Connectably is how you do CRM with Xero. And this page is the start point for getting started with Connectably, describing the process and first steps with connecting and using Xero with it.
Connectably is a simple CRM for Xero users that connects your sales & marketing with your accounting & bookkeeping in Xero.
Please follow the help guides below as you get started with us:
Xero First Steps
As you start your free trial with Connectably, you'll go through the online onboarding step-by-step where we'll help you to:
- link Connectably with your Xero on the first log in;
- ensure your client contact records in Xero are complete with information and ready to be synced into Connectably;
- check that you have, or add, the relevant chart of account codes in Xero for one-off sales, subscription / recurring products and bank fees (for processing charges by Stripe and GoCardless);
- set up products in Xero against the correct account codes that you'll use in Connectably when you sell your products, services and packages via Connectably order forms and quotes;
- check you have an invoice template in Xero with appropriate formatting and text to be sent with your invoices triggered by Connectably for one-off or subscription payments;
- see what syncs into Xero from Connectably, and via Connectably from partners, GoCardless and Stripe;
- see what information updates in Xero when you make contact and company updates in Connectably and make sales using Connectably order forms, or via Stripe or GoCardless;
- manage the configuration settings in Connectably that join Connectably's order form processes with your Xero chart of account settings;
- see how and where Connectably pulls in contact and product information from Xero;
- understand how you can disconnect your Xero account from Connectably if you choose to end your subscription.
There are videos and help guides for all these steps to make the process quick and straightforward for you.
Order Forms (Getting Started)
Xero is a fantastic software service for tracking and reviewing financial performance in a legally compliant way. But from a perspective of presenting options to your clients so that you can get paid efficiently and automatically in advance of the sale it is somewhat limited for client services businesses.
As a business using Xero alone wanting to move to a model where a client makes a payment commitment to you at a confirmed time, you are somewhat limited to either:
- invoicing first and presenting payment options on the Xero invoice (and therefore reliant on the client taking action to pay you and all the chasing that is involved in that), or;
- setting up a basic e-commerce site and having the payment service that you attach to that e-commerce service collect the payment for you to deposit it in your bank account.
Connectably offers you a middle way. Instead of having the uncertainty and unpredictability of (1), or the expense and confusion of (2), you can host secure order forms using the software. When you want to sell to your prospects, just create a form (or re-use an existing one for something you've sold before), include the products or services you want to sell, choose the payment service you're going to get paid through (GoCardless for direct debits or electronic bank transfers, Stripe for debit or credit cards, or 'Offline' to just trigger the sending of the invoice via Xero for payment manually.
This help guide talks you through how order forms interact with Xero and the link at the bottom of the guide will take you to the next step, setting up your first order form in Connectably.
1. Sending Invoices
When you create an order form you'll be asked if you want Xero to send invoices out automatically on your behalf. There are two times this can happen - when the payment is authorised (order form submission), and when the invoice is paid (typically 7-9 days later when the payment service has taken payment from your client and paid out to your bank account). You can choose one, or the other, or both of these options. See below:
2. Products and Sales Options
Connectably fully syncs from Xero your products and services (Xero: Business > Products and Services, previously known as 'Inventory') into Connectably's order forms and opportunity records so that you can select them to sell to your clients. The screenshot below is from the second page of the order form set up. The annotated item numbers are described further below:
- 'Refresh from Xero' - Connectably regularly refreshes contacts, companies, payment information and products from Xero, but if you've only just added products or services to Xero's Products and Services section, then clicking this button will fully refresh the product list in Connectably with the latest updates from Xero.
- 'Item' Product Selector - begin typing in this box and products using this text string will be returned in a drop down list. Choose the product or service from the list that you want to add to the order form. The 'Description' from Xero will be added to the order form when you select the product, and this can be edited so that your buyers see something different to the information that Xero holds.
- 'Unit Price' - when you've selected a product, Xero pulls in the price of that item (excluding taxes) from Xero. You can edit the price here if you want to charge your clients a different amount.
