Top Agency Management Software: Guide to Features & User Reviews

Trying to manage projects, resources, budgets, and your team’s happiness is no easy feat.

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, quick and accurate decision-making is crucial for your agency’s success story. 

More and more digital agencies have been turning to tools that help with workflow management, keeping projects on track, and ensuring agency growth. Project management tools, as well as agency management software, could be the perfect solution for your day-to-day struggles as an agency owner or manager.

But it can be hard to make the best choice among the many tools available on the market.  To exemplify, in 2022 there were over 15,000 SaaS companies in the US alone, according to Statista.

To make your life a bit easier, we’ve created a list of the top agency management software currently available on the market, with an overview of useful features, user commentary, and comparisons. Keep reading to find out everything you need to make an informed decision for your business.

Choosing Agency Management Software: Tips & Tricks

Let’s start off by exploring the most important factors to consider when choosing your best agency management software solution.

If you want to skip directly to our list of top available software, click here.

1. Consider Your Agency Business

When choosing the right agency management software you should take into consideration the type of agency business you run.  For example, a creative agency might want to look for a tool that enables brainstorming and ideation with whiteboards or collaborative documentation, while for agile software development, a tool that supports Kanban and Scrum methodologies might be preferable.


CONSIDER TOOLS SUCH AS PRODUCTIVE, WITH SUPPORT FOR A VARIETY OF WORK ORGANIZATION STYLES

Additionally, smaller businesses might want financial management in the way of administrative support with billing and invoicing, while larger businesses could also profit from more robust budget and agency profit margin forecasting. 

2. Consider the Different Types of Software Tools

#1: Project management tools vs. Agency project management software

Project management tools are more generalized solutions that can be used by businesses from all sorts of industries, including those that are product-oriented. On the other hand, agency management software is tailored to client-facing agencies, with features that streamline client communications, financial management, and successful project delivery.

Some examples of useful features are:

  • Financial forecasting: tools that let you forecast your budget and agency profit margin can help you make data-driven business decisions – essential for scaling your agency
  • CRM: tools that integrate sales tracking let you centralize your workflows and build connections between teams – essential for optimizing processes
  • Collaboration features: tools that provide an online project space for task updates and data analysis can streamline project stakeholder collaboration  – essential for ensuring team and client satisfaction


PRODUCTIVE OFFERS AN INTEGRATED SALES PIPELINE ALONG WITH ESSENTIAL MANAGEMENT FEATURES

#2: All-in-one software vs. Niche tools

All-in-one software solutions aim to support all day-to-day agency processes, from client acquisition to project post-completion reports, while niche tools zero in on a specific pain point. Niche tools frequently go more in-depth into a particular feature, however, the benefit of all-in-one tools is that they can cover the baseline of many different agency needs, reducing your IT overhead and simplifying workflows.

We used to have a project management tool, a time tracking tool, a support tool, a way we handled opportunities and sales-driven processes. Those were all separate tools that we had, and it wasn’t good. It also meant that all that data was being lost every time we switched between tools, or we had to find a way to normalize the data between them. And now, the fact that it’s all in one, it’s really a game changer.

Bryan Casler
Vice President of Digital Strategy
4Site Interactive Studios

#3: Cloud-based solutions vs. On-premise solutions

Finally, agency software can also differ in data hosting.

Cloud-premise solutions use third-party servers, while on-premise tools use your enterprise infrastructure. The benefits of a cloud-based solution are quicker implementation and less investment upfront due to its more common subscription pricing strategies, but the downside is comparatively less secure data.

Nowadays, cloud solutions seem to be emerging as the new trend: according to a 2021 survey on Cloud Adoption, half of participants reported planning to migrate 50% or more of their applications to the cloud, while 20% plan to migrate all of them (O’Reilly). 

3. Consider Your Project Teams

Change resistance is a real thing that will hinder your software implementation. There are multiple reasons why coworkers might not be receptive to changes at the workplace, one of the main ones being “perceived complexity” (R. D. Freeze, ResearchGate). No matter how robust or comprehensive your tool is, a user-friendly interface and streamlined features are a must. Here, reviews from sites such as G2 or Capterra might be a valuable resource. Additionally, check how comprehensive the onboarding support is from the vendor side: whether they offer video material, written guides, or one-on-one implementation support.

Learn how a digital agency collective implemented an all-in-one tool successfully:

Top 15 Agency Management Software Systems

Now that we’ve given you an overview of some criteria to keep in mind when choosing the best product, let’s move on to our list of the top 15 agency tools for daily management.

