How to Build a Better Agency: Transforming Processes and improving productivity

SUMMARY
Build a better agency with expert insights on process transformation & productivity enhancement. Get ready to upgrade your digital marketing strategy!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
It takes a whole team with fully efficient processes to build a better agency
It takes a whole team with fully efficient processes to build a better agency

Imagine your dream agency – it's like the Taylor Swift of agencies, always ahead of the game. A "better agency" recognizes that working smarter and not harder is the true game changer. It 's innovative and improves with time, delivering top-notch work quickly, while exceeding customer expectations.

Now, how do the best agencies accomplish all this?

Two words: efficient processes and productivity.

Well, that's technically three words, but you get the idea.

Picture a smoothly running agency where new ideas abound, tasks flow seamlessly, projects are completed ahead of schedule, and clients are satisfied because customer service is top-notch.

That's the magic of efficiency! It gets more work done with a smaller workforce and shorter time. This translates to happy clients and lower costs.

In this article, we spill the beans on turning your firm into one of these superstars.

Why Is It Important to Assess Current Processes?

Like Albert Einstein said: "If you want to know the future, look at the past."

When choosing a new approach, you need to review the present state of affairs so you can identify your strengths and any opportunities on the horizon. You might not realize it yet, but a previously useful system could be hindering productivity. Processes might be neglecting customer pain points like the chaotic digital terrain, unclear road maps, or information overload, leaving customers dissatisfied.

There are various agencies in different industries, such as advertising, marketing, etc. But to create a better agency, regardless of industry, tackling these inefficiencies and refining processes for success is crucial.

You can easily visualize your pain points with the help of a process map.

In process mapping, we draw a visual representation of our agency's work process. By mapping out our processes, we can identify hitches such as tasks that last too long, information loss, or duplicate work. The mapping gizmos can be as simple as pen and paper or as sophisticated as digital tools.

Want to quickly and efficiently assess your current processes? Try the free ScaleMap Diagnostic tool, which diagnoses 50 operational gaps in just five minutes and saves teams at least five hours weekly.

Looking for Improvements to Build a Better Agency?

An image of a flowchart, symbolizing how visualizing and optimizing workflows can help you build a better agency.
An image of a flowchart, symbolizing how visualizing and optimizing workflows can help you build a better agency.

Despite how daunting it might seem, all it takes to build a better agency is to make changes in some steps of the existing work process. Some of these changes include:

Optimizing workflows

Mastery of workflow optimization makes all the difference when upscaling in business. The very first step in optimizing your workflow is to identify and eliminate unnecessary work to free up resources for what truly matters. Other steps you can take to achieve an optimized workflow are:

  • Automate repetitive manual tasks. This is our secret weapon when building a better agency. It lets technology handle the heavy lifting and frees team members for more strategic work.
  • Standardize processes across departments/teams. This ensures uniformity, fosters cross-department collaboration, and encourages teamwork.
  • Implement project management tools. This gives real-time visibility of project progress. You can see what's happening, when, and how it's happening. Also, it increases transparency, making customers gain confidence in your agency.

Implementing these changes strategically and efficiently requires you to get familiar with the various tech and gizmos on the market.

Leveraging technology and tools

The beauty of technology is its speed and accuracy. Implementing it while creating an efficient project management work process helps make work easier. Some applications of technology and tools include:

Make the best out of current available tools such as SOPs to create the better version of your agency
Make the best out of current available tools such as SOPs to create the better version of your agency

SOPs – i.e. Standard Operating Procedures.

They're like a rulebook of operational guidelines containing best practices. We can easily share this rulebook with all departments, harmonizing their day-to-day operations.

There's also automation that completes mundane, time-suck tasks. And integration that enables adequate communication between software. This creates a well-orchestrated symphony within your agency.

For instance, data flows seamlessly when you integrate your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) with your email marketing platform. This increases efficiency and paves the way for better agency reviews.

You can learn much more about EOS Smart Rocks and agency integrators and how they make work easier.

Other management software includes Click Up or Asana, Salesforce or HubSpot for CRM software, Zapier for automation, time trackers like QuickBooks, and customer support software like Freshdesk. AI can come in handy at any stage to ease the work.

Building a productive team

Your members are crucial to make a goal happen. But your efficiency as a project manager also affects a project greatly.
Your members are crucial to make a goal happen. But your efficiency as a project manager also affects a project greatly.

To build a productive team, we need to master the art of product management and learn to be better project managers ourselves. This knowledge creates a good leadership team of highly trained workers. Such a team will have motivation, which brings enthusiasm and skill, thus ensuring expertise.

While hiring, recruit individuals who align with your agency's values, possess the required skills, and exhibit a personality fit. Invest in training top talent and provide a rewarding environment for their growth. Constant opportunities, mentorship, and skill development help them stay updated with industry trends and ensure retention.

Measuring productivity and monitoring progress

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and performance metrics provide clarity and direction. They help determine the best methods for enhancing efficiency in different aspects of operation.

