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Understanding agency resource management: Principles and supportive tools

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Updated on:
March 10, 2024
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Agency resource management is a critical aspect of running and growing your business. At its most basic, it’s a way of allocating people and tools to the tasks and projects that need them. Going deeper, resource management involves understanding the skills of your team members and how to utilize them for client satisfaction. Agency resource management also requires an understanding of what digital solutions you have at your disposal and which you need to invest in.

Fully comprehending your agency’s resources allows you to create a meaningful catalog of products and services for clients. You can quickly say if a project is achievable, how long it should take, and who you need to engage in order to complete it.

A thoughtful resource management strategy allows you to balance workloads, improving employee experiences while boosting client satisfaction. It can also help you optimize your company’s budget while improving efficiency and productivity.

In this guide, you’ll learn why agency resource management is so important and discover its foundational principles. You’ll also uncover the types of tools that can help you implement strategies that stretch your resources further.

Basics of agency resource management

As an agency leader or decision-maker, your best resource is your people. They’re the ones carrying out tasks for clients, offering a range of skills and experience that lead to satisfying project outcomes. Great resource management means understanding your people and what they bring to the table.

Without this approach, you risk highly unbalanced task lists, where one or two highly trusted team members take on increasing workloads. These employees are likely to feel resentful at doing more than their peers. You might not realize that this is also bad for their colleagues who do less work. They can feel undervalued, unnecessary, and even bored. These are all factors that can lead to staff churn, where your top talent leaves and goes to a competitor.

Spreading tasks among your team is the first step to ensure each individual doesn’t take on too much or too little. However, effective resource management requires allocating tasks appropriately as well as fairly. For example, you might have a sales expert with years of experience in face-to-face conversations with clients. Assigning them a pile of admin tasks is a waste of a good resource — even if you’re short of admin support. This is where reliable software comes in, providing additional resources to fill the gaps in your team.

Utilizing technology is vital for effective agency resource management. Some aspects of this include automating tedious or time-consuming tasks. For example, marketing agencies often automate the sending of email campaigns. Polls suggest that 77% of employees want more tasks automated to improve their productivity and free up time for more creative and innovative endeavors. Agency software that offers features like this can become a critical part of your resource management strategy.

Benefits of effective resource management

A screenshot showing Bonsai's project management software, ideal for agency resource management.

Spending time understanding your resources and where to use them offers a range of benefits. It helps you plan achievable growth strategies based on your current teams and tools. Above, you can see how Bonsai allows task allocation to the right people at the right time. It’s only possible to do this with a holistic understanding of your firm’s people and their talents.

Resource management also helps you predict future trends by understanding better what’s happening right now. If you know you’ve served 10 clients over six months with your five-person team, increasing that team to 10 people could double your profit. A deep understanding of your agency’s resources leads to better business decision-making.

Let’s take a look at some more key benefits of effective agency resource management.

Improved productivity

One of the primary benefits of proper resource management is the potential to boost your team’s productivity. We can understand this better by going back to the example of the sales specialist stuck writing forms and performing data entry. This employee is going to be disengaged and not working at their best. Beyond lack of motivation, they don’t know this job as well as their own. They will likely make mistakes, work slowly, and impact the overall team’s productivity as well as their own.

Put them back into a client-facing role, and they’re likely to shine. When people get to do the things they enjoy and are good at, they’re naturally more productive. Bolstering that productivity with collaborative software that aids real-time communication is even better.

Globally, poor resource management in terms of misallocation of team members to tasks contributes to $8.8 trillion in lost productivity. Focusing on empowering employees to utilize their skills helps keep them engaged and working efficiently.

Increased profitability

When you can do more and do it better, you have the potential to make more money. A team member who can do their job faster has more free time to be creative and innovative. They might come up with ideas to improve lead generation or temporarily move onto another team to provide auxiliary support.

Team members who aren’t exhausted are also more likely to provide feedback on minor challenges like technical issues, unsupportive software, or conflict in the office. When workloads are barely achievable, there’s often limited time to work on removing obstacles to growth.

More satisfied clients

Most importantly, agency employees that work smarter deliver better results for clients. Happy clients come back and give you repeat business. However, they do far more than this. You can utilize the reviews and feedback of satisfied clients to improve your current and future marketing campaigns. Just make sure you gain the consent of your clients before using their testimonials in this way. Consider creating a feedback form with a checkbox that gains that consent and send the form to clients at the end of every project.

Bonsai offers multiple free-of-charge templates, providing different ways to gather feedback from clients. Aside from gaining valuable earned media through positive comments, this can further direct your agency resource management strategy. You get a snapshot from the client’s perspective of what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to hone your processes and agency workflows.

Better talent retention

While client satisfaction is vital, it’s also essential for agencies to focus on retaining their top talent. Recruitment experts state that a “laser focus” on candidate experience is a primary factor for attracting new hires. However, you also need to concentrate on retaining your current employees. It costs a lot more to train a new team member than it does to keep an existing one. Failed retention strategies are an instant drain on agency budgets.

As we’ve already seen, resource management allows you to allocate tasks to the right people, making the most of their skills and experience. It also helps you see where skills gaps exist and offer appropriate training and development. Continuous education can be a major factor in an individual choosing to stay with their employer.

Scalability

When you have a good understanding of the resources available to your agency, you can quickly scale your efforts up to meet increasing demand. Hopefully, your business is gaining interest from new leads every day. You want to be able to promptly engage those leads, following up on queries and sending emails or messages where appropriate. Without team members in place to perform those tasks, those potential clients may choose to go with a competitor.

Again, it’s about having your resources in the right place at the right time. Combine digital tools with skilled employees to create marketing campaigns that effortlessly scale up.

Healthier employees

Employees at a desk with laptops laughing, they're probably happy due to effective agency resource management.

