Every owner (or CEO) of a small marketing agency knows that the right software is an invaluable help with day-to-day work. There are many areas in business where we would lose a lot of time and money without the help of trusted software. We have come to rely on some excellent programs for things like lead generation, customer acquisition, project and task management, internal and external communication, and software and document management.

Often, a scarcity of time is the issue. When agency owners spend most of their time coordinating projects, either in client meetings or in new client acquisition, they have much less time left for administration, planning, and creative development.

Customer acquisition and retention processes must be fast and accurate. If you do not approach a potential customer quickly and in a professional manner, you may lose that customer. On the other hand, if you don't deliver to existing customers on time, they won't stay with you for long. It is maintaining the right balance that is important.

There are a lot of solutions for organizing and automating work, but few that specifically help agency owners. Below, are 13 reliable software products that our agency clients have vetted and use frequently:

Lead generation and customer acquisition

1. Leadfeeder

Leadfeeder screen capture of software example

There is no doubt that the best digital marketing tool for gathering lead intelligence is Leadfeeder, a B2B visitor identification software that tracks and identifies companies that visit your website — even if they don't leave their contact information. This information helps you better understand your site visitors so you can build more effective marketing strategies. It is a web app that increases your sales intelligence by integrating your sales and marketing data.

2. HubSpot CRM + Sales Pro

HubSpot CRM screen capture of software example

HubSpot is a cloud-based CRM designed to help align sales and marketing teams, foster sales, boost ROI, and optimize an agency's inbound marketing strategy to generate more qualified leads.

Sales Hub is one piece of HubSpot's complete CRM platform. It is designed to help agencies grow their business by allowing agency owners to focus on selling without having to learn whole new systems, and by empowering sales reps to sell at their very best.

This combination (HubSpot CRM + Sales Pro) is perfect for CEOs who are already super busy.

3. Influitive

Influitive screen capture of software example

This tool was specifically built to manage B2B client referrals.

As you probably know, the #1 channel for new clients is referrals. Referrals continually beat out any other client acquisition channel for agencies.

Whether you want to generate more leads and references, drive more customer success, or even improve future products through direct customer feedback, Influitive has got you covered.

4. Calendly

Calendly screen capture of software example

One of our agency clients told us, "Calendly saves us hours of back-and-forth communications to find a day and time that works for sales calls, podcast interviews, and other types of phone meetings."

Calendly is the modern scheduling platform that makes "finding time" a breeze. When connecting is easy, you can get more done.

You can, for example, set up meetings with Zoom, Google Meet, Webex, or Teams links efficiently via the online booking tool. Calendly is a virtual availability and booking app for scheduling meetings, appointments, and events for individuals and organizations.

5. Qwilr

Qwilr screen capture of software example

Writing effective proposals requires a lot of time and energy from agency leaders. It is not uncommon to spend hours — or even days — putting together the perfect proposal. We can use different templates to convert the text faster, but a specialized software would be a real help.

What is good about Qwilr is that you can create web-based proposals that look like a website, showing that your agency is technically proficient.

You can also have your new clients accept and pay for a proposal straight through the custom Qwilr website. If you want to stop sending less-than-professional PowerPoint proposals, this solution is for you.

Lead generation and customer acquisition

6. FunctionFox

FunctionFox screen capture of software example

This is the best software for creative teams and agencies. FunctionFox offers three different plans with features like basic time tracking and estimating, project scheduling and Gantt charts, as well as customized project intake forms. FunctionFox is great at supporting teams of any size, whether they have five members or five hundred.

FunctionFox is entirely web-based and compatible with all up-to-date browsers, so users on both Mac and PC can work together seamlessly. FunctionFox allows for team collaboration through project scheduling, allows the allocation of specific tasks through action assignments and to-do lists, and facilitates communication through its project blog. Another great feature is the Availability tool, which enables project managers to monitor team capacity and utilize everyone's time effectively.

