Getting your agency to adopt new tools takes time, planning, and the right execution.
At Webflow Conf 2022, Nick Kramer, Digital Design Lead at branding agency Red Antler, spoke about how he successfully united disparate teams to learn and love Webflow.
Here are some of his takeaways that you can apply to your own agency.
Demystify the platform—get your team in there right away
Every new tool has a learning curve, which usually results in a healthy dose of fear or wariness from your prospective users. But Nick reminds us that the easiest way to get over fear is to dive right in. Here are a few tips he shared for agencies looking to bring their teams up to speed on new tools.
Nick recommends hosting workshops in the early stages because helping teams feel informed opens them up to the possibilities of a new tool. In his workshops, designers learned to build modules, create animations, and manipulate elements on the page until it looked how they wanted. “People who were initially worried that Webflow might be limiting their creativity found out that it actually does the complete opposite,” said Nick. “We're unleashing and unlocking a lot of that creativity and allowing people to really add value and bring value to the websites that they're designing.”
Turn caution into excitement
Remember to treat workshops as an intro to a tool. Keep them light and fun before trying to tackle complex edge cases. Getting your hands dirty and learning what you can do with a new tool is the fastest way to catch your team up to speed. Once they're comfortable, they’ll feel prepared to tackle challenging buildings and start creating their best work.
Speak to your different audiences in their own languages
Workshops aren’t just for designers — they can also be useful for project managers and new business. Red Antler teaches these cohorts how to animate, hosts sessions on explaining what “no code” means, and uses these workshops as an opportunity to share their new standard operating procedures. Teaching different teams the most relevant lessons about a new tool helps integrate it more smoothly across your entire company.
Build a culture of team-wide education
Oftentimes, organizations end up relying on a few power users to answer questions when adopting new tools and technologies, creating bottlenecks. Nick suggests creating a culture of info-sharing from the very beginning to avoid trapping relevant information in silos and to empower more of your team..
Create clear resources
In order for your team to get the most out of Webflow, create a set of clear, easy-to-access resources for your team to reference — these can be self-serve learning tools, or interactive spaces where folks can get answers to their questions. The team at Red Antler set up a series of documents, tools, and spreadsheets, all consolidated in a handy Notion page for anyone to access. They also built a project tracker in Google Sheets to align on key meetings, goals, deliverables, and integration approaches. And if team members still had questions on their self-education journey, they could turn to the dedicated Slack channel called Webflow Hivemind, which encouraged active — rather than passive — sharing and learning.
“It really democratized learning, expedited our growth process, and unlocked growth,” said Nick. “Throughout this, we had fewer meetings because they're self-starting documents—folks can come in and continue to learn at their own pace.”
Form a steering group
The folks at Red Antler really benefited from rallying a group of dedicated discipline experts and saw what a huge difference it made to increasing company-wide adoption of Webflow. The group met monthly to discuss things they’d learned, areas that needed improvement, and concepts to try in the future. This group kept everyone on the same page and allowed their team to continue steady progress with the tool.
Adapt processes based on client and agency needs
Any agency with multiple clients knows there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to take — the approach depends on the needs. The same goes for how you and your team use Webflow in different situations.
Evaluate the project’s needs
Not every project needs its own Jamstack developer, designer, and project manager. With tools like Webflow, agencies can fully deliver on client needs. Small client with a smaller ask? A designer with vision and the right training can bring that site to life as both a creative visionary and web developer.
Nick and his team had the foresight to train some clients in Webflow as they were training their own team. This gave clients the opportunity to share their own feedback on the training process so the Red Antler team could iterate on how they onboard new people and tools. “Trying different makeups of teams, trying new tools, trying new activities unlocked our growth and how we could use Webflow in the future,” said Nick.
A solution for modern agencies
In the time it took Nick and Red Antler to onboard Webflow across departments, new ways of working were already coming to the surface. When designers are empowered to develop their own work, and when project managers and clients are aligned with visual-first development, teams are able to unlock new levels of creativity and serve their customers better. The more holistic your onboarding and training programs are when integrating a new tool like Webflow, the faster your team will take advantage of all the features that excited you in the first place.
Catch additional sessions from Webflow Conf 2022 here.
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