So many management software options, so little time. At least I think that’s how the saying goes.
With hundreds of process-driven software platforms out there, the market has become saturated with solutions that aim to satisfy every business need. Agency work has its own set of challenges that requires specific resources. If you work in an agency, you know the struggles that come with keeping the team aligned and projects on track.
As an agency, we relate to the dilemma of choosing software platforms that work for our unique needs. Our philosophy in selecting these solutions is to look at the reason behind each product. What is the issue they are trying to address and how do they solve it?
With that in mind, we gathered some of the people behind our favourite process-driven software platforms and asked them about the value they offer to users.
It goes without saying that communication among team members can either make or break a business. Add to that changes in the nature of work because of the pandemic, it’s clear now more than ever that having the team on the same page is essential to getting the job done.
Asana has become the go-to platform for many agencies to manage multiple projects and keep the team on track. However, it’s not just the simplicity of the tool or the clarity it provides that makes Asana a leader in the work management industry.
Ashley Waxman, Head of Employer Brand and Social at Asana, emphasizes the importance of team empowerment and shared accountability to build stronger team communication.
“When planning major launches and initiatives, include internal stakeholders as a key audience and ensure that they are included in your overall communication plan. Coaching your team to used effective communication tactics internally—like being concise and clear on the value being delivered—will help them build trust and establish themselves as leaders of their craft. The more teams build their personal brands internally, the more confident and engaged they become, which ultimately brings teams closer together in values and purpose.”
With thousands of software integrations, Asana makes it easier than ever for agencies to connect, manage projects, and deliver the best possible work to their clients.
Regardless of the nature of your agency or the services it provides, a customer relationship management (CRM) tool is integral to nurturing the relationships with your clients. Gone are the days when Microsoft Excel was the one and only tool for segmenting and managing your lists (cringe!).
When we talk CRM, HubSpot is the first to come to mind. HubSpot boasts a range of features that allow you to track communications with clients (emails, phone calls) and nurture leads through inbound marketing tools. Even better, HubSpot’s CRM tool is 100% free.
Moreover, the minds behind HubSpot recognize that while starting a business is easy, the true challenge lies in scaling up. With this in mind, they built their software solutions to address common challenges businesses face in their growth journey.
“Businesses need to run on one single source of truth, a CRM. It’s the base that powers, marketing, sales, and service efforts,” Lexi Poyant, Channel Account Manager at HubSpot shared with us. “HubSpot helps to align your customer-facing teams to deliver a predictable and scalable toolset to grow better. HubSpot enables agencies to build a process around this to better manage, communicate and service their customers and their strategies.”
With businesses generally, and agencies specifically, many documents are shared back and forth. Contracts, invoices, and HR files pass through many hands (and emails) and sometimes end up in an inbox somewhere untouched. Thankfully, there is a software solution to this problem.
PandaDoc is a document management software that offers a multitude of services from creating proposals from templates to facilitating e-signatures. The platform also features analytical tools to track engagement with your documents and proposals.
What makes PandaDoc even more reliable is its integration with top CRM tools such as HubSpot to facilitate clear processing and delivery of documents with multiple clients.
Partner Channel SDR at PandaDoc, Gabriel Glasser explains, “The value PandaDoc brings to agencies is the ability to have a user-friendly platform that connects the CRM and the contract cycle for easy tracking, and the ability to deliver consistency with regards to branding and style on all documents.”
With new releases and integrations, PandaDoc has proven to be a leader in the market of cloud-based document management.
Can you imagine anything more stressful than handling a client’s credit card? Or multiple credit cards? If you work for a digital marketing agency, you know the awkwardness that comes with talking ad spend and social media marketing software subscriptions.
AppBind recognized this issue and launched a credit card service that automatically charges clients for the services agencies and consultants use on their behalf.
It’s that simple, and the reasoning is even simpler according to AppBind’s CEO, Sunir Shah. “Clients are anxious, that’s why they hired you. They want you to just ‘take care of it' for them and bring it under control. The more of the problem you can own, the more value you can create, the more clients will love you. You’ll go from selling time by the hour to projects by the value, and ultimately, running their business systems that win recurring, sticky, long-term retainers.”
AppBind empowers agencies to take charge and do what’s best for their clients without waiting for payments to go through.
Shah adds, “Every day, we see a new agency transform into a systems builder and grow their service revenue and stickiness with AppBind. It’s incredible.”
If you add up the time your team spends on repetitive tasks each week, your eyes will start twitching. Many project management tools tackle this issue with simple task automation. TextExpander, however, takes it to another level.
TextExpander is a productivity app that auto-fills text as you type. Think of them as writing shortcuts. For instance, when you receive an email from a client about a common inquiry, all you have to do is type a code or abbreviation and TextExpander fills in the answer. You can create snippets to text, links, and email addresses to save time and keep your team aligned.
“Since agencies often work with multiple clients trying to solve similar problems, it’s easy for agency employees to burn out on repetitive and mundane tasks,” says Stacy L. Carlson, Partner Manager at Smile (makers of TextExpander and PDFpen) on the common issue the app tries to tackle. “TextExpander helps employees and teams save time and energy on repetitive tasks like typing common email answers and finding the right information whenever it’s needed.”
As your agency grows, so will your messaging and sources. Building a library of answers and resources early on for your expanding team will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Whichever platform(s) you choose, remember that the way you use them and how you maintain your systems affect the outcomes. Kyle Dutka, Co-Founder at PB+J emphasizes the importance of company culture and systems going hand in hand, “Culture and systems are set in strategy, but are won in the scrums and the 1:1’s. Plan, yes. SOPs, yes. Structure, yes. But it has to live. And as a leader, how you hold the space for and hold the line on the day-to-day moments is how culture and systems come to life. It’s there in those moments your Google Doc and Asana workflows actually become truth.”