The main concerns on most business minds (yours, too, probably!) are whether their product will get delivered on time to the customer and whether they will be able to adapt to the rapidly changing market dynamics.
Simply put: will they be able to keep or even boost their current margins? After all, that’s what business is all about, right?
You see, when such thoughts pass through your mind, you often think about investing more — or building better marketing campaigns or hiring better employees.
Sure, all of these are valid ideas for a digital agency.
But sometimes, the answer can be both simpler and easier to overlook.
For example, finding collaborative, innovative, and efficient ways of performing tasks. Yes, I’m talking about productivity.
More often than not, a simple boost in an agency’s productivity can mean higher profit and happier employees at the same time.
However, 73 percent of organizations waste time copying and pasting documents from different sources to create reports or slides.
This manual work wastes valuable time and is not productive.
Adopting (the right) technology can help improve employees’ productivity. Technology allows workers to concentrate on effectively utilizing their skills instead of performing mindless tasks over and over again.
The right productivity software will help your business save money and loads of it for that matter.
Wait, it gets better.
Employees, who are basically the backbone of your agency, will also be satisfied and become more innovative, creative, and more likely to stay with your company longer.
Different Ways to Improve Productivity
Without productivity, a business is doomed to fail. That’s a no-brainer, really.
Productivity is a fundamental part of running a business. There are three super easy ways to put a stop to low productivity in your digital agency:
1. Changing your team’s mindset
2. Using cloud solutions
3. Automating your business processes
Let’s take a closer look at all of them!
1. Changing Your Team’s Mindset
Mindset is essential in terms of productivity, persistence, and growth. According to psychologist Carol Dweck, human beings have two mindsets. The fixed and growth mindset.
The fixed mindset believes that they cannot grow or change to improve their circumstances.
The growth mindset believes they can change or grow and that success does not depend on circumstances.
People with a fixed mindset avoid challenges and give up easily. They won’t try again, especially if they have previously failed at something. Negative feedback reassures them that this is true and that they cannot change or grow.
A growth mindset is resilient and embraces challenges even when faced with setbacks. People with a growth mindset master their skills and work at personal growth through learning new skills. They love feedback as it helps them improve and get inspired by the success of others.
Mindset is, therefore, essential in the workplace. It’s the difference between having employees who play it safe, are disengaged, and make a minimal effort, and having productive employees who are engaged, happier, and more fulfilled.
So, how do you ensure your digital team cultivates a growth mindset?
- Help each team member understand their value in the organization.
Value their contributions to encourage engagement and a growth-focused mindset. It will encourage them to want to learn, develop their skills, and come up with innovative ways to solve problems.
- Leaders should become role models.
Adopt the growth mindset yourself. Accept feedback from team members, both positive and negative. Encourage employees to give feedback to colleagues, too, and appreciate it as a chance to grow and learn.
The team will bond and gradually change their mindsets to growth. Actively engage your team in the growth process and be the leader in it. Employees are likely to follow your lead if you have a growth mindset.
- Praise employees for both results achieved and the process they used.
Sometimes, praising can lead to an employee choosing to stick to the same patterns that have little risk of failure. However, if you focus on the process, employees realize that even though results matter, it’s the discovery and effort put that is more important.
This does not mean that you should not appreciate results. Appreciate both but put more focus on effort and processes.
- Have structures and processes that allow employees to be productive.
Research shows that over 20 percent of productive capacity is lost for more than a day every week by organizational drag. These are processes and structures that take up employees’ valuable time and prevent them from actually doing their job.
Simplify the organizational structure, eliminate bureaucracy, and allow employees to focus their time on delivering. Let employees know that their input is appreciated and that they have the potential for growth if they put in the work.
- Ensure that employees are not in roles that limit their effectiveness.
The star employees, those with exceptional performance and effective strategy execution, need to work on critical functions of the business. It ensures better output and faster implementation of the company strategy.
- Inspire your employees to only do the best.
Most employees can bring more to the job if inspired. Tap into all your employees’ energy and align this to the company’s goals.