1. Productive – All-in-One Agency Management System

Productive is a scalable agency management software designed to help you run a profitable agency. It offers advanced features like forecasting and reporting so you can keep track of your present and future agency operations, making it well-suited for agencies of all sizes. Whether you’re a one-man army or  200+ employees, Productive scales alongside your agency.

Productive transformed our business in the best way possible. When we first started the company, we were a smaller team and the software we were using at the time got us by, but just barely, and we knew that we needed something a little bit bigger and better, just like Productive. It allowed us to scale the company and grow with us, and give us the tools and the abilities and the reporting that we needed to grow the company.

Josh Stewart-Van Dusen,
CEO AT Tandem X Visuals

Productive offers a wide range of advanced features, from scheduling and budgeting to time tracking and project management, so you can keep all the information you need for running a successful business in one place. From marketing teams to sales teams, Productive’s features are meant to give a real-time overview of your agency business.

Additionally, you can invite your clients to Productive free of charge, making it the ideal platform for all types of client-facing agencies.

Now, let’s find out what Productive’s features can do for your agency business.

Time Tracking

The key to good time management is an integrated tracking tool that’s easy to use and has an intuitive interface. Productive’s Time Tracking feature has a built-in timer that can also be placed on the desktop, so you don’t have to switch back and forth between different tabs in order to turn it on and off.

Time tracking is connected to your project budgets and the services you offer so that you’re automatically tracking billable and non-billable hours for hourly-priced projects. With Productive, you can also automatically attach your timesheets to invoices, streamlining client feedback and potentially optimizing your cash flow.


PRODUCTIVE’S TIME TRACKING PROVIDES TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE WAYS OF MANAGING THEIR HOURS

The benefits: Time management is one of the core features of financially responsible agencies. The biggest obstacle to implementing time tracking into your agency’s processes might be your teams – no one likes feeling like they’re being micromanaged. However, consider that:

You don’t need to track time forever—if you get your net profit margins to 20-30%—but consider doing it temporarily to get the data you need to make better management decisions.

In Productive, tracking your time will enable you to check your utilization rate or the amount of time your employee spends on client-facing tasks vs. their total work hours. Having a handle on your utilization allows you to improve your agency’s profitability and project management processes.

Budgeting

Productive’s Budgeting feature lets agencies get full control of their budgets, no matter which pricing model they use: hourly, fixed, or mixed-price projects. Productive’s budgeting powers up useful features, such as:

  • Forecasting: you can forecast your budgeting up until your project deadline to see whether you’ll end in the green or in the red. Then, by switching to the profitability view, you can see exactly how much actual profit your agency will be making.
  • Billing: send brand-friendly invoices to your clients directly from Productive, with data generated from your budget activities.
  • Purchase Orders: Manage your external costs, track payments, and keep a close eye on delivery dates by managing purchase orders from the platform.


GET COMPREHENSIVE REPORTS INTO BUDGETS AND PROFIT ACROSS ALL PLATFORM PROJECTS

The benefits:  Firstly, by managing your budgets on a single platform, you can get consolidated data and compare your revenue and profit across different projects, empowering informed decision-making. Secondly, transparent and real-time budgeting can help improve your client communications, as it lets you keep all stakeholders in sync with project progress. Finally, automatic accounting tools eliminate the potential for human error and save time spent on repetitive tasks.

From a business level, now we make better decisions regarding our utilization. I’m understanding new things about profitability. I’ve made certain assumptions before, and some of those assumptions have proven to be wrong. For some projects, we weren’t sure how far over budget we were, and now we can really see.

Roberto Ciarleglio,
Co-founder and Managing Director AT Contra Agency

Resource Management

Productive’s Resource Planning lets you schedule your team’s time to ensure balanced workloads, enable adaptive project budgeting reports, and ultimately deliver projects more successfully.

This feature also includes customizable leave management: define categories of leave that apply to your agency, allocate how many days can be used, and which teammates are eligible for it. Schedule this leave into your plans to get complete visibility into your projects.


GET HIGH-lEVEL OVERVIEWS OF YOUR TEAM’S SCHEDULES WITH PRODUCTIVE’S RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

The benefits: Efficient resource planning in operations management is particularly important for larger agencies with complex workflows. These businesses need to have clear visibility on which team members are available to work and when. Productive’s resource plans go a step further by incorporating placeholders, which let you create scenarios for future staffing and predict whether you’ll need more resources before you take on a new project. 

