The Top 10 Agency Management Software (Features, Drawbacks)

Marija Kata Vlasic

December 21, 2020

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Looking for an agency management software?

We know—though many agencies provide similar services and have comparable workflows, each agency has its own priorities. Sometimes, as an agency owner or project manager, maybe you’re not even aware of the needs you have until you discover all the features an agency management software can offer.

That said, we realize it’s impossible to provide every agency with everything you need. But that doesn’t stop us from developing our product. Every week at Productive, we release new features and updates that you, our customers, request. And if our agency management software isn’t helping you with exactly that, we’re here to help you find what you need to shape your agency’s future.

In this article, we’re going over the 10 best agency management software. Note that certain tools are not specialized in agency management, but cover a range of specialties regarding business management and project management. Still, this list should help you quickly compare and evaluate the best agency management platforms for your needs. We’ll cover some of these tools’ main features and drawbacks to give you a good picture of each. Hopefully, this article will assist you in choosing the best agency management tool for your team.

Our Shortlist of the Best Agency Management Software

According to feedback from our prospects and customers, as well as detailed research and analysis you’ll find below, the ten best agency management software applications are:

But before we begin… 

What Should You Look For in an Agency Management Software?

When we talk about agency management, we’re referring to complete business cycles that happen within an agency business. So, generally speaking, agency management software needs to have features that optimize the workflow of an agency. You’ll want to make sure that the software you’re choosing has an:

Integrated sales funnel feature for sales opportunity tracking and customer relationship management

You should be able to set your funnel up in stages, create estimates, and get the data you need to lead your next moves.

Resource management feature for monitoring and modifying resource planning and creating accurate schedules for optimal utilization rates.

Leave management for time off requests so that you can make better decisions when resource planning.

Project and task management—for streamlining production processes, keeping teammates in the loop, and especially important for distributed team collaboration.

Forecasting that shows you forecasted utilization, budget overruns and your agency’s future profitability.

Time tracking of billable and non-billable hours against services so that you can understand each project’s overall profitability.

Business insights so you can check the pulse on the numbers that matter to your agency (e.g. utilization rates, profit, etc.) and use real-time data to make data-driven business decisions.

Billing possible through the system, which tracks invoiced amounts so that you’re confident you’ve billed everything on time and you have accurate data.

Integrations with established accounting tools (e.g. Xero, Quickbooks)

Criteria: What Else Should an Agency Management Software Include?

An intuitive User Interface (UI) with modern aesthetic so that different roles can easily navigate it and visually enjoy the ride

A gradual learning curve

Adequate onboarding, training resources, and support

Integrations with popular accounting tools, open API

Client-agency collaboration options

Overhead costs factored into expenses

Lastly, what’s the value you get for the tool’s price? Is the pricing transparent, fair, and flexible? Is there a free trial for you to test the tool before you buy it?  

Now that we understand the criteria, we can begin.

1. Productive

Productive is an end-to-end agency management software that gives users a real-time overview of their agency workflow cycles.

Productive Key Features

sales pipeline in which you brings sales deals through phases 

Resource planning for scheduling teammates on projects, use Placeholders to schedule upcoming work and forecast future revenue, with included leave management 

A budgeting feature, where you have full control of budgets, profitability, and amounts for invoicing in one place

Project management feature in which you can set up, streamline and deliver projects, collaborate with teammates, and stay on top of granular deliverables 

50+ prebuilt insights where you can get a pulse on your agency’s key metrics and performance in real time

An integrated invoice builder for billing budgets in multiple ways

What Type of Business is Productive Made for?

Productive is for agencies and professional service providers that need advanced features to back up the complexity of their projects and finances. Examples of Productive users are: 

Digital agencies, marketing agencies, advertising agencies, branding agencies, PR agencies, software development agencies

Business consultancies

Software implementation providers

Architecture bureaus, design studios, etc.

Productive Drawbacks 

Productive is a very detailed end-to-end agency management system, so it takes a few weeks to learn how to use it, set up your organization, and get everybody on board.

Since the product improves each week, users need to adapt to improvements often, but Customer Support is here to help customers out along the way.

Productive focused on the big picture first—a lot of features are built to help agency owners, operations managers, and project managers, while daily operations features (task management) started developing later on.

Productive Pricing

Pricing starts at $15 USD/user/month for the Standard plan. Check out Productive’s pricing page to see which features each plan includes. Productive offers a free, 14-day trial.

2. Mavenlink

Mavenlink has been around for a while as a project management tool, but its learning curve can still be steep. 

Mavenlink Key Features

Mavenlink is a collaborative tool for resource management, project accounting, and project management, with built-in reporting capabilities. Using Mavenlink you can track time, create project timelines, and manage projects. Users value that the system requires less integrations than most other similar tools.

What Type of Business is Mavenlink Made for?

Mavenlink could be a great fit for a professional services company that values serious software and corporate procedures. 

