Top Agency Software: Everything Your Agency Needs

Screenshot of an agency software interface showing the ACME Project management dashboard with task categories such as Backlog, To-do, and In Progress, featuring tasks like 'Research,' 'Draft plan,' and 'Kick-off meeting.'

The right agency software can do a lot for your professional services agency.

From making daily workflows more efficient and cutting time spent on repetitive tasks to delivering actionable insights that support your agency strategies. The right choice can do all of this and more, sometimes on the same platform.

In this article, we’ll explore the best software choices for agencies, from comprehensive to specialized tools and everything in between.

Key Features of Agency Software

The top features that you need from your software for agency management can depend on your specific industry or agency context. However, some software capabilities are helpful across the board. For example:

  • Collaboration tools: Managing workstreams is the foundation of your agency’s success. This includes project and task management functionalities that increase visibility and communication across project teams.
  • Financial insights: One of the main selling points of software for agency management is that data collection is no longer manual and error-prone. A comprehensive solution for agencies can deliver real-time insights that empower timely decision-making.
  • Resource planning: How you utilize your agency’s resources can make or break your processes. Efficient resourcing can help you organize your employees, ensure balanced workloads, and maintain a competitive workforce (learn more: what is capacity planning).

Benefits of Using Agency Software

The benefits of replacing manual processes with automated tools have been well-recorded. For example, according to the 2023 Benchpress Reporting, using dedicated software instead of spreadsheets can help increase your agency’s profit and non-director billable utilization.

Another research on agency software, this time from Capterra, lists the following benefits for agencies:

  • Improved estimation of project timelines (60%)
  • More effective resource allocation (55%)
  • Improved team communication (49%)
  • Better budget estimation (48%)
  • More accurate key agency metrics (38%)

In short, agency management software can provide a better experience for the entire team and significantly improve your project delivery, driving better agency-wide results.

Main Criteria for Choosing Your Tool

When researching your top choice for agencies, make sure to find the answers to the following questions:

  • Is the software easy to use? A modern and user-friendly interface is key to promoting agency-wide adoption.
  • Can it scale with your agency’s growth? A tool dedicated to improvements can adapt to your evolving needs and ensure continued effectiveness.
  • How responsive is customer support? No matter how simple a tool is, you’ll need support for successful implementation and customization.
  • Is it comprehensive enough for your needs? Finally, consider the benefits of implementing a tool for advanced features, not only for your current, but also future circumstances.

Our List of Agency Software

All-in-One Agency Management Software

Agency management software refers to solutions that aim to support your agency operations from start to finish. Typically, they’ll provide project, resource, and financial capabilities integrated into a single platform, with some other supporting features.

Productive – The Top All-in-One Software for Agency Management

Productive is an agency project management software solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It provides a range of solutions for agencies, including time and project management, budgeting and billing, sales management, resource planning, and more.

If I had to choose the main benefit of switching to Productive, it would be having visibility of everything in one place: from sales through resources, projects to delivery, plus the time logging and profitability figures in one place—being able to track the end-to-end lifecycle of a project.

Jason Devoy,
Delivery Director at Joi Polloi

Time Tracking

Time tracking is rarely an employee’s favorite activity. That’s why Productive offers multiple Time Tracking features to streamline this process as much as possible:

  • Multiple ways to track time, either through a timer or manually
  • Easy to create entries with favorite and pinned services
  • Timer widget for desktop, so you don’t have to browse through tabs
  • Automatic time tracking to automate the practice completely
  • Integration with Google Calendar to track meetings

For project managers, approving and viewing timesheets is simple. You can also bulk edit your entries to manage the time or move them to different services.

Screenshot of agency software displaying a 'Track time for today' feature, with sections for 'Marketing' under Business: Content, detailing time spent on social media posts and creating a creative brief with timer indicators showing hours and minutes.


