Project management for ongoing projects

While many agencies start out chasing one-off projects, the best operators know the secret to long term success is to work strategically with their best clients. The benefits are clear: more predictable revenue, the ability to unlock long term value for your client and even the ability to lock in your services as part of their business process.

Unfortunately, though, more of the tools and applications used to run agencies today are focused on delivering one-off projects, leaving your most important clients and work exposed, prone to error, over-servicing and under-charging.

That’s why Bang Digital turned to Accelo and its unique contracts and retainers module to implement their Lifetime Customer Model, which has both increased the quality of their client service and boosted profitability.

Working with a lifetime customer model

Bang Digital offers a range of online marketing services including SEO, SEM, social media marketing, email marketing, mobile sites, and creative design.

The way Bang Digital works with clients is by first identifying their key challenges and key objectives. They then propose a mix of services to achieve these objectives, working on a traditional project approach for the first month’s implementation and then transitioning to ongoing services start from two months in and onward.

Approximately 60% of their customers are subscribed to ongoing services on a monthly basis, and normally work with them for a minimum of 12 months. “We known their businesses through and through, and have a solid relationship with these customers,” says Managing Director Renae Lunjevich. “The ability to seamlessly transition from a project implementation phase into an ongoing service phase with the same client using the same tools, framework & billing has helped us turn this good theory into a reality.”

Getting hands-free with automation

The way Bang Digital operates means that they have a lot of clients who pay a monthly management fee for their online marketing services. As such, they needed the right functionality to record time spent per month and per contract.

Bang implemented Accelo in 2012 and have come to rely on the unique Contracts and Retainers Module, solving their monthly service needs. As part of what they wanted in a system, the Contracts and Retainers Module allowed them to do the following:

  • Roll time over each month
  • Create recurring template tasks
  • Choose the number of hours for each period
  • Approve time at the end of each period
  • Add activities (issues, emails, meetings) to a retainer
  • Auto-generate invoices

Accelo allowed them to track all of the work linked to their retainer clients. The hours logged, emails sent, projects finished and meetings scheduled are all brought into one basket at the end of the billing period. Anything that is billable becomes charges at a fixed hourly rate and all of the staff at Bang Digital complete their monthly billing with ease.

Making up for lost time

If you were a taxi driver, you wouldn’t give away free rides to customers going a short distance. Unfortunately, most service businesses do just this because it is too much hassle to manually keep track of meetings, reports, calls and email support when you’re in between big projects. While sometimes this work is just part of maintaining a client relationship, there are often some clients that take up more time than others. These meetings and emails, small as they might be, add up fast – just 10 emails each week of back and forth with a client costs you over 5 days of billable time each year!

At the end of every month, Bang Digital takes a look at their monthly client report and sees how much time went into servicing a client. Project Manager Jon Ogden tells us, “occasionally, we have some clients who require additional reporting or meetings.”

“We use automated timesheets in Accelo and can see where we overspent our time and most importantly if it was beneficial to the client. If it was a benefit, we can use this information to suggest an increase in management hours to compensate for additional time spent on meetings or reports.”

This feature alone has increased profitability for the company in the long term. From a time management and business efficiency point-of-view, they have seen massive benefits in terms of improving their servicing abilities and ultimately, their ROI since implementing an automated platform.