All Systems Go! Podcast – Episode 178

Is SmartSuite the Missing Tool In Your Stack? feat. Avi Hercenberg

All Systems Go! Marketing Automation and Systems Building with Chris L. Davis
Is SmartSuite the Missing Tool In Your Stack? feat. Avi Hercenberg
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Episode Description

Ep. 178 – Chris invites on Avi Hercenberg, VP of Partnerships at SmartSuite, to discuss how this powerful work management platform bridges the gap between databases and project management. They dive into SmartSuite’s features including robust automation, cross-platform integrations, task management, data rollups, and permissions in an effort to help you identify if SmartSuite is the missing tool in your tech stack. Avi provides tips on how to approach SmartSuite coming from other software like Airtable or ClickUp. They also discuss SmartSuite’s focus on serving small businesses versus chasing enterprise accounts.

  • 3:24 – What SmartSuite is and why you should be excited about it
  • 6:49 – How SmartSuite compares to Airtable in linking records and syncing
  • 9:12 – SmartSuite’s advantages over Airtable and the key differences to understand
  • 15:51 – Why you should NOT use ClickUp or Monday.com as your CRM
  • 19:00 – The robust automation capabilities SmartSuite offers and use case examples
  • 23:25 – How SmartSuite’s integrations make it possible to automate workflows across platforms
  • 31:47 – How SmartSuite handles permissions and sharing compared to other platforms

Narrator 0:00
You’re listening to the off systems go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot. Learn how to deploy automated marketing and sell systems in your business the right way, with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis.

Chris Davis 0:30
Welcome everybody to another episode of The all systems go podcast where we are helping you navigate this technological terrain By strategically selecting software and intelligently implementing it. And on today’s episode, I am so happy about our guests because of the software that you’re about to be introduced to. And this is for all of my database, no code fans out there. And if you don’t know what that is, what’s the database? What’s no code? Well, you’re about to get introduced to software that embodies both of those statements. So without, without further delay, I would like to introduce you all to avi, he is an experience, go to market partnerships and digital transformation leader. Prior to joining smartsuite, which you will learn bear with me, you’ll learn with smartsuite isn’t a minute, he was a former co founder of sky five, an agency that identifies and implements off the shelf software solutions and workflows for clients. Totally makes sense. Obvious. I’m reading this currently obvious the VP of partnerships at smartsuite, a work management platform leading all aspects of go to market and partnerships. And my saying that you’ve got GTM, I should ask you prior is go to market, correct? Yeah, it is good.

Avi Hercenberg 2:02
And that leads us kind of into at smartsuite. We chose partnerships as our go to market vehicle, actually. So we relied on partners who are in the marketplace. They’re experts in their field, we tap them to introduce our solution to them. And then we enable them to deliver that to clients. And that has helped us kind of gain the fast traction that we’ve been able to do. But yes, to answer your question. Yep. GTM was go to market.

Chris Davis 2:29
I knew that acronym to be one thing and one thing only. So I was like, But wait a minute, let me check. So welcome to the podcast, Avi. And as you mentioned, smart sweets approach. And I will say this, I am a happy recipient of this approach. I get all kinds of partner content, you do a great job sharing on LinkedIn. By the way, I’m jumping ahead everybody. If you aren’t connected with Avi on LinkedIn, you are missing out. Not only does he post a lot of their partnership content, but he also post content of other NoCo tools that work in conjunction with smartsuite. Just Just a very resourceful, just easygoing, always giving individual so make sure you connect with them. We’ll have the links and all that later. Avi, help us start from scratch. What is smartsuite? And why should we be excited about it?

Avi Hercenberg 3:24
That’s a great question. And I’m happy to be here to kind of walk walk everyone through this. But really, I mean, the reason I got excited about smartsuite. And like you mentioned earlier, I come from Skype where we actually used to implement these systems. And I used to be an implementer and recommending many of our competitors. And the reason I got excited about smartsuite When I initially saw it is for the following reason. So before smartsuite on the market, you see typically two different types of solutions. You see databases, air table and the likes, you’ll see project or task management systems, which would be Monday or click up in the lakes. There hasn’t been a good platform that bridges both of those two capabilities into one platform. And then also starts expanding on like CRM capabilities or other capabilities. And obviously you know, clickup has their marketing of one app to replace them all and you know, they each have their slogans but is it truly like when it boils down to it and you’re really util utilizing it like you should be? Is it really like one systems are replaced them all? And I think it’s smartsuite. We’re getting closer to that. Right. And like you said before, we we play fair, and we love it when people integrate other products into smartsuite. But we want to strive to provide 80% of the capability you’d see in a task management project management database, all in one platform so that you don’t necessarily have to go look at those other solutions. Same thing with a CRM will provide most of capability, obviously CRMs that are purposely built a CRM might have a little bit more specialized capability. But we want to get you as close as possible to the point where you go, Hmm, do I really want to buy an extra CRM? Is that worth it if I get 80% of the capability and smartsuite. And so at the core smartsuite is a work management platform. That’s our positioning in the market. And we really do a very good job, in my opinion, of bridging that gap and having a project task management in one platform as well as a database. So when you look at smartsuite, it looks and feels kind of like a prettier air table, we get a lot of comments of like, oh, this is like monday.com era table or click up a air table or you know, comments like that, because it is a little bit of a blend. It’s a beautiful, pretty interface that looks more like Monday. But it’s that database structure like air table where you have we call them solutions and apps, but those would be the equivalent of bases and tables and air table. And then we have those task management capabilities you’re used to and click up like checklists, sub items, time tracking, we also have those document capabilities you might be used to from notion like smart docs. And so that’s kind of where we’re at in terms of market positioning, or how we fit into the market, or at least how we see ourselves fitting in. And that’s it’s very well echoed by our partners and customers. That’s kind of what they echo back to us, which is the biggest testament that it’s working and that we’re delivering on what we set out to deliver is that we hear those comments on public forums from customers one on one all the time, like, Oh, this is a mash up of notion and click up in air table or this, you know, those funny comments around like air table eating Monday or whatever that is. So that’s, you know, that’s that’s all the fun that that we get to have along the way.

Chris Davis 6:49
Yeah, and I’m glad you said that. So those of you who are project management savvy, and you know, the Mondays and saunas and click ups, and then those of you in notion, I know, she tries to play that in that game of database task and all of that stuff. And then those of you who know, like, maybe smart sheets and air table and things of that nature. I like that you caught that out, because when I when I got introduced to a smartsuite Shout out to Paul Paul recei. He, Ricci he, he’s the one that said, Hey, Chris, we use smartsuite for everything. And this was before we’ve had Gareth on the podcast. By the way, if you haven’t listened to that one, Gareth profundos, he is the snow cold expert in the space right now. Before him, I heard about it to one of my subscribers. And I said, What is this, I logged into it and it’s instantly it made sense, as far as the UI and everything, and I jumped into a couple of templates. But I have to say the way that you all handle tasks was the first thing that jumped out at me, because at the time, there was no ListView and air table, which air table now has a list view you couldn’t link records to themselves and air table. And it just really was hard to create a record that had tasks attached to it. So that every time that you created that record, you could have those tasks, and smartsuite did it off the box. Now this is like the beginner me logging into smartsuite. And I was just like, oh, okay, I get it. And since then I’ve been trying to ease my way into it and learn more for that beginner like myself, who looks at the potential of this software. And for my listeners who are wanting to understand what software is available to intelligently recommend for their clients. Where is the best place and not online? But in terms of thinking, how should we be approaching smartsuite? How should we be thinking about it? to best understand what category and what use cases and times to recommend it for our clients and ourselves?