SIMPLIFY TIME TRACKING FOR EMPLOYEES AND AGENCY MANAGERS

Budgeting

Some tools might sideline project financials in favor of collaboration tools, but Productive handles Budgeting as the essential agency process it is. With Productive, you can build project budgets of all kinds, simplify retainer management, manage your cost rates, track expenses across budgets, and handle your Billing and Purchase Orders.


STAY IN SYNC WITH YOUR AGENCY’S FINANCIALS

Budgeting is also connected to your Resourcing so that you can forecast key agency metrics such as budget burn, revenue, and profit margins across your project timelines. This helps you make informed decisions for more successful project delivery.

We’ve always known, on a monthly basis, how we’re doing as a company. But knowing on a per project level, in real time—we never really had that visibility. You guys do a good job of providing that. If you look at it on a yearly basis, it does give us the ability to look, per client and per project where do we really stand.

Orion Jensen,
CEO at Clear Launch

Resource Planning

Productive’s Resource Planning helps you get the most out of your agency’s resources. Build a responsive resource plan and reallocate your bookings simply by drag-and-dropping. You can create bookings in various ways, either by inputting specific hours or defining percentages and letting the tool do the rest.

Screenshot of agency software featuring a timeline view for employee work allocations in June 2023, with details on tasks such as 'Pink Flamingos Rebranding' and 'ADB Bank website', alongside vacation and personal time blocks, indicating hours per day allocated to each task.


GET THE FULL PICTURE OF YOUR AGENCY’S RESOURCES

Additional features to simplify the process include:

  • Custom fields for defining resource categories (team, skill, seniority, etc.)
  • Different ways to filter your views, either by project or people
  • Tentative bookings for scenario planning
  • Placeholders to account for external staff
  • Integrated time off management
  • Financial views for project budget management

Project Management

Productive’s Project Management gives teams everything they need to keep their projects on schedule. This includes multiple project overviews, like List, Kanban, Gantt, and more, as well as project templates for quicker project kickoff.

Task management is simplified with custom fields, easy hierarchies with milestones, subtasks, and to-dos, file-sharing options, comment history, and customizable notifications.

Screenshot of agency software displaying a 'Blog posts' project management interface with tasks for 'Motion graphics' showing options to add a description, attachments, and subtasks, a to-do list with items like 'Visual direction' and 'Draft release', the task's status as 'Working', and an assignee with a due date set for 5 May, 2024.


GO AS GRANULAR AS YOU NEED WITH PRODUCTIVE

Clients can be invited to project boards free of charge. They can view, create, and comment on tasks, as well as view their budgets with specific permissions.

Reporting

Use more than 50 agency-focused templates with custom fields for adding specific parameters. You can organize your data visualizations on dashboards and share them with relevant stakeholders or schedule them to be sent by email.

Screenshot of agency software highlighting 'New budgets insights' with a feature to group by company, displaying bar graphs of revenue and margin for entities like ABC Company, Cupcake Project, and Website Redesign, with an option to show only totals.


GO AS GRANULAR AS YOU NEED WITH PRODUCTIVE

Additional features include: Sales, Docs, Automations.

Integrations include: Xero, QuickBooks, HubSpot, BambooHR, Zapier, Slack, Jira, Google Calendar, and more.

Pricing

  • Plans start with the Essential plan at $9 per user per month, which includes essential features such as budgeting, project & task management, docs, time tracking, expense management, reporting, and time off management.
  • The Professional plan includes custom fields, recurring budgets, advanced reports, billable time approvals, and many more for $24 per user per month.
  • The Ultimate plan has everything that the Essential plan and Professional plan offer, along with the HubSpot integration, advanced forecasting, advanced custom fields, overhead calculations, and more for a custom price.
  • You can also check out the Enterprise Plan with custom pricing for companies that would include more than 50 active users per month.

Productive offers a 14-day free trial, so you can see the tool for yourself before trying it out.

Find the Best Agency Software

Discover an all-in-one tool created by industry veterans that helps support your day-to-day agency workflows.

Book a demo

Project Management Software

Project management tools are software options for agencies that work on streamlining all processes related to individual projects (or end to end projects): task management, team and client collaboration, budget tracking, and resource scheduling. They are designed to help keep projects on track, improve communication between stakeholders, and improve the quality of project deliverables.


