Having an agency management system in place to help guide your creative firm is the first step toward long-term success. But what if your system is failing your firm as a whole? It could be leading you down the wrong path and taking you away from your goals, instead of toward them. Here are four ways that your agency management system could be failing your creative firm:
1. You Don’t Value Client Feedback
Your agency is the brains of the operation—that’s why your client is paying you for your creative expertise. But that doesn’t mean that you know everything about the project and that certainly doesn’t mean you should ignore any feedback from the client. Artistic license is in place to allow the creatives to work freely, but you have to respect any constraints that your client places on the deliverables before or during the project.
One of the quickest ways to lose clients is to try to lecture them on why their line of thinking is incorrect. This goes for both during a project when they provide feedback and, definitely, after the fact if things don’t turn out the way either you or the client had hoped.
Using your agency management system to encourage constructive criticism should be a no-brainer. When you have a software platform that allows for digital proofing and instant feedback from the client, the client will gladly tell you what it thinks. You can also keep track of all feedback and changes on the project, which allows you to avoid scope creep as well.
2. Your Resource Management Is Dubious at Best
Any worthwhile agency management system allows you to review resource utilization either at a glance or fully in depth. Remember that an experienced team member is going to be able to produce more than one who just joined the team. And if you’re using interns, expect their productivity to be even less.
This doesn’t mean to let your green employees sit idle. Rather, pair them with experienced staff members whenever the opportunity arises. That way, they will be able to learn and gain the same knowledge as the more seasoned employees.
Along similar lines, this also requires you to be cognisant of the peak utilization of any given employee. No one is going to be able to bill 100 percent of his or her time at the office, and even 90 percent is stretching it. Give them a chance to relax and breathe occasionally. That’s what keeps them producing quality creative results the entire time they’re billing. Aim for 85 percent and you’ll have happy employees as well as satisfied clients.
3. Your Staff Experience Is Untapped
Using your staff to its fullest extent means you need to be aware of everyone’s strengths. This comes into play when your agency management system doesn’t allow for mixing project teams or substituting key players in and out.
An agency will have strengths as a whole as well. And while it’s great to market yourself as an all-in-one solution, make sure that you’re not stretching the agency too thin. With a proper agency management system in place, you’re searching for clients that match your strengths and are providing them with quality results that turn them into repeat clients. If you’re casting too wide of a net, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. When the clients start planning their next project, you may find that they’ll shop elsewhere for their next solution.
4. You’re Missing a Key Component
Any creative management system is going to function well within the creative team. If you don’t have a sales and marketing team that can turn leads into work for the creatives, then it doesn’t matter how many all-stars you have in the game—they’re still sitting on the bench. Don’t starve your creatives of work just because you don’t have a sales team that can deliver new clients.
Emphasize collaboration between the two teams. The sales team needs to know the strengths of the creatives, and the creative team needs to know what types of projects the sales staff is promising when it communicates with prospective clients.They might not be able to do each others’ jobs on a wholesale basis, but both are a very integral component to the success of the other team as a whole. Ideas from either team should be free-flowing.
Do you have any shortcomings in one of these four areas? It’s not too difficult to turn things around, if you know where to start. Often, it can be helpful to have a software platform that provides solutions to correct a failing agency management system. Workamajig is one of many such platforms, so check out how it stacks up against its competitors to determine if it is the right solution for your needs.