ClickZ recently hosted a Webinar in collaboration with Wix, How to Turn Your Agency’s Productivity into a Growth Engine. The webinar reviews some effective approaches to solving a big agency pain point—increasing productivity. Speakers included Chris Ryan, Head of Agency Relations at Wix and Carlos Valladares, Co-Founder of CIS Agency and a Wix partner.
Ryan has over ten years of experience leading account management teams, nurturing clients, and creating effective relationships at Wix. He also developed and implemented numerous training and sales programs with Wix agency partners.
Valladares, co-founded the CIS Agency in 2013. CIS Agency works with small businesses on branding and website development. They also offer a variety of digital marketing services.
CIS Agency has completed over one thousand projects and serviced hundreds of clients since the company was founded. In the last two years, CIS has scaled from 3-4 employees and 50 clients to 18 employees and 100s of clients. Valladares is also the founder of app development company Authoritek.
One of the key pain points for agencies is a lack of productivity, second only to lead generation. As an agency begins growing, productivity becomes even more important.
Says Ryan, “We’ve seen issues with productivity with many of our agency partners. It’s important to remember that building a workflow or a process is always an evolutionary process. The recipe is never something that’s right on the first try.”
Poor productivity has a direct impact on an agency’s bottom line. Valladares presented the following statistics which highlight the extent of the issue.
“When you have an agency, every client comes with different needs and objectives,” explains Valladares. “Workflow can become a challenge because you’re going from A to Z with every product or service until delivery.”
Ryan and Valladares clarified the difference between efficiency—where you do the same thing with less, versus productivity—where you do more with the same resources.
Agencies typically have three productivity zones. These include workflow, resource management and client relationships.
The agency’s workflow starts when the lead comes in and exists throughout the life of the account. Says Valladares “We look at our workflow as an agency and determine what steps we need to take to get the project moving.”
This productivity zone is heavily dependent on what each agency defines as resources. These include employees and tools. Says Valladares, “We consider our online platform to be a resource and we look at how we’re integrating this and other resources nto the workflow.”
The third component to productivity is the client relationship. This is particularly important once you finish a project. If the client is happy with how the project was executed, they’ll often want to tap their agency for additional services and projects.
1. Identify pain points in your current workflow: Examples include bottlenecks, liability and insurance updates, missing website elements, missing client information and lack of tools.
2. Standardize your work process: One example of how agencies can standardize their process is by creating checklists to ensure that the steps in repetitive or known tasks are addressed to avoid bottlenecks and other delays.
3. Integrate tools with your main platform(s): Tools and platforms can include CRMs, task managers, design tools, web design platforms, accounting/invoicing tools, communication apps, and team collaboration tools.
4. Think of your team as a value chain: Your team is a value chain for a variety of activities from business development, to administrative setup, to project/account management, to production. Being able to grow your team and their skillset will have a significant impact on improved productivity and client satisfaction.
5. Treat your remote employees as locals: Optimizing remote workers involves many elements including setting clear expectations, creating and communicating short-term goals and deadlines, connecting outside of formal emails and conferences, using collaboration tools such as Slack and Hangouts, and more.
6. Lead your client from start to finish: The initial workflow begins when the quote is approved and should follow clear steps at regular intervals after that. A kickoff workflow might look something like this:
“You want to make things easy for your client,” explains Valladares. “It’s important to make your pricing clear. Most clients understand that they’re going to pay for the work as long as it’s reasonable, but help them out. Make sure that when you’re finished, you’re still there to support them.”
7. Simplify your client communication: Provide easy ways for clients to communicate what they want. This is particularly important in the realm of website design. Wix has a built-in tool that enables clients to provide comments directly on the website, as shown in the below example.
Says Ryan, “If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform that can address each of the seven steps, I think we have something special with the Wix platform. Over the last decade, we’ve been pouring resources into creating a professional product specifically for agencies.”
You can register to view the complete Wix webinar here: How to Turn Your Agency’s Productivity into a Growth Engine. The one-hour webinar provides more detail about each of the above steps and includes a ten minute Q&A session.
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