WITH PRODUCTIVE, YOU CAN GET FULL PROJECT VISIBILITY

Asana – A Good Option for Software Development Teams

Asana is a project management option for agencies with work management features.

Key features:

  • Custom project views
  • Workload management
  • Time tracking
  • Project & task templates
Screenshot of agency software displaying 'New Requests' and 'In Progress' tasks for content creation, such as an infographic for an ebook and blog posts, with priority status labels ranging from medium to high, and timestamps indicating project duration and current status.


SOurce: ASANA

Asana is a great option for essential project planning and task management, especially for agencies using Agile or Scrum methodologies. However, Asana has limited budgeting features, and though you can integrate it with project accounting and billable hours tracking software, invoicing is not a built-in feature.

Trello – A Popular Project Management Software for Collaboration

Trello is a user-friendly agency system for streamlined collaboration and management.

Key features:

  • Customizable project views
  • Project templates
  • Project-specific data visualizations
  • Various powerups & integrations


Source: trello

Trello is frequently praised as a simple and intuitive tool for streamlining team collaboration. This can make it a good option for creative agencies or inexperienced teams. However, Trello lacks a lot of the more in-depth and advanced features a profitable agency may need, such as time tracking, resource planning, budgeting and invoicing.

For more information, read our guide to Trello vs Wrike vs Productive.

Monday.com – A Versatile Work Management Solution for Agencies

Monday.com is a work management platform for businesses in various industries.

Key features:

  • Project management
  • Collaborative documentation
  • Resource scheduling
  • Workflow automation
Screenshot of agency software's task management interface titled 'This month', showing a list of tasks with 'Finalize kickoff materials' marked as done, 'Refine objectives' and 'Test plan' in progress, and 'Resources' as stuck, each task assigned to different team members as indicated by their profile pictures.


source: monday.com

Monday.com can be a good advanced option for project management, as it offers more agency growth-oriented features in comparison to Trello. However, it still doesn’t fully match up to the capabilities of robust agency project management software. In particular, financial management and forecasting are the main features you’ll miss out on with Monday.com.

CRM Software

CRMs for Agencies helps agencies track interactions with current and potential clients. Some key features include contact management, sales pipeline tracking, and analytics. They are designed to support sales and customer service teams in enhancing key performance metrics such as conversion and retention, increasing efficiency, and improving client relationships overall.

Screenshot of agency software showing the 'Deals' dashboard with various project cards categorized by sales stages: Lead, Prospect, and Proposal. It includes projects like 'Website Rebranding' and 'Mobile App Development', with associated values and progress percentages displayed.



PRODUCTIVE PROVIDES A FULL OVERVIEW OF YOUR SALES PIPELINE

Salesforce – A Top Tool to Manage Sales Teams

Salesforce CRM Cloud is a robust CRM solution for sales teams in businesses of all sizes.

Key features:

  • Multi-channel lead management
  • Sales forecasting & analytics
  • Workflow automation
  • Revenue intelligence


source: salesforce

Salesforce is an advanced option for agencies that want to get more control over their client acquisition process. While it is a robust option, some of the most frequently mentioned drawbacks are the complex interface and difficulties in choosing the right pricing tier for your agency’s needs. For larger agencies, it can be a great choice, but smaller teams can consider an integrated solution with CRM capabilities, such as Productive.

HubSpot – A Complex Tool for Enterprises

HubSpot Sales Hub is a CRM option from HubSpot. HubSpot also offers a Marketing Hub, a popular option for marketing teams in various industries.

Key features:

  • Sales automation
  • Lead management
  • Email templates & tracking
  • Sales analytics


source: hubspot

Similarly to Salesforce, HubSpot is a leading CRM option for agency owners. When comparing the two tools, HubSpot can be described as a less complex option to set up and maintain, though it might lack flexibility for larger agencies with complex needs. HubSpot also has more limited pricing tiers, which can be both a benefit and a downside, depending on your budget limits.

