something efficiently. "You can overcook data as well,” he says. “We spent months talking about getting going before we finally got going."
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Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.