What’s more important for an agency, efficacy or efficiency? Or in other words, what’s your priority: delivering the best results for clients or making sure your agency’s processes are as efficient as possible?
Regardless of what your agency offers — bespoke website creation, social media management, account-based marketing materials — the quality of your services is controlled by how efficient your processes are. In the long term, optimized processes mean better quality work and a reduced risk of employees experiencing burnout.
What’s the problem with processes?
Inefficient agency processes are a recipe for disaster. Let’s look at a couple.
Managing projects via email
Project management tools exist for a reason. If your processes revolve around email, you risk losing critical details in the endless treads.
Tracking project information in spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are brilliant. They’re customizable and make complex calculations a breeze. But they’re not intended as a project management tool. They lack automation, integration, and collaboration capabilities, with built-in no reminders or task management features. Plus, version control is a nightmare!
Undefined standard operating procedures
While each client may require a different approach, agencies should have clearly defined processes and procedures. You risk inefficiencies, inconsistent service delivery, and scope creep when these aren't clear.
So, what can agencies do to improve their processes and deliver better results? This is where work management software comes in.
What is a work management system?
Work management software is a digital tool designed to save you stress. That might be the top-level benefit, but these tools offer a whole lot more than that.
Work management is all about creating efficient workflows that support businesses, including agencies, in doing their best work by streamlining processes to remove inefficiencies, limit miscommunication and prevent human error.
As work management systems run online, they offer opportunities for collaboration and allow businesses to implement workflows across multiple teams, equally supporting office and remote workers.
Work management software vs. project management software
You might think, ‘I get it; it sounds like project management!’ Well, you’re not wrong… but not quite right.
While project management is all about the day-to-day running of projects, work management focuses on helping agencies create systems that support fantastic project management.
For example, rather than supporting short-term goals, such as delivering a new sales brochure to a client, work management software aims to help you reach long-term business goals, like improving productivity or client satisfaction. Long story short, it helps you build the processes that support better project management across the agency.
What to look for in a work management system
In today’s tech-first world, dozens of work management software are available. Finding the right tool will depend on your agency’s services and long-term goals, but there are several essential factors to consider when shopping around:
- Customization options: No two agencies or projects are the same. While out-of-the-box tools are helpful, they might not be suitable for you if you need a more tailored solution. Consider what features you need; if a software doesn’t offer them, look elsewhere.
- Third-party app integrations: No one tool can do everything, but specialist apps can help plug gaps. Look for software that supports third-party integration, so you can more easily share information across your tech stack.
- In-app communication and collaboration: Do you want to collaborate with colleagues and clients directly within your work management tool, which can be organized by project, client, and team?
- User-friendly design: Will it be easy for your team to use? There is no bigger barrier to software adoption in agencies than lousy UI. If the software is slow, difficult to navigate, or an eye sore, you may struggle to get your team to use it, which could see them returning to bad habits.
- Support and training: Getting your head around a new tool can be challenging, especially when it offers hundreds of features you haven’t even begun exploring. Consider whether you’d need set-up and customization support and how the company’s past clients review their customer service.
- Automation: The key to building smooth and efficient processes is automation. Automating repeated tasks, task reminders, and triggers supports repetitive processes and takes low-value admin tasks off employees' hands.
- Pricing: Work management software varies in price from supplier to supplier. Do your research and pick the option that balances value with quality. Some software is available with tiered pricing, with multiple options for different team sizes and requirements. After all, there is no use paying a premium to access tools and capabilities that are of no use to your team.
Forecast is a work management platform that helps you manage projects, resources and financials in a single AI-powered platform. Find out more about Forecast can help manage your work.