Driving Success: Mastering Agency Management

Key Takeaways
Scale your agency and succeed! This article presents essential strategies for agency management to ensure smooth operations and competitiveness.

The voyage of a digital marketing agency owner is a quest peppered with split-second decisions, strategic calculations, and perpetual fine-tuning.

Each choice, no matter how minute, ripples across the entire operation, shaping the project's destiny. This vast responsibility demands the right arsenal of tools and a razor-sharp focus on effective agency management.

Steering the ship of a digital marketing agency is an intricate dance of juggling various facets:

  • Coordinating team efforts
  • Meeting targets
  • Adhering to policies

But above all, ensuring client satisfaction.

Welcome aboard this journey as we explore the nuances of agency management and the pivotal role it plays in charting the course towards success.

An agency's success is dependent on all individuals involved in the business, not just the management.
An agency's success is dependent on all individuals involved in the business, not just the management.

The crucial role of agency management

The bedrock of successful agency management lies in specialized knowledge, meticulously tailored to your specific type of agency. Health insurance agencies, for instance, require managers with deep insights into the intricacies of insurance policies. In contrast, digital agencies need leaders with a profound understanding of marketing in our technology-driven society.

Simply put, effective agency management aligns your resources to meet project objectives and exceed client expectations. It puts the client's needs at the forefront of every project, leveraging available resources to produce results that earn client approval. In essence, strategic agency management is the engine driving both customer satisfaction and financial prosperity.

Today, leveraging technology has revolutionized the management of digital marketing agencies, making it significantly more efficient and effective.

Competitive agencies utilize tools for a variety of crucial tasks. Most notably, they aid in managing workflows and tracking projects to ensure growth. Project management and agency management software tools empower managers and owners to tackle daily challenges and maintain progress efficiently.

Are you ready to get a hearty slice of this efficiency pie?

Then keep reading to learn how to establish the most effective agency management systems and sugar-rush your management performance to the sweet sound of increased quarterly profits.

How Can We Choose the Right Manager for Our Agency?

Choosing the best suited manager for your agency plays a big part in the agency's success in the future.
Choosing the best suited manager for your agency plays a big part in the agency's success in the future.

As an agency owner, you're juggling a myriad of tasks every single day. From supervising different teams and coordinating their actions, to staying on top of ever-changing industry trends and managing client relationships, the list of responsibilities seems never-ending.

You find yourself spread too thin, the precious hours of the day slipping away faster than you can say how much longer until retirement?

Amidst this gut-wrenching stress whirlwind, your agency's objectives blur and targets are missed more often than you care to admit. Crucial details fall through the cracks and consistency becomes a challenge. This chaotic scenario is precisely why the role of an agency manager becomes indispensable to your business health and yours as well.

An agency manager is more than just a supervisor; they are the orchestrator of your agency's operations, ensuring every aspect runs seamlessly and in harmony. They take on the burden of day-to-day logistics, allowing you to focus on your bigger vision.

Their role in meeting objectives and targets, and their adherence to relevant policies and guidelines, can be the make or break factor in your agency's success. Let's delve deeper into the integral role they play.

How an agency manager lightens you workload

An agency manager's responsibilities are usually similar across industries but with some exceptions.

Specifically, in a digital marketing agency, the responsibilities of the agency manager often include the following:

  • Planning and execution of digital marketing campaigns including SEO, marketing database, email, social media, and display campaigns
  • Designing, building, and maintaining clients' social media presence
  • Measuring and reporting on the performance of marketing campaigns and assessing results against goals
  • Identifying trends and insights to optimize spending and performance
  • Collaborating with the agency's teams, business and vendor partners
  • Planning, execution, and measurement of experiments and conversion tests
  • Evaluation of end-to-end customer experience across multiple channels and customer touchpoints
  • Brainstorming new and creative growth strategies
  • Evaluation of emerging technologies and providing insights on where those technologies are appropriate for adoption

Sounds exhausting, right? However, for a professional with expert-level knowledge of the marketing industry, these responsibilities are an easy feat, especially if they also have the right skill set to help the team provide the best level of service possible to clients.

To choose the right manager for the agency,  consider the following:

Identify their level of seniority and who they will be managing.

Many digital agencies look for an agency manager who has expert knowledge in marketing. Usually, these professionals have at least a Bachelor's degree in marketing or similar field with at least three to five years of managerial experience.

In addition to their expertise, we should also consider the people they will manage. It's essential to understand the types of teams within your agency so that you can identify the ideal leadership style for your organization. After all, our teams are the driving force behind our agencies, with the manager serving as the strategic guide and facilitator.

This understanding fosters collaboration and synergy between the teams and the agency manager, crucial for success.

Explain their role in improving performance and making their own systems.

Agency managers also oversee team performance, including devising strategies to improve performance and time-management optimization. To facilitate these responsibilities, managers use an agency management system to track team activities and projects.

An agency management system (AMS) is a SaaS product that covers the general needs of a digital agency.

Essentially, an AMS is a comprehensive, incorporated, multi-functional software that helps in the automation of multiple work processes. Those processes typically include managing the agency's financials, contacts, and daily tasks.

