HubSpot + Accelo

Agency Growth Trends, Challenges & Data

1-Mar 2018
geoff professional
Geoff McQueen FOUNDER & CEO

As a former agency owner, I understand the challenges many agencies face, particularly those highlighted in HubSpot's latest Marketing Agency Growth Report. It’s clear that agency owners know what they need to do for growth, but from looking at the data in this year's survey, it’s clear that they're unsure how to go about it.

Like many of the respondents to HubSpot's survey, I knew how critical tight project management and resource utilization were to profitability, but knowing it was important and doing it well were two very different things. This years report revealed that only half of agency owners surveyed are trying to manage utilization and resource schedules...

...and while 80% of agencies rely on project management tools, a shocking half of those say they need to implement a better system!

What I experienced when running my agency - and from what I hear from hundreds of other agency owners today - is that there's plenty of tools out there that do different parts of our jobs better than we can, but when it comes to actually running the business, we're lacking software that can eliminate manual processes holding our operations together. With that said, it was no surprise that the second biggest pain point for agency owners is a lack of time to work on, not in, the business!

The good news, though, is that modern tools capable of managing your operations in a streamlined and coordinated way now exist. By combining the tools you need to deliver great client service - like quotes, projects, retainers, timesheets, and billing - in one place, agency owners can now get a real-time view into company-wide utilization and profitability. Thanks to the cloud, client work management platforms can now automatically track emails, notes, meetings, attachments, timesheets, and more without depending on busy people to keep systems up to date.

The results of this new technology revolution are already incredible, with agencies boosting utilization and doubling their profit margins in large part because owners and managers can see what's happening across the business, in real-time. Innovations in machine learning and further integrations into the tools we use to do our work will grant an even bigger advantage to agency owners who leverage this "good automation" to run their businesses.

While I expect agency owners will still list attracting and retaining great clients and staff as one of their biggest challenges for years to come, I'm hopeful that the feeling I remember so clearly of running an agency in a fog of confusion and chaos will soon be a thing of the past.

To learn more about the challenges and trends that are shaping the marketing agency industry in 2018, click here to download the full report.


Accelo was lucky enough to work alongside HubSpot to help them create this insightful report. Some of the key findings we found to be particularly mind-blowing, include:

  • 30% of agencies surveyed said 80-100% of their new business is on retainer.
  • 80% of respondents use Project Management software, yet half of those people said they need to invest in better Project Management software.
  • Almost 50% of agencies surveyed have no way of tracking utilization or resource scheduling.
  • 60% of respondents said finding new clients was their biggest challenge, yet almost two-thirds of those agencies have no full-time salespeople.

For more insights like these, download the growth report now and let us know what you found interesting in the comments below.

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