Provide opportunities that allow employees to do their best work. This method may not inspire everyone, but it will improve overall workforce productivity.
- Shake up the routines and encourage change.
For example, think about how everyone heads straight to their desk on arrival, or how Jane always seats next to Ann in all the company meetings. These routines, mostly done on autopilot, create a predictable mode of doing things.
Routine and predictability can be good for business, but not always. Change this by encouraging new seat positions, abruptly holding morning meetings, and holding gatherings that allow the team to connect and share progress. Allow them to discuss their issues and needs and provide solutions or support.
Changing your employees’ mindsets can prevent the agency from slipping into a slump. It allows people to pick up their momentum and tap into their innovative mindsets.
Encourage them to think outside the box and abandon the “it’s the way it’s always been done” mindset. This is crucial for any digital agency.
In this industry, you have to be at the forefront of innovation. You are expected to set the tone and come up with new ways to boost your clients’ profits. After all, their profit is directly linked to yours.
You can’t expect to have a successful agency without a growth mindset and without being eager to disrupt and innovate instead of lagging behind.
2. Cloud Solutions to Improve the Productivity of Your Digital Agency
Cloud adoption is a proven method for improving employee productivity. The digitization of business has led to an accumulation of programs, data, and systems the organization has to manage.
Cloud computing allows agencies like yours to stay organized and innovative. It leads to increased collaboration and flexibility with employees.
Research has shown that companies save money, have productive employees, and secure their information better when they use cloud services.
Providing the right software to your employees goes a long way in ensuring they are doing the kind of work that turns your agency into a market leader.
There are a few cloud solutions proven to boost productivity in digital agencies:
Cloud-Based Data Storage
Poor data storage and collaboration can slow down the workflow. Cloud-based data storage allows employees to store and share data easily. With this, there will be no need for lengthy phone calls and never-ending meetings.
Employees can access, edit, and share data and documents in real time. The information is accessible through an internet connection via web-based CRM applications.
Access to data, information, and documents encourages collaboration even on the move. Employees can access the information they need either at the office or remotely. The storage of information in the cloud leads to faster task solving. It also makes the team super productive.
Voice Over Internet Protocol
A Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connects you with customers and employees from anywhere. The team can make calls to different devices seamlessly. You can also monitor performance and activity online.
With this, the agency can gain more insights and make informed decisions. Improved communication will then result in greater productivity from your team.
You can always add cloud-based tools like a Customer Relationships Management (CRM) one. CRMs provide automated solutions throughout customer journeys.
Your CRM will enable you to know your customer’s needs and interests. Armed with this information, you can send messages that meet their needs and interests. It improves the relationship between you and the customer which increases business productivity.
Even more, you can use the CRM to do the same for your customers. If you handle all or part of their communication with their own customers, a CRM could be a life-saver.
You will be able to provide unparalleled insights and reports to your clients. Plus, those insights will be your secret weapon in creating better strategies and executing better campaigns.
The team also gains access to customer history and this knowledge makes them better focused on the customer and expert insights on how to improve their processes.
How a CRM Improves Productivity
- Creates sales funnels – easily!
- Analyses and processes customer information
- Finds opportunities
- Provides insights into what works and what’s not
- Helps corroborate data
- Seamlessly creates data-driven marketing campaigns
- Helps salespeople devote attention to actual leads
Salesforce CRM, for example, allows you to understand customer needs, solve problems they may have, and manage opportunities. Employers can manage interactions and information provided by customers on a single platform they can access from anywhere.
With Salesforce, you can manage most of the repetitive tasks, including scheduling, sales tracking, customer service case management, data analysis, and many more.
According to sales professional, using a CRM increases productivity by more than 25 percent.
A CRM also improves flexibility, meaning that employees can work from anywhere in the world and access data from any device. Employees can, therefore, choose their most productive locations and work from there.
Top Benefits of Cloud Solutions for Digital Agencies
- Increased Work Satisfaction
Cloud solutions enable employees to work from anywhere. Recent research found that 68 percent of millennials will work for a particular employer if they allow them to work remotely.