An AMS also allows the agency manager to perform the following:

  • Creation of intake forms for new clients and projects
  • Collaboration among internal teams
  • Communication
  • Value reporting to clients

When setting up the agency management software, we need to explain our specific needs to the agency manager. This way, they can customize the AMS which allows us to track leads and any follow-up related to our projects.

When an agency manager fully understands our specific needs, they can create an agency management system that appropriately responds to these needs, leading to improved team performance.

Provide best practices for allocating a budget and onboarding the appropriate manager.

An effective process and onboarding will help the agency manager in preparing for the role.
An effective process and onboarding will help the agency manager in preparing for the role.

Once we've identified the ideal manager for our agency, it's essential to set the stage for their role. Introducing them to the team and acclimating them with the agency's ethos and processes are critical first steps. This not only helps them adjust quickly to their position but also clearly communicates the expectations for their role.

Here are some tips for onboarding your new manager:

  • Job shadowing — Providing the new agency manager with opportunities to observe peers in similar roles can be immensely beneficial. This first-hand exposure allows them to grasp the nuances of their role, anticipate potential challenges, and learn effective strategies for project conflicts. In essence, job shadowing is an invaluable tool for acclimating the new manager to their responsibilities.
  • Sharing of resources — As a newcomer, the manager isn't familiar with the intricacies of our operations. By providing them with essential resources — from our company history and the technology we utilize to the services we deliver — we equip them with the knowledge base they need. This comprehensive guidance empowers them to make informed, effective decisions once they officially step into their role.

In addition to thorough onboarding, the new agency manager should be well-versed in efficient budget allocation. This includes understanding strategies like employing marketing automation tools and trimming unnecessary expenses to optimize project budgets.

How to Set Up the Agency Management System

In an agency, it's important to have the Agency Management System set up starting of the first day of work.
In an agency, it's important to have the Agency Management System set up starting of the first day of work.

An Agency Management System (AMS) is an integral tool, streamlining agency operations from workflow and time management to customer relations enhancement. Beyond these functionalities, an AMS aids in generating fresh client leads and performing insightful analytics.

Is an AMS the same as a CRM?

It's crucial to understand, however, that an AMS is not interchangeable with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. While both track vital agency data, they serve different audiences:

An AMS is engineered for agency owners, while CRMs are primarily utilized by sales representatives.

Given its robust customization features, integrating an AMS within your agency is a smart move. Here are the essential steps to configure your AMS effectively.

Delegation Pyramid

Projects and tasks have varying levels of urgency and priority. When setting up an AMS, take note of which of these are urgent and important so you can organize the workload for max efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Important projects and tasks. These activities have outcomes that lead directly to goal achievement.
  • Urgent projects and tasks. These demand immediate attention since not dealing with them will have a negative impact on targets and objectives.

Customizing our agency management software based on the urgency and importance of projects can refine the appearance and functionality of our tools.

  • Project management software. Urgent and important projects will appear first in the dashboard and any notification will appear as urgent. This allows us to manage which tasks should we provide immediate action and attention to and which require more resource allocation. This way, we prevent the possibility of any delays in the execution or production of deliverables.
  • Internal knowledge base. When we know which projects and tasks to prioritize, we can determine what customer information is needed to complete them. By conducting thorough research on our information systems, we can ensure that information and details are communicated quickly and easily among teams.
  • Document & Asset management. Asset and document management, in conjunction with the project management software, should prioritize immediate and important tasks and projects. After researching the internal knowledge base, we can plan our next steps to complete these tasks. Any documents related to these high-priority projects should be gathered and organized before addressing others.


A dashboard will help your agency manager manuever projects easily.
A dashboard will help your agency manager manuever projects easily.

Each project brings its own set of tasks and deadlines. Thus, it's critical to keep a careful track of each task and project to ensure adherence to the established timelines, thereby guaranteeing successful project completion.

Other than the time tracking, we also need to track the progress of each task. This is where data comes into the picture.

An agency manager should look at how much of the task has been completed at a specific point in time to determine whether the assignee has been underperforming or not. When we look at their progress, we can also determine whether the right resources have been allocated to the right tasks.

If we discover that there have been lapses in our task assignment, we can adjust and reassign to the most appropriate resources, leading to an optimized project team.

Tracking the team member performance also identifies which workers require additional training. This way, we can implement strategies to improve their performance and prevent similar problems in other projects.


Communication is key for an agency manager to ensure the consistency of the profitability of your agency business.
Communication is key for an agency manager to ensure the consistency of the profitability of your agency business.

Another important aspect of managing agencies is communication.

As we chart the course of the project from planning to execution, maintaining constant communication with our clients is paramount. This not only keeps them informed about the project's progress but also sets clear expectations for all deliverables.

Open lines of communication provide our clients with the opportunity to voice any desired adjustments or potential issues they foresee with our project plan. When this happens, we can make the necessary adjustments to fulfill their requests and respond appropriately.

Regular dialogues with our teams are essential, whether we're addressing emerging issues or following up on tasks. Both agency management systems and project management software offer integrated communication tools that facilitate seamless interactions with our teams and clients.

