AI for Digital Agencies

Take a look at every stage of your client workflow lifecycle from initial contact to campaign or product launch and how AI can help you improve your bottom line.

The progression of a client's journey through your agency involves a series of well-structured steps. Each of these steps presents unique challenges, which can be deftly managed with the use of cutting-edge AI tools. Let's explore how AI can help improve each stage of the client workflow, mitigating pain points, and enhancing overall efficiency.

In this article we’ve taken a look at every stage of the client workflow lifecycle from initial contact to campaign or product launch and took a look at how mistakes at each of these stages can affect your bottom line. We’ve also included AI tools which can be leveraged as part of a digital agency’s AI strategy to increase your margins, and build much stronger client relationships.

Initial Contact: Improving lead generation and conversion rates

Failure to make a positive and impactful initial contact can reduce the chances of conversion, meaning all your lead generation expenses could go to waste. Streamline this stage by automating initial communications, ensuring rapid responses, and understanding the client's needs accurately.

Poor communication can lead to misunderstood client needs or expectations, reducing your chances of successful conversion. Unstructured initial meetings can drain resources, leading to wasted time and missed opportunities.

Therefore, in order to reduce lengthy and sometimes unfruitful initial communications there are products (new and established) which can help you:

  • Intercom: Use AI chatbots to automate initial communication and schedule introductory calls. Intercom’s Fin can also help your prospect answer questions directly in a record time with a high accuracy confidence.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Leverage AI to identify potential clients and automate personalized outreach.
  • Clay.com: During your outreach efforts, enriching your data plays a critical part in making sure you are not only blasting emails in the ether, but rather speaking to individuals, people, directly about topics that matter to them.
  • Reachout.ai: Tools like Reachout can help you craft more personal messages and video introductions to your customers in order to provide a more personal touch to your touch points.
  • Clearword: Once you’ve gotten a contact to agree to a first call, it’s important that every detail is remembered, exactly as it was said, and easily retrievable by any member of your team. Clearword organises conversations, ensuring efficient understanding and response to the client's needs during the first call

Discovery: How to better understand clients' needs and expectations

Inaccurate understanding of the client's needs can lead to wasted resources in creating unsuitable solutions. Ensure you gather all necessary information, conduct in-depth analyses, and consult extensively with the client to avoid the financial drain of misguided projects.

Miscommunication during the discovery phase can result in a misguided understanding of the client's business and goals. This could lead to the development of strategies and solutions that are off-mark, wasting time and resources ultimately directly affecting your bottom line in a rather immediate manner.

It is no secret that manually collecting notes and analysing the post-meeting admin tasks, it can get pretty disjointed and confusing. There are a few AI powered products out there which can help you improve

  • SurveyMonkey Genius and Typeform: Use AI-driven surveys to capture in-depth information about the client's business prior to the call to help organize and orient the conversation.
  • Clearword: Automatically summarize meetings and extract key insights, action items, and decisions. Every word matters, and Clearword makes sure those are captured, and digest the most important pieces of information at the heart of your discovery conversations.
  • ChatGPT: With new an exciting tools such as ChatGPT, you can really let your mind go wild and kick-start your creative process when it comes time to coming up with more questions which you may not have thought of. Here is a ChatGPT thread showing how it you can ask it a question about improving discovery calls and understanding client needs.

Remember, the goal of a discovery call is not only to gather information but also to build rapport and trust. This can only be achieved by being fully present in previous calls, and never forgetting a thing the potential customer has said.

Proposal & Agreement: How to save time and avoid misunderstandings in proposal and agreement stages

If your proposal doesn't match your client's needs or expectations, it could lead to negotiations and revisions, consuming time and resources. Further, overlooking critical details in contracts can result in financial liabilities down the line.

Therefore, inadequate communication when creating and discussing the proposal could lead to discrepancies between client expectations and the actual plan. This has a tendency to result in costly renegotiations, revisions, or even project cancellations. Making full use of previous conversation records is primordial in order to help prevent misalignments and affecting your revenue.

Atop of all the details to worry about, the actual process of physical contractual signatures can also be a high touch-point which is easy to replace with technology. All in all, from conversation details until the contracts are signed and agreed, there are tools which can help you accelerate the pipeline and improve the close rate.

