Dorst & Lesser Unifies Projects & Finances Using Rodeo
Location: Amsterdam, NL & Brussels, B
Employees: 30, plus freelancers
Using Rodeo: since January 2020
Clients: Heineken, Lidl, Action, Alpro, Renault, Nikon, Schweppes, Collistar, Kinepolis, Lavazza, Jägermeister, Pandora, Bourjois, Transavia, Rituals
Social Media content developed by Dorst & Lesser for Jägermeister
Social media is an integral element of modern marketing, which the team at full-service social media agency Dorst & Lesser knows all too well. By developing unique, creative content and innovative advertising strategies they help brands to stand out by doing things a little differently.
With ten years of experience in the industry, they are always up to date with the latest social media trends. Their client portfolio includes some big names, some for whom they create new creative ideas every month.
In a mostly young, dynamic, and creative environment, it’s important to maintain a clear overview at all times. Especially when multiple campaigns are being worked on at the same time. We met up with Sophie van der Togt, Head of Account at Dorst & Lesser, to tell us more about the business processes at her agency.
Why Dorst & Lesser needs a project management tool
In the start-up phase, only five people worked at Dorst & Lesser. With such a small team, keeping an overview of all business processes was easy, and work kind of progressed naturally without too much structure. Once the company started growing, it became much harder to keep everything under control.
A scattered workflow started to develop, as many different systems and tools were used to handle things. Time tracking was done with one tool, while quotes were created with another, the purchase orders were filed with another system, and so on.
At one point, it all started to become a big mess and something had to change. Togt explains, "As our company kept growing, we realized we were in need of some huge efficiency improvements to transform from a rookie company to a professional organization. There wasn’t much need for structure with a team of five, but this definitely changes once you have 30 employees."
Another important aspect was the need to have an efficient financial process, "We also added an accounting team that needed to be able to control and regulate things better," recalls Togt, "and we had to find a faster, more practical way to track which invoices were sent, paid, or overdue.”
When Dorst & Lesser met Rodeo
The search for a new system to optimize their business processes first led Dorst & Lesser to a different project management tool. After its implementation, a lot of benefits were instantly clear. The team was able to maintain a far more streamlined way of working, with all administration organized in one place.
On the downside, the tool was geared toward financial companies, and not so much towards modern, creative businesses. The features were very extensive, but also a bit unclear and complex in use.
According to Togt, "It took a while before employees were able to use the tool properly due to its complexity, plus there were a lot of features that we never used. When came across Rodeo, it seemed so simple that we were immediately interested in checking it out."
Instagram content developed by Dorst & Lesser for Jägermeister
Onboarding new employees is easy with Rodeo
As Rodeo was developed by Kop of Munt, a financial services company for the creative industry, the tool was designed to meet the needs of companies in the creative industry, like Dorst & Lesser.
Because of that, the platform is intuitive and very user-friendly, which was a big plus for Togt and her team. "We have a lot of young creatives working with us who love how modern Rodeo feels," shares Togt, "The interface looks very neat and refined, and new hires quickly get used to it. Whenever I show a new intern or employee how it works, we only need to go through everything once and that’s it.”
Rodeo connects all business processes
Since all work processes are connected with Rodeo, this creates a very smooth workflow. You start by preparing a budget, which is connected to your estimate, task planning, time cards, invoices, and reports. When you start similar projects, you can copy and reuse project data from before.
Sophie van der Togt: "The function that allows you to copy previous projects is super convenient for us. We have one-off projects here and there, but for most of our clients, we develop monthly campaigns. This means that we work through the same cycle with them every month. Each campaign starts with the data from the last one, which is copied to the budget and quote, for which you schedule tasks, on which you track time, and so on. Our monthly projects run super smooth thanks to the way these steps are connected because we continue the process with existing data. Restarting and closing a recurring project with Rodeo is so easy, from start to finish.”
Social Media content developed by Dorst & Lesser for Lidl
Absolutely everything is done in Rodeo, it would be a disaster if it would ever crash
For many companies, Rodeo is the first thing they open in the morning and the last thing they check before closing up. This also goes for Dorst & Lesser.
Sophie van der Togt: "All our employees work in Rodeo every day, it’s where everything happens. It helps us through all of our processes in a very efficient way, instead of collecting data from different systems. Now everything can be found in one place, along with all the project administration, quotes, and invoices. That’s why we would have quite a disaster on our hands if Rodeo would ever crash. We simply wouldn’t be able to continue with our projects”
Fast and satisfactory customer service, taking feedback to heart
In all this time, it happened once that Rodeo’s interface froze while the team at Dorst & Lesser tried to access it. On the other hand, this moment allowed them to experience how fast and effective Rodeo’s customer support is.
Sophie van der Togt: "Within no time I was speaking to a support staff member who was able to find out what the problem was. Something went wrong with a development update, which caused our system to freeze. Fortunately, this was easily solved. We just needed to erase some history and change something within the settings, and everything functioned again. I think the system was out for an hour or two. We were very happy with the way we were guided through this. But also apart from this incident, we have always been very satisfied with Rodeo’s service. Also in comparison to the tool we used before.”
Video Shoot production by Dorst & Lesser for Alpro
Sophie van der Togt: "We feel like our feedback is really taken to heart, also when suggesting new features. I would love to have a feature that allows me to calculate the profit margin per project in advance. This is the only thing that’s lacking in my opinion. There are different ways to contact the team at Rodeo. I usually go for the easiest one, which is the chat function. After explaining the issue, I often promptly receive a call if necessary and can easily share my screen to be guided through.”
Update: In the meantime, Rodeo has added the option for calculating profit margins to the research schedule for new updates.
Features can be used in different ways
As emphasized before, Rodeo is a very intuitive tool. Everybody has their own way of working and this was taken into consideration during the development of the features. There is no uniform way in which they are meant to be used. For example, there are different viewing options to keep track of projects, and also time tracking can be done in a manner that best suits the process.
Some companies invoice their clients for a total of hours worked. Rodeo’s timer is perfect in this case, as the timed hours can be transferred to invoices. This is not necessary at Dorst & Lesser, because they track time differently.
Sophie van der Togt: "Because we have monthly campaigns with regular customers, we don’t need to invoice them for exact hours worked. Nobody here uses the timer. Still, everybody keeps track of time spent on projects, by adding it into the system afterward. This allows us to check if there are any big differences with other months and find out why a project took longer than usual.”
Since switching from another project management tool to Rodeo, Dorst & Lesser has experienced that:
The interface offers a better overview. Rodeo is very simple, without a large number of unnecessary features.
Staff members can start working with Rodeo right away as it’s so straightforward, that no time is lost on training or explaining how to use it.
Monthly campaigns run smoothly thanks to the possibility to copy and reuse project data.
There is one central point for all staff, now that everything happens in Rodeo. All data, projects, and invoices are found in one place.
Rodeo collects and compiles data from all processes into reports, so staff doesn’t need to collect it from different sources in order to produce one.
They are very satisfied with Rodeo’s customer service. Within no time they are connected to a support staff member who guides them through the process.
Thanks to the time tracker they can monitor how much time is spent on projects, and find out why some have taken longer than usual.