In short, performance isn't the only key to a successful agency. We also need to effectively communicate with our teams and clients to ensure all targets and objectives are met.

How Can We Delegate Decision-making?

After consulting with the team members, a good agency manager makes the decisions in a project.
After consulting with the team members, a good agency manager makes the decisions in a project.

Decision-making is an important aspect of any successful project. We need to properly allocate the right resources to the right personnel to ensure the project is on time.

When it comes to delegation, an agency owner and manager should focus solely on tasks for which their unique expertise is required. These include complex issues that may arise in the planning and execution of the project.

However, simple problems, issues, and concerns should not be handled by the owner and manager, especially if other team members can resolve them.

Also, when we delegate decision-making to our teams, we can cultivate an interdependent agency, where teams have the capacity to make informed decisions about the project. This approach also cultivates a learning-centric environment as team members gain deeper insights about the client and the agency with each decision they make. After all, promoting continual learning among employees can significantly aid in employee retention.

Sound complex? Remember that AMS? You can use it here to your advantage.

The AMS can help significantly with decision making since it contains every project detail — whether it be customer information, industry information, or similar.

House of Management: Systems for Scorecards

Make the workload easier for your agency manager by setting metrics and scorecards for the team.
Make the workload easier for your agency manager by setting metrics and scorecards for the team.

Managing an agency can be hard, especially when the manager is new. One way to make the transition easier on them is to set metrics and scorecards to measure their performance and their team's performance.

Here are some tips we can use to help us build the correct scorecards for accurate measurements.

Define success by setting clear metrics and standards based on the agency's goals.

An agency manager tracks the team's metrics and standards by achieving goals.
An agency manager tracks the team's metrics and standards by achieving goals.

Like any ambitious venture, digital marketing agencies need clear, well-defined goals. Renowned business literature underscores the pivotal role of setting specific objectives and employing strategic measures to track progress. This approach ensures an agency's success and its competitive edge in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Success can be defined objectively or subjectively. In business, we define and measure success through metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics objectively measure different aspects of the agency — from financial health to customer satisfaction.

Our metrics should always be aligned with our objectives. When defining success factors, take a look at the objectives and determine which KPIs are most aligned with them.

Ensure complete alignment between the agency, the team, and the individuals.

It takes an effort from the whole team to ensure that the project goes smoothly along with the agency manager.
It takes an effort from the whole team to ensure that the project goes smoothly along with the agency manager.

Building a successful agency is not the sole work of the owner or the manager. It takes effort from everyone involved. Once we've determined our objectives and success metrics, we should properly communicate them to the teams to ensure alignment.

When everyone understands the goals, team members can effectively contribute to their individual tasks and to the broader agency objectives. Furthermore, aligning everyone with these metrics fosters strategic planning for enhancing productivity and overall performance across the agency hub.

Examine how to track performance to meet these standards and give feedback.

Agency managers track their team's performance religiously.
Agency managers track their team's performance religiously.

With our metrics defined and the whole team aligned, we can now shift our focus to performance tracking. It's time to engage the team in a brainstorming session to establish effective ways to monitor performance against these standards. This inclusive approach fosters team involvement and ensures the chosen methods accurately reflect their performance.

Manage Your Agency: Ready, set, success!

Be the most effective agency manager and bring every project of your agency business to success.
Be the most effective agency manager and bring every project of your agency business to success.

Agency management is a headache if our managers don't fully understand our business, teams, and clients. To do that, we must remember these key points:

  • Practice comprehensive agency management by supervising all operational aspects, maintaining clear communication with both clients and teams, and meticulously tracking projects.
  • Employ a cloud-based agency management solution (AMS) for streamlined management of projects and tasks. Remember, AMS serves the agency as a whole, unlike a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that mainly targets sales aspects, and project management software, which focuses solely on specific projects.
  • The hunt for the right agency manager should focus on their expertise and skill sets. Once chosen, immerse them in your business — familiarize them with clients, teams, and the performance expectations to ensure optimal effectiveness.
  • Effective AMS set-up calls for a deep understanding of your business. It also requires a clear delineation of decision-making responsibilities, along with proficiency in the tools utilized and the level of communication expected within the agency.
  • Harness the power of scorecards to measure success with precision. The scorecards should be fully aligned with the agency's goals and objectives and should be communicated to all team members. Ensure the team has a chance to review these scorecards, to verify their accuracy in measuring performance and success.

Imagine a workplace where your team is empowered, your projects are efficiently managed, and client satisfaction is off the charts. That's not just a dream. It's what agency management software can offer.

But don't just take our word for it. Experience the difference yourself.

Turn your agency into a powerhouse of productivity and profitability and reach out to us today. Let's get your agency management software set up and tailor it to your unique objectives.

Don't wait for success - chase it, grasp it, and let's make it happen together!

Business operations consultant Juliana Marulanda
Juliana Marulanda - ScaleTime Founder
Juliana Marulanda is a business operations expert, speaker, and the founder of ScaleTime. With over 20 years of experience across Wall Street, the non-profit sector, technology startups, and family-owned businesses, she now helps service-based businesses.
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