Avi Hercenberg 9:12
I think that’s a great question. I love that question. And, and I’ll dress this a little bit like tactical like right on to give it to dress this in the simplest way. So if you’re coming from air table, think of smartsuite as air table. So it can it can do anything air table does, you’ll have you know, like I said you can link records, you set up your different field types. The core differences that you have to understand this is where it’s mark three takes you a little bit further and this these are areas to notice if you’re coming from airtable Is smartsuite has many more field types, including rich document capability. Tasks are sub items as we call them as a field type checklists as a field type and all sorts of fun field types like currencies and so on. That’s one One one area to notice. The other area is that in smartsuite, there’s no syncing basis. And that’s because you can link records across the entire workspace without having to sync bases, we built a ground up where it’s all one instance. And you do not have to stay in the same base to link records. And you do not have to do the syncing. And so people come from air table and they go, wait, I can’t sync solutions or apps. And it’s like, well, you don’t need to, you can link to anywhere else in the platform. So that is enough

Chris Davis 10:31
to stop you, I have to stop you there. Because listen to me, if you don’t know how important what he just said is, let me tell you how important that is. Okay, if if you were to my airtable folks know this, if you were to have all of your data in one place, and it was for a function, well organized and everything, and then you end up creating another database for another function, and you realize, oh, it will be great to see some of this information in this database. Well, first off, you will have to run a sink in air table. And that requires a certain level of plan. And then depending on if you want it to go two ways, or if you want to be able to edit the information in both tables, I know I’m talking technical, but my airflow air table, folks know, you have to upgrade again, it’s like a path to enterprise. And we’re just small business owners, we we just want to use our data and access it. Enter in smartsuite, this blew my mind, I’m so glad you mentioned it. I went to link a record in smartsuite. And the drop down allow me to select any record or any tab or solution with within the base that I was in, I may be good at maybe solution in app, right. And then it showed all of the other apps in my account, and I said No you’re not, you’re not for the price of signing up, you are not going to give me the ability to pull in any data from anywhere within this platform and use it it was huge man huge.

Avi Hercenberg 12:12
Yep, I’m glad to hear that that’s we get that a lot. So. So like I said, the field types linking records across the entire platform. And then the the core task or project management that is lacking in air table. So in air table, say you have a whole bunch of different bases setup. And then you want your user within your company to log in and see all the tasks or all the to do items on their plate in one spot. And roll that up from across all the bases in air table. It’s very hard to do that in air table right now. In smartsuite, we have the My Work section, where as you’re setting up your solutions, when you set up the field type of the Assigned To field type, the due date and a status, we asked you if you want to link all three of those together. And if you link all three of those together in the field type settings, we know this is a task. And we roll that up into the My Work section where every user gets to see all of their tasks. And they can group it by date by by status, and so on. If you don’t link the status to the assignee and the due date, then we know this is not a test. This is just a data point that you’re assigning someone to and you’re giving it a due date. But this is not something you want it to show up in the My Work section. And we leave it out of the work section. We also have dashboards built right in. So instead of going to the kind of external concept of interfaces, we have dashboards as a field as a view type. So those are some core things to notice as you’re coming from air table. And there’s many, many more differences. But like those are a few of the big ones. You’ll notice as you’re coming from air table. On the flip side, if you’re coming from a platform like clickup or Monday, which are more project task management centric. When you come to smartsuite. First of all understand the hierarchy. The hierarchy is more similar to airtable. So it’s solutions and apps. It’s two hierarchies, not more than that. I know click up you know, you have three, four hierarchies. I don’t even know how many they have right now. But and then beyond those hierarchies, you’ll see a lot of similar features, right. So you can email from within a record, which which is another thing to notice, by the way, coming from air table. But coming from clickup, you’ll see those things you’ll see repeating tasks. What what’s different is that capability of linking records one to another and connecting your workflows and then having those roll ups and lookups. And, you know, those formulas that can by the way, when you’re using a formula smartsuite For the ones that are a little bit more technical. If you have a linked record, you don’t have to use a lookup to pull in fields from the linked record. You can actually use the dot notation and get right into the length record field types and use those in formulas. And so just you know, hopefully that provides a little bit more of like a hands on where to get started, but But I think it really depends on the platform you’re coming from. So if you’re coming from a database mind, understand that we have a little bit more project and task management capabilities and a little bit more, we’ve expanded a little bit on the database concept to make it more powerful. And if you’re coming from the project and task management side, understand that we also have those database capabilities. And that’s really where we see by the way, the majority of our clients are either coming from clickup, Monday, Asana, and they’re looking for that more database functionality, which is why they’re coming to us, or we’re seeing them come from airtable, for a variety of reasons, but many of those reasons might be either, they want to link records across the entire platform, but also, you know, those project and task management capabilities that I mentioned that that don’t exist in air table. So that’s, that’s a little bit more, you know, I guess, down and dirty, where to get started.

Chris Davis 15:51
Yeah, and I want to highlight something. You we talk about people coming from like, click up and Monday and all of that, I want to go on the record and say this, and I want to be very clear. Click up is not should not be used as a CRM system. Okay. Just stop it. Everybody. Listen, listen to me feel how you want to feel about this statement? Stop it. It is not. It’s not even a database. But by default, yes, it’s up. It’s software that holds the data. I get it, you have fields, I understand where the untrained mind could go, oh, I’ll just use click up in Monday for my CRM, it has statuses Kanban views, I get it, you’re thinking pipeline. Hey, this looks like pipe drive or Active Campaign? I understand. But do not. We just how do I want to say, I’m trying to be nice, but it would it would be equivalent to you walking outside of the walking outside with a hospital gown on and thinking that you have a dress on? Okay. So yes, does it cover your body? It sure does, is it going to protect you from some elements? It sure does. But it’s going to expose your back in. You’re just all out. So hopefully that helps you all you need. I don’t, I’m softer on using database friendly software as a CRM, because a lot of times people don’t know what they need. And some CRM software is just too heavy. It’s really heavy. So I actually am a proponent. If you don’t know your consideration set for selecting a true CRM software like maybe HubSpot Active Campaign Salesforce for small businesses, or Salesforce period Pipedrive things of that nature. solutions, like smartsuite may be what you need to get started. And you may find out that your needs never grow beyond that. And with that being said, it, I want to dive into two areas with you, Avi, when I think of centralizing my data, there’s two requirements that I always look for. And when I find them I get excited about one is automations. The other is integrations. I want, I want to give you the floor and touch on how our automations Hant. Are there automations and smartsuite. First, because I want to I don’t want to assume intelligence for anyone. Does smartsuite have automations? Where fields can trigger automation or you know, maybe something done and one record does something to another record? What are there automations? In in how do they work? And then next I want to talk about integrations and your approach to them.