Tracking progress is akin to taking snapshots of your journey. It makes it possible to evaluate the existing strategies and develop real-time solutions for the new ones.

Leveraging data analytics unveils valuable insights that can inform your decisions and shape the future of your agency.

Optimizing the sales process

To keep your agency going, it's vital to take good care of your sales procedures.
To keep your agency going, it's vital to take good care of your sales procedures.

This entails simplifying the lead generation and sales processes.

"So, what do I need to do?" you might ask.

Every agency owner needs to understand the importance of an agency fee structure because it streamlines the sales process. It also simplifies customers' service renewals. Automated communication, such as with a chatbot, helps to maintain engagement, and a customer care provider can step in if needed.

CRM software also helps collect valuable data that improves the agency's responsiveness. All these steps help make sales more effective and improve cross-selling prices.

Streamlining lead generation and sales

Another excellent way to optimize your sales process is to make sure your agency is always attracting new clients while exceeding expectations with your current customers.

You can find out if your lead generation efforts are streamlined with CRM software. Another useful technique for getting new clients is to ask for referrals from your current clients.

Improving client onboarding

This entails streamlining the documentation, creating a standardized onboarding process, communicating expectations clearly, and maintaining a solid customer relationship. This helps customers understand the work timeline, what to expect, and how to communicate effectively.  

It's essential to maintain this standard as it makes clients feel appreciated and understood, leading to a stronger relationship.

Enhancing client management

Here are a few tips for how to enhance your client management skills:

An agency will not function without clients, so remember to be proactive and communicative to them
An agency will not function without clients, so remember to be proactive and communicative to them
  1. Implement Account Management Systems. Account management systems are the brain of your client management operation. They help in organization and ensure that customer needs are up-to-date.
  2. Automating Billing, Invoicing, and Collections. Automation is like a magic spell that wipes away the stress. It ensures that billings are done routinely and on time. It's an essential financial tool for a better agency.
  3. Standardizing Reporting Processes. Standardizing the way reports are presented leads to clarity. It guarantees consistency, which promotes transparency and reliability.
  4. Proactive Communication and Regular Meetings. Proactive communication is the essence of customer relations. Regular meetings are necessary to inform clients of the happenings and create an avenue to gather feedback.

While these tips cover the various tools for strengthening client relationships in the short term, you can't just set them and forget them. There are several long-term techniques you can use to build an agency with better client and employee relationships.

Fostering continuous improvement

Instilling a culture of refinement

Building a culture of refinement begins with encouraging open communication, peer review, and constructive criticism. Why? Because this culture nurtures ongoing changes and fosters improvement.

Providing training and resources

The best thing about empowering teams with the necessary knowledge and tools is, this will help improve their output. How? Well, it is a form of investment in the team's growth and helps achieve a better agency.

Regular assessments for new opportunities

Assessing the current process in use helps us to find necessary changes to put us on track for the creation of a more efficient digital marketing agency. It enables us to focus efforts on the weak points.

Bonus: Listen to this podcast as I discuss the importance of processes and systems in building a better agency even with unexpected challenges!

Start Laying These Foundational Bricks and Build a Better Agency

Always seeking improvement only results in one thing: a better agency.
Always seeking improvement only results in one thing: a better agency.

Finally, our journey toward building a better agency is marked by critical strategies that must be implemented. We are sure of success by improving productivity, focusing on client relationship management, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. To become efficient, we need to:

  • Streamline Processes with Technology: Harness the power of digital tools and software to automate routine tasks and streamline workflows. Implement project management systems to track progress, utilize CRM platforms for customer management, and adopt communication tools for team collaboration. Evaluate and integrate technology that specifically addresses your agency's unique challenges and needs.
  • Cultivate a Skilled and Motivated Team: Invest in regular training and professional development to keep your team's skills sharp and up-to-date. Foster a culture of motivation and engagement through recognition programs, clear career pathways, and opportunities for growth. Encourage creativity and initiative by giving team members ownership of their projects and celebrating their successes.
  • Transparent Client Communication: Establish a clear communication protocol from the start. Use onboarding sessions to set expectations and introduce clients to your process. Maintain regular updates and open channels for feedback. Utilize tools like client portals for transparency and schedule regular check-ins to build trust and strengthen client relationships.
  • Foster a Feedback-Driven Corporate Culture: Create an environment where feedback and constructive criticism are valued. Encourage open dialogues through regular team meetings and one-on-one sessions. Implement feedback mechanisms like suggestion boxes or anonymous surveys. Train leaders and managers in giving and receiving feedback effectively, ensuring it leads to positive changes and personal development.

As you plan this journey, remember the critical points for a "Better Agency" are adaptation and growth.

And that's a wrap!

I sure hope you're as excited as I am about improving my work process.

If you are, then take the first step now and try the free ScaleMap Diagnostic Tool to get specific results for your agency. Your journey starts now; are you ready for it?

Business operations consultant Juliana Marulanda
Juliana
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.