HOW TO MANAGE PROJECTS FOR YOUR DIGITAL AGENCY
Know more how to manage projects to your agency using this guide
Acquire more clients for your agency
You have done the hard work of setting up your digital agency. You have pitched in you efforts by submitting digital agency proposals to your clients. This is the time to reap the rewards. Your client awards you with a project. Now, the question arises as to how to manage projects for your digital agency. We shall discuss the ways and means to do so. You have experts at websites like TribeLocal who are capable of helping you in this matter.
Automation is the key:
This is the era of automation. The key to running a successful digital agency obviously lies in automating as much of your business processes as possible. This necessitates the use of software and relevant tools. Let us look at the various aspects of managing the projects for your digital agency and discuss the tools that help you in doing so.
Managing a project for a digital agency consists of various important processes. We discuss some of them for your benefit.
Tools required for managing projects
These are the basic tools every digital agency should have. It would almost be impossible for digital agencies to work without these tools. In addition to these tools, every agency needs tools for maintaining financial accounts. They need these tools to raise invoices and bills on their clients. We shall discuss them at the appropriate time. However, let us look at the five basic tools.
1. Storage of Data:
Automation requires the use of various tools. One of the most important ingredients of any business is data. The data can be anything ranging from inventory, customer demographics, orders, financial data, taxation, and so on. The list can go on and on. Storing this data for future assimilation and analysis is very important. One of the best tools available on the internet for storage of data has to be Google Drive.
The advantages of using Google Drive are many. The principal benefits are ease of access to the users, security, and simple file synchronization options. As Google Drive uses the cloud-based method of storing files, you can access it from anywhere and from any device. The best part of it all is that your staff members will also be able to access the files saved on various machines using Google Drive File Stream.
Google Docs collaborates perfectly with Google Drive. You can also synchronize your MS Word files with Google Drive. This makes it perfectly fit for agency working. The beauty of working with Google Drive and Google Docs is that you can make the changes anywhere. The previous versions get updated immediately. Hence, anyone can view the documents even from their smartphones. This facility of internal sharing and storing of documents is what makes Google Drive endearing to all digital agencies.
Now let us come to the security aspect. You have two options available with you. One is the 2-Step verification. This security measure envisages the sending of a code to your phone. You have to enter this code to gain access to Google drive. The other security measure is Advanced Protection that necessitates the use of physical security keys. In case your file gets deleted accidentally, you have the facility to restore the earlier versions. This makes it a comprehensive file storage tool. It is imperative that every digital agency use this tool for managing projects.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Agency Management:
No business can function without customers. Hence, every agency requires strong CRM software for managing data related to existing, previous, and future clients as well. Let us look at the attributes of a good CRM software program.
- Store and maintain client information accurately
- Track and manage communications with the client
- Manage invoices, bills, and contracts
- Overall view of client information as well as projects involving such clients
One of the best CRM software programs on offer is Podio. The biggest advantage of this project management tool is that anybody from the agency will be able to access the tool and information. Hence, coordination among the various departments of the agency becomes possible. It is very easy for project managers to track the progress of their specific projects. It is also easy to create mailing lists.
This software allows you to monitor the activities of your staff members. You can also build custom apps for tracking data. Linking up such apps is also possible. This ensures that you have every aspect of a particular project at a single place.
This is one of the best customizable tools for CRM and Agency management.
3. Project Management:
Managing the client’s project is the bread and butter of every digital agency. Project management tools can help you increase the efficiency of your employees thereby resulting in completion of the project quickly.
One such strong project management tool is Basecamp. This tool facilitates easy communication and collaboration with the client as well as internally with different departments of the agency. Some of the functions accomplished by this project management tool are as follows.
- To-do lists: Project management is a team effort. Hence, every member of the team should know what to do. These to-do lists form an important aspect of every Basecamp project. These lists allow you to send data to the client for approvals.
- File Sharing: As there are various members working on a particular project, sharing files becomes imperative. Basecamp provides this facility and allows users to share their files and documents on Google Drive.
- Chatting: This is an informal chat facility that members can use for their light-hearted discussions.
- Message Board: Every project will have a series of updates and messages for clarifications. Sending emails can be cumbersome as there are chances of the information being lost somewhere down the line. The message board allows for easy sharing of such messages and updates. You can have an audit trail as well.