Zoho CRM – An Affordable CRM Option

Zoho CRM can be a good option for small to mid-sized agencies, with more approachable pricing and essential features.

Key features:

  • Sales performance management
  • Layout customization
  • Quotes & Invoicing
  • AI features
Screenshot of agency software displaying a Gantt chart for construction project tasks like 'Floor finishes' and 'Adhesive application' with timelines extending from October 2019 to March 2020, showing progress percentage for each task.


source: ZOHO CRM

Customers on Capterra state that: “The user interface is pretty easy to understand, there are good features, like web forms and workflow automations, and the price is not as high as other CRMs.” However, other reviews have mentioned that the costs can scale once your agency grows and needs more complex features.

Time Tracking and Billing Software

Time tracking and billing software help businesses develop billable hours best practices and speed up the invoicing process for more stable cash flows. Its features often include online timesheets, expense management, client billing, and reporting.

Screenshot of agency software displaying a purchase order form, including an order number, date of issue, and service details for Linkedin Paid Ads with quantity and price listed, resulting in a total amount of $500.00.


PRODUCTIVE HELPS YOU MANAGE ALL EXPENSES

Harvest – A Specialized Tool for Billable Hours

Harvest is an agency time management software with billing that helps agencies manage time for multiple projects.

Key features:

  • Simple timesheets
  • Essential project budgeting
  • Client invoicing
  • Xero and QuickBooks integrations
Screenshot of agency software displaying a weekly team capacity report for the period of 14-20 March 2022, showing total hours worked versus team capacity with a breakdown of billable and non-billable hours for each team member.


source: harvest

Harvest has overall high user ratings on Capterra, and users usually enjoy the essential professional services time tracking features it provides. Some users have mentioned limitations with reporting that can cause agencies to outgrow Harvest as a solution. For more extensive agency management, consider Harvest alternatives, but for basic time tracking, it can be a good option.

Time Doctor – A Solid Productivity-Monitoring Software

Time Doctor is a productivity tracking and time management tool to manage internal or remote teams.

Key features:

  • Attendance tracking
  • Employee monitoring
  • Automatic time tracking
  • Invoicing & payroll
Screenshot of agency software tracking employee work hours, featuring individuals with time worked, start and end times, and total time calculations, including a user currently on a lunch break and another whose last activity was tracked 1 day ago.


source: time doctor

Time Doctor can be a good choice for project managers working with numerous freelancers or largely remote teams. However, it should be mentioned that many employees have commented that they find the tool intrusive and disruptive due to the frequency of idle alerts and screenshots. If you’re interested in a more user-friendly tool with time management and billing, consider some Time Doctor Alternatives.

FreshBooks – A Good Option to Manage Finances

FreshBooks is a project accounting tool for professional services, construction, IT, and legal professionals.

Key features:

  • Professional invoices
  • Expense tracking
  • Online payments
  • Time tracking
Screenshot of agency software displaying an invoices section with financial summaries of overdue, outstanding, and draft amounts, along with a list of recently updated invoices showing their status, such as draft, paid, sent, and overdue.


source: freshbooks

FreshBooks is a good option for billing software. Capterra users mention that it’s a user-friendly tool that simplifies expense tracking, track expenses, manage invoices, and keep track of payments. Regarding the downsides, some reviews state that FreshBooks lacks in-depth reporting and that some advanced accounting capabilities aren’t available.

See more: Examples of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

Creative and Design Management Tools

Creative and design management tools streamline processes within design agencies and other creative businesses. Depending on the type of software, these tools can sometimes include project planning features or enable easier editing, version control, and feedback mechanisms. They aim to facilitate collaboration, enhance creativity, and ensure high-quality deliverables.

Adobe Creative Cloud – A Must-Have for Design Agencies

The Adobe Creative Cloud offers popular programs such as Photosop and Illustrator for design, Premier Pro for video editing, and Acrobat Pro for documentation and file sharing.

