getting paperless in sales part one

Some months ago I was inspired by an article from FEDERICO VITICCI about the possibilities of automation with iOS and this had a deep impact on the way I am working in sales today. This article and the script examples helped me to make a big step forward in creating scripts with the app shortcuts formerly known as workflow and to automate processes in one of the greatest apps available in the App Store: Devonthink to go.

Now I decided to share my achievements and give back what I got for free and maybe to convince people to work more digitally. Isn’t it convenient if you try to find something and your company offers a document management system? No need to stand up from your workplace and search for a heavy folder in the big wall closet. To save time and money many companies scanned all the important documents for fast and structured access. Maybe your company is a little bit organised like that and maybe you are also one of the nine-to-fivers like me, who are spending their time with the collection of the information necessary for making the customers happy every day.

In my case a project starts very often when the telephone rings or after reception of an email. I observed most people make their notes on a piece of paper or they print the email to write on, especially if an important information is missing and you have to call your customer for details.

Sometimes the paperwork created in these activities gets big enough to fill up another folder and consecutively the secretary gets the order to archive everything. After that the paper isn’t needed anymore. What a waste of time and also very bad for our environment!

So please follow me today into a series of articles about the automation of several apps. The first article of this series starts with the interaction between Devonthink to go and airmail.

Airmail is one of my favourite email apps, because it is the only one which supports shortcuts out of the box. Dragging a mail to another app like devonthink creates a PDF automatically and this is perfect to take notes on while you’re calling a customer. For this matter I use an iPad in conjunction with the ApplePencil.

Airmail offers several possibilities for creating workflows but the most interesting one in my opinion is the connection to shortcuts which enables nearly endless ways of automation.

With the first workflow of this blog series I am going to generate a PDF automatically and save it in Devonthink to go. There a new folder is created for the new project with a new subfolder where the PDF is placed. The PDF gets a backlink to the email for an easy later reply, when you get to the part where you decide to send an offer or if you need to ask something by email and you want to use the inquiry as a basis.

Of course an inquiry number is generated and the folder within Devonthink gets named accordingly automatically. Several tags are assigned as well. For this process the script uses the email address of the sender. It takes the email address and extracts the company and the name of the sender.

This is useful if you later try to search for ongoing projects, especially if you get a call from the person who sent the inquiry. For better understanding I prepared a short video tutorial for this process.

Now lets dive in the things you have to do, to get this running.

1) Go to the settings of airmail and tap on services

2) Turn the switch for Workflow on (Bloop S.R.L. still uses the old name)

3) Go to custom actions

4) Create a new custom action, which looks like that (Screenshot)

5) Continue to the next window by tapping on “Send to Workflow”

7) After your successful download of the shortcut don’t forget to change your itemlink.

You can find the itemlink if you hold on the folder within devonthink for a while

The next topic will show you how to fill up your project folder with the help of automation. I’ve created a workflow for this as well. You can use the tiles of shortcuts to throw attachments or even the mail on it which is converted automatically in a PDF. This will be the next topic in this series.

Please share this if you find it useful and think before print 🙂

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3 thoughts on “getting paperless in sales part one

  1. Ok I am happy that it works now. This inquiry number is in a txt file situated in Dropbox. There is only a number in the file and Anfragenummer means in English inquiry number. Please feel free to change this if you won’t need it. Best regards Klaus

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