Here are some tools, which can be used during the agreement process to speed up the process of reaching a mutual agreement and completing contractual obligations.

  • PandaDoc Proposals: PandaDoc allows you to create, send, and eSign client-facing proposals ultimately increasing your close rate by 18%
  • Deep RFP: If your bidding team is wasting too much time on admin tasks around composing the proposals, Deep RFP’s artificial intelligence product can help you improve the time-to-creation of those proposals
  • Clearword: Utilize AI for summarizing discussions around the proposal and extracting agreed terms. Rely on previous call records, well organised in a client’s shared workspace, to help both parties be accountable to each other, improve transparency and ultimately lead to proposal and agreement negotiations which more accurately reflect what had been discussed and documented.
  • DocuSign Analyzer: Streamline contract review and risk identification with AI. This is a product which is trivial to implement in any existing workflow

Planning & Strategy: Formulate more effective and efficient planning and strategies

Inadequate planning can lead to increased project timescales and costs, negatively affecting your profit margin. Moreover, ill-defined KPIs and project scopes can cause resource misallocation, further inflating your expenses.

Inefficient meetings during this stage can result in unclear project scopes, timelines, and KPIs. This can lead to project delays, misallocated resources, and inflated costs that eat directly into your bottom line.

Creating a detailed and personalized strategy used to involve substantial manual effort however with the rise of AI solutions you can effectively turns conversations in actions, use predictive analytics to define KPIs and strategy as well as automate repetitive PM tasks.

AI Solutions:

  • Salesforce Einstein GPT: Tailor every customer interaction with AI-generated emails, conversations, and offers built on your real-time data. Make use of AI for predictive analytics to define KPIs and strategy.
  • Clearword: Without effort, improve the process of understanding and summarizing strategy meetings. Extracted action items allow you to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Trello's Butler: Automate repetitive project management tasks using AI.

Design: Tools to make the design process more collaborative and efficient

Mismanaged design stages can lead to multiple revisions and increased labor costs. Insufficient client involvement can result in a product that doesn't meet expectations, leading to costly redesigns or even project cancellation.

Miscommunication during the design stage can lead to a product that doesn't align with the client's vision. This can result in time-consuming and costly redesigns. Additionally, poorly managed design meetings can cause delays and increased labor costs and team frustrations.

Gathering and implementing design feedback can be a slow process and we understand that, which is why we’re putting the following tools in front of you:

  • Adobe Sensei and Adobe Firefly: With Firefly you can experiment, imagine, and create an infinite range of images with Firefly, generative AI-powered content. With Adobe Sensei you can create and deliver improved customer experience. Sensei uses AI and machine learning to make this sometimes complicated process much simpler.
  • Canva Magic Design: Simply describe your idea in a few words, and watch as it smartly fills out your story. With your first draft in the bag, you’re ready to add your details and give it a personal touch, the human touch.
  • Figma & Ando’s AI Design Copilot: Figma is simply a great tool. One we use on a daily basis at Clearword. Ando’s design copilot plugin allows you to generate design ideas from text-input, shapes and other images.
  • Midjourney: Midjourney has caused a complete revolution in graphics design and completely changed the AI landscape of image generation. It allows people to generate imagery of high quality in an instant using a text-input (a prompt). The image of this blog post at the top was generated using Midjourney. (A slightly abstract watercolour painting of a woman sitting in front of a monitor and desiging seriously, surrounded by thoughts of satisfied customers, clean and simple background, photorealistic, high quality with a background the colour of #f2efea --ar 16:9 --q 2)
  • Clearword: As with every stage of the client workflow, it allows you to summarize feedback discussions automatically and keep track of design changes so that anyone, regardless of the circumstances has a full understanding of the work done on behalf of a client.

Development: How to optimize the development process to reduce errors and speed up delivery

Generally speaking, even though they are a natural part of the engineering workflow, coding errors and inefficient development processes can lead to expensive rework. Failure to set up the necessary hosting and technologies correctly could result in additional costs or security risks, impacting your bottom line.

Anyone who’s even worked in an agency understand how inefficient meetings can lead to misunderstandings about the functionalities, layout and general requirements. This normally results in development work that is off-track, requiring expensive rework. It is also incredibly frustrating to both the client and the team building the product.

