8 things we see agencies getting wrong (and how to get them right)

Are you doing anything on this list? If so, follow our tips and use your agency management system to inspire business growth.

There are hundreds of ways to organise work, especially at an agency. Agency teams juggle thousands of tasks a day. Successfully and unsuccessfully. In a busy agency setting streamlining business can often give way to the day to day tasks of getting projects done.

Whilst it may seem like an extra administrative step to implement or utilise an agency management system, it benefits your agency in the long term. Maximised opportunities, balanced workloads and increased revenue are just a few of the advantages.

But even with a new system we still see agencies making the same mistakes, minimising their chance for exponential growth.

Here’s a list of the top eight things we see agencies getting wrong.

1. Inefficient use of time

We still see so many agencies splitting the management of their workload across multiple systems.

It’s not uncommon to see agencies with one system for collaboration and file sharing, another for creating estimates and time tracking. Something for project planning and task management and finally, a system to manage agency finances.

It takes time and energy to learn how to use these multiple systems. And not just for account and project managers, but for entire teams. You can save so much time by streamlining these multiple systems into just one effective, easy-to-use management system.

Our mission at Tangram is to find the best system for your agency and help you to implement it effectively. This will save you time, energy and money and help you identify where your business can grow.

Save Time

2. Bypassing process

You’re well aware of all the benefits your new system can provide you and your agency. You’ve had the training and you’re excited to get started. But as the work comes in, one of the first things we see slipping is process. Steps start getting missed, people revert to old habits and before you know it you’re back to square one. Working the same way you always did and not utilising the benefits of the new system.

We advise mapping out your business process before you even start using your new agency management system. Set some goals in terms of how you use the software and the business growth you want to see. We offer workshops that can help you and your organisation implement the best system tools and put the right processes in place. Get in touch if you feel like you’ve slipped off the ladder.

3. Identifying opportunities for growth

If you have the right processes in place, your agency management system will help you to identify key opportunities for growth. If the data is there, it’s possible to review and improve system use to increase revenue, strengthen retention and boost profits. As you get used to your new system, small changes to existing workflow and procedures can help agencies find more value within their organisation and achieve better results overall. Scheduling regular time to analyse data in terms of identifying growth opportunities is an important step in looking towards the future.

agency growth

4. Rushing to update to the latest release

Anyone that has ever used a computer, knows that all software updates are not created equal. While the intentions of the software developers is well meaning, often bug fixes or new features can lead to unexpected behaviour in an update. We recommend doing your homework, before committing to an update.

Take the time to understand what is changing in the update, and what value that can have for your agency. Quite often software companies have release notes which can allow you to weigh up the pros and cons of updating immediately. Unless you are urgently awaiting a bug fix, or some new functionality, it pays to prepare and plan for the update and the possible changes it may bring.

5. Not enough reporting

Reporting is a robust way to track and improve productivity and performance. Most agency management systems will offer financial, project and employee reporting to help you understand workload, productivity and revenue. While most agencies do a post mortem on project completion, we recommend reporting throughout the duration of the project. This will give you a chance to identify potential overspending of resource time, or budget and keep an eye on scope creep. Which in turn, could affect your net margin.

Having the project managers report throughout their projects, will help them understand where workloads need to be altered or whether they need to push back on the client. Regular reporting will not only help the profitability of individual projects but also give management a more accurate overview of the health of the entire business.

6. Inconsistent data

Data entry consistently ranks low in terms of prioritisation. The “I just need to do this and I’ll add it to the system later” strategy is never a good one. Data such as leads generated, client satisfaction and client relationship communication are all key metrics that can help you spot clients at-risk of dissatisfaction as well as new business opportunities. Similarly, something as simple as not updating a client estimate in the system can have serious consequences.

We see a direct correlation between good, consistent data entry and an agency’s success. A vigorous database of easy-to-access information, that can be effortlessly shared is a powerful tool.

The best way to avoid this comes back to process. Monitor where and what the inconsistencies are. Sometimes the solution is as simple as investing in more staff training. Other times, it’s about tweaking the process. Engage your team. Communicate the benefits of following the process and consistent, accurate data should follow.

We compiled some information on the best ways to streamline data into meaningful information in a previous article. ​Take a read if you ever feel overwhelmed by the data options in your system​.

7. Communicating at all levels

On numerous occasions, we’ve seen fractures between the decision-makers and those who are tasked with using the agency management system. Often those at the top of an organisation have less knowledge of the overall tool and what it can do, but they have reporting requirements that need to be met. Including all relevant parties at the beginning of a system implementation, will ensure the processes that are designed will meet those ultimate reporting requirements from day one.

If all staff understand the reasons behind the systems and processes in place, the more likely they are to get on board. Having the whole agency working together to achieve the same goals, will ensure success.

8. Empowering your staff

One of the best ways to increase staff productivity is to empower your staff. Quite often we see resource managers micro managing every minute of someone’s day. Instead, give them the tools to manage themselves. Most agency management systems have resource management functionality to assign staff tasks with a set duration and deadline. managing their own time via this tool will not only fully optimise staff time, but will also allow your teams to take responsibility for their time. Empowering them to develop cutting edge, well thought out work.

Empowerment can also be offered to other teams via the use of the resource allocation tool. Managers will be able to monitor utilisation. When the agency is at capacity, freelancers can be engaged to relieve some of the pressure. When staff are being under utilised, it’s a key opportunity to invest up-skilling. Showing you care about individual progress builds confidence. Not only strengthening individual skills but also your agency as a whole.

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