This blog is sponsored by Productive
As a digital agency, you encounter challenges with managing your team, projects, clients, and budgets daily.
From ensuring your team is motivated and tasks getting completed on time to keeping an eye on resource planning, cash flow, plus essential data—successfully running an agency is a balancing act. That’s also why blind spots in operations and workflow are common.
In this article, we’re diving into seven common blind spots you should consider in your agency operations and workflow, as well as what you can do to overcome them. Spoiler: you can solve all these typical obstacles with the right agency management software.
Blind Spot #1: A Holistic Approach to People Management
Sure, managing projects is challenging, but anyone who runs projects knows that managing people, their creativity, productivity, stress levels, and expectations is where the real challenge lies.
The main questions here are:
- Do you have a way to check what tasks your teammates are working on?
- Can you get a pulse on your teammates’ utilisation rates at any time?
- Do your teammates have a variety of project work on their plates?
- Do you have a way of checking whether your teammates are subtly burning out?
Burnout is a real issue in the creative industry. It’s essential to monitor your team’s workload to ensure they’re not overworked. It’s also important to keep track of the projects your colleagues are involved in and ensure they don’t feel like they’re working on a factory line, doing the same thing day in and day out. Diversifying your team’s workload can help keep them engaged and motivated.
Utilisation reports are also an essential tool for tracking your team’s workload. While 100% utilisation may seem reasonable, it can present a big issue for your team’s overall well-being and efficiency.
Make sure you’re keeping an eye on your utilisation reports and looking for any signs of burnout. If you see that your team is overworked, shuffle their workload around or possibly hire additional staff to ensure everyone is working sustainably.
Blind Spot #2: Processes—But Not Too Many of Them
Standardised workflows ensure everyone is on the same page and can work efficiently, which can be a real game-changer for agencies. However, if you’re an agency of 10-15 people, establishing certain processes may seem too much. Still, you want to keep organised and optimise your workflow. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have standardised workflows at your agency?
- Can you identify anything that could be standardised (or should be less of a process) to keep your operations running smoothly?
- Can you detect where repetitive work can get automated using tools available on the market?
Finding repetitive areas of your team’s work and making them more efficient will free up your team’s time for creative work. Reviewing your processes quarterly and looking for improvement areas can help you identify bottlenecks and streamline your workflow.
Blind Spot #3: To Hire or Not To Hire Is Always the Question
Many agency owners and executives will agree that without having the right data in front of them, it’s hard to tell exactly when exactly you should start hiring.
- Can you easily forecast when hiring will be needed through your resource planning tool and upcoming project requirements?
- Can you lay out future plans for your team by letting them visualise their future work?
Forecasting when you’ll need to hire new staff is essential for the vitality of your team, being able to meet your clients needs and for the overall health of your business. Hiring on time can help you secure top talent and avoid the stress of staffing shortages.
You should regularly review your team’s workload and look for any signs that you may need to hire additional staff. Aim to have your team allocated 6-8 weeks instead of 1-2 weeks in advance. This can bring more peace and organisation to your team.
Blind Spot #4: Between Closing a Deal and Kicking Off a Project
Bridging the gap between a sales process closing or winning a deal and launching a project can be tricky at times. Clients have expectations, sometimes your business development team may misinterpret project management and delivery, and, of course, current work can be prolonged, people can take unforeseen time off, and the gap continues to get bigger.
The core question here is:
- Can your business development team quickly get resource forecasting and project management data?
The more in sync sales and account managers are, the more it can help streamline the process from a deal won to a project launch. Clear communication between sales, operations, and project management helps ensure you mitigate any potential problems between your agency and your clients.
Blind Spot #5: Is That Client Even Bringing Us Profit?
It’s easy to evaluate a client relationship based on factors like ease of communication or time spent working for them, but it’s essential to understand their impact on your profitability. Here, the main question is:
- Can you zoom in on your profitability per client?
Zooming in on profitability by client can help you identify which clients are bringing in the most revenue and which commitments may need to be reevaluated. Going through profitability reporting regularly can help you make informed decisions about which clients to prioritise and which may need to be phased out.
Blind Spot #6: What Is To Be Considered an Agency Overhead?
Overhead costs can quickly add up for digital agencies, and it’s important to monitor and manage them effectively. Maybe you should ask yourself:
- How does your agency monitor and manage its overhead?
- Do you factor investments such as education, training, onboarding, or internal R&D projects into your overhead?
Understanding how to factor overhead costs into your pricing can help ensure you’re pricing your services appropriately and covering all your operational costs. Reviewing your overhead costs and looking for areas to reduce expenses can help improve your profitability and ensure your agency is operating efficiently.
Blind Spot #7: Valuable Data Could Be Falling Through the Cracks
Digital agencies often use multiple tools and channels to manage their data, but this can lead to important information falling through the cracks.
- Check the pulse on the data that matters to you without waiting for your finance team to put reports together.
Consolidating your data and establishing clear ownership can help ensure you’re making the most of your data and avoiding costly mistakes. Keeping your data management processes up-to-date and looking for areas to improve can help you optimise your operations and improve overall performance.
Agency Operations and Workflow Made Clearer
Productive is an all-in-one agency management software where digital agencies of all shapes and sizes run everything from sales processes to resource planning, budgeting, time-off management, task management, time tracking, and reporting—to billing. To get a better idea of how Productive can help your agency thrive, book a demo with the Productive team.
This content is a sponsored blog by Productive: