Agency Management, Operational Excellence

The Surefire Method to Ace Agency Management

by David Arnold, February 28, 2017

One of the trickiest things about managing an agency comes down to the product you’re selling: expertise. Ultimately, what your team members bring to the table is their collective experience and the ability to either guide your client through execution of key strategies or to execute the suggested course of action themselves.

The Trouble with Expertise

When you’re responsible for managing the delivery of something intangible like expertise, the worst thing you can do for your team or your clients is succumb to disorganization. Having a centralized process that captures everything from client feedback to resource management will not only keep you profitable, but it’ll help keep you sane.

We’ve worked with many clients to help them improve their approach to agency management. Here are some tips we’ve gathered to help you develop a method that works for you and your team.  

Identifying Areas for Improvement

Meditation gets a lot of attention these days as a “superpower” driving the success of creative business leaders from all walks of life. A key part of meditation is a body scan, where you focus on each area of your body and assess how it’s feeling. This holistic approach is a good model for how you should scan your agency for problem areas.  Read more about identifying room for improvement in this free kit.

Earlier this year, we wrote about the five things you are overlooking in your agency management system. In it, we discussed some functions that generally cause trouble for agencies. Especially during periods of sustained growth. The five things mentioned in the title would be a good framework for beginning a scan of your agency. They are:

  1. Project Request Management
  2. Traffic Management
  3. Resource Management
  4. File and Document Storage
  5. Reporting and Budgeting


Looking at these five processes, consider how each is performing currently. Are you finding clients are complaining about unacknowledged feedback? Or maybe your resources are stretched too thin, because you’ve attracted too many new clients (a good problem to have—but a problem nonetheless).

Most of our clients have found that issues associated with these areas stem from a disconnect or siloing of information. Your team will succeed or fail by its ability to collaborate—both internally and with clients. Centralizing your processes will help you stay organized, effectively wrangle expertise, and stay in the good graces of your clients.

Self-Awareness Is Key to Winning Agency Management

Being able to recognize the needs of the many moving parts in your agency at any given moment will make the difference between continuing to thrive in the new year and burning out entirely.

If you want to ace agency management, you need to be able to have a mind’s-eye view on all of the processes that keep your teams running as well as the health of each. Gaining this mind’s-eye view can be challenging. By making a practice of continually checking in with the processes listed above, you can stay ahead of latent problem areas while leaning into the activities that grow your business. 

About The Author

David studied at the Northern AZ University & spent years working with agencies like J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson and Fortune 100 companies in Tokyo.

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