Project Management

Productive’s Project Management feature lets you organize your tasks with projects and boards, which you can use to associate all of your departments to one shared space. View your tasks with various project views, including list, Kanban, table, calendar, and more. 

Then, manage your tasks by creating Milestones for larger project phases. Delegate teammates, enter deadlines, track updates, and manage your communications on the platform. Decide where and how often you want to be notified for task updates with Productive’s customizable notifications.


STREAMLINE COLLABORATION WITH PRODUCTIVE’S INTUITIVE TASK MANAGEMENT

The benefits: Streamlined task management can have a great effect not only on your projects but also on your entire team. By giving team members a space to monitor their progress in the context of the project, you can help boost their engagement by showing them how their work contributes to the overall project picture. This can contribute to talent retention, which is especially important considering that nowadays talent shortage is so severe that more and more agencies have to rely on attracting employees from other companies (Work Institute 2022 Report). Additionally, 50% of agencies participating in research by SoDa reported that the challenge of finding and/or keeping negatively impacted their growth in 2022.

Find out more about the latest agency trends:

Reporting

With our Reporting feature, you can choose from more than 50 agency-focused reports to get analytics on your employees, budgeting, and rates. With custom fields, you can also create your own parameters and get even more in-depth reports. Convert your data into various visualizations with one click of a button and share them with all relevant project stakeholders.

The benefits: With software-based reporting, you’ll get more accurate data that updates automatically, without the need for constant attention from finance professionals or project managers. This can free up a significant amount of your time and make your processes less frustrating for both you and your clients: 


GET ACCESS TO KEY AGENCY ANALYTICS IN REAL TIME

Additional features: Sales, Docs.

Integrations include: Xero, QuickBooks, HubSpot, Breathe, 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.

You can check out Productive with a 14-day free trial before you decide to subscribe to a paid plan.

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2. Forecast – A Fair All-around Tool 

Forecast is an agency management tool that offers a wide range of features to manage your projects, resources, time, and budget. Users typically enjoy Forecast for its extensive user interface and forecasting tool that supports informed decision-making.

Key Features:

  • Resource scheduling and management
  • Time tracking
  • Project budgeting and profitability tracking
  • Project management
  • Reporting and analytics


Source: forecast

Forecast can be a good pick for agencies that are looking to invest in a comprehensive solution that offers resourcing and financial management support. As for the downsides, a G2 reviewer noted that the software can sometimes update features without providing a heads-up, or guides that explain new features and their impact on previous workflows.

Furthermore, some have commented that the project planning side of the tool could be more developed – for example, the time tracking feature lacks a desktop timer that would streamline the process of time management.

3. Scoro – A Good Comprehensive Tool

Scoro project management offers a range of features to help you manage your projects and resources. It’s designed for service-providing businesses that are looking for a single platform to manage their day-to-day operations.

 Key Features:

  • Resource scheduling and management
  • Time tracking
  • Project budgeting and profitability tracking
  • Project and task management
  • Reporting and analytics


SOurce: scoro

Users like Scoro because it’s a good business management software that offers a lot of features to help teams collaborate and manage tasks. Since it focuses on project management, time tracking, and invoicing, it can be a good choice for businesses looking to automate daily processes. 

Certain users have commented that Scoro has a pretty steep learning curve and it might be confusing for beginners, so agencies with teams that are new to agency management system tools might want to look for a more user-friendly option.

4. Accelo – A Good Solution for Agencies

Accelo is one of the top PSA solutions. It offers a variety of features that aim to make your agency’s work more profitable and boost your client communications, with the standout being its CRM feature: “…this is a software that has helped us manage our entire sales cycle” (Source: Capterra).

Key Features:

  • CRM: systemized sales processes and forecasting
  • Resource scheduling and management
  • Time tracking
  • Project and task management
  • Reporting and analytics


source: accelo

Thanks to its CRM and management features, Accelo can be a good choice for agencies that are interested in supporting their entire project lifecycle, from client acquisition to project delivery. Something to consider is that Accelo’s price of entry is less affordable than comparative solutions on the market, such as Productive, which similarly offers integrated sales and management features.

Additionally, some users have noted that the tool can be somewhat inflexible. Agencies with complex workflows are advised to consider Accelo alternatives with more customizability or read our popular comparison of Scoro versus Accelo

5. Harvest – A Good Marketing Agency Project Management Tool

Harvest is a software for agency management with a focus on time tracking, project budgeting, and invoicing. It offers a variety of third-party integrations with popular productivity tools such as Slack, Trello, and QuickBooks, making it easy for teams to use their favorite tools while still working on a single platform.