- 'Subscription Interval' - if the product you have chosen in (2) is associated with a subscription / recurring payments revenue accounts in Xero (see this and thishelp article, if this is unclear to you), then Connectably will ask you to configure how you want to bill for these recurring services: You can enter subscription intervals by day (where '1' would be daily billing, '7' would be weekly, '14' would be bi-weekly etc), or by month (where '1' would be monthly, '2' would be bi-monthly, '3' would be quarterly, '12' would be annually etc). You are also asked to specify how many times the client will be charged. Leaving this box empty will set up an ongoing subscription without termination date; whereas putting a number in here will set the maximum number of occurrences that the client will be billed - e.g. '3' would mean that the client would be billed for 3 cycles.
Important note on managing the billing / sync process:
Once payment methods, items, prices and (where relevant) subscription intervals have been set in Connectably's order form, Connectably manages that payment and billing process as the hub of those activities. For subscriptions, you don't need to set up recurring invoices in Xero. Connectably will do that for you, managing the payment-triggering process in GoCardless / Stripe for you, and recording the new invoices and payment updates in Xero as things happen. Think of Connectably as the hub managing Xero and your payment providers in this process.
Now you've understood how Connectably's order forms interact with Xero, let's move on to setting up an order form.
Setting Up Connectably Order Forms – Sales, Invoices and Payments [Step-By-Step Guide]
Connectably's order forms functionality offers you a simple and quick way of removing the uncertainty and unpredictability of clients not paying promptly via manual invoicing and the removes the expense and confusion of managing an e-commerce store to get paid online.
Order forms are hosted securely online on Connectably's servers and present buyers with a simple, secure mobile-responsive interface to place their order with you for products and services that you set up with a few mouse clicks for them to buy. Here's an example that we're going to walkthrough setting up in this help guide:
This help article describes step-by-step the process of setting up your first order form. In our example video below, we set up an order form to:
- Sell two service products at the same time: the first a one-off product, the second a recurring subscription service, both sold on the same form.
- We're going to set up the form to take payments using Stripe, but the process is very similar for transactions taken using GoCardless
The steps walked through in the video are explained in more detail below.
Seven steps to using your first order form
To set up a Connectably order form, first ensure in Xero that you have set up appropriate sales and subscription chart of accounts codes, that you have products and services set up to sell, and that Connectably is configured to recognise these account codes and products. On your website, ensure that you have an appropriate 'Thank you for your order' page for the product or services that they're buying from you that you can take them to after they've placed their order. It should explain to them in simple but clear terms what they should expect to happen next.
Once you've done these pre-checks, let's get into the order form set up:
Log in to Connectably and go to Settings, then choose option 10, 'Order Forms'. This page will have all the order forms you've set up to use in it. To create your first one (/ a new one), click the 'Create Template' orange button at the top-right of the page:
Page one (of three) of the order form set up wizard looks like the image below (without the blue numbers in brackets).
- Give your order form a name. Your buyers will see this name as the title of the order form, so name it something that's appropriate to what they'd expect to see. In our example, we called this 'Connectably Subscription and Design Service Pack'.
- Set 'Xero invoice send (Authorised)' to 'Yes' if you want to send the client an invoice from Xero immediately at the point of them placing their order. (Recommended). This invoice they receive will be marked as not yet paid, because the payments service, Stripe (or GoCardless if you choose that), won't have fully processed the payment into your account at that stage. In our example, we set this to 'Yes'.
- Set 'Xero invoice send (Paid)' to 'Yes' if you want to send the client an invoice from Xero at the point of the money from the payment service reaching your current account. This can be 5-9 days after the order is placed depending on the day of the week. This invoice that they receive will be marked as 'Paid'. In our example, we set this to 'No' in our example.
- Set 'Thank You Page URL' to a page on your website where your buyer will be taken to when they've placed their order via the Connectably order form. This should be a meaningful page in the context of what they've purchased from you, and at the very least should say 'Thank you for your order' and give some details of what they can expect to happen next. It may make sense to set up this page before you begin the process of creating your order form in Connectably. It's the first step in how you onboard the client, so don't neglect to do this or give them a poor experience when they get there. A warm welcome and perhaps a checklist of what to expect next both work well. Adding a video to the page from you, welcoming them to whatever they've bought and working with you works even better. Put yourself in their shoes. What would delight you to see?
