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Agency Operator Blueprint

Your proven path to operational clarity

Stop operating your agency in chaos. Get a technical project management Blueprint and implementation plan to help you create clarity for every member of your organization.

ZenPilot 1-3-5 formula-1
Trusted by 2,700+ Agencies
Speero
Mavan
Lean Labs
Trinity Insights
legalzoom-logo
Osedea
Gravity Global
Fat Earth Media
Aeolidia
Seaworthy Strategy
Beacon Digital

The Problem

Most agencies lack an efficient system to help them overcome the chaos of agency life

The typical agency switches project management tools every 17 months. Crazy, right!? They're constantly looking at ClickUp, Teamwork, Asana, Monday, or Notion and waiting for someone to finally build the perfect tool. And if you're anything like the typical agency, you're pouring hours each month into trying to optimize your current setup, but still facing common agency issues:

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Limited visibility

Your leadership team still has no idea what's going on. You were hoping to gain a 30,000-foot view to see team performance, workload, profitability, and project progress, but that hasn't happened.

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Poor and inefficient habits

Everyone works differently; your proven process is not being followed, and you can't trust the accuracy of your project management system—time tracked, project progress, etc.—making it practically useless.

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Lack of alignment

The team continues to operate in silos, processes are outdated or non-existent, work is slipping through the cracks, and client deadlines are not being met.

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Overwhelming workload, but underwhelming profits

Despite the team being packed with work, your agency's revenue and profits are still underwhelming.

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A frustrated team

Your project management system is complex and your team is frustrated because they don't know how to use it, when to use it, or what work is on their plate.

The Solution

Nope...it's not technology

In our work with thousands of agencies we've learned that you can NEVER streamline operations and get project management to work for your team, until you figure out how to design your system to produce powerful insights while simplifying the entire experience for your team.

The solution to agency project management

Fixing your agency operations does not start with software trials or or furiously jotting down process checklists. The gold-standard agencies who have mastered project management and created clarity have mastered excellence in 3 key areas:

Using the right tools

The right tools can dramatically enhance your agency's efficiency. All gold-standard operations have a core operating hub that serves as their single source of truth. And that hub is tied into the rest of their business tooling, and they have an intentional design to make it as efficient and effortless as possible for their team, while providing the key reporting that leads to better decision-making.

Executing the right processes

Consistent, well-defined processes are the backbone of any efficient operation. They ensure that work is completed in a standardized, predictable manner, leading to reliable outcomes and making it easier to scale your agency's operations.

A gold-standard operation is able to turn individual expertise into company knowledge. Their standard operating procedures (SOPs) are documented, up-to-date, and shared by all. And importantly, their team follows those SOPs because they've made the process live where work gets done. Nobody is chasing down a random Google Doc to try to find the process.

Feel free to get started by downloading our free client onboarding process template here.

Building the right habits

The adoption and execution of your tools and processes depend on the habits of your team. Cultivating a culture of excellence, accountability, and continuous improvement is essential. It's about ensuring that your team not only understands the tools and processes but also excels in utilizing them to achieve your agency's goals.

Gold-standard operations spend time setting crystal clear expectations and rules of engagement, training their team on exactly how work is done at their firm, holding their team accountable to those rules of engagement, and coaching and improving their most valuable assets - their people.

 

When this is done right, it's a thing of beauty and creates a virtuous flywheel that leads to improved efficiency, increased capacity, healthier team dynamics with less chaos and more clarity, increased client retention, fewer client fires, and bigger profits.

But how do YOU get there?

Our Proven Process

The Blueprint: Fast track your path to operational clarity

Fixing your agency operations and mastering your three keys—tools, processes, and habits—requires deeper work with your team to identify the real needs of all the roles in your organization. Over the last 10+ years, we've helped 3,000 agencies master excellence in these three keys and achieve operational clarity with our proven process.

 

Step 1: Surveying your team

To help build buy-in from your team and understand the root cause of issues, it's important to hear from everyone. We begin by sending an operational team survey to give everyone at your company the chance to voice their opinions and be heard.

