There are so many different agency management systems so making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want to make the complex day-to-day operations of your agency simpler, more organized, and more productive - and need the right tool. I've got you covered! In this post I share from my personal experience managing multiple agencies, using many different agency management platforms, and share my picks of the best agency management systems.
What is an agency management system?
Agency management systems are tools that help agencies organize and manage their operations more effectively. This software acts like a digital hub, keeping track of important data, schedules, and communications all in one place.
Agency management tools are incredibly useful for streamlining daily tasks, keeping customer information organized, and improving overall efficiency. They make it easier to manage appointments, follow up with clients, and ensure that nothing important slips through the cracks. By using these systems, businesses can focus more on growth and less on juggling the details.
monday.com is a great advertising agency software because of the way the tool has done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical management tools and focused on simple, visually intuitive layouts that help clarify the sequence of work.
monday.com features for managing advertising projects include resource and project management modules, as well as some great collaboration tools. For example, users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress. And while monday.com doesn't offer a complete set of tools for project accounting and invoicing solutions, you can use monday.com to track hours, timelines, and invoices.
Overall, it's a highly customizable tool that lets you work in whatever methodology—kanban or otherwise—that fits your project and team. You'll also find some useful workflow tools for automating parts of your process.
monday.com's integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and many more, accessible via Zapier.
monday.com costs from $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
Parallax is a resource and capacity planning software great for agency management. It offers a robust suite of tools for resource planning and forecasting, sales collaboration and forecasting, project financials, and business intelligence.
Parallax connects with operational tools for time tracking, CRM, and project management to build detailed visualizations around resource utilization information. With Parallax, you'll have access to project health tracking, auto-generated resource plans, customized real-time alerts (on unallocated time, projects over budget, unassigned roles, past start dates, and past end dates), and plan-vs-actual reports.
Overall, Parallax makes for a great agency management solution because you can connect to whatever tools you and your clients are using and create comprehensive charts, dashboards, and visualizations for data-driven decision-making.
Parallax integrates with Asana, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Tempo, Salesforce, Oracle Netsuite, Harvest, Hubspot, Jira Software, and others.
Parallax offers pricing upon request and a free demo.
Ravetree is an award-winning agency management software platform that allows users to manage projects, resources, and creative workflows in one place. The tool combines all information, data, and processes so teams can deliver work faster, be more informed, and spend less time searching for information.
Ravetree includes features for time and expense tracking such as time logs, timesheets, and expense logs, as well as notifications and reports for tracking budget overages and warning signs. Users can also keep track of estimates, set retainers and bill rates, and create invoices based on timesheets and expenses.
The tool is also equipped to handle and store contact and client information, and users can create custom sales pipelines for tracking potential clients according to their workflow. One great feature is the ability to create automated lists sorted by custom rules, ensuring new prospects or contacts are automatically added to the right list.
Ravetree also features capabilities for file approval and management, both on the team-side and the client-side. Users can also set up multiple stages in the approval process, allowing for feedback.
Ravetree can integrate with many other tools, including Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, Outlook, Gmail, Quickbooks, Google Calendar, GitHub, and more.
Pricing starts at $29 per user per month.
Kantata is an agency management system that can be used to manage everything from client relationships to workflows and project tracking. This highly customizable tool allows agencies of all sizes to streamline their operations and increase profits. In this article, we'll explain how you can use Kantata for successful agency management.
Kantata has a range of features designed specifically for agencies, including tools for client onboarding, project planning, time and resource tracking, invoicing, contracts, communication management, and more. With these features in place, you can easily monitor your team’s progress against deadlines or budgets and track the status of clients or projects at any given time. You’ll also have access to key performance data such as team utilization rates or revenue forecasts.
Kantata's core function is to provide users with comprehensive data management solutions. It allows you to store customer information, generate reports, manage tasks and projects, track expenses, collaborate with colleagues or partners remotely, and share information in an organized way. Additionally, it offers real-time insights into customer trends and market conditions so that you can make informed decisions quickly. This makes Kantata a great solution for businesses that need to stay ahead of the competition by utilizing data-driven insights.