- 'Charge Day' - on what day of the month do you want to charge them for their purchase. Leaving this as '0' charges them immediately, but if you're charging at the start or end of the month ('1' and '28' respectively), this is a great place to configure that. In our example, we left this at '0' to charge immediately.
The bottom half of page one of the order form set up wizard looks like the image below (without the blue numbers in brackets).
Alternative to (4) - setting up a Workflow Stage Move as an action:
- Set the 'Payment Merchant' service you want to use to take payment for the products or services. Options are 'GoCardless' to take payments via automated electronic bank transfer, 'Stripe' to take payments via debit or credit card, and 'Offline Payment' to just get an e-signed agreement and automatically trigger an invoice to be sent from Xero for manual payment by the client. We set this to 'Stripe' in our video example.
- Set 'Live' or 'Sandbox' - if this setting is set to 'Live' the order form will take real payments from your buyers; if set to 'Sandbox', the order form will only take test payments, if you've set up the 'Sandbox' versions of the GoCardless and Stripe services (in Settings > Initial Settings). We recommend when you first set up an order form that you run test (/Sandbox) transactions first to confirm your ordering, thank you and follow-up processes work as you'd expect. We set this to 'Sandbox' in our example.
- 'Link to your Terms and Conditions': Insert the URL here for your buying terms and conditions on your website. If they do not currently exist on the site then you will need to create them. It's a requirement of online payment services that you have clearly and referenced terms and conditions for your buyers to review before, during and after purchase, in the context of what they are buying from you. Seek legal advice if you do not have these.
- 'Action on Payment' - option 1 'Apply Tag': select a tag or tags that you would like to apply to contacts buying these products / services through this order form. You should plan and create these tags first before creating your order form. We recommend that these tags categorise buyers by the fact they're becoming a 'Current Client' (a tag), something about the nature of what they've purchased (e.g. 'Bought: x Product' (a tag), 'Current Subscriber: y Service' (another tag)), when they bought - if that's relevant (e.g. 'Client 2019', another tag), and what automations you want to trigger by the tag application (e.g. 'Start x Product Welcome Sequence') - which you can then use as an entry point for an automation. If any tag applied already exists on the contact record then it will not be re-applied / removed. In our example form, we applied 5 tags on order form completion.
- 'Action on Payment' - option 2 'Stage Move': as an alternative to applying a tag / tags on order form submission, if it suits your sales and delivery process more to create an opportunity at a specific stage of a workflow in Connectably (or move an existing contact opportunity to that stage), then choose the option 'Stage Move' as an alternative to 'Apply Tag'. The dropdown here will list all stages in all workflows you have set up in your Connectably system (see: Settings > Workflow and Stages). Remember that you can use 'Stage Move' as a trigger for starting Automations, which can themselves apply tags, so even selecting 'Stage Move' as the action on payment, still allows you to subsequently apply tags to a contact record using this method. We didn't use this action in the walkthrough video.
- Set the order form to be used as a 'Standalone Order Form' to just use this order form on its own without sending a full quote to a prospective buyer (most common option), or 'Ordered via Quote' if you want to associate the order form with a quote that you're going to send to a prospect. The difference is that the 'Ordered via Quote' option requires a quote approval process for a specific quote first. We set this option to 'Standalone Order Form' in our example.
- Once all the settings on this page have been completed, click the orange 'Next' button to move to the next page where you'll select the products and services you want to sell via this order form,
Page two (of three) of the order form set up wizard is where we add products and services to our order form. These steps describe the process for adding them:
- Connectably syncs regularly with Xero when you visit core pages around the system - at login, on visiting the contacts search page etc. But if you've just finished adding or editing products in your Xero account, you can click the 'Refresh from Xero' button to pull in updated product information from Xero.
