By:

Kelly Anthony

- Nov 15, 2012

Posted in: 

If you’ve ever worked with – or for – a PR agency, you’ve seen what happens on the frontlines. In an effort to shape and deliver programs that positively position their clients, there’s a constant juggling of assignments, people, timelines and projects. 

Two leading agencies, The Eisen Agency and Communiqué PR, recently shared how Smartsheet has come to mean more than simple client management: It helps them keep costs and overhead low, differentiate themselves in the market, nurture young talent and develop a culture of responsiveness and agility. 

Full Transparency Yields Trust, Efficiency

The Eisen Agency, the largest PR firm in the Greater Cincinnati Area, offers a fully integrated comprehensive marketing and communications approach to their clients, and they rely heavily on Smartsheet to deliver on that promise.  

With 30-40 active clients at any given time, each one is assigned a “POA” – a Plan of Action – in Smartsheet which keeps the agency and client in communication and up to date on project tasks*.

According to The Eisen Agency’s president Rodger Roeser, Smartsheet is a valuable collaborative workspace for both agency employees and clients.  For example, agency members attach and share files such as advertising comps and press releases to client’s sheets for review. Everything is archived and kept current in Smartsheet for easy access and reference.  

This documentation also offers a crystal clear view (e.g. hours) of the work the agency puts into any client project or campaign.

“Having all of our efforts documented in Smartsheet not only keeps my team and their projects on target, it has greatly improved my client conversations,” explained Roeser. “When I bill a client each month, I include a copy of the client’s sheet so there’s no question about the amount of work we’re putting in.  I can’t tell you the last time a client contested an invoice.”  

Smartsheet is also a teaching tool for clients. “We use Smartsheet as an objective reference to point out unproductive patterns to clients. For example, if I see we’ve iterated 30 versions of an announcement for a client, it’s not an effective use of our time – or their money. I use Smartsheet to point this out and do the right thing by my clients.”

“My agency’s service is a product of time,” said Roeser. “The more efficiently I can do my job, the more efficiently my team can do their jobs, the more time I have to service new or existing clients. Smartsheet helps us save time, and in turn has contributed to our agency becoming one of the most successful in our area.”

Check out this PR Week article for more on how Roeser and the Eisen Agency are collaborating with Smartsheet.

Establishing Shared Expectations & Improving Collaboration

Communiqué PR, a boutique PR firm in Seattle, similarly uses Smartsheet to manage its workload and collaborate on client projects. All the projects that are underway, from editorial calendars to speaking opportunity deadlines and press release distribution dates for clients, are tracked in Smartsheet. Campaign minutia is carefully accounted for and easily checked in upon. Account leads also share their sheets with clients – so any time a client wants to check in on the status of an activity, he or she can open Smartsheet and find answers instantly.

“Smartsheet is an especially useful tool for less experienced staff. It helps them see all of the steps we need to take when pitching a story, planning a media tour or crafting a new campaign. It also gives my staff the opportunity to jump in and contribute where they see something they feel comfortable doing,” said Jennifer Gehrt, one of Communiqué PR's founding partners.

Smartsheet has also impacted the way that Gehrt leads her team and thinks about management.

“The sheet allows individuals to outline every step in the plan and make sure they have shared expectations with their manager and clients on when activity will be performed and completed. Because of this transparency, it motivates my team and allows them to really step up to the plate and be accountable for their work. Smartsheet is a tool for our team to sign up for tasks and projects – assignments are visible to everyone. The excuse ‘I didn’t know’ is now extinct.”

Read more about how Communiqué is using Smartsheet to differentiate itself with clients – in their own words on their corporate blog.

<*Note: If you're interested in using a similar collaborative planning template, try this one.>

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