Avi Hercenberg 19:00
Yep, absolutely. So smartfren has a very robust automation center. And not only so it’s funny, because I always say like automations is when you’re automating things within the platform and integrations is when you’re automating things cross platform. But then, but then, you know, smartsuite included many other platforms, they bring in their integrations into their automation platform, because they let you you know, as an action go do things in HubSpot or Microsoft or Google and so that that becomes more of an integration, but I guess nowadays are all lumped together. But yes, so we have a very advanced automation center. As you’d expect actions and triggers. And we’ve we’ve spent a lot of energy and resources into the automations. I think anyone who will open the automation area and smartsuite We’ll see that right away in terms of you know, we have a find record which is not a given and many other platforms. So find record as an action, which allows you to kind of make something happen in one solution and then go find To record in some other solution to perform the action, as opposed to staying on the same record to do you know, typically, with many automation platforms, it’s, you know, you something happens in this record, I’m going to do something else to this record. And it’s like, no, what about something happens to this, and I want to find some other record based on certain criteria and do something to that record. So, you know, we’ve built that. And then we’ve obviously built a lot of actions that happen in other platforms, which kind of crosses into the integrations, we’ve, we’re also building triggers for other platforms. So say, for example, something happens in Gmail, and then you can set the action to happen within smartsuite. We actually earlier this morning, we had a what’s new incoming webinar smartsuite, which is, you know, always an event they look forward to, but that’s where John gets on and just shares what we’re working on for the next, you know, six, eight weeks in terms of product roadmap, and he unveiled something very interesting that I think is revolutionizing in the industry, which is cutting down on the amount of automations that you have to set up, because what we’re doing is we’re adding within the action area, we’re adding the ability to to have conditions on the actions. And so that makes it that you can basically lump together three, four automations into one automation, because you have one trigger, and then you based on certain within that same automation based on certain actions you can perform based on certain conditions, you can perform x y action, and based on other conditions, you could before y can do y x. And that’s typically something that you’d have to go ahead and just set up multiple automations for right, if this condition is matched to this, and then set up a new automation if this condition is matched, set that and we’re rolling out a way to kind of lump them all in one automation, which is very exciting. But but then yeah, so that’s automations. And I touched a little bit about integrations. But we do. We’re very aggressive on adding external integrations, not only from within the automation Center, which those are kind of the integrations that we’re rolling out very quickly as actions and triggers. But we’re also working with many other external vendors, and working with them to add integration. So we obviously have the basics of Zapier and make. We also work with an Israeli startup called ply, where they’re they’re similar to Zapier and make, but they actually allow you to have embeddable buttons within your Chrome browser and trigger workflows based on pushes of a button. And then also have interfaces as the automation is running to allow you to have that like input opportunity as the automation is running, as opposed to Zapier make that just constantly fire without you having any controller input. And then, you know, we’re about to roll out an integration with Bardeen, the lot of the form solutions. So like fill out forms is a provider we’re very excited about, they have the ability to not only create records based on a submission of a form, but also update records based on the submission of a form which, which I think is game changing. We’re rolling out integrations with multiple front end applications, which is an exploding industry, we have easy portal software and the logo coming within the next month or so. And so constantly, you know that that kind of actually falls under my wheelhouse is identifying those net new integration partners and working with them very closely to roll out not just integrations but meaningful integrations that are useful to our customers and partners.

Chris Davis 23:25
You know, I want to help everybody, I want you all to dream with me. I don’t care what level you are in your business and technology and marketing. But smart, you just gave me this vision, Avi where when we talk about integrations, automations solutions within the app. Imagine something happening, let’s say in your form software, something external, it then integrates with smartsuite updates a record creates a record. That’s not That’s not the cool part. Okay, everybody, I just pieced together something Avi said, based on the update of that record, you can go and and throughout all of your apps, all of the solutions inside of smartsuite. Go and do something else somewhere else. I just want you all to sit and think it especially if you’re an air table user think of all the databases that Wait a minute. If for me, what if a podcast was pub was marked as published in database one. And that publish status immediately creates three to four tasks in another solution that has all of my social media platforms perhaps. And now there’s tasks to go chop it up and create the snippets and XYZ these are two totally different solution. Right? Let me make sure I’m saying it right. It’s app then solution, or is it solution to that?

Avi Hercenberg 25:07
It’s solution. And then apps, apps or solutions? Yep. So solution would be the equivalent of a base and app would be a table.

Chris Davis 25:15
Yes. So I need you all to think of I need you all to just dream here. And I’m going to say something else that I discovered in smartsuite. Now I’m coming from the perspective of airtable. Everyone Oh, and let me let me say this, Avi, when I first used smartsuite, it did have a project management feel, it was hard to like import data and create rows and everything else. I was pleasantly surprised, I don’t know when it was I logged in. But I see the effort in making it more database friendly, it’s so much more easier to get data in. So I say that to tell everybody. This is a company that’s actively listening and actively developing. Those are the two actives that we’re always looking for actively listening and active actively developing. And whenever one of those drops, your experience with the software always drops sometimes exponentially. So is good to see that. But I have to say this, we kind of glossed over it. Let me let me check my time. Because I don’t I don’t want to go too long. Okay, we got some time. You mentioned dashboards. Now, I have an audience of marketers, there is no marketing. Without measurement. You show me a marketer who’s like, oh, it’s working, how do you know, I just know, fire them. Immediately, if they cannot provide data, that you can look at entire one to one correlation to that’s not marketing, just doing a thing is maybe not even half, maybe that’s 40%. measuring and analyzing the thing is the 60% and greater. So the dashboards, I don’t know how to explain it, perhaps, perhaps I will have to have, we have to do like a live where we can show the screen and I can walk through some marketing use cases later, I’ll be later. But these dashboards provide you with data, not just in the solution that you’re working in. It’s across all of your solutions and all of your apps. So you may have a CRM solution, where you’ve got your pipelines, your your your sales metrics, and then you just need to pull in a few marketing metrics. But that’s a whole nother solution. Because someone else has, you know, someone else on your team is manning that you can pull in that data to draw those correlations and start to see, oh, we did, we do see a correlation between the amount of leads we’re getting organically, and the sales calls that are being set up. This is native stuff, everyone, this is not Oh, you gotta go to Google lookers studio and do this, this and that. I can’t stress the the importance of the of the, of the dashboards. Last thing I want to ask you, AVI is privileges and sharing. It’s it continues to be a frustrating point, inactive camp in airtable, all of these A’s in airtable, because they just launched like you can view only read only read only views. But they’re outside of that, if I wanted to protect a view or you know, have more granular protections within my database. Of course, I’ve got to go up to enterprise. And since I don’t know, what’s an enterprise, maybe it’s not even there. Right? How do you all handle sharing? So if you do have this dashboard, how can we give somebody access to it? Do they have to be a smart, sweet user? Can they just access it and look at it? And then privileges? How are those handled?

Avi Hercenberg 29:05
Yep, that’s a great question. And I’m glad to touch on this because smartsuite from the get go has been focused on governance, focused on allowing enterprises to use the platform as well as SMBs. And a big piece of that is permissioning. And so that’s one of the gaps we’re filling in the industry. We have advanced permissions. So let me start with this. We have solution managers who are basically in charge of the structure of the solution, there are the builders, and that’s a permission type. So you get you have to get assigned as a solution manager to have the access to changes the structure of the solution. That means editing field types, or so on. Then there’s general access. And then so we have a whole bunch of access levels including assignee or assignee plus, which basically says if you’re assigned to the record, you can see the record if you’re not assigned to the record, you won’t be able to see the record. So you can have a base or you know, an app and smartsuite that can have hundreds of 1000s of records. But every person sees the records they’re assigned do, we go further than that, and we say, field level permissions. So you can take specific fields and smartsuite. And say, I want these groups of people to see them, not see them, edit them, not edit them. And so that is kind of how we think of permissioning. We’re also about to roll out view permissions where you can dictate who can see specific views so that you’re not overwhelming users with a lot of views. But that those don’t override the actual record permissions, right, so So you really have to start off. I mean, insofar as we provide you the capability, when that’s where you start is dictating who has access to what data all the way down to the field level. And then you can go ahead and set up views and dictate who has access to those views. And then again, like I said, the actual solution has a manager who’s in charge, or multiple managers that are in charge of the structure. The last piece is you can assign smartsuite permissions by team or by user, or both. So you can set up teams, sales, marketing, logistics, whatever those are, and group people into those teams from the member directory, and assign permissions to those teams, and just move people in and out of teams. And that will dictate the permissions throughout the platform. And you can also one off grant people with permissions to specific areas, even if they’re not part of that team that has permission or Yes, part of a team that’s not supposed to have permission, right? So you can you can kind of pull people in and out of teams. And when you set up permissions, we give you the option of choosing teams or choosing members or both.