Mavenlink Drawbacks 

Mavenlink’s pricing isn’t transparent. To understand their prices, you need to fill out a form in which you state the size of your company to get an answer. You can’t just go to their pricing page to see their packages and decide which one you think would suit you best. 

Users show dissatisfaction with being locked into a multi-year contract. 

Mavenlink does not offer best-in-class customer service, users describe it as “poor”. Mavenlink doesn’t allow you to organize deliverables at a task level. 

Mavenlink users tend to feel like the tool is unintuitive, with so many places to save information and different ways to do things.

Mavenlink Pricing

Mavenlink pricing starts at $39 USD/user/month for their basic plan. However, the pricing goes up rapidly if you’re looking for more comprehensive agency management software. Mavenlink does not have a free version, but they do offer a free trial.

Find out why agencies choose Productive, a Mavenlink alternative to manage their day-to-day work.

3. Harvest

Harvest is a great resource and time tracking tool, but what agency owners miss are key functionalities that provide a way to manage their business cycles from sales to invoicing.

Harvest Key Features

Harvest is well-known as a tool for tracking time. Your staff can track time in multiple ways, and with tracked time, you can monitor utilization rates using time data. Building and sending out invoices is easy and it also provides basic forecasting.

What Type of Business is Harvest Made for?

Harvest is a good tool for client service businesses and freelancers that don’t mind integrating with other tools for managing their business end-to-end.

Harvest Drawbacks 

Harvest’s interface isn’t visually appealing and the UI is outdated.

There is no way to manage overtime for full or part-time employees. 

Harvest doesn’t offer leave management or time off approvals.

You need to integrate with other tools and it takes more effort to get consolidated data whenever you don’t have your entire workflow in one system.

Harvest doesn’t have a project management or task management module, so it’s not an end-to-end agency management solution. You will need to pay for an additional tool to get those features.

Harvest Pricing

Harvest pricing starts at $12 USD/user/month.

Find out why agencies choose Productive, a Harvest alternative, to manage their business.

4. Accelo

Accelo can give service providers decent planning capabilities and offer large-scale automation and management. 

Accelo Key Features

What users like in Accelo is project planning with milestones, to which you can apply budgets. Accelo supports working on retainers and offers the option of rolling over unused or overused hours. Navigation throughout the tool is customizable—you can choose from different colors and quickly jump to saved favorites within the app. 

What Type of Business is Accelo Made for?

Accelo is for services businesses that have deep pockets—the starting price per user for all the modules is $79 USD.

Accelo Drawbacks

The UI is not very visually appealing.

In Accelo, quoting is separated from Sales, but still linked to deals, so it’s quite complex.  

The time tracking interface in Accelo can be confusing.

Accelo’s permission system for different roles is unintuitive. 

Reports are available in Accelo’s most expensive plan.

Accelo Pricing

Accelo pricing starts at $24 USD for a minimum of 5 users/month/package.

Find out why agencies choose Productive, an Accelo alternative to grow their business.

5. Scoro

Scoro is marketed as an all-in-one business management software, but certain aspects of the tool don’t enable a seamless workflow for agency management.

Scoro Key Features

What’s great in Scoro is that you can choose groups of subscribers by teams and projects have start and end dates, which helps with planning. Another benefit of Projects in Scoro is that you have two project categories: work and personal. 

What Type of Business is Scoro Made for?

Scoro customers are usually professional services providers such as media houses, construction companies, logistics and transportation services.

Scoro Drawbacks

Scoro is a technologically outdated legacy app that is slow and when you refresh your page, you lose all your changes. 

The density of data in Scoro is significantly higher than in other agency management software.

Budgeting is fairly chaotic, as the budgets pages mixes hours and out of pocket expenses. Everything is fixed price and the system doesn’t offer an hourly billing model.

User permissions are fully customizable, but also very complex.

If you want to buy the system for more than nine teammates, you must purchase Scoro’s onboarding, too. 

Scoro Pricing

Scoro pricing starts at $26 USD for a minimum of 5 users/month/package. However, if you want to buy both their Work hub and Sales hub, that’s $74 USD for a minimum of 5 users/month.

Find out why agencies choose Productive, a Scoro alternative to manage their work.

6. Workamajig

Workamajig is a functional tool, but often unintuitive to use. Certain features can be daunting if a user doesn’t have a full scope of the entire system. 

Workamajig Key Features

Users enjoy the level of customization they have in Workamajig. You can select specific calendars you want to view, change the color and layout of the display.

What Type of Business is Workamajig Made for?

Workamajig is built for communication departments and marketing teams that require time and project tracking.

Workamajig Drawbacks

Overall, Workamajig seems like an outdated agency management software.

Navigation within the system could be much simpler, the user experience and design aren’t very user friendly. 

Workamajig offers many different features and various ways to use them, which makes users feel overwhelmed and confused in the tool at times.

