doinbound - screenshot showing in product support

Product Review: DoInbound for Agency Project Management

Ever notice how some products just don’t get it? The tools and solutions they propose seem to be a good fit but as you dig into the demos and details, you realize they’re more work than they’re worth.

That was the case for the team at GuavaBox, an inbound marketing agency. The team ended up becoming so frustrated sifting through tools such as Basecamp, Mavenlink, Podio and others, that they ended up taking matters into their own hands. They created a new project management tool called DoInbound.

What Is Doinbound?

doinbound - screenshot showing in product support

DoInbound is a framework designed for agencies by an agency who gets the pain points these organizations experience. It’s similar to other project management tools out there but with more to help agencies with their specific needs. In addition to its basic project management functionality, it offers pre-built, flexible task, strategy and persona templates out of the box.

DoInbound for Agency Project Management caught our eye at Ariad Partners. We took DoInbound for a test run and here are our thoughts on the pros and cons. To be clear, there are no affiliate links or payment of any kind – just props for a helpful tool for agencies that came across our desk.

The Pros

We found quite a few upsides to this new framework.

Pre-Built Processes

doinbound - screenshot showing Add New Deliverable

First, it comes with pre-built processes for campaign management. Blog posts, ebooks, client meetings and more are simplified on the front end so you can dive into using it right away. No need to spend hours trying to put processes the process in place to to deliver your services or having to worry about training your employees. These templates let you hit the ground running and scale up quickly.

Here’s an example of a campaign in action.

doinbound - screenshot showing Drill Down into campaign

You can also drill down further and see your individual tasks for each campaign.

doinbound - screenshot showing My Task

GamePlan

There is a GamePlan section to build out your new client’s strategy.

doinbound - screenshot showing Game Plan

 

Templates

We also loved the template system. So much of an agency’s time is spent repeating the same process for clients over and over. Instead of reinventing the wheel with each new client, you’re able to use a template to make the startup time faster and simpler for everyone involved.

doinbound - screenshot showing Templates

Here’s an example of a template for a deliverable.

doinbound - screenshot showing Templates Deliverables

Personas

The buyer persona section was a great value-add. It was intuitive to create a persona inside the platform itself. This is handy when designing templates and utilizing these personas for client campaigns.

Agency Time Tracking Tool

Finally, we loved the Agency Time Tracking℠ tool. It’s a new tool that was released only a few weeks ago. It lets us keep track of budgeted and actual time time we’re spending for each client, which makes billing and managing P&L much simpler.

 

The Cons

As with any new tool, there are some downsides.

Third-Party Apps

Like any new application, there are limited integrations with third party apps. Right DoInbound integrates with Dropbox, and Google Drive is coming soon. The program is built on an API so future integrations will be possible. I hope to see FreshBooks or QuickBooks integration in the future, among others.

Price

We also thought the price was a little bit high for smaller agencies who don’t have a lot of clients. Still, if growth is a goal, processes are key. Using this tool could help fuel the forward momentum for smaller agencies just getting started.

Want a Peek?

Contact Ryan Herman at to schedule a demo. He’s a friendly face over there who is ready to walk you through each aspect so you can see how it will directly benefit your agency.

  • Thanks for the review Brenda. What do they charge for the software?

    • BSStoltz

      Thanks, Seth. I was quoted a beta price of $150 per month for unlimited users and client accounts. I thought that was a great deal especially if, 1. you have a lot of active client accounts or 2. expect to grow quickly or 3. if you’ve not yet put your processes in place. Not sure how long that pricing will last or what it will be after beta pricing is over.

  • Jayne Reddyhoff

    Do you think the main benefit is the pre created templates? We are using Teamwork which has all the same structures (albeit using different names, e.g. steps are called sub-tasks), but I have to create my own templates. However, it costs a lot less

    • BSStoltz

      Hi Jayne,

      Thanks for your question. I think the pre-created templates are a HUGE benefit and if I didn’t already have all my processes done in Teamwork, I would have jumped on this product for those processes alone (although they have some other great features). It took me years to build out those processes and since I’m a firm believer in processes and systems for success, I value these highly.

      You’d need to be on the Teamwork plan that allows for 200 projects to reach the beta price point. So, for some companies on Teamwork, it may make sense. If you’re not there yet, I would look at 1. can you afford it (obvious showstopper) and 2. do you have your processes in templates already. If you don’t, it may make sense to use DoInbound to have those out of the box.

      I think Ryan told me they figured the pricing as the cost of one hour of a developer’s time each month, You can easily lose that on one or more team members not being organized enough if you don’t have systemic processes. That’s another way to look at it.

      Hope that helps! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have more questions. And let me know what you decide.
      Brenda

      • Jayne Reddyhoff

        Brenda

        It took years to build out your processes? Yikes!!
        I’m working on ours now and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed even before I read that.

        We are a small agency, so Teamwork is not costing us that much yet, but as you say, it could be worth taking on DoInbound for the processes

        • BSStoltz

          Jayne,

          Let me put it this way, in our case there was a lot of trial and error to get our processes to the point where I yes, I don’t want to move and re-invent the wheel. If I was at the beginning of this process, knowing what I know now, and there was a product that offered out of the box business processes and/or templates, that would be pretty motivating for me. 🙂

          You could also make the argument that even with out of the box processes, you’ll end up making changes that work best for your company though. I would also look at what your goals are. Do you want to grow? If so, how much and how quickly? Scalable processes help with growth. Maybe that’s an investment to get you to your goals in the time you want to get there.

          Just a few thoughts – best of luck! Keep in touch and let me know what you decide!
          Brenda

          • Jayne Reddyhoff

            Brenda

            Well I made the decision to try the software, and I wish I hadn’t bothered!

            The demo was helpful but I assumed I was seeing a system specially set up for a demo, rather than the complete system. I thought that the campaign I was shown was created from the templates, as an example, rather than being the template itself. I assumed that there were many more templates or pre-defined processes in the system.

            The wording on the website implies that everything an agency needs is provided. This is far from true!
            For example, the GamePlan and building the engines processes are not included without the training, which costs an extra $3000.

            The processes which are included are the very simple ones – how to plan and run a meeting, how to send an email shot, how to prepare a blog post. These are useful, but the difficult ones that an agency may have problems creating, are not there without the extra payment.

            Also, as a project management tool, it is lacking some basic functionality – though I’m sure it will be added over time.

            I must say, that I felt very misled and I asked for my money back – unsuccessfully unfortunately!

            I won’t be using it. Instead I will continue my approach of documenting pour processes as templates in Teamwork

          • BSStoltz

            Hi Jayne,

            I’m so sorry to hear this. I did reach out to Ryan as this was distressing to read and it’s so different from my experience with them or others who I know have gone on to purchase the platform and love it.

            Ryan explained the reasoning behind their policy of not providing a refund. They are at a high risk of people purchasing the software to get the processes that are offered, and then cancelling the subscription once they have those processes. I know you understand how valuable processes are. That policy is in place so they can at least recoup something for that IP.

            In no way am I suggestion this is what happened in your case. I’m simply explaining why the policy is in place (I didn’t know myself, which is why I asked Ryan about it).

            Email me privately, Jayne, and let me know what processes you need. Maybe I can help.