Chris Davis 31:47
This is good. I’m so in closing IVR, I have to ask a very important question. And I’m thinking of you all listeners, I’m thinking of you on this one. So oftentimes, we feel abandoned, the same SMBs that help us SAS company, get to the mountaintop, or the same SMBs that they say, Hey, thanks for helping me get there. Don’t need any more though. Good luck. So we have one company recently, there’s two things that happened. One company and airtable that announced in their layoffs and everything that at the time of this recording, that they’re focusing on the bigger accounts, which makes a lot of people nervous, myself included. Because if you’re not paying over 10,000 a year, it’s like hey, what little peons is essentially, what he’s saying, and then you have another company today. In fact, earlier today, your founder, John got on a webinar and explained to all of us what’s upcoming. And it’s just a total different feel. Right? It’s you can’t even compare the two. But the skeptic in me says, well, there was a time where I felt like that with air table. These companies are just going to wait, use us to get big and then force us to go enterprise. What is and I know John is the founder, but from what you you’ve sat down and listened to and the internal meetings and whatever you can share? What is the focus for smartsuite? Is it SMBs to continue to empower us and help us navigate project management and databases and, and become more integrated and operate more easily with being able to see our metrics with dashboards and enable our teams with the proper permissions? Or is this a means to a nother ends or another result?

Avi Hercenberg 33:53
I think that’s a great question. And definitely a very timely topic to discuss and just a few things. So first of all, understand smartsuite is not venture backed. I think many people don’t know that. There’s over $20 million that went into product and development resources, probably 95% of that into r&d. We’re mostly we’re mostly an engineering focused company. I mean, 90% of our staff is engineering focus is only about 10 of us on the sales and marketing side. Or commercial side call it but But smartsuite has been with all those tremendous resources that went in, we’re not venture backed, we’re actually self funded by our CEO. And so all that to say is that we don’t fold to pressure coming from the VC community. And we own take money from people that we don’t like how they see the future of the company or where the future of the company should go. And John’s very selective on who he would take money from. He’s open to taking money from venture capital, but but he has the luxury of turning down those that he doesn’t want to partner with. And I’ve seen him do that firsthand where he just turned down people where they didn’t give him the offers he’d like to receive from just from the direction of a company or the type of goals they wanted to set for the company along with the money they wanted to provide. So all that to say is, I understand the perspective of many companies, when that pressure comes into play, they’re venture backed, and maybe they took in partners that don’t necessarily align with their initial vision, and they kind of have to change because, you know, you know, the people who give them the money, start dictating where things go, we’re not like that. And we won’t be like that, even when we do you take venture money, that that that will be on our terms, just given that John has that upper hand and saying, I don’t need the money. I’ll take it, if it makes sense. So I think that’s the biggest piece to understand. I also think that anyone who’s interacted with smartsuite, as you mentioned, like the DNA is just so different. You know, all of us on the team are mandated and we love talking to customers bigger smile, won’t get on the phone with a one user company as well as 100, company, 100 100 user company, and, and that’s just in the DNA of the company. And I think that’s one that’s built into the culture that doesn’t just go away. Sometimes you have companies where that’s not built into the culture, they’re just strategically, you know, focusing on SMB to get as a means to get to an enterprise, like you said, but sometimes it’s actually built into the DNA of the company. And I think when you deal with smartsuite, it’s evident that is in the DNA of a company. Anyone from our CEO to our customer support and onboarding reps, we spend time with customers one on one all the time listening, taking feedback, iterating, bringing back solutions. And when I say that, I don’t mean we spend time with customers that are spending 10,000. Plus, we’re spending time with even customers that are in the free trials. One one user companies that doesn’t matter to us, we’re focused on serving small and large business alike.

Chris Davis 36:56
Great, great. Well, listen, I’ve uh, you’ve been more than generous as always, with taking some time and really helping us understand this amazing software. My hope is that you listeners are starting to see the potential, we are trying our best to equip you with as much knowledge and exposure as possible to make those technological recommendations and implementations much easier. What kind of resources are available, Avi as we close? Is smartsuite. Free as their learning training? Where can people go to access such things? What would you say for us?

Avi Hercenberg 37:38
Yeah, I mean, the first step, I think would be go ahead and sign up for our free trial smartsuite.com. We have a free forever account type if you end the trial, and it’s not time for you to upgrade yet. So don’t be worried about the trial running out, we do have a free forever account. But at a certain point, you’ll probably want to upgrade if you’re actually utilizing the platform. We also have an Academy online. So that’s Academy that’s smartsuite.com. It’s a free training for anyone. Certifications are available as well once people go through the academy, and then reach out to our support team through intercom once you’re in the product our support team loves to help. We also have a YouTube channel that is constantly coming out with tons of videos you mentioned Gareth Pronovost and many other sports, we partners just type in smartsuite to YouTube, and you’ll be flooded with videos. And so I think those are a few great resources to get started. We also have once a month, we started doing kind of like a one day training where we take six to eight hours and we just train a group of people and get them certified at the end of that that’s available as well. And so, you know, I think getting [email protected] is a great place to go and you’ll find all the resources there.

Chris Davis 38:49
Great, well, thank you for that Avi, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make sure you all have the link, of course to smartsuite. If you haven’t already, I just have a feeling while you were talking, somebody went to smartsuite.com and already is in there playing around. But if you need the links to the academy, and all of the things that Avi mentioned, it’s in the show notes. So just click the link in your in your podcast listener, it’ll take you to the show notes will make it easy for you. Going forward, everyone, you can expect more of this. We can expect more of this more and more founders are team members to help us understand the best use cases for the software’s how, how we should be looking at them. People who are using them at a high capacity will have smartsuite us as partners, as well as a variety of other software. So make sure you tune in and just keep supporting the podcast. Avi, I cannot thank you enough. For those of you who don’t know the technical demons, they came after me tough this almost didn’t happen. So that means somebody just heard this podcast and it’s shifted their business. Avi This is probably the solution they were looking for and didn’t know existed. If that’s you, please let me know. And I’ll let Avi know. You can always send an email at holler at automation bridge.com That’s H O ll er, at automation bridge.com. Avi again, thank you so much for your time, man. I greatly appreciate it.

Avi Hercenberg 40:22
Thank you, Chris. This has been an absolute pleasure and fun. That’s the most important.

