Chris Ratchford

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I'm always looking for better ways to manage ongoing client projects. I've used WorkETC, Mavenlink, Basecamp, and even Salesforce. I'm currently using a spreadsheet for clients' G+L optimization.

While the spreadsheet is working for me, I'm wanting to move to a web-based platform where I can have a "single source of truth"- where all the project notes, dates, tasks are housed.

I'm curious to know what other agencies use for client management. Do you recommend building a custom project template on Basecamp? Or something else similar?
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for asking a REALLY good question Chris.

I don't have an answer, but will Tweet this now and see if we can get some feedback!
 

chrisauman

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Hey Chris,

We've used Basecamp before and actually ended up building our own project management system from scratch. We went full circle and ended up doing a ton of research again to settle on a system called Apollo. We've been very happy with the features and it's actually very enjoyable to work with. It has everything you mentioned as well as built in time tracking. It really blows away Basecamp. What's unique is that it also includes lead and sales management which we desperately needed. So far we love it.

If you'd like to read more I actually did a review of the system on my site. Good luck! If you have questions feel free to ask!

Online Project Management and CRM Software System Review - Christopher Auman

Christopher Auman
President & Senior Strategist
 
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I started using Basecamp but learned to hate it as things quickly got disorganized. With clients / partners participating via email, we quickly had several discussion threads for a single topic. It was VERY frustrating.

At the time (and still?), BC didn't offer any quick way of adding standard to-do lists, either. So to recreate a to-do list for each project was very time consuming.

Anyway... I eventually moved onto shared Google spreadsheets for storing and sharing info with the team and using Podio to communicate tasks. I like to have a quick eagle-eye view of tasks given and completed, but need the spreadsheets to important information and coding for various tasks.

Someone suggested zoho sheets as an alternative for privacy reasons. I'll be exploring that option, but for now, Google spreadsheets are great and easy to scale.
 

Chris Ratchford

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@chrisauman

I've signed up for ApolloHQ and messed around with the dashboard, read the FAQs, and tried to watch the video tutorials.

Seems like a steep learning curve. Do you experience with their support?

I'm curious to know how strong their support is.
 
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I recently demo'd Bringshare (bringshare.com). Didn't sign up but was impressed. Worth a look. We'll probably start with them in Feb.
 

Chris Ratchford

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Carlton,

It looks like Bringshare is a reporting tool, right? I see that their pricing is $19/mo.

While that may sound like a good deal if you have one site, but if you manage dozens of clients, that could really add up.

I see that they offer an agency version, but I'd be curious to know the price.

As for traditional project management, it doesn't look like Bringshare is in that category (unless I'm missing something).
 
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It has some blended project management built in. It's not Basecamp, but for SEO really seemed to fit the bill for what is lacking in client communication. OK, that said, I just re-read your post and for some reason was thinking that you wanted a client-facing application. For ongoing tasks, Bringshare isn't going to do it. Apologies - but still worth a look. Revealed some opportunities for us :)
 

Chris Ratchford

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Just an update... I've played around with ApolloHQ and I'm not feeling it.

Do ever have that feeling that you're looking for something that doesn't exist? Which means that either I'm way ahead of everyone else, or I'm not thinking the right way. I'm guessing it's the latter ;)

For the agencies and consultants out there, how do you keep all your client documentation organized in one place?

I'd like to be able to have a single source of truth for:
  • notes
  • updates
  • project management
  • Google+ logins, URLS, etc.
  • tasks
  • calendar

This seems like more than just project management... and I find it hard to believe that there's not enough demand for this.
 
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I agree with you it's almost the same think that i would say, but i think we need to give a chance to all the softwares.
 
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This thread hits home because I have been looking for the best client/account management software as well. In the end, I decided the only way I was going to find something I liked was to have my own system built. I hired a developer and we're in the midst of working on it now. It wasn't cheap but I was tired of trying to make all these other systems work like I wanted it to work and I couldn't handle juggling multiple spreadsheets anymore.

Prior to having this custom system built, I used Google Docs and Excel spreadsheets. It was a pain.

Travis Van Slooten
 
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For the agencies and consultants out there, how do you keep all your client documentation organized in one place?

I'd like to be able to have a single source of truth for:
  • notes
  • updates
  • project management
  • Google+ logins, URLS, etc.
  • tasks
  • calendar

This seems like more than just project management... and I find it hard to believe that there's not enough demand for this.

Chris,

I am currently searching for the same thing and was quite relieved when I saw a few others that weren't satisfied with what is out there. I have been suggested Active Collab, Base, Trello and still can't seem to find a way to utilize these in a way that makes sense.

Thanks for the question. Looking forward to seeing more input from the community.
 

Chris Ratchford

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Hi Amber,

Right now- hopefully for good- I'm using Google Docs. I'll let you know how it works.
 
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