Remote working allows for a fun, casual, and flexible working environment which is a crucial part of what most people deem as an ideal work environment.
Cloud solutions allow employees to work without distractions. One can choose a station that is quiet or noisy depending on the environment that brings out their creativity. Avoiding distractions improves productivity by increasing the time the employee can actually focus on their work.
- Reduced Downtime
Downtime negatively impacts employee productivity. Old news, right?
What’s news-news is that top cloud solutions providers ensure that their services are almost always running smoothly. And when downtime does happen, it’s immediately solved.
- Reduced Manual Tasks
There is a cloud solution for every menial task or process your business handles. Cloud solutions are easy to use and are designed with employees in mind.
Small routine tasks like filing forms, data entry, tracking down managers to get their approval on something, and manually verifying data and processing information can slow down employees.
Adopting cloud solutions ensures that manual entries become a thing of the past. They eliminate errors and free up time for employees to engage in other activities. The kind that actually has the potential to bring revenue to your agency.
- Better Online Security
Cloud solution experts know that handling data comes with a huge responsibility. This is why protecting it from breaches is a top priority for any respectable cloud solution provider. They regularly test and strengthen their security measures and make sure they comply with all legal obligations.
A good cloud service also protects your business against natural disasters and human errors. If your office is carried away by a flood, your core business remains safe because data is stored in the cloud. (Don’t put this to a test, though, OK?)
When looking for great cloud solutions, find those that have unlimited customer support. Also, do some online research and find those with great reviews and recommendations.
3. Automation to Improve Productivity in Your Digital Agency
It takes about 23 minutes for an interrupted person to refocus and return to their task, according to a study by the University of California, Irvine. Interruptions are not only from incoming emails, messages, phone calls or interactions with peers.
They also occur when one spends time looking for a particular file, finding someone to resend a document, waiting for approval to continue work, concentrating on low priority tasks or moving data from one app to another without making mistakes.
Automation minimizes these problems and ensures that employees become more productive. It also makes sure they are putting in work where it matters the most to the company.
Automation software reduces tedious, repetitive tasks that lead to decreased productivity. The employees are free to concentrate on revenue-generating activities instead.
According to research, 67 percent of marketing leaders are using an automation platform, and these numbers are increasing. By 2023, global spending on marketing automation will have reached $25 billion.
Many cloud solutions help automate critical business processes. They also eliminate routine tasks that consume employees’ time, drain company resources, and waste money.
How Agencies Can Use Automation to Increase Productivity
Nurturing Qualified Leads
Most of the sales team’s time is spent nurturing leads. However, it can be difficult to know which leads will come through and which ones will not.
Your team may waste a lot of time engaging false leads. With automation, you can split test users’ characteristics and tell which ones are more likely to convert into actual customers.
A good email marketing tool will enable your team to segment leads appropriately depending on their interests. It will also allow them to send thousands of emails to different recipients at once.
Similarly, with the right tool, you automate your email campaigns, collect leads, and manage mailing lists. Email marketing tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact help you find leads, keep them engaged, and grow your business.
This makes it easier for you to know more about your existing and potential customers, making your marketing smarter. It also helps you create campaigns that move potential clients through the buying funnel faster.
Automating your emails allows you to send the right messages at the right time. A Salesforce to Mailchimp integration helps you sync your subscribers to Salesforce, link them to existing leads and contacts and, create new leads in Salesforce.
You get more people to reach out to with your marketing campaigns armed with insights into how to engage them with the right message at the right time.
The cost of acquiring a new customer is 4-10 higher than that of retaining an existing one. Existing customers will also spend more than new ones because they have had previous contact with your services.
As a digital agency, you know that keeping a client that you’re already familiar with is more important than winning that last pitch. You don’t want to lose business that you already know. You want to help that business grow so they can use more of your services.
With marketing automation, you can improve customer retention. The most effective tactics for optimizing marketing automation are using personalized content at 51 percent and mapping the customer experience at 53 percent.