Chris Davis 40:28
That’s the most important part. So Avi, thank you listeners. Thank you for your listenership. And as always, as we close out, continue or start to automate responsibly, my friends. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go podcast. If you enjoyed it, make sure that you’re subscribed at the time of recording the all systems go podcast is free to subscribe to, and it can be found in Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts new episodes are released every Thursday, so make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out and while you’re at it, please leave us a five star rating and review to show some love but also to help future listeners more easily find the podcast so they can experience the value of goodness as well. We’ve compiled all resources mentioned on the podcast, as well as other resources that are extremely valuable and effective at helping you grow your marketing automation skills quickly. And you can access them all at all systems go podcast.com Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly, my friends

 

Narrator 0:00
You’re listening to the off systems go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot. Learn how to deploy automated marketing and sell systems in your business the right way, with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis.

Chris Davis 0:30
Welcome everybody to another episode of The all systems go podcast where we are helping you navigate this technological terrain By strategically selecting software and intelligently implementing it. And on today’s episode, I am so happy about our guests because of the software that you’re about to be introduced to. And this is for all of my database, no code fans out there. And if you don’t know what that is, what’s the database? What’s no code? Well, you’re about to get introduced to software that embodies both of those statements. So without, without further delay, I would like to introduce you all to avi, he is an experience, go to market partnerships and digital transformation leader. Prior to joining smartsuite, which you will learn bear with me, you’ll learn with smartsuite isn’t a minute, he was a former co founder of sky five, an agency that identifies and implements off the shelf software solutions and workflows for clients. Totally makes sense. Obvious. I’m reading this currently obvious the VP of partnerships at smartsuite, a work management platform leading all aspects of go to market and partnerships. And my saying that you’ve got GTM, I should ask you prior is go to market, correct? Yeah, it is good.

Avi Hercenberg 2:02
And that leads us kind of into at smartsuite. We chose partnerships as our go to market vehicle, actually. So we relied on partners who are in the marketplace. They’re experts in their field, we tap them to introduce our solution to them. And then we enable them to deliver that to clients. And that has helped us kind of gain the fast traction that we’ve been able to do. But yes, to answer your question. Yep. GTM was go to market.

Chris Davis 2:29
I knew that acronym to be one thing and one thing only. So I was like, But wait a minute, let me check. So welcome to the podcast, Avi. And as you mentioned, smart sweets approach. And I will say this, I am a happy recipient of this approach. I get all kinds of partner content, you do a great job sharing on LinkedIn. By the way, I’m jumping ahead everybody. If you aren’t connected with Avi on LinkedIn, you are missing out. Not only does he post a lot of their partnership content, but he also post content of other NoCo tools that work in conjunction with smartsuite. Just Just a very resourceful, just easygoing, always giving individual so make sure you connect with them. We’ll have the links and all that later. Avi, help us start from scratch. What is smartsuite? And why should we be excited about it?

Avi Hercenberg 3:24
That’s a great question. And I’m happy to be here to kind of walk walk everyone through this. But really, I mean, the reason I got excited about smartsuite. And like you mentioned earlier, I come from Skype where we actually used to implement these systems. And I used to be an implementer and recommending many of our competitors. And the reason I got excited about smartsuite When I initially saw it is for the following reason. So before smartsuite on the market, you see typically two different types of solutions. You see databases, air table and the likes, you’ll see project or task management systems, which would be Monday or click up in the lakes. There hasn’t been a good platform that bridges both of those two capabilities into one platform. And then also starts expanding on like CRM capabilities or other capabilities. And obviously you know, clickup has their marketing of one app to replace them all and you know, they each have their slogans but is it truly like when it boils down to it and you’re really util utilizing it like you should be? Is it really like one systems are replaced them all? And I think it’s smartsuite. We’re getting closer to that. Right. And like you said before, we we play fair, and we love it when people integrate other products into smartsuite. But we want to strive to provide 80% of the capability you’d see in a task management project management database, all in one platform so that you don’t necessarily have to go look at those other solutions. Same thing with a CRM will provide most of capability, obviously CRMs that are purposely built a CRM might have a little bit more specialized capability. But we want to get you as close as possible to the point where you go, Hmm, do I really want to buy an extra CRM? Is that worth it if I get 80% of the capability and smartsuite. And so at the core smartsuite is a work management platform. That’s our positioning in the market. And we really do a very good job, in my opinion, of bridging that gap and having a project task management in one platform as well as a database. So when you look at smartsuite, it looks and feels kind of like a prettier air table, we get a lot of comments of like, oh, this is like monday.com era table or click up a air table or you know, comments like that, because it is a little bit of a blend. It’s a beautiful, pretty interface that looks more like Monday. But it’s that database structure like air table where you have we call them solutions and apps, but those would be the equivalent of bases and tables and air table. And then we have those task management capabilities you’re used to and click up like checklists, sub items, time tracking, we also have those document capabilities you might be used to from notion like smart docs. And so that’s kind of where we’re at in terms of market positioning, or how we fit into the market, or at least how we see ourselves fitting in. And that’s it’s very well echoed by our partners and customers. That’s kind of what they echo back to us, which is the biggest testament that it’s working and that we’re delivering on what we set out to deliver is that we hear those comments on public forums from customers one on one all the time, like, Oh, this is a mash up of notion and click up in air table or this, you know, those funny comments around like air table eating Monday or whatever that is. So that’s, you know, that’s that’s all the fun that that we get to have along the way.

Chris Davis 6:49
Yeah, and I’m glad you said that. So those of you who are project management savvy, and you know, the Mondays and saunas and click ups, and then those of you in notion, I know, she tries to play that in that game of database task and all of that stuff. And then those of you who know, like, maybe smart sheets and air table and things of that nature. I like that you caught that out, because when I when I got introduced to a smartsuite Shout out to Paul Paul recei. He, Ricci he, he’s the one that said, Hey, Chris, we use smartsuite for everything. And this was before we’ve had Gareth on the podcast. By the way, if you haven’t listened to that one, Gareth profundos, he is the snow cold expert in the space right now. Before him, I heard about it to one of my subscribers. And I said, What is this, I logged into it and it’s instantly it made sense, as far as the UI and everything, and I jumped into a couple of templates. But I have to say the way that you all handle tasks was the first thing that jumped out at me, because at the time, there was no ListView and air table, which air table now has a list view you couldn’t link records to themselves and air table. And it just really was hard to create a record that had tasks attached to it. So that every time that you created that record, you could have those tasks, and smartsuite did it off the box. Now this is like the beginner me logging into smartsuite. And I was just like, oh, okay, I get it. And since then I’ve been trying to ease my way into it and learn more for that beginner like myself, who looks at the potential of this software. And for my listeners who are wanting to understand what software is available to intelligently recommend for their clients. Where is the best place and not online? But in terms of thinking, how should we be approaching smartsuite? How should we be thinking about it? to best understand what category and what use cases and times to recommend it for our clients and ourselves?

