Staff Writer
Dec 7, 2021

How having a CRM in your agency toolbox helps drive business growth

At a recent webinar, executives from Sparro, M&C Saatchi, and Tangram revealed ways to streamline workflows, improve customer engagement, and drive business growth via CRM systems.

How having a CRM in your agency toolbox helps drive business growth

There has been a seismic shift in the way we work. Varying degrees of stay-at-home policies and lockdowns have exacerbated the pressure that goes hand-in-hand with the well-documented demands of agency life.

Customers’ priorities have also changed in how they’re discovering, purchasing, and consuming. To succeed in the post-pandemic era, agencies must have a 360-degree view of their customers, including their purchasing history and how they have interacted with the business at different touchpoints.

This need to communicate differently was addressed at an event co-organised by Campaign Asia,, and Tangram last month, with agency leaders from across the APAC region sharing their insights on leveraging a CRM platform within their organisations. They revealed ways to streamline workflows, improve customer engagement, and drive business growth via CRM systems.

It is all about efficiency

If you were to distil this conversation into one word, that word would be ‘efficiency’; specifically, how incorporating a CRM tool into workflow has allowed agency executives to successfully manage and share their projects in one convenient location and maximise productivity.

Since the shift in consumer culture, efficiency has never been more important for agencies and brands. Companies are seeing the positive outcomes in employing a CRM platform to support their newly remote and hybrid office working models. CRM is becoming a norm, and more companies are leveraging this to increase business output.

Angela Bird, a senior consultant at Tangram, a business that provides support for agency operations Bird agrees. “Over the last 18 months, with the agencies that we work with, we have noticed them running more efficiently. They are not taking a piece-meal approach to implementing tools and processes, but a much more joined up approach. Businesses realise they need an end-to-end system, including some CRM, to see the efficiencies.”

Agencies are also utilising CRM platforms to streamline not only pipeline and projects but also other items that drive growth, like goal setting. Hannah Jones is the general manager for Australian digital marketing agency Sparro and is using CRM to bring teams together. Sparro “set agency level goals, which then cascade to team goals, and then individuals, so that everyone's working together to achieve the same objective.”

Pitch equals promise

Efficiency also comes into play in the agency and client relationship. Jones talks about the importance of having her agency’s teams work collaboratively together with consistent workflows. The goal is to seamlessly move from the pitching process to launching with a CRM that can deliver the outcomes that were promised in the pitch.

Gavin Watson, industry lead for marketing, creative and advertising, at, built on Jones’ point about ‘pitch equals promise’ related to workflows at agencies.

“There is a lot of chaos out there and a lot of things that need to be done, but to realise efficiencies and be effective, you need to deliver on that promise. And to do that, you need the baseline of workflows and systems in place.”

Clients have been happy with the results they see from agencies that use CRM platforms. Jones uses Work OS at Sparro.

“We're seeing a huge improvement in the amount and quality of work we've been able to provide for our clients since launching with a CRM. We’ve been able to free up people's time on not doing the admin tasks that they just don't enjoy doing. And we're able to share a lot of different ideas and start building on those ideas for our clients to help drive better outcomes.”

Managing team workload to prevent burnout

Moderator Surekha Ragavan, editor, experiential marketing, and PR at Campaign Asia-Pacific, took a poll of the audience during the webinar, asking attendees to share their biggest barrier in their agency’s capabilities to grow and scale. Almost 60% of the audience overwhelmingly cited managing team burnout and workload capacities.

These findings resonated with the panellists, who attested to how a CRM platform helps them better understand their talent resources. In today’s work-from-home environment, being able to track if teams are stretched too thin, is crucial to any agency’s performance.

Watson highlighted the responsibility that companies have towards protecting the health of their employees, with “everyone being more acutely aware that managing employees’ wellbeing is at the forefront of everything.” Watson is working with an agency on a rollout where the company wanted to start with an employee engagement survey before anything else was done. They wanted to understand employees’ pressing needs from the beginning and use that as a foundation for building workflows that would limit burnout.

Agencies also use CRM as a central repository for easy access to employee resources like onboarding guides or meeting videos. This is the case for Anish Daryani, founder and president director of M&C Saatchi Indonesia. At his agency, team work-in-progress meetings are recorded and made available on the CRM for anyone who could not attend. This approach saves time and leads to business growth.

Daryani said, “I think having a CRM gave us an edge for managing remote teams. We grew three times since April of last year from about 40 to 110 people. It clearly shows how an efficient system and a strong adoption can empower growth.”

Steps to implementing practical CRM tools

Based on his experiences at, Watson shared guidance about the right short-, mid-, and long-term actionable steps that companies should take to implement a CRM platform that is efficient and effective.

Organisations should start with having a thorough understanding of their objectives and what they hope to achieve. They should then map out their processes themselves, or bring in a partner to do it, and in the longer term, they should look at other areas of the business that could benefit from a CRM platform.

Watson said, “I've seen some amazing results from where companies haven't realised the disjointed structure of their organisation, either in terms of systems that have been brought in that they didn't even know were in the organisation and information that was being lost and kept in those systems.”

Having a CRM platform is the key to levelling up a marketing and sales strategy. It brings efficiency by standardising workflows and providing resource management. It turns actionable insights into business performance and ROI for both clients and agencies. It keeps teams aligned, engaged, and focused on bringing transparency and accountability in all that they do.

Watch and listen to the full discussion here

Campaign Asia

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