Key features:

  • Wide range of creative apps
  • Team collaboration tools
  • Creative Community
  • Various resources for design work


source: adobe creative cloud

The apps offered as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud are a staple for most design and creative agencies. Users mention it as the backbone of their processes but often note that it can be complex to use, as well as pricey.

InVision – A Simple Prototyping Tool

InVision is an affordable prototyping platform for creative teams and agencies.

Key features:

  • Collaboration features
  • Customizable boards
  • Digital whiteboard with Freehand
  • Integration with other design tools
Screenshot of agency software displaying project planning assets for 'InBank', including a user journey whiteboard, a design brainstorm, brand moodboard, app wireframe, payment prototype, and developer specifications, all featuring visual design elements and layout concepts.


source: invision

Users on Capterra review InVision as a user-friendly solution that streamlines team collaboration and the client feedback process. As some of the drawbacks, one user mentions that it might not be simple enough to be used by non-designers, while other mention that “the limited functionality in terms of design customization and editing capabilities was a minor drawback, especially for more complex design projects” (Source: Capterra).

Sketch – A Design Tool Tailored to Mac

Sketch is a native Mac app for design, prototyping, and collaboration.

Key features:

  • Design & workflow capabilities
  • File organization
  • Simple commenting & sharing
  • Customization features


source: sketch

Sketch provides a great toolkit to streamline design for creative agencies. According to Capterra reviews, the tool’s design tools “encourage creativity and it has a set of templates that simplify the work to start a new project”. However, as it’s designed primarily for Mac, it might not be the best option for all agencies.

Analytics and Reporting Tools

Analytics and reporting tools are software solutions that offer actionable insights and facilitate informed decision-making through customizable dashboards, data visualizations, reliable data gathering, and comprehensive reporting.

Google Analytics – An Essential Tool for Web Analytics

Google Analytics is an essential tool for professional services, whether you’re working in digital marketing agencies, consultancies, design or software development companies.

Key features:

  • Cross-platform attribution
  • Predictive and proactive insights
  • A variety of useful reports
  • Integration with Google Services


source: google analytics

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is free to use, while the priced version is called Google Analytics 360. For enterprise companies and those needing advanced data, the 360 version will be their best pick. SMBs can utilize GA4 to cover essential needs for web-based data.

Tableau – A Solution for Advanced Data Analysis

Tableau is a versatile business development and data analytics software solution from Salesforce. It offers advanced analytics, statistical tools, data visualizations, and predictive insights.

Screenshot of agency software displaying a stacked bar chart analyzing incident reports by day of the week for December 2009, with filters for crime type and district available for more detailed data segmentation.


source: tableu

Tableau can take and analyze data from different data sources and offer a wide range of data analysis, visualizations, and customization options. Compared to Google Analytics, it’s the more exhaustive tool, though both have its use for professional services. Complexity is the most frequently mentioned downside, so be ready for this when investing in Tableau.

Databox – A Solid Option for Versatile Businesses

Databox is an analytics platform that provides reliable data for e-commerce, SaaS, agencies, and consultants. It provides customizable dashboards, employee performance management, report creation and sharing, and goal tracking.


source: databox

Users of Databox enjoy its multiple integrations and customizable reporting options. As a downside, some reviews mention glitches, bugs, and performance issues when loading big datasets.

Learn more about the best tools for consultants.

Software for Marketing Agencies

Marketing agency software is specifically tailored to streamline and enhance the various facets of marketing campaign management, client communication, and performance tracking. Digital marketing software often includes project management tools, client collaboration portals, campaign analytics, social media management, and email marketing integration.

You can also check out our guide to project management for marketing for an in-depth exploration of digital agency workflows.

Sprout Social – A Top Social Media Platform Management Tool

Sprout Social is a social media platform offering cross-network strategy management, campaign performance tracking, integrated collaboration tools, and social data and analytics features.

