How Agencies are Using Technology to Streamline OperationsOct 31, 2022
Agency teams are consistently on the lookout for the right tools to automate and streamline operations and workflows.
During the pandemic, the adoption of tools & technology quickly accelerated as remote work became a necessity. Now that many agencies are completely remote or implementing a hybrid model, technology is a key factor in operational efficiency.
If used wisely, tools & technology can streamline an agency’s operations, allowing for enhanced collaboration among team members and clients, more efficient time management, stronger profits, and better delivery of campaigns and projects.
Here are a handful of our top recommendations.
Tools for asynchronous feedback
First of all, you might be asking, “what is async feedback?” Essentially, it allows you to connect and collaborate on your own time vs. live. For example, if you jump on a call to ask someone their opinion on a client project, you’re looking for synchronous feedback as that person must respond in the moment. However, if you send an email for their thoughts on a project, and they respond within 24 hours, that is asynchronous feedback.
In a remote and hybrid workforce, asynchronous feedback tools keep work moving forward while cutting down on meetings and Zoom calls. They also allow for more efficient time management, enabling everyone to communicate about projects as they have time. If you’re curious about time management, we share everything you need to know in this post.
A favorite asynchronous communication tool is Loom, which offers screen recording with a voice over. If you’ve ever tried to explain how to do something via email or over the phone, you’ll understand why this tool is a game changer. Here are a few benefits agencies love about Loom.
- Allows you to share context that is too long to type. Sending a long, wordy email can be cumbersome for the sender and confusing for the recipient. Sharing a link to your voice verbally giving context instead is a game changer.
- Enables you to convey tone in your feedback. Relaying emotions like sympathy or urgency can be difficult through written communication, and Loom allows you to do that through the tone of your voice. This is especially important in a remote workplace where we aren’t meeting in person.
- Limits rounds of revisions. Revisions are inevitable, but clearly conveying all necessary information from the beginning of a project or in the first review cuts back on how many revisions are needed.
- Reduces the number of meetings needed. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “just another meeting that could have been an email.” Sometimes meetings are necessary, but in many cases, a short, internal meeting could be replaced with a Loom recording.
- Everyone can respond in their own time. Time blocking is key to efficient time management. If we constantly shift away from work to answer questions about another project, we have to refocus our attention, ultimately wasting valuable time. This tool allows team members to listen and respond when available.
Another great example of an asynchronous feedback tool is Markup.io. This tool is optimized for collaboration on digital content like websites, graphics, etc. It allows feedback to be collected from multiple team members, streamlining the rounds of revisions needed to complete a project. Since all feedback can be seen in one place, we’ve also seen that it reduces miscommunication among team members.
Tools for managing team capacity & client profitability
It’s easy for agencies to fall into a cycle of inefficient delivery of client work, often not realizing there is room to double or triple profits with more streamlined workflows. Before the pandemic, project management and capacity planning tools were highly recommended, and the agencies that used them were operating at a much higher capacity than those who didn’t. Now, as most companies are working in a hybrid or fully remote model, these tools are absolutely necessary.
The gold standard of project management tools for agencies is Teamwork. We’ve tested every tool on the market in-depth, and Teamwork wins hands-down because it focuses on and customizes its suite of features for creative services only.
Our team specializes in the optimization and implementation of this tool, helping agencies set up and onboard their teams in a way that is custom to their organization, business model and client roster. This tool is a powerhouse, which is why we’ve prioritized becoming experts in it.
We can’t think of a Teamwork feature that we don’t love, but one of our favorites is its capacity planning functionality. With this feature, the platform offers an accurate, day-to-day look at the team’s capacity, which enables agencies to make smarter, data driven decisions about work assignments, hiring and even new business since you can see who is at or over capacity by person, team and department–something that many agencies only see monthly after time logs are submitted.
There is truly so much that this tool can do, and we simply cannot cover it all in one blog entry. If you’d like to learn more about how we support agencies with Teamwork, book a call with us.
Tools to keep your team hyper organized
Throughout the last several years, the number of Zoom meetings have skyrocketed, and Otter.Ai has quickly become a favorite tool among our team and agency clients. This tool takes a transcript of meetings, making it easy to recall exactly what your client said or the team decided on long after the call is over. There are a few reasons we find this tool to be beneficial to agency teams.
- Overwhelm and burnout are at an all time high. It’s great to have a full transcript of each meeting so no one on the team has to recall important details on memory alone.
- This is an especially great tool for lean and mean agency teams. If you don’t have a dedicated assistant or coordinator to take notes on important calls, Otter.Ai can do that for you.
- The whole team doesn’t need to attend every meeting. With this tool, you can have a few key individuals attend a meeting, and accurately relay exactly what was discussed to the rest of the team by sharing the meeting notes. This frees up valuable time to be spent working on other projects.
- Another major bonus, and perhaps our favorite benefit, is that this tool allows you to remain present during meetings together instead of worrying about taking notes. When working in a remote environment, our time with clients and colleagues is more valuable than ever and this tool allows us to be fully mentally and emotionally present.
Learn more about 3 practical tips to overcome overwhelm here.
High performing agency teams are streamlining their operations with the help of technology. If used effectively, the right tools can help your organization overcome common challenges and propel your agency into the next phase of growth.