Avi Hercenberg 9:12
I think that’s a great question. I love that question. And, and I’ll dress this a little bit like tactical like right on to give it to dress this in the simplest way. So if you’re coming from air table, think of smartsuite as air table. So it can it can do anything air table does, you’ll have you know, like I said you can link records, you set up your different field types. The core differences that you have to understand this is where it’s mark three takes you a little bit further and this these are areas to notice if you’re coming from airtable Is smartsuite has many more field types, including rich document capability. Tasks are sub items as we call them as a field type checklists as a field type and all sorts of fun field types like currencies and so on. That’s one One one area to notice. The other area is that in smartsuite, there’s no syncing basis. And that’s because you can link records across the entire workspace without having to sync bases, we built a ground up where it’s all one instance. And you do not have to stay in the same base to link records. And you do not have to do the syncing. And so people come from air table and they go, wait, I can’t sync solutions or apps. And it’s like, well, you don’t need to, you can link to anywhere else in the platform. So that is enough

Chris Davis 10:31
to stop you, I have to stop you there. Because listen to me, if you don’t know how important what he just said is, let me tell you how important that is. Okay, if if you were to my airtable folks know this, if you were to have all of your data in one place, and it was for a function, well organized and everything, and then you end up creating another database for another function, and you realize, oh, it will be great to see some of this information in this database. Well, first off, you will have to run a sink in air table. And that requires a certain level of plan. And then depending on if you want it to go two ways, or if you want to be able to edit the information in both tables, I know I’m talking technical, but my airflow air table, folks know, you have to upgrade again, it’s like a path to enterprise. And we’re just small business owners, we we just want to use our data and access it. Enter in smartsuite, this blew my mind, I’m so glad you mentioned it. I went to link a record in smartsuite. And the drop down allow me to select any record or any tab or solution with within the base that I was in, I may be good at maybe solution in app, right. And then it showed all of the other apps in my account, and I said No you’re not, you’re not for the price of signing up, you are not going to give me the ability to pull in any data from anywhere within this platform and use it it was huge man huge.

Avi Hercenberg 12:12
Yep, I’m glad to hear that that’s we get that a lot. So. So like I said, the field types linking records across the entire platform. And then the the core task or project management that is lacking in air table. So in air table, say you have a whole bunch of different bases setup. And then you want your user within your company to log in and see all the tasks or all the to do items on their plate in one spot. And roll that up from across all the bases in air table. It’s very hard to do that in air table right now. In smartsuite, we have the My Work section, where as you’re setting up your solutions, when you set up the field type of the Assigned To field type, the due date and a status, we asked you if you want to link all three of those together. And if you link all three of those together in the field type settings, we know this is a task. And we roll that up into the My Work section where every user gets to see all of their tasks. And they can group it by date by by status, and so on. If you don’t link the status to the assignee and the due date, then we know this is not a test. This is just a data point that you’re assigning someone to and you’re giving it a due date. But this is not something you want it to show up in the My Work section. And we leave it out of the work section. We also have dashboards built right in. So instead of going to the kind of external concept of interfaces, we have dashboards as a field as a view type. So those are some core things to notice as you’re coming from air table. And there’s many, many more differences. But like those are a few of the big ones. You’ll notice as you’re coming from air table. On the flip side, if you’re coming from a platform like clickup or Monday, which are more project task management centric. When you come to smartsuite. First of all understand the hierarchy. The hierarchy is more similar to airtable. So it’s solutions and apps. It’s two hierarchies, not more than that. I know click up you know, you have three, four hierarchies. I don’t even know how many they have right now. But and then beyond those hierarchies, you’ll see a lot of similar features, right. So you can email from within a record, which which is another thing to notice, by the way, coming from air table. But coming from clickup, you’ll see those things you’ll see repeating tasks. What what’s different is that capability of linking records one to another and connecting your workflows and then having those roll ups and lookups. And, you know, those formulas that can by the way, when you’re using a formula smartsuite For the ones that are a little bit more technical. If you have a linked record, you don’t have to use a lookup to pull in fields from the linked record. You can actually use the dot notation and get right into the length record field types and use those in formulas. And so just you know, hopefully that provides a little bit more of like a hands on where to get started, but But I think it really depends on the platform you’re coming from. So if you’re coming from a database mind, understand that we have a little bit more project and task management capabilities and a little bit more, we’ve expanded a little bit on the database concept to make it more powerful. And if you’re coming from the project and task management side, understand that we also have those database capabilities. And that’s really where we see by the way, the majority of our clients are either coming from clickup, Monday, Asana, and they’re looking for that more database functionality, which is why they’re coming to us, or we’re seeing them come from airtable, for a variety of reasons, but many of those reasons might be either, they want to link records across the entire platform, but also, you know, those project and task management capabilities that I mentioned that that don’t exist in air table. So that’s, that’s a little bit more, you know, I guess, down and dirty, where to get started.

Chris Davis 15:51
Yeah, and I want to highlight something. You we talk about people coming from like, click up and Monday and all of that, I want to go on the record and say this, and I want to be very clear. Click up is not should not be used as a CRM system. Okay. Just stop it. Everybody. Listen, listen to me feel how you want to feel about this statement? Stop it. It is not. It’s not even a database. But by default, yes, it’s up. It’s software that holds the data. I get it, you have fields, I understand where the untrained mind could go, oh, I’ll just use click up in Monday for my CRM, it has statuses Kanban views, I get it, you’re thinking pipeline. Hey, this looks like pipe drive or Active Campaign? I understand. But do not. We just how do I want to say, I’m trying to be nice, but it would it would be equivalent to you walking outside of the walking outside with a hospital gown on and thinking that you have a dress on? Okay. So yes, does it cover your body? It sure does, is it going to protect you from some elements? It sure does. But it’s going to expose your back in. You’re just all out. So hopefully that helps you all you need. I don’t, I’m softer on using database friendly software as a CRM, because a lot of times people don’t know what they need. And some CRM software is just too heavy. It’s really heavy. So I actually am a proponent. If you don’t know your consideration set for selecting a true CRM software like maybe HubSpot Active Campaign Salesforce for small businesses, or Salesforce period Pipedrive things of that nature. solutions, like smartsuite may be what you need to get started. And you may find out that your needs never grow beyond that. And with that being said, it, I want to dive into two areas with you, Avi, when I think of centralizing my data, there’s two requirements that I always look for. And when I find them I get excited about one is automations. The other is integrations. I want, I want to give you the floor and touch on how our automations Hant. Are there automations and smartsuite. First, because I want to I don’t want to assume intelligence for anyone. Does smartsuite have automations? Where fields can trigger automation or you know, maybe something done and one record does something to another record? What are there automations? In in how do they work? And then next I want to talk about integrations and your approach to them.