Screenshot of agency software showing an 'Instagram Competitors' report with an activity overview, including follower counts, and a detailed line graph of audience growth comparing the user's profile with competitors over the month of December.


source: SPROUT SOCIAL

Digital agencies report that they enjoy using Sprout Social for their social media marketing, underlining improved collaboration and results as the main positives. As for the negatives, the main one is the somewhat steep pricing that can make it inaccessible for SMBs.

Mailchimp – A Popular Email Automation Sofware

Mailchimp is an industry-leading tool for marketing teams. It provides a range of features for marketing automation, including AI-supported content creation, audience targeting and segmentation, advanced analytics, and third-party integrations.

Screenshot of agency software displaying an email campaign analytics dashboard, with a bar chart showing the volume of emails sent and a line graph indicating the click rate percentage over a set period.


source: mailchimp

Users highlight that Mailchimp’s best features are the easy-to-use interface. Additionally, some believe that it drives overall sales growth with improved click-through rates.

As a downside, most users mention that the paid tiers can be expensive for businesses that don’t use email marketing as one of their main strategies. However, the benefits of the tool usually outweight the cost, especially for larger agencies.

Creative Agency Management Software

Creative agency management software aims to support agency managers in supporting operations in creative agencies. Features usually include project tracking, asset management, client communication tools, and time tracking.

Notion – A User-Friendly Collaboration Tool

Notion is a cloud-based tool that offers a wide range of features for collaboration and productivity in creative agencies, including ready-made templates, documentation and file sharing, and a customizable user interface.

Screenshot of agency software task management interface with a list of tasks including 'UI refresh for login screen', 'Improve copy + paste on mobile', and 'Update workspace setting icons', showing due dates, status indicators like new, overdue, and in progress, and assigned team members.


source: notion

As a visual and intuitive software solution, Notion can be a good collaboration solution for creative agencies. However, consider a different alternative with robust features for more comprehensive agency business management, such as time tracking and financial capabilities.

Avaza – A Solid All-Rounder for Agencies

Avaza is a work management software with project and task management, capacity planning, online timesheets, and client invoicing features.


source: avaza

Avaza users find the collaboration features useful and enjoy the simple drag-and-drop features for daily operations. However, some reviews believe certain features, including the user experience, could be improved. You can check our list of the top Avaza competitors to learn more.

Advertising Agency Software

Advertising agency software typically focuses on tools and features for managing ad campaigns, media buying, creative production, and client billing related to advertising services. Some helpful tools include:

  • Adzooma: Adzooma is a comprehensive advertising agency software that helps streamline PPC campaign management, get actionable insights, and improve SEO performance.
  • Bionic: Bionic is another robust advertising agency software specializing in media planning, buying, and management. It offers features like media buying automation, cross-channel planning tools, budget management, and real-time campaign tracking.
  • AdPlugg: AdPlugg is an advertising agency software offering ad management, scheduling, and tracking tools. It provides features such as ad rotation, targeting options, and analytics to optimize ad performance across various digital platforms.

Takeaway: Finding the Best Agency Software

The best agency software is a solution that can support your daily agency’s workflows and help you achieve your long-term goals. Some of your potential options can include comprehensive agency management tools, project management software, and specialized tools for business operations.

When evaluating the top management system tools, consider usability, comprehensiveness, and user-friendliness as your criteria. Despite your agency’s specific circumstances, these three considerations are key to efficient implementation and successful adoption.

If you’re looking for agency management software, book a demo with Productive, the all-in-one tool for agency operations.

FAQ

What is agency management software?

Agency management software are tools with capabilities designed to streamline various aspects of agency management. This can include generalized agency operations such as project planning, resource management, time tracking, and billing, to processes such as sales, creative workflows, and marketing and social media platform management.

Is Better Agency a CRM?

Yes, Better Agency is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool for insurance agencies, which includes features such as email syncing, built-in automation campaigns, and easy user management.

How much does an agency management system cost?

The cost of an agency management system can vary significantly depending on its comprehensiveness, the number of users, and various additional features, ranging from ten to hundreds or more dollars per month. Additional expenses may include setup, training, and integration.

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Lucija Bakić

Content Specialist

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