Gather informative qualitative feedback

You'll be provided with both quantitative and qualitative feedback from the team to help guide conversations and decisions. This will provide much needed clarity on what the team thinks is working well, not so well, and what their ideas are to improve day-to-day operations. 

Benchmark your results against 3,000 others

After compiling your results, you'll be benchmarked against 3,000+ other agencies to help show you where you stack up against other teams—informing our conversations and strategic recommendations.

 

Most teams forget to bring their team in early in the process. We make sure your team feels heard and understood to create clarity for all, and get the team excited about the future state.

Operational Team Survey (Blueprint)
Operational architecture

Step 2: Understanding your operational architecture

After we've gathered and discussed your team's feedback, it's important to thoroughly understand and evaluate your agency's current state across all core operational areas—from planning to delivery to documentation—uncovering the true pain points your teams face daily.

Client onboarding pitfalls

We'll uncover what difficulties typically arise for your clients when transitioning new business from sales to delivery and where work typically slips through the cracks.

Work assignment challenges

We'll uncover the gaps and frustrations in your teams current process for creating, planning, resourcing, and assigning work. 

Client management inefficiencies

We'll uncover the inefficiencies and process gaps in how your account management team currently tracks budgets, utilization and workload, forecasts, and invoices clients.

Bottlenecking team habits

We'll uncover your team's current habitual challenges—communicating, tracking time, completing work, etc.—that are holding your agency back.

Process and documentation gaps

We'll identify the key processes and documentation gaps that lead to inefficiencies and hinder client and team member success.

 

This discussion will help us pinpoint frustrations and inefficiencies in order to grasp where greater clarity and alignment are needed organizationally. Your resulting Blueprint will directly address these gaps with improved systems, tool integrations, and workflow guidelines tailored to your organizational needs and objectives.

Step 3: Designing your system

Now, we'll design a powerful system for you using ClickUp's functionality to perfectly complement your agency's unique processes and requirements. We'll dive deep into desired integrations, automations, fields, and reporting needs to create a custom ClickUp environment primed for your team's success.

Build an integrated, cohesive tech stack

We'll identify which existing tools need to be connected to your project management environment—CRMs, accounting software, file management, etc.—and how those tools will communicate with each other to help design an integrated, cohesive tech stack that dramatically increases your agency's efficiency and visibility.

Automate repetitive workflows

We'll identify your most common manual processes that can be automated to decrease effort and dramatically boost team efficiency and morale.

Custom fields and properties

We'll identify and map your additional data or metadata needs to help design the backbone for your reporting and visibility needs.

Reporting and dashboard customization

We'll identify the main KPIs and metrics that leadership needs visibility on and document the reporting structure to get what you need.

 

This collaborative planning session will lay the groundwork for a ClickUp setup that seamlessly consolidates your current tech stack, digitizes workflows, and provides real-time operational visibility. Our goal is to design an agency management hub positioned to maximize productivity and profitability.

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Step 4: Reviewing your project management Blueprint

At this stage, you'll get your first comprehensive look at the recommended project management structure and processes tailored specifically for your agency's needs and goals.

ClickUp hierarchy walkthrough

We'll review your overall ClickUp hierarchy, including all recommended spaces, projects, lists, and views. This allows you to visualize how client accounts, work, assets, and data will be organized cohesively.

Core process preview

You'll get a snapshot of what optimized processes for critical work streams look like and how ClickUp custom fields power the workspace.

Automation showcases

We'll highlight transformative automations and integrated apps to reduce manual work across your tech stack and see how processes will flow seamlessly between tools.

Reporting overviews

We'll define the KPIs and metrics to focus on by reviewing recommended dashboards and reporting views so you can understand what to measure for peak operational performance.

Implementation planning

We will have a discussion around the timeline for actually implementing and rolling out this new operational architecture to your team.

 

After our deep-dive discussions uncovering your operational challenges and wish list items, the ZenPilot team will have designed a complete re-architecture of how work flows through your organization.

