Automation case study

Dragonfly Digital Video

London video production agency with a global reputation. Twenty years creating jaw-dropping content for household names — Amazon, Playstation, Peroni, BlackRock.

Charlie Southall
Founder & MD at Dragonfly


  • Saving 40+ hours per month on sales admin and follow-up
  • Quotes, proposals and contracts generated and sent to qualified leads automatically
  • Greater visibility of sales metrics, trends and revenue

Before I started working with Chris, I was out of my depth with business admin. In fact, I was completely overwhelmed — but I hadn’t even realised.

I’m an entrepreneurial person with good problem-solving skills and a solid gut instinct for business. I bootstrapped Dragonfly with a start-up loan from the Prince’s Trust and over the last two decades have built it into one of the top video agencies in the country.

For years, I’d been solely responsible for managing Dragonfly’s day-to-day operations, plus all of the admin, sales and marketing. We had more than 50 regular clients on our books at any one time, each with multiple projects, and we were getting 5-10 new enquiries every day — all of which, I’d respond to personally.

On top of that, I was handling production on all of our client projects. I was travelling internationally most weeks, spending long days on set with clients while also trying to manage business admin from my phone during breaks or after hours.

The business had become intrinsically linked to my lifestyle, and I enjoyed that — I’d come up with my own tricks and hacks to get work done as efficiently as possible.

But things were starting to slip.

  • Our slow response times lost us potential customers. We were often the last supplier to email prospects back, giving competitors the chance to snap up leads. We missed out on some really good projects.
  • I was making the mistake of giving every enquiry the same attention. Our conversion rate was good but I was wasting a lot of time on tyre kickers and bad fit leads.
  • Paperwork was also a hump in the road. Getting clients to print, read, sign, scan and email a contract back was a common point of failure in a project.
  • Sending out portfolios to interested parties was time-consuming. The best way to show leads what we could do for them was with case studies. But pulling together the right ones to send was taking up too much time.
  • Everything was being managed by email. The business was run entirely from my inbox. We had no metrics about won versus lost deals, average deal value or emerging growth areas.

I’d heard good things about Chris from a client of mine who’d worked with him before. I booked a meeting with him and, as soon as we started speaking, the penny dropped.

We started off by just sitting and talking about the problems my business faced.

Chris helped me realise that I had become a bottleneck in Dragonfly’s growth – because I was spending so much time working on the production side of things, the day-to-day operations of the business were often neglected.

He also helped me identify that most of the admin work I was doing was very repetitive – like sending the same canned response to every new prospect. Without even realising it, I was wasting more than ten hours every week on tasks that I didn’t need to be involved in.

Following our meeting Chris proposed a suite of automation tools and digital process changes, including:

  • A CRM (HubSpot) to track the progress of our sales opportunities and associated metrics
  • A redesigned contact form that let new prospects self-select a persona based on their budget and project type
  • An autoresponder system that, within minutes, would send every new lead a customised reply tailored to their persona, budget and service interest
  • A suite of utility tools (like PandaDoc and Aircall) to help streamline our day-to-day operations

At first, I was worried about the level of automation Chris was suggesting. After all, was a total overhaul of all these informal systems and processes I’d spent years developing really the best thing for the business?

I’d been cautious about automation in the past — I don’t like fake, impersonal comms, and I was worried that using automation could end up damaging the business.

Chris reassured me completely.

I was surprised to find that the solutions he suggested didn’t feel clunky or fake — instead, he came up with an intuitive system of custom workflows and integrations that has ultimately transformed the way I work.

Working with Chris has genuinely been a massive milestone in the life of my business. It’s given me my work-life balance back, and freed up the time I used to spend on business admin for more time with my family, and more creative thinking.

  • Automation’s made us faster and more responsive. Now I’m not single-handedly responding to every query, Dragonfly moves much quicker. We use automated emails to deal with enquiries promptly and appropriately. What’s more, we’re also using automation to win back lost prospects and previously lapsed clients.
  • Paperwork’s now pain-free. To help reduce friction with client paperwork, Chris introduced us to PandaDoc. We can now generate personalised proposals and contracts automatically. We’ve had several occasions where a prospect receives a custom portfolio and signs on the dotted line without any human intervention needed.
  • Not all leads are created equal. Chris redesigned our contact form to pre-qualify leads, and automated our responses to them. Priority leads are invited to a call, average leads get an email assessing their readiness to work with us and unlikely matches get a message about the budget needed to work with us. Now, we’re only investing time with serious prospects.
  • More input. There have been a few times where I thought Chris had shown me everything HubSpot could do for my business. Then, we came to reports. Suddenly I could see everything happening in the business — deals per month, job types, seasonal trends. And now, we use the patterns we see to set, and push, our targets.

We’ve also got some cheeky utility automations in place to eradicate time-consuming tasks – for example, Zapier sends all the details from our new client onboarding form to Xero, where they’re used to auto-generate deposit invoices.

Working with Chris is one of my great decisions, and he has been critical to Dragonfly’s success. I could recommend him to any business with no doubt he would transform that business — and the life of its owner. It’s that dramatic.

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