Have you ever asked yourself how much time costs your digital agency? According to market research firm ICD, companies lose 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year due to inefficiencies. What If you could be as productive, execute campaigns more efficiently, and make fewer mistakes, with half the staff? What would that mean to you and your organization?

It would mean more revenue, of course. But how would that affect an organization?

It would result in fewer frustrated employees, who could prepare better media plans at higher dollar values. This would also minimize time-wasting redundancies, and remove management approval bottlenecks.

The Sales Process

Let’s start at the beginning: Sales teams need to create a proposal. A comprehensive media plan that’s easy to build and sell is challenging for most media companies and local agencies. These organizations often have over 40 different products to sell. So, it becomes overwhelming and confusing for reps to know when to use which product for what outcome.

This process of learning and sorting through the available options takes time. But not just one or two hours per week – more like one or two hours for every client and every sale. Your account executives and media planners can’t utilize a quarter of their day preparing for one client. It’s imperative to give them resources to create effective, high value, easily-renewable plans.

The Media Plan Got the Order. Now What?

Now, your teams must execute the campaign by entering the order into different order management systems. The order is then tracked or trafficked through several workflow platforms. And it’s paid for six different ways, with reporting and analytics from five different places.

It’s likely people will skip steps, or simply not buy/sell/use the right product or services mix. Not even if they know it makes more effective campaigns. As a result, frustration and aggravation takes over. The mentality shifts to just checking boxes; doing what you have to, not what you should.

You now have salespeople spending more time on “paperwork” than selling. Your planners and buyers spend more time in the minutiae of disparate order management (OMS) and workflow platforms, and less time planning and evaluating campaigns. Your internal marketing managers are constantly focused on logistical details. They’re not performing their primary role, which is to evaluate your advertising’s effectiveness.

This workflow not creates unbelievable frustration and workplace misery. It also creates a bottleneck of paperwork, and slows the sales cycle tremendously.

In addition, you need to account for the seemingly endless flow of software updates, training decks and webinars for your team to learn about “new and exciting” changes to the bottomless buffet of product-based workflow systems. This eats further into your employees’ time, and adds to their disillusionment with digital advertising and services.

If you’re able to keep your team from straight-up skipping the hard parts, you still have a strong likelihood of mistakes. And time-to-market is a real challenge. Don’t even think about seeing your client, or internal stakeholders, or your boss, to present a coherent campaign performance analysis. Much less how the various parts relate to each other.

The more complex and time-consuming your workflow, the more it eats into profit margins as your team spends time and money on lower-value activities.

Managing Through Paperwork Chaos

Typically, your business will allow the above to happen for some time. Then, the impact to your bottom line is realized, and the “paper-pushing” workflow will be moved to other team members. Sales managers will evaluate complaints from top sellers and take on their order entry. Soon, your digital sales manager (or equivalent) performs order management tasks for the sales team, rather than managing, coaching, leading, measuring and mentoring.

It doesn’t take long for executives to see the impact this has on managers and their leadership expectations. Inevitably a dreaded ROI and margin-killer enters the conversation: “Coordinator(s)”. Typical organizations respond to this dilemma by hiring employees to do nothing but push paper around. They focus on the internal workflow so buyers, sellers and managers can focus on higher-value activities.

That’s all well and good, except these Coordinators cost the enterprise high-value dollars that eat into margins, inflate prices and destroy campaigns’ ROI. In an industry already struggling with margins on the sell-side and ROI measurement on the buy-side, the $40,000 (Manhattan, KS) to $80,000 (Manhattan, NYC) spent on each Coordinator to free the team from workflow burdens can mean the difference between success and failure.

Workflow and process issues don’t stop here. The local teams are affected greatly by an incomplete patched-together process. However, perhaps even more detrimental to the organization: the management teams are working blind. They can’t see what products sell best, and at what margins. Their revenue growth or loss by day isn’t visible by week or even month, or by account executives, team and market. Ultimately the obscurity carries up to the C-suite.

Management without measurement is impossible. Yet every day, media companies, agencies and brands run their digital business this way, losing time and money.

For more perspective on the “cost” of time check out How Inefficient Processes are Hurting Your Company by Nick Candito.