Step 5: Presenting your implementation plan

After you have your custom technical Blueprint, we'll outline an implementation plan that outlines the specific steps and timeline for successfully rolling out your agency's new operational architecture and ClickUp environment.

We'll review your full implementation roadmap, including all the key milestones and training requirements, as well as discuss pricing details and the value points to execute this implementation seamlessly.

ClickUp Implementation Plan

What success have ZenPilot clients seen?

When companies buy into our proven process—not just with money, but with time, effort, and belief—success is sure to follow.

+27%

Team Capacity Improvement

+11%

Avg Gross Margin Growth

+34%

Avg Client LTV Increase

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There is very little guessing work once you’ve set up the recommended hierarchy that ZenPilot customizes for you during the Blueprint process.

Less energy is spent on trying to remember little details or wondering what tasks should take priority. We’ve shifted from reactive to fairly proactive. I have confidence in my team’s ability to get work done, and if I have any doubt, I have full visibility. It allows for a lot of peace and open space to think deeply.

ZenPilot is hands down one of the best investments we’ve made as a business. They help us live up to our value of excellence. If you have any doubts, leave them at the door and jump in!


Rebecca Nash
Beam Content

What our clients are saying...

 

 

 

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Our team is more efficient, productive, and healthier. I was always wary of how much of our work could be put into processes, but this has completely changed my mind. If you want to take your agency to the next level, ZenPilot is a must!

Kyle Harms, Digital Hot Sauce
Kyle Harms

Digital Hot Sauce

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They provided the tools, processes, and in-depth knowledge to allow us to successfully migrate our entire business to ClickUp in just a few weeks. We would recommend ZenPilot to anyone considering a move to ClickUp.
Andrew Cole, Fat Earth
Andrew Cole

Fat Earth Media

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They saved us a lot of time and trouble, and we've had many amazed comments from clients and colleagues about how organized our process is now.

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Arianne Foulks

Aeolidia

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Since following ZenPilot's strategy and best practices, our team is saving hours per team member every week. Communication has improved across the team and we're able to give our clients better visibility in their campaigns. Margins have increased because of the efficiency as well.
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Chris Dubois

Lean Labs

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Leadership now has a clear view of bandwidth and capacity, the staff understands exactly what is expected of them when they sit down every morning, and our clients have improved visibility into their deliverables.
Kevin D'Arcy, ThinkFuel
Kevin D'Arcy

ThinkFuel

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We are more efficient than ever and have streamlined our communication so it's organized and on task, vs having a huge Slack channel or Slack mess.
Josh Crouch, Relentless Digital
Josh Crouch

Relentless Digital

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ZenPilot has been the most impactful agency operations investment we’ve ever made. They understood our situation, know ClickUp inside out, and led our team to a successful implementation. If you’re serious about scaling your agency, you need to talk to ZenPilot - they transformed how we work and led a 300% improvement in efficiency.
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Michael Lisovetsky

Co-founder JUICE

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ZenPilot came in with a framework, implementation, and training resources to move our agency through a lot of change in the way our 30 member team does things....change management that is super hard like task and time tracking! They really know ClickUp, and we do some crazy complicated things in there. If you need help scaling and measuring operational performance in your agency, ZenPilot is a great partner to get it done.
Ben Labay
Ben Labay

CEO, Speero

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Our agency has tried many project management tools over the years, but when we migrated to ClickUp we finally felt like we got it right. But hiring ZenPilot to help us implement it was an even better decision -- easily the best investment we made in our agency's growth. In the year since implementing ClickUp, our business has doubled, and our project management systems and structure have been able to adapt and scale with us

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Whitney Parker Mitchell

CEO & Founder, Beacon Digital Marketing

Ready to build a more productive, profitable, & healthy team?

 

We've helped thousands of agencies tame the chaos of #agencylife. If you're ready for 360 clarity into your operations, book a call with us and let's get started.

Frequently asked questions

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Hiring ZenPilot is the best thing I've done since my time at LegalZoom.

We function so much more smoothly now. We can accommodate more projects, and our general volume of work has increased significantly. It's been an absolute game-changer.

