Your agency relies on three things.
Actually, it relies on a lot more than three things, but let’s start with these three or we’ll be here all day.
1️⃣ – People
2️⃣ – Processes
3️⃣ – Platforms
The three P’s.
If any one of these three things isn’t pulling its weight, your agency’s efficiency – and bottom line – can suffer.
I’m not going to discuss all three of these things today. I think we can all agree that having the right people in the right seats is critical to a highly successful agency.
This article will focus mainly on the importance of having the right platforms or tools in place. After all, this is what Sitebulb is all about. Our tool is designed to give SEOs better data and insights to help them excel.
But if you don’t mind, I am briefly going to touch on processes—you’ll see why in a bit.
The ‘process catch-22’
Agencies rely heavily on processes.
Processes facilitate onboarding. They help to create that team-wide manifesto that ‘this is the way we do things’. They promote consistency of quality and output.
However – and as someone who has several years of agency experience – I think it’s fair to say that we can sometimes stick too rigidly to them. Have you ever created a process, or delegated the task to someone in your team, and once it’s done have the urge to get it laminated or carved into stone?
This is the process catch-22.
Taking a one-and-done approach to processes is a huge mistake for an agency. Processes need to evolve and improve continuously.
Consider Google’s algorithm. How many times has it been updated in the past 2 years? And how many times have you updated the processes used by your SEO team?
I’ll bet not as many.
So, sure, processes have their place; but tools, good SaaS tools can be relied upon. Why? Because it’s their job to evolve and update and remain fit for purpose. After all, it’s their entire business.
“Good SaaS tools can be relied upon. Because it’s their job to evolve and update and remain fit for purpose.”
You’ll note that I used the word, “good” there. That’s because, unfortunately, not all SaaS platforms put the same amount of effort into improving their product as others.
So what should you look out for?
How to spot SaaS tools that prioritise product development
Here’s what you should look out for when selecting SaaS tools for your agency:
✅ – Asks for feedback: When a SaaS company proactively requests feedback from its users, this is a good sign that they want to improve it.
✅ – Has a responsive support function: What’s their customer support like? Is their support page hard to find? Do they make it easy to get in touch?
✅ – Shares a public roadmap: A public roadmap is a document that outlines the tool’s planned features and updates. Tools that prioritise continuous development will have a clear and up-to-date roadmap that is easily accessible to the public.
✅ – Releases new features and updates regularly: Tools that are constantly being improved will release new features and updates on a regular basis. Look for tools that have a history of consistent releases. You can check out Sitebulb’s online – be warned, they’re not your average release notes!
✅ – Has a strong community: Tools with a strong community of users are more likely to be responsive to feedback and suggestions. This is usually a good indicator that the tool is being actively developed, although it’s not always the case.
✅ – Offers a free trial: A free trial or demo is a great way to test out a tool and see if it meets your needs.
✅ – Has a good reputation: Read reviews and comparison sites about the tool to see what other users are saying about its development process.
So that’s how to evaluate the tools your agency is using. Now let’s look at why you should.
3 ways smart tool selection can facilitate agency growth
1 – Strategic growth and client retention
The right SaaS tool should be able to accommodate your growth plans, while also supporting your ability to add value to existing clients.
Your SEO agency’s goal might be to service bigger, more complex clients. Or maybe you just want to service more clients with your existing team.
In either case, your tools need to be able to cope with this increased burden. So, when it comes to website auditing and tech SEO, for example, there may come a time when your desktop website crawler is placing a limit on what you’re able to achieve. This is usually for the following reasons:
- Not well suited to scale (i.e. crawling millions of URLs)
- Not accessible remotely
- Not intended for teamwork/collaboration
- Difficult to achieve consistency/standardisation
- Sounds like your machine’s getting ready for take off…
In this instance, your team needs a cloud crawler in order to deliver the expected level of service to your clients. In the words of one of our Cloud customers:
“Being able to run as many crawls as I want without needing to worry about how it will affect my computer (and thus my work) actually leads me to use Sitebulb more and get more value from it, making the price worth it.”
2 – Efficiency and collaboration in SEO teams
With more and more agencies operating with remote teams, tools that facilitate collaboration have never been more important.
It should come as no surprise that the top sectors, in terms of remote work job postings, are technology and marketing. And according to a recent Buffer survey, 98% of workers want to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.
But remote working can be a disaster for efficiency without the right collaborative tools in place.
For SEOs, this challenge is best explained in relation to the sharing of data. When multiple team members are working on the same client account, it’s essential that they’re looking at the same information in real-time.
As Jon Clark, Managing Partner of Moving Traffic Media, put it: “The most impactful change that Sitebulb Cloud provided was the ability for everyone to work from the same crawl data. …[It] has allowed us to be more productive AND establish a more consistent process internally.”
3 – Innovation and industry best practice
There’s no doubt about it, it’s tough out there for agencies. As Chris Simmance recently wrote,
“Genuinely, it’s never been more complicated. … Client expectation management is getting tougher and simply keeping up with change whilst running a business, just like any other, is like a tightrope act…on fire…with knives to juggle…that are also on fire.”
Leveraging tools that are specifically designed to make your life easier, and regularly reviewing the tools you’re using to ensure they’re continuing to add value to your business, is going to help your agency stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Consider your tools as strategic partners.
- Are they pulling their weight?
- Are they making the onboarding process seamless?
- Do they offer the integrations and features you need in order to be competitive?
Don’t simply settle. What is out there that is easier, better and can elevate the service you’re providing to clients?
I’ll leave you with that thought, and I encourage you to reevaluate your agency’s tools with these questions in mind. Consider this a critical step in streamlining operations and improving client outcomes.
Jojo Furnival is Content Marketing Manager at Sitebulb, the desktop and cloud crawler & website audit tool. She has a decade of agency experience, both in London and Adelaide, Australia, so she knows a thing or two about agency life! When she’s not working, she’s busy adoring her little dog, Terry.