Key Features:

  • Time tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Project budgeting and profitability tracking
  • Reporting tool


source: harvest

Due to its focus on time tracking, invoicing, and collaboration, Harvest can be a solid option for agencies that are working to optimize their operations. As the main downside of the tool, users on Capterra have mentioned that the time tracking feature can be cumbersome, as it requires daily tracking.

For agencies that are just introducing time management into their workflows, an alternative to Harvest such as Productive with more flexible options that include automatic and retroactive manual tracking might be preferable.

6. Teamwork – A Good Creative Agency Management Software

Teamwork is a scalable agency management software that offers a range of features that help your agency manage projects, resources, and time. On G2,  the tool is praised particularly by creative agency professionals, such as those from digital marketing agencies, design agencies, and advertising agencies, for providing them with simple, essential management solutions.

Key Features include:

  • Time tracking
  • Project and task management
  • Collaboration
  • Resource scheduling and management
  • Reporting and analytics


source: teamwork

Customers enjoy Teamwork for the following reasons: it helps them streamline their work, standardize and create written processes for team projects, and create an online space for collaboration (Source: G2). As the main downside, multiple users note that the mobile app needs improvements to be fully functional, which can be a minus for agency owners and managers who want to access their projects on the fly.

You can also check out our article on the best Teamwork alternatives to learn about the best options available.

7. Monday – A Reliable Well-Rounded Option

Monday is an agency project management software that helps project managers customize their agency’s workloads to fit their needs while supporting team alignment and efficiency. It caters to agencies of all sizes and teams of all shapes.

Key Features:

  • Time tracking
  • Project and task management
  • Marketing automation
  • Resource scheduling and management
  • Reporting and analytics


source: monday

Users often praise Monday.com for its good user experience, commenting that the platform is intuitive, simple to use, and visually appealing. As such, it might be a good choice for inexperienced teams or those who might feel overwhelmed or constrained by organizational tools.

As for the cons, some users mention that, while the tool covers essential management needs, certain features could be more robust. For example, agency managers with a growth mindset might want to consider some of the more robust project budget management tools. Some features to consider are forecasting and real-time metrics on budgets, profit, and utilization.

8. ClickUp – A Good Marketing Project Management Software

ClickUp is a software for agency management that aims to keep all essential project processes on a single platform, from documentation and tasks to client feedback. Users praise the solution for being “really intuitive and straight to the point” (Source: G2).

Key Features:

  • Time tracking
  • Project and task management
  • Resource scheduling and management
  • Reporting and analytics
A screenshot of a creative agency project management software's 'Release Project' interface. The view shows a task list with categories 'ISSUES FOUND' and 'REVIEW', each with tasks such as 'Update contractor agreement', 'Plan for next year', and 'Budget assessment'. Visual cues indicate task stages like 'Initiation', 'Planning', and 'Execution', with profile pictures denoting assignees and icons for comments and attachments.


source: clickup

ClickUp can be a good solution for agencies that are looking for an intuitive project management tool that offers a wide range of features to help teams collaborate, manage tasks, and track progress. Its flexibility and ease of use make it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes, however, some users also noted that this can also be a downside.

Due to a lack of a more rigid structure, project managers might end up setting up their projects inefficiently, which can lead to significant money and time sinks in the future. Therefore, it might be more suitable for experienced teams.

You can check out our ClickUp vs Wrike comparison to learn more.

9. Workamajig – A Good Creative Agency Software

Workamajig is an agency project management software that offers a range of features to manage your projects, resources, time, and invoicing, with third-party integrations for everything in between. 

Key Features:

  • Time tracking
  • Project and task management
  • Resource management
  • Invoicing
  • Reporting and analytics


source: workamajig

Overall, Workamajig is a fair project and agency management tool that integrates essential financial tracking and support with project management features. However,  the most notable downside of Workamajig is the somewhat outdated user interface and occasionally poor platform performance, as reported by multiple reviewers. This can make some features more complicated than they initially seem.

Check out our list of the top Workamajig competitors to find similar but more intuitive options.

10. Kantata – A Good Marketing Agency Project Management Software

Kantata, formerly known as Mavenlink, is a popular project management software that aims to offer a more comprehensive suite of agency management tools beyond just project management.