Avi Hercenberg 19:00
Yep, absolutely. So smartfren has a very robust automation center. And not only so it’s funny, because I always say like automations is when you’re automating things within the platform and integrations is when you’re automating things cross platform. But then, but then, you know, smartsuite included many other platforms, they bring in their integrations into their automation platform, because they let you you know, as an action go do things in HubSpot or Microsoft or Google and so that that becomes more of an integration, but I guess nowadays are all lumped together. But yes, so we have a very advanced automation center. As you’d expect actions and triggers. And we’ve we’ve spent a lot of energy and resources into the automations. I think anyone who will open the automation area and smartsuite We’ll see that right away in terms of you know, we have a find record which is not a given and many other platforms. So find record as an action, which allows you to kind of make something happen in one solution and then go find To record in some other solution to perform the action, as opposed to staying on the same record to do you know, typically, with many automation platforms, it’s, you know, you something happens in this record, I’m going to do something else to this record. And it’s like, no, what about something happens to this, and I want to find some other record based on certain criteria and do something to that record. So, you know, we’ve built that. And then we’ve obviously built a lot of actions that happen in other platforms, which kind of crosses into the integrations, we’ve, we’re also building triggers for other platforms. So say, for example, something happens in Gmail, and then you can set the action to happen within smartsuite. We actually earlier this morning, we had a what’s new incoming webinar smartsuite, which is, you know, always an event they look forward to, but that’s where John gets on and just shares what we’re working on for the next, you know, six, eight weeks in terms of product roadmap, and he unveiled something very interesting that I think is revolutionizing in the industry, which is cutting down on the amount of automations that you have to set up, because what we’re doing is we’re adding within the action area, we’re adding the ability to to have conditions on the actions. And so that makes it that you can basically lump together three, four automations into one automation, because you have one trigger, and then you based on certain within that same automation based on certain actions you can perform based on certain conditions, you can perform x y action, and based on other conditions, you could before y can do y x. And that’s typically something that you’d have to go ahead and just set up multiple automations for right, if this condition is matched to this, and then set up a new automation if this condition is matched, set that and we’re rolling out a way to kind of lump them all in one automation, which is very exciting. But but then yeah, so that’s automations. And I touched a little bit about integrations. But we do. We’re very aggressive on adding external integrations, not only from within the automation Center, which those are kind of the integrations that we’re rolling out very quickly as actions and triggers. But we’re also working with many other external vendors, and working with them to add integration. So we obviously have the basics of Zapier and make. We also work with an Israeli startup called ply, where they’re they’re similar to Zapier and make, but they actually allow you to have embeddable buttons within your Chrome browser and trigger workflows based on pushes of a button. And then also have interfaces as the automation is running to allow you to have that like input opportunity as the automation is running, as opposed to Zapier make that just constantly fire without you having any controller input. And then, you know, we’re about to roll out an integration with Bardeen, the lot of the form solutions. So like fill out forms is a provider we’re very excited about, they have the ability to not only create records based on a submission of a form, but also update records based on the submission of a form which, which I think is game changing. We’re rolling out integrations with multiple front end applications, which is an exploding industry, we have easy portal software and the logo coming within the next month or so. And so constantly, you know that that kind of actually falls under my wheelhouse is identifying those net new integration partners and working with them very closely to roll out not just integrations but meaningful integrations that are useful to our customers and partners.

Chris Davis 23:25
You know, I want to help everybody, I want you all to dream with me. I don’t care what level you are in your business and technology and marketing. But smart, you just gave me this vision, Avi where when we talk about integrations, automations solutions within the app. Imagine something happening, let’s say in your form software, something external, it then integrates with smartsuite updates a record creates a record. That’s not That’s not the cool part. Okay, everybody, I just pieced together something Avi said, based on the update of that record, you can go and and throughout all of your apps, all of the solutions inside of smartsuite. Go and do something else somewhere else. I just want you all to sit and think it especially if you’re an air table user think of all the databases that Wait a minute. If for me, what if a podcast was pub was marked as published in database one. And that publish status immediately creates three to four tasks in another solution that has all of my social media platforms perhaps. And now there’s tasks to go chop it up and create the snippets and XYZ these are two totally different solution. Right? Let me make sure I’m saying it right. It’s app then solution, or is it solution to that?

Avi Hercenberg 25:07
It’s solution. And then apps, apps or solutions? Yep. So solution would be the equivalent of a base and app would be a table.

Chris Davis 25:15
Yes. So I need you all to think of I need you all to just dream here. And I’m going to say something else that I discovered in smartsuite. Now I’m coming from the perspective of airtable. Everyone Oh, and let me let me say this, Avi, when I first used smartsuite, it did have a project management feel, it was hard to like import data and create rows and everything else. I was pleasantly surprised, I don’t know when it was I logged in. But I see the effort in making it more database friendly, it’s so much more easier to get data in. So I say that to tell everybody. This is a company that’s actively listening and actively developing. Those are the two actives that we’re always looking for actively listening and active actively developing. And whenever one of those drops, your experience with the software always drops sometimes exponentially. So is good to see that. But I have to say this, we kind of glossed over it. Let me let me check my time. Because I don’t I don’t want to go too long. Okay, we got some time. You mentioned dashboards. Now, I have an audience of marketers, there is no marketing. Without measurement. You show me a marketer who’s like, oh, it’s working, how do you know, I just know, fire them. Immediately, if they cannot provide data, that you can look at entire one to one correlation to that’s not marketing, just doing a thing is maybe not even half, maybe that’s 40%. measuring and analyzing the thing is the 60% and greater. So the dashboards, I don’t know how to explain it, perhaps, perhaps I will have to have, we have to do like a live where we can show the screen and I can walk through some marketing use cases later, I’ll be later. But these dashboards provide you with data, not just in the solution that you’re working in. It’s across all of your solutions and all of your apps. So you may have a CRM solution, where you’ve got your pipelines, your your your sales metrics, and then you just need to pull in a few marketing metrics. But that’s a whole nother solution. Because someone else has, you know, someone else on your team is manning that you can pull in that data to draw those correlations and start to see, oh, we did, we do see a correlation between the amount of leads we’re getting organically, and the sales calls that are being set up. This is native stuff, everyone, this is not Oh, you gotta go to Google lookers studio and do this, this and that. I can’t stress the the importance of the of the, of the dashboards. Last thing I want to ask you, AVI is privileges and sharing. It’s it continues to be a frustrating point, inactive camp in airtable, all of these A’s in airtable, because they just launched like you can view only read only read only views. But they’re outside of that, if I wanted to protect a view or you know, have more granular protections within my database. Of course, I’ve got to go up to enterprise. And since I don’t know, what’s an enterprise, maybe it’s not even there. Right? How do you all handle sharing? So if you do have this dashboard, how can we give somebody access to it? Do they have to be a smart, sweet user? Can they just access it and look at it? And then privileges? How are those handled?

Avi Hercenberg 29:05
Yep, that’s a great question. And I’m glad to touch on this because smartsuite from the get go has been focused on governance, focused on allowing enterprises to use the platform as well as SMBs. And a big piece of that is permissioning. And so that’s one of the gaps we’re filling in the industry. We have advanced permissions. So let me start with this. We have solution managers who are basically in charge of the structure of the solution, there are the builders, and that’s a permission type. So you get you have to get assigned as a solution manager to have the access to changes the structure of the solution. That means editing field types, or so on. Then there’s general access. And then so we have a whole bunch of access levels including assignee or assignee plus, which basically says if you’re assigned to the record, you can see the record if you’re not assigned to the record, you won’t be able to see the record. So you can have a base or you know, an app and smartsuite that can have hundreds of 1000s of records. But every person sees the records they’re assigned do, we go further than that, and we say, field level permissions. So you can take specific fields and smartsuite. And say, I want these groups of people to see them, not see them, edit them, not edit them. And so that is kind of how we think of permissioning. We’re also about to roll out view permissions where you can dictate who can see specific views so that you’re not overwhelming users with a lot of views. But that those don’t override the actual record permissions, right, so So you really have to start off. I mean, insofar as we provide you the capability, when that’s where you start is dictating who has access to what data all the way down to the field level. And then you can go ahead and set up views and dictate who has access to those views. And then again, like I said, the actual solution has a manager who’s in charge, or multiple managers that are in charge of the structure. The last piece is you can assign smartsuite permissions by team or by user, or both. So you can set up teams, sales, marketing, logistics, whatever those are, and group people into those teams from the member directory, and assign permissions to those teams, and just move people in and out of teams. And that will dictate the permissions throughout the platform. And you can also one off grant people with permissions to specific areas, even if they’re not part of that team that has permission or Yes, part of a team that’s not supposed to have permission, right? So you can you can kind of pull people in and out of teams. And when you set up permissions, we give you the option of choosing teams or choosing members or both.