Making employees available to highlight their skills while performing tasks they find engaging could positively impact their health. Team members who are constantly asked to do work outside their remit or above and beyond reasonable workloads are at risk of burnout. Conversely, individuals who feel engaged in their work and like they’re an effective part of a team report higher levels of well-being.

A healthier workforce is more productive and loyal. Your agency resource management strategy is a critical aspect of caring for your teams and showing them that they’re valued.

Expansion of brand recognition

A happy and engaged workforce is just one sign of an agency’s success. How easily your name gets recognized is another. Your ability to grow within your chosen niche and expand into adjacent markets is largely down to the power of your marketing and brand. Effective agency resource management provides all the above benefits, which in turn boosts your reputation as a service provider.

A recognizable brand is a gift that keeps on giving. It creates trust, encouraging more potential clients to give your services a go. Branding also helps you stand out in increasingly crowded markets, gaining an edge over competitors. The more popular your brand becomes, the greater your opportunities for expanding into adjacent markets. Creative agencies that only work with small startups may gain the chance to partner with larger enterprises. Industry-specific partners might discover similar industries that also want to utilize their services.

All this starts with the right resource management to ensure clients are serviced efficiently and provided with quality service.

Software and tools that support agency resource management

Now you know why agency resource management is so important and the principles behind it: organization, understanding your teams, and knowing your clients. From here, it’s time to consider the best agency software and tools that can support resource management strategies.

Project management software

Effective project management is essential for agency success, especially when teams are potentially distributed across several facilities or small groups of remote workers. While outsourcing project management is one option, it can be expensive and unsustainable during periods of unpredictable client volumes.

A far more popular option is to supplement agency leadership with digital project management tools. Bonsai, pictured above, allows you to create a simple, intuitive project board with clear task lists. It’s effortless to see who is working on what task and which tasks are already complete. There’s also the option to allocate tasks to internal and external team members, such as freelancers.

When you use your resource lists in tandem with project management tools, it’s easy to check that you’re not overburdening teams or individuals. You can monitor workloads and verify that they’re being completed as expected. It’s also much simpler to keep clients updated and engaged with the progress of your agency’s work.

CRM

Another popular tool for agencies is the customer relationship management (CRM) system. Your CRM is a central platform for storing all information about your clients. Different types of CRMs offer various benefits. For example, some are focused on lead generation. Others help monitor the entire client journey from contract to project end.

The most effective CRMs can create customer profiles that combine client data with project details. Ideally, there should be a function to add files, share data, and even create a client portal. Regarding the latter, empowering your clients to log in and see the progress of tasks for themselves is a simple way to increase satisfaction. It also has the added benefit of freeing up time for your agents. Customers who have access to self-service options like this are less likely to demand ad hoc catchups and phone calls.

Time-tracking solutions

Protecting your team’s time is an essential aspect of agency resource management. Time-tracking software can help you do just that to understand how long tasks are taking and why. You can also quickly assess who is best at particular jobs and make a note of this for future projects.

Use your time-tracking tools to chart average project length and predict timelines for future projects. Data analysis like this allows you to decide if you can afford to take on more clients with the resources currently available.

Time-tracking software may also include scheduling tools. Clients often want meetings to understand what’s happening with their requests. They may wish to adjust the scope of the project or offer additional assets. Or they need to give feedback on deliverables they’ve already received.

Clients directly approaching you can generate a time-wasting back-and-forth communication as you both try and find the right time to meet. Scheduling tools eliminate this scenario. Instead, you plug in your schedule or that of client-facing employees, and the software creates an availability calendar. From there, clients can’t book using an online platform that shows exactly when you’re free. Some services even allow clients to book and pay for consultation services this way.

Financial tools

The ability to pay for offerings like consultations online is expected by most clients. While they’ll normally wait for an invoice to arrive before considering paying, that invoice should empower them to settle up instantly. Agency resource management tools with integrated invoicing and payment features support continuous cash flow while simplifying life for clients.

Financial tools can also track billable hours and how long team members have worked on particular project aspects. When you can trace hours worked, it’s easier to create itemized bills and invoice clients correctly. That’s just one feature of the digital financial tools available to support better agency resource management.

Bonsai takes information about billed hours and services offered and uses that to create accurate invoices. Leverage the platform to send those invoices from a single destination and book automatic follow-ups to encourage prompt payment. Unpaid invoices in the United States have created a cumulative debt for small businesses of $825 billion. Empowering your clients to pay quickly and using methods that work for them helps mitigate your agency becoming part of a similar statistic.

Collaboration platforms

Ensuring clients know when to pay is just one aspect of effective communication. Your resource management tools should, ideally, support you with multiple ways to collaborate and share information.

Sometimes, you’ll need assets from a client, ranging from Google Ads logins to current branding visuals. A platform-to-platform message is generally quick and secure. Similarly, you might need to send this information to an off-site worker. File-sharing capabilities within a secure platform eliminate the risks associated with attaching documents to emails.

Ultimately, collaborative tools allow you to make the most of your resources by speeding up communication and keeping everyone in the know.

Invest in an all-in-one agency resource management solution

While all the above software features are useful tools for supporting agency resource management, none are completely effective on their own. Forward-thinking agencies often invest in a full suite of services for automation, collaboration, and client communication. Alternatively, you could opt for an all-in-one solution that offers some or all of these features in a single package.

Bonsai’s platform is built with agencies in mind. It’s easy to get started and has plenty of support available. Features include an integrated CRM with built-in financial tools and scheduling software. There’s even the ability to create a client portal with a simple, clean interface. When you make life easier for clients, you free up time for your colleagues, organically increasing the resources at your disposal.

For more information on the best agency resource management tools, contact Bonsai or start a free trial today.

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