How Rippleffect Gained Granular Insights Into Their Profitability With Productive

Rippleffect is an agency collective consisting of three agencies: Fat Media, Reading Room, and RONIN. Their expert knowledge uncovers unique opportunities tailored to your brand’s needs, generating practical actions that produce meaningful business results.

We spoke to Rick Donohoe, Operations Director at Reading Room, about how Productive gave them granular insights into their profitability.

What led you to Productive?

As the Operations Director, I have a crucial role in reviewing our implemented tools and systems to see what we can optimize. We had a project management tool, Jira, and internal systems that tied in with everything, but we lacked an agency management tool. We had this huge gap where we couldn’t see what projects we had going on, who the assigned project managers were, etc.

It took a while to convince people we needed an agency management system; a project management tool wouldn’t cut it. We couldn’t see our sales pipeline, and all of our invoicing was in a separate system. We couldn’t tell what our margins and profitability were, either. We needed a tool that would centralize all of our data.

I did some searching right away and found Productive. I liked the modern UI, the overall usability, and the intuitiveness. It was easy to understand and work through. We first booked a demo with Productive, and after the first call, we opened a trial account ourselves.

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With Productive, I got the information I needed; I can now see tasks, utilization, and our sales pipeline, and I can react more quickly.

Rick Donohoe
Operations Director at Reading Room

What were the challenges you were trying to overcome with Productive?

Rippleffect is a group of companies comprising Fat Media, Reading Room, and RONIN. The first two are similar; they are digital agencies but work with different clients. Fat Media resembles a mom-and-pop shop; the clients are smaller, and the tool stack is more straightforward. Reading Room works with larger clients and has a more complex tool stack covering more intricate parts of agency operations. We needed a tool that both agencies could use.

We had a real lack of granularity, and we couldn’t distinguish finances and profitability per project. The tool we used at the time required a lot of manual work from my side, and I had to transfer a lot of data to spreadsheets to make adjustments. Our client service teams were also working out of spreadsheets. Calculation mistakes weren’t everyday occurrences, but they did happen. Sometimes, people would forget to update the formula for the month or the data would get transferred into the wrong column. We quickly implemented the CRM part of Productive, which we started using immediately in our work. The roll-out and the onboarding were smooth, and we have set up different dashboards and workflows that show our revenue and sales per client, which is excellent.

I also had to find a way to reduce the “I’ll just wing it” part of my job. I couldn’t rely on just thinking things were okay or being reasonably sure I had to hire someone new; I needed to be sure that I was aware of everything happening. With Productive, I got the information I needed; I can now see tasks, utilization, and our sales pipeline, and I can react more quickly. I don’t have to just trust my gut that we might be lacking sales next month — I can check it immediately. I know what’s going on now that we have Productive.

I also like that I can build dashboards, reports, and pulses that keep all the essential data at your fingertips. Before Productive, I think I spent around a day every month putting together timesheets and utilization reports.

Rick Donohoe
Operations Director at Reading Room

Any features you’re particularly excited about?

This isn’t a feature, but I absolutely love that you guys have a public roadmap. I get monthly updates and know when to expect a feature to drop. It’s just nice to know that things are moving along.

I’m excited about the task automation feature, which looks hugely promising. I know it’s in the early stages of development, but I can see the idea and its potential. You’re always looking at how you can make things easier and more consistent, and removing some of the manual work that’s supposed to be done when deals get updated is a big part of that.

I also like that I can build dashboards, reports, and pulses that keep all the essential data at your fingertips. Before Productive, I think I spent around a day every month putting together timesheets and utilization reports. The reports are now a weekly pulse I’ve set up, and dashboards allow me to see real-time information. The same thing goes for invoicing as well. I can see that invoices are going out, and I know that every project has been completed. Everything links together, and you can be sure you correctly service everything and haven’t lost any revenue.

How would you feel if you didn’t have Productive?

It would mean not having the necessary data anymore, and we’d have to go back to winging things and relying on our gut feeling. I think we’d definitely be in a worse position, and we’d know a lot less about what was going on in the business. With Productive, I can see problems before they happen, and I don’t have to worry about the time it will take me to find information and answer potential questions.

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