Top 5 agency automation processes & ideas to help you grow

Agency automation

Investing time in agency automation and reviewing your internal processes is like sharpening your marketing tools - it’s ‘unsexy’ but necessary work.


Sure, you could overcome inefficiencies with brute force, but there’s a better way. By reviewing processes and automating manual work, you’re paving the way to do quality work with less effort. 


We'll help you start your journey to becoming an automation agency with a step-by-step process. 



What are agency automation processes?


Automation takes the hassle out of tedious agency processes. Here’s how.


  • Save time by automating manual workflows: Like how automated reporting simplifies repetitive tasks like creating and sharing a report with your clients, automation helps you focus on important initiatives, like billable work or training your team.


  • Improve accessibility of data to drive decision-making: Imagine a marketing automation platform or a business dashboard giving you daily intel on your marketing campaigns at 10AM. You’ll know how critical lead generation metrics are performing, allowing you to measure progress, double down on opportunities, or quickly course-correct. 


automation dashboard


  • Provide clarity with standard operating procedures (SOP): Guidelines on repeatable internal processes like scheduling internal meetings, preparing deliverables, or client onboarding. SOPs streamline business processes across teams - whether remotely or in person.


We get it. All this stuff isn’t as sexy as devising a new strategy that moves mountains for your clients. 


But when 57% of 1000 US office professionals surveyed in 2021 say quickly finding files and documents is important but don’t have an effective internal system to do it efficiently, it's clear internal processes matter for your agency's effectiveness.


Automating your agency: where to start


Step 1: Establish your baseline


First, identify inefficient processes with a time audit.


For example, while reviewing your agency’s client onboarding processes, you might ask yourself:


  • What is the typical timeline from closing the sale to signing documents to scheduling a kickoff meeting? 
  • How long does it take to collect information from the client, like account log-ins and critical business information? 
  • How much time do you need to prepare and schedule a discovery call or a kickoff meeting? 


Other benchmarks:



call tracking dashboard

View this call tracking report with your own data 


Action steps: Keep track of your weekly activities and the time you spend on them.


Tip: Reviewing your agency processes takes time! Instead of overhauling the entire process, start small and optimize each step.


Step 2: Establish current pain points


At the end of a project, tech teams have retrospective meetings to get feedback and reflect. 


Use regularly scheduled retrospectives (our suggestion is every 2 weeks or after a project milestone) to gather feedback from your team members on what’s not working. 


Use the Start Stop Continue method to generate ideas and the next steps easily. This retrospective method divides activities and decisions into 3 categories. 


  • Things to start 
  • What to stop
  • Things to continue doing


Source: About the Start Stop Continue exercise


Tip: Besides Start Stop Continue, there are plenty of other formats like Glad, Sad Mad to track your team’s emotional health. Experiment with different retrospective formats to see which suits your team best. 


Action steps:  Choose a retrospective format to gather pain points.


Step 3: Get feedback from clients.


Ask your regular clients for feedback on how to improve, or use a feedback survey to gather valuable input.


Action steps: 

  • Design a customer feedback survey to gather feedback 
  • Refer to your Net Promotor Score (NPS) and reach out to customers scoring below 8/10
  • Get on a call with your clients or meet them in a semi-casual setting to follow up  


5 time-saving automation processes for agencies 


Which processes should you automate or streamline in your agency? 


Here are some ideas.


1. Optimize your internal meetings


Have you been in a meeting you felt was a waste of time? 


If you have, you’re not alone. According to Atlassian, employees attend 62 meetings a month but only consider half of these productive. Even more mind-boggling, cutting unnecessary meetings in 2022 would save nearly $2.5 million each year for a company of 100 people.


Hence, if you want to become a more effective agency, start optimizing how you run meetings.


2 actionable ideas to help you review how you organize and run meetings: 


Give your meetings a clear agenda and structure. 


Groove HQ structures its weekly Monday meetings down to the minute, to help get the most out of their meetings. 