Features include analytics, billing/invoicing, customer management, data import, data export, file transfer, Google apps integration, third-party plugins/add-ons, resource management, software integration, API, budgeting, dashboard, data visualization, expense tracking, forecasting, multi-user, project management, timesheets, time management, collaboration support, workflow management, batch permissions & access, calendar management, CRM integration, Gantt charts, notifications, scheduling, task scheduling/tracking, report & compliance, and campaign management
Integrations include other business apps like CRM, HCM, and financial software. On top of the M-Bridge platform, Mavenlink provides several pre-built integrations with these tools: Expensify, G Suite, Xero, Salesforce, Netsuite, Jira, Hubspot, Slack, Concur, Dynamics 365, Qualtrics, Quickbooks, and Sage Intacct.
Kantata offers pricing upon request and a free demo.
Project.co is a user-friendly and intuitive project management system that requires little onboarding and can be implemented immediately without requiring users to participate in weeks of training.
One of the key features that help make Project.co the ideal project management system for small and midsize agencies is the well-designed project management dashboard. This dashboard is easy to understand and navigate through that even beginners and non-technical users should have no issues jumping right into the system and start taking care of their assigned tasks.
The dashboard is the starting point for users to navigate through the system and gain access to its many features and tools. Whether they want to access the templates library to start new projects, view attached files, track time and task schedules, or invite team members to collaborate with. The same goes for the client dashboards, which enable external contributors and clients to access essential information about the projects they’re involved in.
The task management function is designed to help you easily create tasks and subtasks, choose the privacy settings for each task, add short descriptions, edit task status, and attach files via drag-and-drop. They can also share comments, hold conversations in real time, and allocate people.
Productive is a well-rounded agency management software with a stack of powerful functionality that gives you the tools and data you need to keep an agency running smoothly. The tool was built by a team with a decade of experience in founding, managing, and scaling a software development shop, so it's especially well-suited to digital agencies.
The tool's features fully satisfy my criteria for agency management tools. You'll find client and prospect management in the Sales Pipeline (manage deal flow, get sales organized). The Resource Planning feature, time tracker, and task collaboration tools fit the criteria for resource and project management that I look for in an agency tool or platform.
Billing and invoicing can also be managed straight from the tool, along with useful reports on profitability and costs to help with finance management. The reporting feature actually goes quite a bit beyond that, with real-time reports on margins, utilization, and a whole lot more—including reports on individual employees' or contractors' history with the company, salary report, etc.
Productive's integrations include Zapier as well as Jira, Open API, QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Exact.
Productive costs $9/user/month (billed annually). They also offer a fully-featured, free 14-day trial.
Hub Planner is a web-based project management tool that allows you to schedule tasks and resources for projects.
Why I picked Hub Planner: It offers a range of features that make resource management easier for agencies. The tool provides real-time insights into team utilization, capacity, and availability, allowing you to efficiently allocate resources and prevent overbooking. Additionally, the tool offers customizable reporting features that allow you to quickly identify and address any resource-related issues.
The thing I like the most is that you can schedule unassigned work, which is perfect for all those projects where you are unsure of the mix of external contributors and employees that you will use.
Hub Planner Standout Features & Integrations
Features include resource scheduling, time tracking, customizable reporting, project budgeting, resource management, PTO planning, reporting, skills matching, task management, templates, drag-and-drop scheduler, project budgets, approval flow, and smart scheduler.
Integrations include DIY options via the Hub Planner API and webhooks. Additionally, you can access thousands of apps using a Zapier account.
Forecast is a platform for advertising agencies to manage resources and projects used in 40+ countries worldwide. The tool includes capabilities for managing the project life cycle from quote to invoice, as well as intelligent automation for predicting project delivery dates and forecasting capacity needs.
Users can create project plans with Forecast’s auto-schedule. The powerful AI automatically estimates tasks, assigns and optimizes workload across resources, and sets a project delivery date. The tool also provides dashboards with overviews of the organization to allow for informed adjustments to time and resource allocation.
Forecast also introduced a unique feature for managing projects in a retainer setup. A dashboard with retainer periods and totals lets you track the financials of ongoing projects in addition to staff workloads and time spent on delivery.
Forecast integrates natively with Slack, Google Drive, QuickBooks Online, Salesforce, and Xero. Other integrations are available through Zapier.
