As an agency leader you need to be clued up on the commercial side of your business. You might not have all the project and financial visibility you’d like, perhaps that’s something you’re looking to change, but you understand the need to make a profit.
That’s great, but there’s a slight hiccup – you're not the one running the projects. And maybe you’re only looking at profitability when a project is complete, when it is too late to change the outcome. So does your drive to make more profit ripple across your agency to the people delivering the work?
Every team member needs to have the same commercial focus. In this piece, we explore how Synergist agency management software encourages and supports every team member to drive agency profits.
An effective way to bake commercial thinking into your projects is to have solid processes. These ensure that the commercial side has to be considered as it is part of the project process. You can limit things like scope creep and miscommunication over jobs, give your teams’ clear information on how long a job should take and more. Having a set of ‘rules’ to follow will ensure this commercial thinking happens. And the more it happens, the more it comes naturally. Increasing everyone's commercial knowledge and making it part of your agency culture. We wrote a piece about the importance of solid agency processes. (Increased commercial awareness is just one benefit.)
If you want a commercially focused team, you also need to make sure that you are open about your financials. You can’t hide financial information from people and expect them to want to drive profits.
A culture of openness and transparency will really help teams see how their actions affect profits. But in order to share agency financial information, you need to be able to see it.
Synergist gives everyone visibility on the financial metrics they need for their role. This includes personalised live dashboard views and immediately available reports. Everyone sees the metrics they need such as estimated hours vs hours used and remaining work required vs work scheduled.
This provides clarity on how many hours someone has to complete a task and when it needs to be done by. And if a project runs over you can get to the root of the problem quickly. Was the project under-estimated? If not, is an individual consistently spending more time than their allocated hours? If you can’t see this, you can’t address it.
Having bigger-picture visibility helps everyone make the right decisions, such as which tasks, projects and clients should be prioritised. In agencies this is often evolving, but Synergist’s resource scheduling and Kanban boards allow everyone to keep up-to-date with shifting priorities. Whilst Gantt charts show where a task fits into the bigger project picture and why it must be delivered on time. Your traffic and resource managers can then quickly prioritise which tasks the team work on.
It also reduces downtime. With these tools it’s clear what people should be working on, so they don’t need to wait until someone is out a meeting to ask. Synergist's resource scheduling also allows briefs and work instructions to be attached to scheduled hours, so the scope is there and work can start immediately.
Empowering teams to think for themselves, in the context of having these features to support the right decision making, encourages commercial thinking and can help team members advance quicker in their careers.
Synergist allows you to see which clients and project types are most profitable. Often there is a misconception within an agency that the most profitable client is the one who spends the most money. But actually, if you can see recovery rate you may be surprised. Everyone’s efforts are going to the big client. They get their work prioritised, you are more susceptible to over-servicing and you’re chasing more work from them, when really a client you are not nurturing is much more profitable. They might not be spending as much money, but your recovery rate is higher.
Seeing this data and having an open awareness around it helps the whole agency row in the right direction, nurturing the right clients and projects. This sets your agency’s overall direction.
"We give transparency to our teams, so they have the information they need to manage jobs properly. Today, designers, art-workers and account managers are knowledge workers, even mini-entrepreneurs, for us. The days of them doing isolated tasks in the dark are over.”
Finance Director, Tayburn
What can we say, if you want an accurate view of your costs they are essential. Synergist can help you embed a zero-tolerance policy, as timesheets can be completed in one click straight from the schedule so there’s no excuses!
You can also see when someone has not filled one in. And the implications of timesheets are immediately seen across all your reporting, so when you’re looking at things like hours spent vs estimated hours it is always up to date.
People often talk about a commercial culture and terms like ‘commercially focused’ often pop up on job descriptions, but it’s very hard to give this real meaning if you are not in tune with your financials. To strive for it, you need to be able to see it!
We hope that this article has highlighted some of the key ways that Synergist agency management system brings a naturally increased commercial awareness to your teams through clarity and visibility. So your agency thrives, while your teams do better in the roles and progress their careers quicker. It’s one beautiful big circle of success...