How to Set Up Asana & More Hot Tips from a CRM Specialist
Is organization your company's weakest link? Do you struggle daily to remember what was on your to-do list compared to yesterday's? Are you tired of relying on email threads from months ago to figure out where you and your team are at in terms of customer service?
Here's one last question: did you know Asana can help you out with all of these problems, and then some? If you'd like to learn more about this exceptional project management program, keep reading. I'll go over how to set up Asana as well as provide even more hot tips. It'll take even less time than it would take to declutter your office's desk!
Step 1: Sign up for an account
Like many other CRM software on the market, Asana will require you to select the plan of your choice. Their current offers include:
The Basic Plan - perfect for smaller agencies and companies with less than 15 staff. Asana provides you with its basic and yet most efficient tools such as task management, status creation, and project management. Free integration to Slack, GSuite, and Outlook is also included in the Basic plan. Best of all, if your company is getting started with better project management, it's free to use.
The Premium Plan - best for companies who know a little more about project management, but they need more confidence in doing so. In addition to the tools provided in the Basic Plan, those who sign up for the Premium can receive personalized customer success guidance (you will need to check if you're eligible first), an additional Timeline project view (4 instead of 3 project views), more automated workflows than manual ones, and no limits on users who can access the projects you create.
The Business Plan - for the companies who need to manage tasks and work across several strategies and initiatives for client success. Think big names like Spotify, The New York Times, and NASA to name a few genuine clients of Asana in particular. On top of everything you can expect to find when you sign up for the Premium Plan, the Business Plan will provide you with advanced workflows and reporting, Portfolios and Goals in addition to the 4 project views from the Premium Plan, and basically everything that's in the first two plans you can receive in the Business one, and even more.
You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial if you're still testing the waters and trying out different CRM systems.
Once you've decided on the plan that best suits your business, or signed up for a trial, you can create your account using your email address and a custom password, or you can connect your Gmail or Outlook account to it. You can also invite other staff members (if any) to start using the account you've created.
Step 2: Create your first project
Projects are going to be the backbone of your plans on Asana. A project will ensure everyone knows what their tasks are, when they're due, and how they're going to be accomplished, all of which matter to a successful job well done.
There are several ways to view the project you set up, and you have the option to choose which one best sticks with you in your mind. These include Board, List, Calendar, and Timeline (only for Premium Plans and up).
Who doesn't love a good checklist? The List can be a good starting point for anyone who's just getting warmed up to using Asana. Sometimes getting all the tasks out and then rearranged in list form first can translate into an even more effective means of organization in the following options.
From a design perspective, using Boards for projects can give a visual representation of the examples needed to create the designs as well as the finished products. Attaching files is easily done and you can add a description and leave comments about the finer details needing to be done for these types of tasks.
Calendars are great for scheduling tasks such as content creation and launches for new social media promotions. It's still visual like the boards, however it includes the dates you typically see on a calendar, making it easier to keep a deadline in mind.
Timelines can be a good overall way to see when certain tasks need to be completed by when, and those managing the timelines can make adjustments when needed very easily.
Feel free to use all of the options you're presented with! Doing so will give yourself and your team a good feel and idea for how each format looks and feels to use.
Once you've decided whichever of these formats you'd like to start with, click on the option that says "Create Project" and then follow the prompts from that point on. Some good starting points would be to edit the project details (aka the title) and set a coloured icon since the project will appear on the left hand side of your screen when it's created.
If you like how certain projects are going and have seen success from them, the next thing you can do to shorten the organizing process is create a template. Click on the arrow pointing downward next to the project's name, then select "Save as Template".
Step 3: Create fields and assign tasks
Fields in Asana are where you can provide as many details as you need about your project: the person in charge of the task, the name of the task itself, the due date, and the status of the task being completed. We'll go a little further into the lattermost detail below.
For now, either click "NEW SECTION" or press Tab and N on your keyboard. This should bring up a new section where you can add tasks to. You can rename this section and then click on the plus sign next to its title, which should then enable you to create your first new task. You can name the task whichever you like.
The best way to explain how to do this part is by example. Let's say you're a flower shop owner. You can start by naming the first section "Setting Up". Then, you can add any of the tasks you think could be done before moving the Closed sign on your shop's front door to Open, such as watering the flowers, sweeping the floor, and so on.
Step 4: Create custom statuses
These can also vary depending on the task at hand, and it never hurts to start with a few basics. A few I like to use include a green "Done", a red "Late", and an orange or yellow "Working on it".
To use the flower shop example again, let's say you've put together a huge order of wedding flowers. Some of the tasks involved include consulting with the customer (the bride and groom, or the hotel where it's taking place) first, then getting the order written down. Afterward comes making the flower arrangements, followed by the delivery on the wedding day to the venue, and then the payment needs to be received.
In all these cases, you can set up statuses that say "Done" once the consultation is over, then "Working on it" while making the flower arrangements, and then if something comes up (for example, you run out of stock for vases and that delays your delivery of the arrangements), you can notify other staff members by selecting the status as "Late".
Alternatively, if you want to feel even more successful about a task being completed, you can click on the checkmark that may appear when you hover over the task in question and poof! No more task, it's marked as done and then archived in Asana.
Step 5: Pin down deadlines
Having deadlines set up will notify everyone as to whether or not a task is due by a certain date. This is also a super easy thing to do in Asana that will only take a few seconds.
Let's say you have a few weeks yet until the flower arrangements need to be delivered to the wedding venue. You may want to let your employees know they have time, however there is a due date they need to be ready by, so they need to know when to start as well.
All you have to do to assign this date to a task in Asana is to look at where the option "Due Date" is located in the Task's details. A calendar will appear when you click on the blank space below in the task, and you can either select a date in the calendar, skip ahead to the next month, or add a Start Date.
Everyone assigned to this task will be notified of due dates when they first log in. You'll see a list of the tasks due that very day, or tomorrow. And if you still have trouble with this part, you can always go to the next step to fix that.
Step 6: Set up email notifications
The easiest step of all! Once you have your project set up along with some tasks, statuses, and due dates, you can set your account up so you receive email notifications and be reminded of when certain things are due on your part or your staff's.
All you need to do here is click on your user profile picture in the top right corner of your browser. A menu will appear underneath, and you'll want to click on "My Settings…" A new screen will show up where you can then click on Notifications. On this new screen, you can select when you don't want to be disturbed, which email you want to receive notifications from, and more.
You're ready to rock Asana! …or are you?
What I've outlined here are the very basics of setting up your Asana and projects. If you would like, I also offer an Asana video tutorial that goes over the basics, in case you're more of a visual learner. You can click here to access it for 50% off.
Would you like to know another tip on how to get more out of Asana? Hire a certified pro. Not only am I a specialist with several other CRM platforms, I'm also certified to use and implement Asana, adding to my repertoire of CRM specialties.
Book a consultation and get started on even more of Asana's great features!