Key Features:

  • Project and task management
  • Resource management
  • Financial management
  • Collaboration and file sharing


source: kantata

Overall, Kantata is a comprehensive agency management software that offers a wide range of tools to help agencies manage their projects, resources, and finances more effectively. Something to consider is that certain users have reported that response times on the platform can be sluggish at times, as well as that the user experience would be better with some improvements in intuitiveness and better initial onboarding (see more: top 25 Mavenlink alternatives).

11. Asana – A Good Choice for Agency Professionals

Asana is a well-known agency management system that is tailored to agile project teams. With a number of features that support teams in their project management and collaboration, Asana is a user-friendly tool for agencies of all sizes.
 
Key Features:


source: asana

  • Project and task management
  • Resource management
  • Time tracking
  • Reporting and analytics

Asana can be an especially good solution for cross-functional teams that work with agile methodologies, such as website project development companies. However, agencies with more robust needs might find that certain features, especially when it comes to budgeting and financial performance, could be more developed.

12. Smartsheet – A Good Tool for Agencies

Smartsheet is an agency management software that provides flexible work management for everything from one-off projects to complex project portfolio management

Key features include:

  • Project and task management
  • Resource management
  • Time tracking
  • Collaboration


source: smartsheet

Because of its similarities to Excel, Smartsheet can be an effective project management tool for teams that are handy with spreadsheet-based workflows and tools. This could be particularly suitable for industries that are used to handling large amounts of data, for example, insurance agencies.

However, agencies that are looking to move away from more traditional text-and-numbers solutions might want to look for more visual, modernized agency management tools instead.

13. Wrike – A Fair Choice for Agency Professionals

Wrike is a cloud-based project management software that allows teams to collaborate and manage tasks in real time. The platform also offers Gantt charts, which allow users to visualize project timelines and dependencies.

Key features include:

  • Project and task management
  • Resource scheduling and management
  • Time tracking
  • Collaboration


source: wrike

Wrike is a good project management tool that offers a lot of different features that help teams collaborate, manage tasks, and track progress their progress in real time. It can be a good asset for teams with essential project planning and management needs. As for the downsides of the tool, some users report difficulties with managing some parts of the platform, especially when it comes to tasks.

14. nTask – A Good Agency Management System

nTask is an agency management software that offers a range of features to manage your projects, track time, support collaboration, and monitor risk.

Key features include:

  • Project and task management
  • Risk management
  • Time tracking
  • Collaboration


source: nTask

In general, nTask can be a popular choice for small and medium-sized teams due to its affordable pricing and streamlined design. It’s a fine choice for agencies that are looking for the most essential management and collaboration support, though a more comprehensive solution might be a better pick for larger agencies with complex needs.

Takeaway

When choosing the best agency management software for your agency, there are many things that should be taken into consideration: from pricing, features, and integrations to ease of use and learning curve.

If you’re looking for a tool that’ll help your project managers run everything smoothly, you might want to check out simpler project management software. But if you want to dig deeper and find a tool that will be able to support your agency’s growth and scale alongside you, consider splurging a little on robust end-to-end management software. 

By implementing the right software solution, you can increase productivity, reduce inefficiencies, and ultimately grow your agency.

For an all-in-one agency management software solution that can support all your day-to-day operations, consider booking a demo with Productive.

FAQ

1. What is agency management software?

Agency management software is designed to help businesses and organizations manage their operations more efficiently by automating various aspects of their daily tasks, such as project management, resource allocation, time tracking, client relationship management, and more.

2. What are the benefits of using agency management software?

Some of the benefits of using agency management software include better organization of tasks, streamlined workflows, improved communication among team members, easier collaboration with clients, accurate tracking of project progress, and increased efficiency and productivity.

3. How do you manage agency management software?

To manage an agency management software, you need to set up your account and customize the software to meet your business needs. You can then create projects, assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, track progress, and communicate with clients and team members. You can also use the software to generate reports and analyze data to improve your operations.

4. Who uses agency management software?

Agency management software is used by a variety of businesses and organizations, including marketing agencies, consulting firms, creative agencies, digital agencies, and more. It is especially useful for businesses that handle multiple projects simultaneously and need to manage a large team of employees or contractors. Whether you’re a project manager, agency manager, or just an agency employee, you’re sure to get good use out of agency management software. 

5. What is the best marketing or consulting agency management software?

There are several agency management software options available for managing a digital marketing agency workflow or your consulting firm, but some popular ones include Productive, Wrike, and Asana.

6. Which is the best creative agency project management software?

Some popular project management software options for creative agencies include Productive, Monday.com, Teamwork. The best software for your agency depends on your specific needs and budget.

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Margarita Aranza

Marketing Assistant

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