Chris Davis 31:47
This is good. I’m so in closing IVR, I have to ask a very important question. And I’m thinking of you all listeners, I’m thinking of you on this one. So oftentimes, we feel abandoned, the same SMBs that help us SAS company, get to the mountaintop, or the same SMBs that they say, Hey, thanks for helping me get there. Don’t need any more though. Good luck. So we have one company recently, there’s two things that happened. One company and airtable that announced in their layoffs and everything that at the time of this recording, that they’re focusing on the bigger accounts, which makes a lot of people nervous, myself included. Because if you’re not paying over 10,000 a year, it’s like hey, what little peons is essentially, what he’s saying, and then you have another company today. In fact, earlier today, your founder, John got on a webinar and explained to all of us what’s upcoming. And it’s just a total different feel. Right? It’s you can’t even compare the two. But the skeptic in me says, well, there was a time where I felt like that with air table. These companies are just going to wait, use us to get big and then force us to go enterprise. What is and I know John is the founder, but from what you you’ve sat down and listened to and the internal meetings and whatever you can share? What is the focus for smartsuite? Is it SMBs to continue to empower us and help us navigate project management and databases and, and become more integrated and operate more easily with being able to see our metrics with dashboards and enable our teams with the proper permissions? Or is this a means to a nother ends or another result?

Avi Hercenberg 33:53
I think that’s a great question. And definitely a very timely topic to discuss and just a few things. So first of all, understand smartsuite is not venture backed. I think many people don’t know that. There’s over $20 million that went into product and development resources, probably 95% of that into r&d. We’re mostly we’re mostly an engineering focused company. I mean, 90% of our staff is engineering focus is only about 10 of us on the sales and marketing side. Or commercial side call it but But smartsuite has been with all those tremendous resources that went in, we’re not venture backed, we’re actually self funded by our CEO. And so all that to say is that we don’t fold to pressure coming from the VC community. And we own take money from people that we don’t like how they see the future of the company or where the future of the company should go. And John’s very selective on who he would take money from. He’s open to taking money from venture capital, but but he has the luxury of turning down those that he doesn’t want to partner with. And I’ve seen him do that firsthand where he just turned down people where they didn’t give him the offers he’d like to receive from just from the direction of a company or the type of goals they wanted to set for the company along with the money they wanted to provide. So all that to say is, I understand the perspective of many companies, when that pressure comes into play, they’re venture backed, and maybe they took in partners that don’t necessarily align with their initial vision, and they kind of have to change because, you know, you know, the people who give them the money, start dictating where things go, we’re not like that. And we won’t be like that, even when we do you take venture money, that that that will be on our terms, just given that John has that upper hand and saying, I don’t need the money. I’ll take it, if it makes sense. So I think that’s the biggest piece to understand. I also think that anyone who’s interacted with smartsuite, as you mentioned, like the DNA is just so different. You know, all of us on the team are mandated and we love talking to customers bigger smile, won’t get on the phone with a one user company as well as 100, company, 100 100 user company, and, and that’s just in the DNA of the company. And I think that’s one that’s built into the culture that doesn’t just go away. Sometimes you have companies where that’s not built into the culture, they’re just strategically, you know, focusing on SMB to get as a means to get to an enterprise, like you said, but sometimes it’s actually built into the DNA of the company. And I think when you deal with smartsuite, it’s evident that is in the DNA of a company. Anyone from our CEO to our customer support and onboarding reps, we spend time with customers one on one all the time listening, taking feedback, iterating, bringing back solutions. And when I say that, I don’t mean we spend time with customers that are spending 10,000. Plus, we’re spending time with even customers that are in the free trials. One one user companies that doesn’t matter to us, we’re focused on serving small and large business alike.

Chris Davis 36:56
Great, great. Well, listen, I’ve uh, you’ve been more than generous as always, with taking some time and really helping us understand this amazing software. My hope is that you listeners are starting to see the potential, we are trying our best to equip you with as much knowledge and exposure as possible to make those technological recommendations and implementations much easier. What kind of resources are available, Avi as we close? Is smartsuite. Free as their learning training? Where can people go to access such things? What would you say for us?

Avi Hercenberg 37:38
Yeah, I mean, the first step, I think would be go ahead and sign up for our free trial smartsuite.com. We have a free forever account type if you end the trial, and it’s not time for you to upgrade yet. So don’t be worried about the trial running out, we do have a free forever account. But at a certain point, you’ll probably want to upgrade if you’re actually utilizing the platform. We also have an Academy online. So that’s Academy that’s smartsuite.com. It’s a free training for anyone. Certifications are available as well once people go through the academy, and then reach out to our support team through intercom once you’re in the product our support team loves to help. We also have a YouTube channel that is constantly coming out with tons of videos you mentioned Gareth Pronovost and many other sports, we partners just type in smartsuite to YouTube, and you’ll be flooded with videos. And so I think those are a few great resources to get started. We also have once a month, we started doing kind of like a one day training where we take six to eight hours and we just train a group of people and get them certified at the end of that that’s available as well. And so, you know, I think getting [email protected] is a great place to go and you’ll find all the resources there.

Chris Davis 38:49
Great, well, thank you for that Avi, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make sure you all have the link, of course to smartsuite. If you haven’t already, I just have a feeling while you were talking, somebody went to smartsuite.com and already is in there playing around. But if you need the links to the academy, and all of the things that Avi mentioned, it’s in the show notes. So just click the link in your in your podcast listener, it’ll take you to the show notes will make it easy for you. Going forward, everyone, you can expect more of this. We can expect more of this more and more founders are team members to help us understand the best use cases for the software’s how, how we should be looking at them. People who are using them at a high capacity will have smartsuite us as partners, as well as a variety of other software. So make sure you tune in and just keep supporting the podcast. Avi, I cannot thank you enough. For those of you who don’t know the technical demons, they came after me tough this almost didn’t happen. So that means somebody just heard this podcast and it’s shifted their business. Avi This is probably the solution they were looking for and didn’t know existed. If that’s you, please let me know. And I’ll let Avi know. You can always send an email at holler at automation bridge.com That’s H O ll er, at automation bridge.com. Avi again, thank you so much for your time, man. I greatly appreciate it.

Avi Hercenberg 40:22
Thank you, Chris. This has been an absolute pleasure and fun. That’s the most important.

Chris Davis 40:28
That’s the most important part. So Avi, thank you listeners. Thank you for your listenership. And as always, as we close out, continue or start to automate responsibly, my friends. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go podcast. If you enjoyed it, make sure that you’re subscribed at the time of recording the all systems go podcast is free to subscribe to, and it can be found in Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts new episodes are released every Thursday, so make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out and while you’re at it, please leave us a five star rating and review to show some love but also to help future listeners more easily find the podcast so they can experience the value of goodness as well. We’ve compiled all resources mentioned on the podcast, as well as other resources that are extremely valuable and effective at helping you grow your marketing automation skills quickly. And you can access them all at all systems go podcast.com Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly, my friends

 

Today’s Guest

Avi is an experienced GTM, Partnerships, and Digital transformation leader. Prior to joining SmartSuite, Avi was the former Co-Founder of Skive, an agency that identifies and implements off-the-shelf software solutions and workflows for clients. Currently, Avi is the VP of Partnerships at SmartSuite a work management platform leading all aspects of GTM and Partnerships.

Resources Mentioned

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On the show, Chris reveals all of his automated marketing strategies he has learned from working in fast growing marketing technology startups so you can put your business on autopilot quickly and without error.

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Chris L. Davis - Chief Automation Officer

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Chris L. Davis

Chris is an Electrical Engineer turned entrepreneur who is the Founder of Automation Bridge, an international speaker and facilitator, and startup consultant