In our latest webinar interview, we caught up with Priscilla Salmasi, Digital Marketing Manager with Veugeler Design Group to gain some productivity insights into how their agency is using Function Point. VDG is a full-service digital design and marketing agency providing graphic design, content creation, website development, video production, social media strategy and inbound marketing as a Hubspot partner agency. They also organize one of the largest beer festivals in the southeast, the Suwanee Beer Fest.
Tell us about Veugeler Design Group and your role at the agency!
We’re a graphic design and digital marketing agency, located about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Randall and Angela Veugeler started the business twelve years ago, we’re coming into our 13th year now. And in that time we’ve grown to over 20 employees. Our core offering is being a white-labeled, outsourced resource of graphic design for other agencies. We really do fit the model of a full-service agency, because of all of our capabilities. And my role at VDG as Digital Marketing Manager is to manage all things digital for our clients and our internal marketing, from website development to inbound marketing.
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Technology is evolving every day, how has FP helped you manage tasks and boost productivity and what other tools are you using to help keep your agency on track?
Just to give you an idea of the amount of tasks and the jobs that we do every day here at Veugeler, and to put this into context, this year alone our company has opened over 6500 new jobs, we put in over 3000 tasks, and our team has logged over 9,000 hours on Function Point. So we’re fully invested in FP. It gives us the ability to have a transparent view of our agency as a whole.
And what we do crosses over in so many aspects of our capabilities. Just from design, to web coding, to content. So Function Point gives us that ability to see what’s going on in a project or a job at any given time.
We recently conducted a survey of over 400 agencies in North America and found that some of the top pain points for agencies prior to implementing agency management software were a need for better time management, management of budgets and team alignment and coordination. Can you relate with any of these challenges and what does Veugeler do to address them?
Most definitely we can relate to those challenges. I would agree we’ve improved time management since implementing FP. And the reason being is that since the software allows people to have the ability to see into other people’s workflow—and give us that transparency that we need, to see other team members’ tasks and to do’s—we can gauge when we expect work to be completed and what tasks may be priorities in front of us, or just have that visibility between other team members.
We really do make it a point to spend time with our team, and we have a recurring, regular team meeting, and that’s something we have on the calendar every Friday that we can always expect and that just gives us a chance to have each department take a few minutes and talk about what’s going on with new projects or recently completed jobs or fun things that they might be working on.
We’ve noticed that Veugeler is great at utilizing the tasks and schedules within FP. How important is this in ensuring that projects are delivered on time and on budget?
Just this year—and the year’s not over yet—we have input over 3,000 tasks into our Function Point. But utilizing the schedules, especially for things like the magazine and website projects, really allows us to easily create the tasks that always occur, each time within a project. It’s just awesome that we can be able to use something like the schedule template, and we use that for website projects specifically, just to ensure we don’t miss a task, even if that task may seem really routine. Something that’s always going to happen for a website project for example, is the website is going to go on development links, but we have a task for that, just because it allows us—or the project manager—to complete that task, and notify the client, or notify other team members that ‘hey this website’s ready, it’s on a development link.’
We even have sending a final invoice as a task, just because with the amount of work that we do, and the volume that we produce, it’s definitely one task that we don’t want to go overlooked.
I would recommend setting up your dashboard exactly as you want it, and that way everything you access on a daily basis is available to you quickly.
We use the timesheet window, especially if you’re quickly shifting between tasks, and that is just an awesome tool to keep you on track. When you’re billing time it’s extremely helpful.
I really like to copy tasks from previous jobs, and apply them to new jobs, even if that job is a year old. I know that hey, this is the same task that we did last year. It’s so simple to use that quick search feature and that’s a huge time saver to find a task and just apply it to new jobs. We copy estimates over and over again, for new jobs but, just making sure that the billing rate is correct. So creating the estimate from a company level, or getting a second set of eyes on a billing rate, especially if you have hundreds of clients and they may all be on different billing tiers.
The find feature is really great, I use that daily. Just to find jobs and tasks that I may need to do a quick search of something to jog my memory about something we did for a business that may have been a year ago.
Notes are also extremely helpful and we use those a lot for communicating with our billing. And that’s great to just save those notes for yourself, or just communicate with people across departments.
When we reached out and spoke with agencies, we were surprised to learn that almost 70% over-serviced clients by 50% or more. How does your agency manage and track the over-servicing of clients?
This is definitely a pain point. Before implementing FP, we didn’t really have a way to see the health of the job as a whole. We used a different time-tracking tool and we can do P&L, but the way that Function Point has really brought that to the forefront is being able to see the health of that project or that job all the way through, from the estimate to the invoice. Seeing it on the job screen itself is really helpful. And this allows us to track each phase of where we are in a project. And that way we can see if we’re close to going over the scope of work or if we’re coming in under budget.
What advice can you give other agencies that perhaps are facing similar challenges?
Use the data you have within Function Point to help you quote future jobs and future projects. It’s great if you can look back at a similar job just to give you a better idea of if you are quoting too high, or if you’re not quoting enough. And I think that’s something we have really improved upon since we joined Function Point, since April 2016. So I think that gave us better visibility on our quoting process, and just making sure that we do quote enough, or, we are coming in under budget, which is ideal of course for our projects and jobs, but I think Function Point has a lot of tools to find ways to easily improve on your processes.
If you’d like to find out how your agency can put these tips and tricks into practice, we’d love to give you a demo.
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Natasha Carter is a Communications Manager at Function Point with a background in market research and strategic communications. She enjoys building high-value experiences for customers along their path to purchase.