It’s no secret that automation can offer incredible value to agencies day-to-day. But, with daily tasks and imminent deadlines bogging you down, we recognize how hard it can be to balance your workload and, on top of that, would only get more strenuous trying to implement automation.
In fact, in a recent Marketing Land survey, 72% of agency respondents expressed neutral feelings regarding automation. Implementing any system takes time and energy, but it’s an investment worth the effort. Strategically implementing automation can be the difference between remaining stagnant, and making your team’s ability to scale in size even easier.
5 ways automation can help your agency outpace your competition
1. Stay competitive in an ever-changing industry
Agencies are not just competing with other agencies for business — they are competing with their clients, too. The 2019 Digital Agency Survey says that nearly 50% of agencies say client behavior is their biggest concern this year, as they decline agency help and move in-house while obtaining their own automation platforms:
Previously, agencies were relied upon for their strategic and creative expertise, but as companies move toward a more data-driven landscape, they must find new ways to bring value:
Furthermore, 39.9% of companies identified “keeping up with automation” as a key challenge. Regardless, these same companies realize that automation services are a necessity to stay competitive in their landscape.
2. Avoid wasting hours of admin work each week
The intent of technology in the workplace has always been to increase efficiency and diminish unnecessary work. Accelo’s white paper, for example, claims over one quarter of your day is spent on communications through platforms such as Slack and Zoom in addition to collaborating over emails.
While these are necessary for any business to scale, how you communicate and collaborate can become huge time wasters. By leveraging automation you can make administrative daily responsibilities (e.g., crafting emails, scheduling, and updating spreadsheets) a streamlined process:
That’s why automation is becoming vital to agencies – it saves time spent on menial tasks, improves employee engagement by cultivating work visibility, and increases productivity. Instead, spend that time on building out your business strategy, mentoring peers, and focusing on billable client-work that generates revenue for your agency.
3. Leverage an internal system to create new sales and long-lasting relationships
As you might relate, generating new sales for agencies is incredibly different from other businesses. For instance, agencies are not selling tangible products or a repeatable service; you’re selling a unique solution and experience crafted specifically for each client, tailored to their needs and expectations every single time.
At the core of a successful sales process is a CRM system that’s equipped with automated functionality that allows company-wide integration so different functions (like sales, marketing, customer success and more) can view the same data and the same user or customer journey.
This accessibility helps your team stay organized internally, maintain crucial client-related information in one place, and allow you to collaborate with your team to ensure that you never miss an important project task. By establishing a comprehensive, integrated system, it helps your team easily manage each client relationship from the initial sales pitch to the project’s delivery.
4. Make each project truly collaborative
We’ve all been frustrated when a team member is out of the office and you’re in the dark about what they sent to (or received from) a client. You either have to wait for them to return or sheepishly ask the client to forward you their message.
Then there are the regular delays we experience when a client emails their account manager with an answer to an important question, and the whole business has to wait for the morning to check their emails to keep the project moving.
Automation gives you the power to make collaboration a team effort. Successful collaboration requires constant communication between your agency as well as clients and partners, but having the need to shuffle through emails and past tasks is inefficient. The project doesn’t have to stall or require tons of manual effort and time to catch new members up on the client project.
Automated integrations that two-way sync with your go-to emails, calendars, and task modules such as G Suite or Office365 to your CRM ensure that your team never misses a critical correspondence and makes the collaborative process as smooth as can be.
And for post-click experiences, collaboration is easier with Instapage Collaboration because project stakeholders can respond to feedback and resolve comments in a single interface. No more chasing down comments in Slack threads, emails, or project management tools. Plus, with each submitted interaction on the page, automated emails are sent to the appropriate team member so they respond in-line with the comment thread:
5. Use automation to boost your agency’s bottom line
A major upside when dealing with automation is that it decreases manual labor with administrative tasks and additional busy work. It frees up ample time that you can dedicate toward pursuing new clients and continue nurturing existing client relations.
But without automation and features like automated time tracking, you could be missing out on billable opportunities. For example, you might not calculate how many hours you spend on emails, meetings, and lack of timesheet accuracy. If this sounds familiar, take note, because studies show the average agency loses $110,000 annually in revenue due to poor time tracking.
But what about your agency? For example, your team of 15 bills out an average of $150 per hour. If you were to capture the leaked revenue from meetings, emails, and forgetfulness, you would add $1.7 million annually:
If you’re not keeping track of billable hours this closely, then you don’t honestly know which projects, clients, or work are profitable. Without effective time tracking, you lose out on billable opportunities. The power of automation enables you to capture and log all those hours, ensuring that all your time is documented.
Automation your agency can’t wait for
It’s an investment that requires you and your team in the beginning. The process involves researching the right tools that fit your needs and implementing them in the day-to-day workflow. In the long run, your time is less spent on administrative work, allowing you to focus on revenue-producing tasks for clients.
For details how to grow your agency in multiple areas including strategy, personnel, billing, and more — download the ebook below.
About the author
Geoff McQueen is CEO and Co-founder of Accelo, a cloud platform for running small and medium professional service businesses. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, founded in Australia, and with over $11M in venture capital funding to date, today Accelo streamlines operations and doubles the profitability of thousands of businesses in over 40 countries. Finally, Geoff is a husband and father and splits his time between the three Accelo offices in San Francisco, Denver, and Wollongong, Australia.