- In the vast majority of cases you'll set your order form type to 'Pay Now' to get paid straight away for all the items in your form (one-off products and any first payments in a payment plan or subscription). However, if you get paid in defined stages, such as a project delivery - at the start, middle, handover etc - then you may want to set your order form to take payments in percentages or for specific products as you move that opportunity between the workflow stages. Choose either of the 'Staged' option to set up the products / percentages and the relevant stages that Connectably will trigger the billing at.
The screenshot below shows the settings used to configure the product(s) you'll be selling on your order form:
- Begin typing product names and they'll appear in a drop down selection in this box. Choose the product you want from the list.
- If you want to check any of the details on the product, click the 'View in Xero' button to open the product up in your Xero account in another tab.
- Check or edit the product description that your buyers will see.
- Review the quantity, unit price, and sub-total for that product line. Quantity should be 1 or more, and unit price can be edited for the order form from what has pulled through as the default from Xero. If you change the price, this does not change the default price in your Xero product listings, but will pass through into invoices on Xero for this order.
- Click the add ('+') button to add further product lines to your order form. To remove any, click the minus ('-') button to remove those lines.
- For products that are associated with a subscription products account code, additional options for how the payment schedules will be configured and charged by Connectably (using the payment merchant option you set up earlier). Charging daily or weekly, use 1 or 7 respectively and the 'Days' option in the subscription interval dropdown. Charging monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or annually, use 1 or 2 or 3 or 12 respectively and the 'Months' option in the subscription interval dropdown.
- Check the final total for what will be charged in this first payment (net of sales taxes). The total includes any single purchase products plus first payments for any multi-payment / subscription options.
- Check the settings on this page then click the orange 'Next' button to move to the next step configuring the order form.
Page three (of three) of the order form set up wizard is where we set up the form and add any text / branding around it (hint: you don't need much).
To get started here, add the form by clicking Widgets > Forms > then single click 'Payment Form' and it gets added to the page underneath the 'Drag elements from left menu' placeholder.
Once the form is on the page, you can hover over the right hand side of the 'Drag elements from left menu' placeholder text to reveal the 'X' delete button to remove the placeholder text:
The form is now ready to go. You can press 'Save' (bottom right of the screen) and then 'Exit Builder Mode' to exit the order form wizard.
Alternatively, if you'd like to add other design elements to the page - e.g. additional headings, text or a logo etc then select and drag them onto the page from the 'Text' and 'Media' menus on the left hand side of the page. Popular options are the 'Page Header' element or one of the other headers like H1 etc:
When you're done, press 'Save' (bottom right of the screen) and then 'Exit Builder Mode' to exit the order form wizard.
You're now done setting up your form. When back at the order forms view in 'Settings', just click 'Copy Link' then open a new browser tab and open the link there, or use the link in emails, web pages or other marketing materials:
Finally, put some thought to how you're going to direct your buyers to your order form. Is this simply going to be a link in an email? Or a 'buy now' button on your website that links to the order form page? If your buyer is already expecting to receive the link based on a conversation you've had with them, you don't need to go to town with graphics, instead just use a link, or simple button in the email. But if this is a purchase that you're encouraging somebody to make from your website who's relatively cold to your offer, for example, then you might want to purchase or have designed a more compelling and prominent button that goes with the style of your website.
Invoices and Xero
Invoices for orders placed will be created in Xero, including the products, quantities and prices you set in the order form along with references to the payment merchant and link to the invoice on Connectably. The invoice will be sent out according to the settings you set in the order form set up:
- Item details: product, description, quantity, price are all set from the order form. Lead source (if it exists) is the tracking category in Xero that matches the lead source tag you've set for the contact in Connectably.
- Link to invoice details on the Connectably app.
- Payment link - Connectably will reconcile payments into Xero from Stripe and GoCardless. Stripe takes immediate payments from customers but holds for 7 days before payout. GoCardless will set up mandates with
Payments and Xero
As payments are received, the payment status is updated in Xero.
If you need additional assistance be sure to drop a support email to us or send a chat message to let us know. Likewise, when you're up and running and ready to sell (or have sold!) tell us your story!