If you run a marketing agency, you need Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. You’re probably thinking, “No. Isn’t ERP all about managing container ships and robotic assembly lines?” It is that, but a marketing agency has its own unique need for ERP software. To understand why, consider how an agency makes—and loses—money. Agencies are project-oriented businesses. Turning a profit relies on managing people within each project so their time and other inputs cost less than the revenue the project brings in. In a busy agency, it can be quite hard to track of it all without the right software.
A brief glance at ERP
The term “ERP” is a bit misleading these days. Originally, in the 1970s, ERP was only for big companies who needed software to manage supply chains and manufacturing operations. Today, ERP solutions offer a far broader portfolio of features. In addition to the core supply chain and manufacturing management modules, modern ERPs have financial management, project management and Customer Resource Management (CRM) along with functionality to cover distribution operations, field service and more. Today, you can think of ERP as browser-based, cloud-hosted business management software that works well in a marketing agency.
Learn more in ERP 101: What is ERP and How Does it Work?
5 reasons your marketing agency needs ERP software
Having worked with many agencies on the implementation of ERP software, we can offer five reasons your agency needs this kind of solution:
1. It’s all about the money
Agencies are in the business of creativity, but like all businesses, they’re really in the business of making money. Spending that extra hour getting the deliverable just right might feel good, but if that hour isn’t budgeted, the agency is going to eat it. ERP software makes your agency better at tracking direct costs in fine-grained detail. It’s also able to stay on top of overhead, which can swell to unproductive levels if not managed the right way. Regarding the extra hour, if it’s needed, at least with ERP you’ll know exactly where the time went and what it cost. You can make informed decisions about time allocations and budgeting with ERP.
2. Point solutions won’t cut it
You have your choice of point solutions, each of which can handle one agency management workflow. It’s not a good approach. Using separate applications for time management, project management, billing and accounting inevitably leads to errors and excessive overhead.
3. You need detailed project management
When you have multiple teams working simultaneously on a portfolio of projects from multiple clients, you need the kind of sophisticated project management functionality available from ERP.
4. You need integration between project accounting and financial management
ERP offers agency managers detailed, real time visibility into spending and cash flow on a project-by-project basis, with the ability to analyze projects for profitability and potential earnings problems. ERPs usually include an intuitive data visualization and reporting capability to bring project financials to life in a visual display.
5. Integrated CRM, Project Management and Accounting cuts overhead and improves client relationships
ERP gives you the ability manage clients and projects across the full lifecycle of each project. With sales quotes and pre-projects captured in CRM, the system gives you the ability to convert the quote into a project, manage that project through completion and then bill it out—all in the same software. There are no hand-offs or other error-prone and inefficient processes.
Agencies may not seem like candidates for ERP, but they are well-served by the technology. ERP helps agencies work more efficiently and profitably. To learn how we can help your agency by adopting ERP, please contact us.
Or, learn more by watching our Acumatica Project Management Demo Videos.