Building what the clients want, and what was previously agreed (by people who may not be involved in the engineering process) is often a complicated process. Figuring out exactly what the client said, or even stretched timelines can cause teams to cut even the smallest corners.

To help your team, here are a few tools to build more secure products which are representative of the clients needs.

  • GitHub Copilot: Until you try it, you won’t believe it. Copilot has come leaps and bounds over the past year. It can help you identify security issues, write documentation, even write functions and complete code sections to help you reach your deadlines faster. If you are familiar with StackOverflow (And the odds are if you write code you are), it’s like having SO directly in your editor.
  • Mintlify: This is a product which resolves a pain point often overlooked but incredibly important which is writing clear and updated documentation. This is something that is important to clients, but often either overlooked or rushed at the end of the project with little attention really given to it.
  • GitButler: This is a solution you've always wished you had. We strongly encourage signing up to the waitlist. GitButler is a next generation version control system that sits within the Git and GitHub world. This means that it's meant to be compatible with Git data transfer protocols, but it can keep data and structures that are not stored in the Git database. In other words, it makes branches (managing branches and interacting with various types of Git branches MUCH cleaner and simpler)
  • Clearword: Keep track of development meetings and decisions with automated summaries and action items. This allows your client to see the progress, but also allows the teams working on building the product to refer to previous conversations about what was agreed and the teams get to hear the voice of the customers directly, without dillution.

Testing: Solutions to help you automate and improve the accuracy of our testing phase

Incomplete or ineffective testing can lead to faults being discovered post-launch, damaging your reputation and leading to expensive fixes. Additionally, poor usability can reduce customer satisfaction, influencing your client retention rate and, consequently, your revenue.

On top of that, miscommunication during the testing phase can lead to overlooked bugs or issues. This can result in post-launch fixes that are costlier than addressing issues pre-launch. Inefficient testing meetings can also delay the launch, affecting project timelines and costs.

Extensive manual testing is time-consuming and therefore expensive, and sometimes innacurate. Here are some AI tools which can help your digital agency improve the testing phase.

AI Solutions:

  • Applitools Visual Testing: This product helps you detect bugs and defects using visual AI so you can deploy your products with confidence. Huge time saver.
  • Testrigor: Automatically generate test cases, reduce the time required for test creation. Provide assistance during test creation, make the process simpler and more intuitive.
  • mabl: Mabl is a great low-code solution which uses machine learning to automate and improve functional testing so you can build end-to-end tests with 90% less efforts.
  • Clearword: Document testing feedback and decisions automatically with AI. This means extracting action items automatically so bugs and issues can be raised to your clients early, and your engineering teams can see and get 100% understanding of the test-cases.

Launch: Make sure to launch smoothly and error-free

Mistakes during the launch stage can lead to downtime, lost sales, and a damaged reputation. Not having SEO and analytic tools in place could mean missed opportunities for optimizing the website and deriving valuable insights, impacting your return on investment.

In the case of marketing campaigns, launching the wrong campaign at the wrong time can have great implications for you clients, your relationship with them and how this relationship will continue moving forward.

Poor communication during the launch stage can lead to missed steps, causing potential downtime, lost sales, and a damaged reputation. Having a 360-degree view of every single discussion which led to the launch can help you manage your client’s expectations and product a launch which goes smoothly without surprises.

Launch process often involves manual checks to ensure everything is in place. This can mean press releases, a problem statement, a linkedin post, a blog post, and anything on top of what the customer already asked for. Here is a list of product to make sure you’re covered:

  • Airfocus AI Assist: Airfocus is the PM’s AI assistant to help write PRDs, press releases, improve the writing style, etc. This is the first modular AI product management platform.
  • Shapenship Product Launch: Shapenship is an AI sidekick you need for your product launch. Whether it’s generating tag lines, reaching new sites and channels, helping you spread the word or conveying your product’s capabilities clearly, Shapenship will help you out.
  • Clearword: Summarize launch discussions and track issues with AI-driven meeting summaries so that your clients are 100% clear on what has been delivered, and on time. By keeping track of updates, Clearword will make sure you don’t have to jump on a “repeat-call” since your client have access to the exact conversation, which they can share with their own teams.

This is only a glimpse into the rapidly evolving world of AI, but we hope this provides some help in understanding the potential impact of AI at every stage of your client lifecycle pipeline.