FunctionFox is easy to use, but it is made even easier thanks to the tutorials and support the company provides. They offer dedicated onboarding, and their customer support is always friendly, unlimited, ongoing, and included in the subscription cost. Their website also includes a Help Center, and there are detailed help files included within the software itself.

"The Best Advertising Agency Software of 2021" — Digital.com

Internal and external communication

7. Slack

Slack screen capture of software example

Team communication is an important topic to tackle as an agency. "What should I use for my agency?" is a common question, and we have a couple of great options to suggest

In most cases, agencies choose Slack. Slack is a messaging app for business that connects people to the information they need.

Too often, context about a client goes back and forth, buried in endless email threads. This might be helpful for the people immediately involved on the project, but what about people who come aboard later? If you keep all the necessary information in one place, everyone has access to the context at any time.

8. Loom

Loom screen capture of software example

Loom is a video messaging tool that helps you get your message across through instantly shareable videos. With Loom, you can record your camera, microphone, and desktop simultaneously. All these elements of your video are then instantly available to share through Loom's patented technology.

You can record both your screen and camera with one click and share that content immediately with a link.

Loom is the fastest, easiest way to record content and stay connected with your agency team or clients. Whether you are screen-recording a product demo, giving feedback, or simply sharing your thoughts, Loom makes it simple to stay in the loop with async video.

9. Google Workspace

Google Workspace screen capture of software example

Google Workspace is a collection of cloud computing, productivity, and collaboration tools and software developed and marketed by Google.

This is the best communication and collaboration tools package for small businesses, including agencies. Google Workspace single-handedly replaced several tools for us: Outlook, Exchange, Word, Excel, and a variety of storage products and teleconferencing tools.

As a small agency, we need to be as efficient as possible. With Google Workspace, we can work and access our important documents from anywhere, while still easily collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

10. Zapier

Zapier screen capture of software example

Zapier is a tool that allows users to create connections between common tools such as Gmail, Slack, Trello, Twitter, Evernote, Google Drive, Mailchimp, and more. Zapier can automate tasks to save your team time. For example, it can connect Typeforms to Google Docs so that a spreadsheet row is created when a new client fills out a survey; then, it can connect Typeforms to Trello so that it also creates a Trello card reminding you that you have a new client survey to review.

11. PandaDoc

PandaDoc screen capture of software example

PandaDoc is a web and mobile application for creating, sharing, and tracking documents online.

Using older document tools slows work down, making it harder than it needs to be. With e-signature features, templates, custom fields, approval workflows, and more, PandaDoc gives you the confidence to create impressive documents in minutes and get them signed in a snap. With PandaDoc's useful notifications, collaboration insights, and improvement tips, it is time for your documents to start working for you.

Campaign management

12. CoSchedule

CoSchedule screen capture of software example

CoSchedule is an all-in-one platform for planning, organizing, and executing all things content marketing. It is easy to use, with a drag-and-drop calendar interface that makes it easy to collaborate and schedule all your projects in one place.

You can use this tool to manage marketing calendars. CoSchedule is a good choice for anyone wanting to manage a blog and a social media calendar while re-sharing posts and staying on top of an editorial calendar.

13. GatherContent

GatherContent screen capture of software example

Since content marketing is one of the most important communication tools, there is no question that customers will request it. There are several solutions, but only GatherContent allows you to create a separate instance for every client, so each client will have their own login, workflow, and WordPress connection. You can manage user controls, invite freelancers, and create templates that allow you to control the type of content being created for your clients. For many, it is the best content management tool for small marketing agencies.

In summary

Managing agency projects is both complex and time-consuming — a job that needs to be done professionally. Even the slightest mistake can lead to the loss of potential or existing customers.

That is why it is so important to make the best use of any software that can help automate work, save CEO time, and produce more professional work more quickly. Now's the time to check out the 13 software systems above. When you do, you will understand why so many agencies feel they are worth their weight in gold.