As a PR pro, maintaining a profitable client base is often a challenge. This isn’t because you struggle to keep and grow client relationships or because of the quality of your work. Instead, the difficulty often revolves around the efficiency of agency and client management processes.
As a service business, you don’t sell products – you sell time, so how and where time is invested throughout your agency plays a key role in its profitability. Common agency time-sucks that can impact overall profitability include business development RFPs. Firms need to be selective, as nurturing and wooing prospects are key aspects of generating revenue. However, compiling dozens of RFP submissions is a huge time investment – time that isn’t being used on profit-generating work.
Instead, be more selective when choosing which submissions you complete. Prescreen prospects to ensure they’re the right fit. Ask yourself: Do they have an adequate budget? Do we have experience in their industry? And would I like working with this company?
Only submit RFPs for those prospects you deem highly qualified. For those that don’t make the cut, politely decline and dedicate your extra time to improving internal processes, completing client work, or nurturing other prospects.
Another time-suck is inaccurate invoices and when to use integrated technologies. Without the right tools, building and sending invoices is time-intensive and often imprecise. Improve efficiency by relying on tech built to make your job easier.
Time-tracking tools automatically associate your team’s hours with a specific project – enabling you to quickly create reports with accurate time totals. Digital tools can automatically create invoices, send them to clients, and track outstanding balances, saving time and helping to avoid costly mistakes.
Finally, know when to walk away. Overbearing neediness can quickly destroy the profitability and productivity of an account. Do any of your clients have outrageously unattainable expectations? Or do they constantly come back with major edits on each project? Or take the team’s time away from other client work? If so, express your concerns and try to resolve the issues. But, if problems persist, consider whether its worth keeping them on as a client.
Chirag Ahuja is head of marketing at WorkflowMax.