Marketing automation allows you to track customer behavior when they interact with your products or services, either on social media or your website.
For example, an automation tool like Buffer and Hootsuite allows you to track numerous social media channels at once. You can also monitor your brand mentions and what consumers are saying about it.
Armed with Hootsuite, you can easily collect information and avert crises before they happen. You can also tell the best time to post content on each platform, search for influencers and gain in-depth reports.
This can come in handy when you have to deal with multiple social platforms for multiple clients. Can you imagine what logging in and out of each platform several times per day would look like?
If you can, then it’s high time you looked into a social media management solution.
Marketing automation allows you to change your marketing strategy on Hootsuite based on insights to the content shared. Segment subscribers based on how they interact with content and their needs.
Automating customer support helps the agency understand their customers better. They can improve their services and fix deficiencies the business is facing in terms of offering support.
This way, the agency can measure the performance of support staff and gain more statistics into customer satisfaction. Customer agents can follow a customer’s complaint, tell which one is solved, which one is on the pipeline and contact relevant colleagues to help solve the problematic cases.
There are countless customer support software options. Zendesk and Freshdesk are just two of them. They streamline customer service processes and ensure the customer is happy with the integrated services they are receiving. You can customize them depending on the agency’s needs.
Billing and Invoicing
Web-based invoicing apps like QuickBooks, Harvest, and FreshBooks automate invoicing processes. When you work with a combination of flat fees, monthly fees, retainers, and commissions, you know that invoicing can be hell.
Automating it means more than the ability to send recurring invoices on a regular basis. Customization, online-banking, auto-reminders, inventory tracking, client history, fast calculations are just a few of the features you can expect a good billing tool to offer.
Plus, you can manage your finances on the go, even on your mobile phone. Yes, the era of the pencil behind your ear is long gone!
Project management software allows the easy accomplishment of routine management tasks. They are also efficient in terms of accuracy and consistency.
They allow for easy creation of projects, assigning, adding, and scheduling tasks. Other members of the team can access these tasks, which encourages collaboration.
Improving Employee Productivity and Engagement in Your Agency
A State of the Global Workplace report by Gallup found that only 15 percent of employees are motivated to be productive and psychologically invested in their roles.
Wait, there’s more!
It also revealed that 67 percent of the employees are not engaged and just put in little effort at work. Eighteen percent are actively disengaged. They hate their work, the work environment, and think their needs have not been met.
Although these statistics vary by industry and region, it’s sad that only 15 percent of employees do their best at work.
The report also adds that one of the reasons for this disengagement is repetitive manual work they have to do daily. This manual work does not contribute to their professional growth, nor add value to their work.
Perhaps your agency’s statistics don’t look so bleak, but can you honestly and confidently say that 100% of your employees are happy, motivated, and thriving at work?
As an agency owner, you have the responsibility to ensure that your employees have a complete change of mindset concerning the work they do and their contribution to the company.
Automating services, including cloud solutions, will also go a long way in ensuring that engagement of employees and productivity improves.
Cloud solutions and automation will take over menial and repetitive tasks. This frees up employees and allows them to spend time being innovative and creative. Creativity and innovation are crucial parts of a business’ success. Employees can then drive innovation in the company, which leads to growth in market share and revenue.
Automation and cloud solutions also create accountability and improve visibility. Having employees access reports and documents from one platform instead of having to move from department to department allows for easy access. Collaboration is therefore encouraged and leads to faster problem-solving.
Collecting data manually wastes employee time and kills their morale. Automating data collection saves time, energy, and money. This data will also be devoid of human errors and can help the agency make informed decisions and improve workflow.
However, to solve the productivity problem, you must identify areas in your business that are failing and implement the software needed to address the issues. Achieving maximum ROI will only happen if the implementation and adoption are done right, too.
We can’t help you with changing mindsets per se. But we can help with part of it – namely, the integration and automation part. Reach out to our friendly support staff and tell us a bit about your agency. We’d love to offer you tips on how to improve productivity!