- Scheduling: Every project is a time-bound program. Maintaining of deadlines is very important. There are prominent third-party calendars such as Outlook, Google Calendar, etc. Basecamp has a scheduling facility that allows you to synchronize with such calendars. You can share these calendars with all the members connected with the project. Hence, maintaining deadlines becomes easy.
- Automatic check-in requests: Every project works on milestones. The automatic check-in facility allows you to set milestones for each stage of the project. You can also send reminders to people involved in the project that the milestone is coming closer.
In short, Basecamp is a completely transparent tool that works independent of emails. You can have a clear demarcation between the client’s side and the agency’s side that allows for seamless communication. This is one of the simplest project management tools available in the market.
4. Planning of Resources:
Clients are important to any business. But the agency should ensure that they are able to manage the client’s workload. Therefore, every agency should have an appropriate workforce to cater to the client’s workload. This requires a lot of resource planning on the part of the digital agency.
Agency owners should have proper visibility of their projects. At the same time, it is the job of the agency to understand and monitor the following activities.
- Proper utilization of employees by the departments or team
- Non-billable hours spent on client’s projects
- Non-billable hours spent on pre-sales and conversion activity.
These are non-billable expenses, but the agency has to incur these expenses anyway. Therefore, reducing these nob-billable expenses go a long way in enhancing the profit of the agency.
Time is the most important asset to manage. There should be no wastage of time either from your client’s side or from the side of your agency. You need a strong software system to plug in the leaks in this aspect. Such a tool should allow the agency owners to have a clear view of the availability of staff to cater to any project. Hence, this tool also helps in making recruitment decisions.
Ideally, such a software program should form part of the CRM software. In our case, we have discussed the use of Podio as our CRM software. Hence, the most compatible software in this regard is Highcarts.
This software solution is capable of extracting information from Podio and analyzing those using customizable graphs. You can also use this tool for analyzing the key performance indices of the agency. This is one of the most ideal resources planning software tool in use today.
5. Reporting to Clients:
This tool not only saves a lot of time but also enable easy pulling of data from the systems. Updating the information is also very easy.
When you are using Google Drive and Docs for your storage requirements, Google Sheets should be the perfect tool for sharing reports with clients. Analyzing data is easy with the use of graphs, pie charts, and tables. The compatibility with MS Excel makes Google Sheets one of the best tools to use for reporting to clients.
We have seen five simple tools that should form part of every digital agency. They are inevitable. No one can overlook these parts of any project.
Now, once the project is over, you need to raise the invoice for payment. You also need to account for the charges paid to you by the client. The salaries of your staff are also important. There are tax liabilities and compulsions to adhere to. Hence, you need a strong financial tool to manage all these accounting aspects
- Manage various aspects of accounting such as creative briefs, changing orders, procuring status reports, and a CRM package.
The client’s get a web portal to access for ascertaining job status, reports, and calendars.
- This tool also allows you to manage your resources, generate production reports and perform new job checklists.
- Preparation of time sheets and approval workflows is possible.
- Similarly, you can generate productivity reports.
- Billing the client is one important activity possible with this tool.
One such financial tool available in the market is Clients & Profits. There are different levels of this tool depending on the type of agency you run. The salient features of this tool are as follows.
Bonus tool: All-purpose tool
Another important tool that digital agencies can have in their repertoire is Scoro. This is a very effective tool that combines CRM and billing beautifully. Thus agencies get access to a five-in-one tool. Let us look at the attractive features of this multi-purpose tool Scoro.
- Managing project tasks and deadlines
- Schedule your projects perfectly
- This tool has a customizable project management dashboard that allows for easy operations.
- Detailed reporting is possible whereby you can track the metrics easily.
- Time entries and billing for time
- Preparing invoices and business quotes with pre-set templates make it one of the most sought-after tools in the market.
- CRM software
- Manage the sales pipeline.
- Ability to attach client and billing data to each project
Scoro is one of the most comprehensive tools available in the market. The multi-purpose use of this particular tool makes it the favorite of many any agency. This tool allows for project management, CRM, as well as billing and media planning. The added attraction is the 14-day free trial you get. This allows you to get used to software before ordering for the premium version.
Having one for your digital agency is a pure bonus. This tool blends beautifully the other tools listed above.
There are other aspects that have equal importance. They include tools for risk management and other such activities. But, we will not go deep into these activities because we are at the initial stage of managing projects.
There are various other software tools that digital agencies can choose to have. We have discussed five prominent ones that should form part of your agency. This will help you to manage the projects easily. These tools provide for a great experience in managing projects for digital agencies.