Forecast has Lite, Pro, and Enterprise options that cost from $29/user/month (14-day free trial).
FunctionFox offers three different plans with features that range from basic time tracking and estimating, to project scheduling and gantt charts, to customized project intake forms. FunctionFox can support teams with five or five hundred members.
FunctionFox is entirely web-based and compatible with all up-to-date browsers, so users on both Mac and PC can work together seamlessly. FunctionFox allows for team collaboration through project scheduling, allows allocation of specific tasks through action assignments and to-do lists, and facilitates communication through the project blog. Another great feature is the availability tool, which project managers can use to monitor team capacity and utilize everyone’s time effectively.
FunctionFox is easy to use and made even easier with the tutorials and support provided. They offer dedicated onboarding and all customer support is unlimited, ongoing, and included in the subscription cost. Their website also includes a help center, and there are detailed help files included within the software itself.
Pricing for the FunctionFox Premier plan starts at $50 per month.
Nutcache is an agency management tool designed to organize all aspects of your daily processes. With this software, you get a toolbox of color-coded schedules, task organization queues, and data reporting.
Nutcache supplies the standard Gantt chart tools, which visually track and organize agency tasks with drag-drop-and-click editing techniques that require minimal training to learn. You can also use the software for Agile or Scrum project management, depending on agency preferences. This simple flexibility makes Nutcache a solid agency management software for small or large teams alike.
Nutcache offers time logging tools where users can log, track, and invoice time and expenses in a way that lets agency managers know where project money is going. Unlike a lot of other integrated solution options, Nutcache also has features to create, customize, and manage unlimited invoices.
App integrations for Nutcache include Dynacom Accounting, PayPal, 2Checkout, Stripe, Authorized.Net, QuickBooks Online, Google Sign In, Google Drive, GitHub, Slack, and hundreds of other apps through Zapier.
Nutcache costs from $6/user/month with a 'Pro' plan that requires 5 users.
Best customizable advertising agency software
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)||Website|
Best agency management software for resource tracking & forecasting
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best agency management system with retainers and billing
7-day free trial
Best for professional services businesses
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best for having all features in every plan
Free forever, for up to five users and 10 active projects.
|Plans start at $8/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best all-in-one agency management system with sales and invoicing tools
14-day free trial
Best for scheduling agency resources
30-day free trial
|From $7/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best advertising agency software for intelligent automation
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best software for creative teams and agencies
Free demo available
|From $35/month + $3.75/user/month||Website|
Best agency management system for invoicing and managing expenses
Free plan available
|From $6/user/month (5 users minimum)||Website|
- Workamajig Platinum
Best for marketing & creative teams
Best agency management tool for Gmail users
The best free tool for client feedback management
Best visual agency management software for simple timelines and charts
best agency operations management software
- Service Provider Pro
Best software for client portals & billing
- Height App
Best for collaborating with clients on projects
Best for collaborating with clients on projects
Best social media agency management system
Best free plan with unlimited tasks and users
And you can also check out these tools often used in agency settings:
How I Picked The Best Agency Management Systems
What am I looking for when I perform agency platform reviews? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI)
Is the interface intuitive to navigate, user-friendly, and does it have aesthetic appeal?
How steep is the software learning curve and does the company offer adequate training resources, like tutorial videos and FAQs/forums?
I look at how the software connects to other cloud-based apps. These could be email marketing software, marketing automation platforms, and lead management solutions. Therefore, I lay out the information on pre-built, custom, and third-party integrations.
Is the price fair, transparent, and flexible? Does the tool offer a free demo or trial so that users can try before they buy?
What is an agency management system designed for?
What are the key features in an agency management system?
What are the benefits of using an agency management software?
Are there any great project management tools for digital marketing agencies that you would add to this list? You can deepen your understanding of the topic by looking at 10 ways to integrate agile in your digital agency.
Related tool lists:
- Advertising agency software
- Creative project management software
- Marketing project management software
You can also get more support for managing a successful agency in both The DPM School online course (which teaches you how to manage digital projects) and in our Membership program where members get access to mentorship from digital project management experts, project templates, workshops, and more.