Send a pre-read before meetings: 


Before a meeting, use a KPI reporting tool like DashThis to create a business dashboard and send it to your stakeholder or client. 


Grab this board reporting template with your own data!


Having something to refer to provides context and helps people make decisions during meetings. Add explanations to each metric to help convey your message. 


Action items: 


  • Review how you conduct meetings
  • Use DashThis's report templates for a more efficient way to review metrics during meetings


2. Review your tech stack


Do your paid subscription tools add value to your business? 


Review your latest departmental spending on subscriptions or ask your finance department for the latest report on subscription spending.


Tools for marketing agencies usually fall into these categories: 


  • Project management and collaboration tools like Slack or Asana
  • Reporting tools 
  • CRM tools like Pipeline CRM
  • Marketing automation software like HubSpot or Marketo
  • Email marketing tools 
  • Social media management tools 
  • Data capture systems


Should you keep a subscription? 5 questions to ask yourself during your subscription audit: 


  • Did you use the tool within the last 3-6 months? 
  • Does my team enjoy using these tools every day? 
  • How does this tool help us meet our business goals? 
  • Am I satisfied with the value I’m receiving from my tools? 
  • Can existing tools provide the functionality I need? 


3. Use automation services to ensure service consistency


Review the project management processes you use to work with your clients, like how you: 


  • Onboard a new client or employee
  • Reach out to new leads
  • Create a sales proposal 
  • Manage repeatable services or task like content writing or setting up an email campaign 
  • Report on ongoing campaigns 


Now ask yourself whether your agency can automate these processes to ensure consistency. For example, sending regular client reports is a simple but powerful way to maintain strong relationships with your clients. 


But raise your hands if you’ve forgotten to send your client reports on time - just because there were so many other things on your plate (no shame!) 


Why not automate time-consuming but vital processes like these? Here’s how to set up an automatic report dispatch in DashThis to ensure your client reports get sent on time, always.



4. Work on interdepartmental communication (and client relations!)


As your agency grows, you need more intentional processes to define how different departments work together. 


Set up regular touch base meetings.


Reviewing landing page performance with a different team? Set up a regular weekly time to review your progress, measure conversion KPIs, and decide what to do next. Make it a priority for your teams to share information and avoid organizational silos. 


You’ll have more effective meetings if everyone looks at the same app or document, which is where business dashboards come in handy.


Marketing and sales teams for an e-commerce small business could review both teams’ metrics with this e-commerce sales report template. 


Get this e-commerce store template with your own data! 


Streamline communication


Whether it’s communicating with internal teams or clients, DashThis’s reports can help you streamline communication by explaining a metric or sharing actionable insights within a report. When clients view the report in live mode, they’ll see these value-packed notes in relation to the report.



See it in action: See how Jelly Marketing saved 20 hours a week with DashThis in this case study, while delivering more value for their clients.


5. Streamline reporting processes


As digital marketers, you deal with data daily, either from marketing automation tools or by analyzing the customer journey. 


But according to a 2021 HubSpot survey, collecting, organizing, and analyzing data was the highest ‘time waster’ for marketers - with marketers wasting 3.55 hours/week on manual reporting. 



Investing in agency reporting software to automate the reporting process cuts this down to a matter of minutes while helping you create meaningful reports to communicate your campaign’s performance, just like what SEO agency LeadLogic did with DashThis and Moz


Action steps: 



Save time with automation


If you’re used to manually doing everything or have too many things on your plate to look at how you’re doing things, we get it! 


It may feel weird, even unnecessary, to look inward. 


But remember, you don’t have to improve everything at your agency all at once. Carve out 15-30 minutes to review any of these tips to streamline your agency’s processes. Whether you want to scale or take more days off, we’ve covered you. 


Over time, minor changes add up. Start with your client reports and see if our automation solution can make a difference. We’ve got our 15-day trial for you; no credit card is required. 


DashThis The Team at DashThis

DashThis is the power behind thousands of reporting dashboards created by and delivered for agencies and digital marketers every month. 

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