If you're on the fence about this decision and your team needs some organizational support, do it. You won't regret it.

Melanie Brook LegalZoom
Melanie Brook

Principal, Creative Operations
LegalZoom

How long does the process take?

That depends entirely on your stated goals, but most teams will undergo a complete transformation using our 1-3-5 Formula in 5-6 months and will have recouped their investment in profit margin by 12 months.

To provide a more thorough breakdown, you can expect the timeline to look something similar to this:

Our goal is to provide you with continuous support, ensuring that your operations remain lean, efficient, and ahead of the curve. So while a complete operational transformation can be achieved within three months, many of our most successful clients choose to extend our partnership beyond two years. Operational excellence is an ongoing endeavor, and ZenPilot is committed to guiding your agency's growth and evolution every step of the way.
What does the time investment look like when working with ZenPilot?

This all depends on the stage that your team is in.

If you're in the Blueprint phase, you should expect your implementation team to be spending 1-2 hours weekly. This time will mostly be allocated to calls with our team, but also a few assignments that we will have for your team in between calls.

If you're beyond the Blueprint phase, you should expect your implementation team to be spending 2-4 hours per week on the project. This work is grouped into a few buckets:

  • 1 hour weekly attending calls with ZenPilot
  • 30-45 minutes weekly consuming asynchronous course materials
  • 60-120 minutes weekly completing tasks related to building templates, migrating, and optimizing the workspace (depending on where in the timeline the team is)

We'd recommend batching "ZenPilot work." Our most successful clients spend one whole morning or afternoon each week dedicated to just working with ZenPilot—building processes, completing coursework, optimizing their workspace, etc.

Who is ZenPilot's ideal client?

We partner with agencies, internal marketing teams, and professional service firms that desire to improve visibility, reduce internal chaos, and get more clarity.

However, truly achieving gold-standard operations and clarity for all requires time, effort, and the willingness to buy-in, embrace, and love the process. The teams that are successful are the ones that:

  • Desire to reduce internal chaos and give team members more clarity.
  • Desire to be excellent at managing projects to deliver great client results on time and within budget.
  • Desire to improve visibility into team performance, capacity planning, and results.
  • Desire to be more systematic, process-driven, and organized.
  • And have a willingness to pay for expertise and listen to experience. They "want what works."

If you have the desire and motivation to spend the necessary time to eliminate chaos, you're a perfect fit for ZenPilot.

Do you only work with agencies?

Not exactly! We also work with in-house marketing teams (who often see themselves as an "internal agency")—one example is the marketing crew at LegalZoom.

And we work with businesses who do client work that may not necessarily see themselves as agencies, such as accounting firms.

While it's true that our expertise runs deepest in the agency space (and we have a library of 200+ plug-and-play process templates for that specific context), we have lots of advice and specific frameworks to share for any business that wants to put an end to chaotic project management and stop hopping from one PM tool to the next.

Book a free consultation with us and let's find out if we're a fit for you!

How much does it cost to work with ZenPilot?

ZenPilot employs a monthly subscription model broken into three tiers: Economy ($4,000/month), Business ($6,000/month), and First Class ($9,000/month).

Each of these subscription tiers is fully points-based and is crafted to offer unparalleled flexibility and to ensure our services align perfectly with your agency's shifting needs over time.

However, teams working with ZenPilot typically invest at least $16,000.

For a detailed overview of our pricing structure and to better understand the comprehensive benefits of partnering with ZenPilot, check out our pricing page.

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Hiring ZenPilot is the best thing I've done since my time at LegalZoom.

We function so much more smoothly now. We can accommodate more projects, and our general volume of work has increased significantly. It's been an absolute game-changer.

If you're on the fence about this decision and your team needs some organizational support, do it. You won't regret it.

Melanie Brook LegalZoom
Melanie Brook

Principal, Creative Operations
LegalZoom

Turn productivity into profit. We're your agency operations co-pilot.

Our clients benefit from our comprehensive library of pre-built ClickUp templates, agency-specific training and certification programs, and automation engine to help double their productivity.