Scheduling resources is time-consuming and it requires at least one dedicated person to manage workflow.

Workamajig Pricing

Workamajig pricing starts at $50 USD for a minimum of 5 users/month. Workamajig offers one month free for annual payments, but no free trial.

7. Synergist

Synergist is an agency and project management tool. If you’re accustomed to using Excel, you can cut down on your need for multiple spreadsheets as some of the interface resembles spreadsheets—but more user-friendly ones.

Synergist Key Features

Scoro offers one place for managing project lifecycles and has colorful reporting in different types of charts.

What Type of Business is Synergist Made for?

Synergist is built for creative agencies, consultancies, and similar businesses.

Synergist Drawbacks

Overall, the navigation and usability of different features in Synergist is slow.

Moving throughout the system is complicated because of many sub-navigations and options in the configuration.

Harvest doesn’t offer leave management or time off approvals.

The learning curve for running reports and understanding how data interacts is steep.

To wrap your head around the entire system, you will need in-depth training and customization.

Synergist Pricing

Synergist pricing starts at $19 USD/user/month and they don’t offer a free version.

8. Simplicate

Simplicate is a good business tool, but it lacks key features that an all-in-one agency management software needs to have.

Simplicante Key Features

Simplicate has a cool “cockpit” feature where you can choose which metrics you want to see on the Projects screen. They offer transparent onboarding and integrations with popular tools like Gmail, Mailchimp, and Slack.

What Type of Business is Simplicate Made for?

Simplicate is an agency management software primarily for Dutch speakers.

Simplicate Drawbacks 

One enormous drawback is the language barrier: Simplicate’s entire website and communications are in Dutch. 

Simplicate’s UX, speed, and technical functionality are not on a high level. 

Task management in Simplicate is unintuitive and it doesn’t have a modern appeal. There’s no collaboration option and it seems incomplete.

Simplicate does not offer profitability tracking, nor can you filter reports by custom field.

Resource planning and insights are part of Simplicate’s most expensive plan.

Simplicate Pricing

Simplicate pricing starts at $20 USD. Their Professional plan starts at $28 USD for a minimum of 5 users/month and they offer a free, 14-day trial period.

9. Teamleader

Teamleader is an established work management software, however it’s not only for agencies.

Teamleader Key Features

Teamleader offers its system in 15 different languages (some are in Beta). In it, you can manage your Calendar, Companies, Contacts, Deals, Projects, Invoices, Work Orders, Tickets, and more. 

What Type of Business is Teamleader Made for?

Teamleader is built for freelancers and small to medium-sized firms from different sectors.

Teamleader Drawbacks

Teamleader’s interface is a bit cluttered and can be confusing. It seems outdated.

Deals, contacts, and companies aren’t interlinked, which makes it hard to follow a typical sales workflow structure.

Teamleader’s project management module is slightly limited in functionality. 

You can add some custom fields in Teamleader, but all in all, the tool offers little opportunity for customization and scalability.

Teamleader Pricing

Teamleader pricing is in Euros and starts at €50/month for a minimum of 2 users for their basic features.

10. Forecast

Professional service automation solution Forecast is designed with top-down planning and management in mind. It has a steep learning curve and can be unintuitive for many users.

Forecast Key Features

Forecast is all about connecting with other apps via integrations—from Asana to Gitlab, Excel to Outlook. There’s a big emphasis on milestones in Forecast. The task of time tracking is made easier in their timesheets, where you can set a frequently done task up as a “favorite”.

What Type of Business is Forecast Made for?

Forecast is built for agencies, consultancies, and project teams. 

Forecast Drawbacks

If you don’t want to track time on milestones, but rather on services—you can’t do that in Forecast.

In Forecast’s settings, you manage how you will schedule resources: you can choose from scheduling on either tasks or projects, but not both.

Microscheduling is available on the task and milestone level, and to modify schedules you have to enter a task.

Forecast Pricing

Forecast pricing starts at $29 USD/user/month and they offer a free, 14-day trial.

Find out why agencies choose Productive, a Forecast alternative to grow their business.

11. Special Bonus: Spreadsheets

Whether you’re using Google Sheets or you’re still working the old-fashion way—agency experts should ditch spreadsheets to manage their key metrics, projects, billing, and everything in between. In an agency management software, you won’t have to worry about errors in spreadsheets and unconsolidated data.

Edit 2022 – Now There Are More Project Management Tools Than Ever

Here are another 16 project management tools that agencies use to deliver their work. Are they the best solutions for your agency, though? Follow the links to learn about the key benefits of each in comparison with Productive.

Need More Information Before Choosing One Tool For Your Agency?

You can start your free 14-day trial with Productive at any time and our team will help you along the way. We’ve also prepared 21 key questions to ask yourself before buying an agency management tool.

Marija Kata Vlasic

Content Marketing Specialist

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