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How a marketing agency increased client conversions 35% with Zapier Canvas

By Maranda Borchert · May 9, 2024

At Chatham Oaks Growth Solutions, a digital marketing agency that helps small businesses with SEO and automation, explaining intricate automated systems to potential clients was always challenging. This created a barrier to sales—after all, potential clients aren't likely to sign an agency without fully understanding how they benefit their company. 

Matt Stephens, President and Owner of Chatham Oaks, resorted to graph paper and a pen to sketch out workflows to help prospects understand. While this method was sometimes helpful, it was far from efficient or scalable.

Then, Matt got an email from Zapier announcing the release of Canvas, a diagramming tool to visualize, document, and streamline workflows. With just a few clicks, Matt was able to demonstrate the value of automation to clients and eventually upgrade his company’s internal operations. 

Problem: Difficulty visualizing complex business processes

Matt started Chatham Oaks after he noticed a common problem among small businesses: a lack of resources to manage and integrate technology effectively. This meant these tools were often underused—so, small teams were left doing tedious manual work. 

With his agency, he hoped to change this and help small businesses leverage automation. But time and time again, potential clients wanted to actually see the complex workflows his team could build. They needed to see it to believe it.

“We kept running into the problem of our clients wanting to see the automated processes to better understand what they were going to be paying for. “A lot of people are visual learners, so they want to see how it actually works."

Matt Stephens, President and Owner of Chatham Oaks

His sketches on graph paper just weren’t cutting it anymore.

Solution: An AI-powered diagramming tool

Using Zapier Canvas, Matt and Cole Lander, the Vice President of Business Ops, built out some of the workflows they commonly created for clients. 

Many of their clients are small businesses that use Shopify to sell physical goods online. Managing a Shopify store involves a lot of manual work, so the Chatham Oaks team focused its efforts on this area in their Shopify eCommerce industry bundles. 

They realized automating away these manual tasks is a recurring service for their clients. So, Cole built the entire workflow in Canvas. From there, it was easy to share with new clients and demonstrate the full automation ecosystems available to them. The workflow handled everything from adding new inventory to listings to sending tracking info.

This template immediately streamlined the proposal process. It also helped with contract expansion since it showcased additional Zaps clients may not have considered. 

Their team relied on Canvas to visually explain to clients how they can solve their unique needs. The collaborative features also allowed collaborators with different niche knowledge jump in and fill in any gaps in workflows. That way, it's easier to work together to solve a client's unique problem.

“Being able to create visuals within Canvas that people who don’t understand automation can grasp and understand has been a game changer for us,” said Cole.

As a result, Matt and Cole continued to use Canvas to build out their most commonly used workflows for client proposals.

After seeing the benefits of diagramming workflows for clients, Matt decided to test Canvas out in his own business. He began by documenting Chatham Oaks’ internal operations, which provided a source of truth to onboard new employees and ensured no institutional knowledge was lost.

Results: 35% increase in conversions

By implementing Canvas, Matt and his team have bridged the understanding gap for clients unfamiliar with automation or SaaS apps. In turn, it led Chatham Oaks to sign more clients and increase their expansion opportunities. Since they started using Canvas in client pitches, client sales have increased by 35%.

Internally, Matt found having their processes in Canvas allowed new employees to onboard faster. Canvas’s visuals helped employees immediately grasp business-critical workflows regardless of their technical background. 

“I’ve always been a huge fan of mapping out business ops before building them. It’s so nice to have a tool that actually does some of the work for you and then gives you an image to share,” said Matt.

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'