Hannah Rogers is Commercial Director at Stratton Craig, a copywriting agency which has been helping clients of all shapes and sizes win with words since 1987. Having started in the new role of Commercial Director, she was tasked with sourcing more granular business insights and implementing the findings as part of a wider growth strategy.
“My role as commercial director is twofold,” she says. “The first aspect is to prepare management accounts and look at historical data. Then there’s the commercial side, which is how we grow the business, what kind of clients we want to work with, and what profile of work we want to do.
“I look at all the commercial aspects of resourcing, too; when we need new people, what kind of new people we need, what are our terms and conditions. It’s quite a broad role and the more accurate insights I have for each area, the better.
“I’d been working with Stratton Craig for some years in my previous role as an accountant, so I had a good understanding of the business when I joined. But having met Jay from Agency Works previously, I thought he’d be hugely insightful in helping me get to grips with the demands of the new role.”
For me, it’s about having that one truth, everything in once place where everyone knows how it all works and comes together.
Stratton Craig already had Synergist in place when Hannah started. But they weren’t fully utilising its functionality.
“It was being used for project management, but we weren’t really extracting the data from it,” explains Hannah. “We weren’t looking at the insights we really needed, like which of our clients were the biggest and most profitable. Agency Works helped me look at our data to gain some comparative insights and generate reports.
“Historically, we’ve worked on the basis of accepting any work that has come our way. But now we want to establish whether we actually want to work with that client; does the project fit the profile of work we’re looking for? And if so, how can we grow that account?”
One of the first things Hannah introduced in her new role was Synergist’s scheduling function. Previously, internal work had been managed via a Google spreadsheet, but the switch helped shift the focus towards getting more accurate estimates for individual projects.
“When I joined the agency, there were a lot of spreadsheets. Nobody was really driving Synergist or looking at how to merge all the data and information into one place. In doing so, we’ve been able to review job performance, which has been really helpful.
“One of our other key areas is our opportunities. I wanted to look at how much time we spend on trying to win an opportunity and convert it, and see where we’re successful, as well as which areas of our business are growing.”
Hannah worked with the team using the data viewer to build specific reports for the business, establishing specific KPIs and put action plans in place.
“We’re also looking at our revenue recognition. We have quite a lot of deferred income. This is where clients want to use up marketing budgets, so ask us to invoice upfront. They then use this time for projects over the following months.
“Of course we’re always happy to do this, but we don’t currently manage this process within our software. For me, it’s about having that one truth, everything in once place where everyone knows how it all works and comes together – instead of having a huge bank of spreadsheets to manage all different elements of the business.”
With business growth generating more live projects, Synergist’s streamlining of workflows makes it easier and quicker for Hannah to find what she’s looking for.
“When we’re particularly busy, I can see how easy it is for things to fall by the wayside,” she says. “But Synergist is so well structured that it makes searching easy.”
Because of the agency’s rapid growth, part of Hannah’s remit was to make sure there’s a good structure in place for bringing new starters on board and getting them up to speed with using the system.
“Putting procedures in place is one thing, but Synergist does take some getting used to. You need to get everyone trained in using it properly before you can see results. Just installing a system in isolation is a bit underwhelming. But when you are able to see the data and actually start using it, you realise what a hugely powerful tool this system can be.
“It’s been brilliant having Jay and the team on hand to help integrate these benefits into the business, and point out the things I don’t know! It’s given us an extra pair of eyes. Planting the seeds of where the benefits really lie and how we can utilise the system effectively. I can take the suggestions of Agency Works and run with them.
“If I were to advise anybody about using Synergist, I’d say engage Agency Works; have them review your current processes to see what’s working and where improvements can be made. It’s also important to have a goal with Synergist. Ultimately, you need to know what you want to achieve. That way, Agency Works can help get you there.”