Jay’s direction on creating a commercial management framework and putting the right KPIs in place helped me get the business to where it needed to be.

Arjan van Hartesveldt is Director of Client Services at Inspired Thinking Group (ITG), a technology-led marketing business providing marketing technology and services to major brands. He joined ITG when they acquired Netherlands-based e-Village, a leading email marketing technology company.

Arjan says, “My remit was to develop an email marketing services agency in Europe to support customers of the Clang marketing automation platform and related CRM services, and deliver growth plans. But we had little past-performance insight to underpin those plans. With financial targets in place, we needed to act quickly and structure the agency for success from the off.

“From working with The Agency Works (TAW) in implementing Synergist, it was clear they were agency management experts. So I reached out to Jay (TAW’s Managing Director) for strategic guidance too,” says Arjan. “Setting up what was essentially a new agency, meant doing things differently to how we’d done them in the past. Our aims demanded a different business model and more commercial rigour.”

Arjan Van HartesveldtClient Services DirectorInspired Thinking Group (ITG)

His guidance on commercial management frameworks and support to put the right KPIs in place helped me get the business to where it should be.

Having a go-to expert for advice on strategic direction and the general running of the agency has helped us avoid the usual mistakes agencies can make. Now I’m confident about our charging structures, job margins, ideal utilisation, etc. Ultimately, he’s given me a more thorough understanding of how a business makes money.”

Arjan says, “I’m always in the driving seat, but Jay is the person supporting me, asking the right questions and helping steer the agency in the right direction. He makes us think about our options and why we might choose one over the other. Jay challenges us in the right way – it really makes us think about our every move.

“Jay’s direction on creating a commercial management framework and putting the right KPIs in place helped me get the business to where it needed to be,” says Arjan.

“We have much better insight into what and how we’re doing. Now I am in complete control of the agency.”

“Having the right data to help direct decisions, and understand their consequences, is invaluable. The TAW team supported us with the implementation and set-up of Synergist to make sure we input the right data in the right place to pull out the insights we needed,” says Arjan.

“We understand the consequences of inputting specific information and what more we can get from our data by using it daily and in the right way. We’re recording hours better, recording projects differently, and much more besides and as a result, we have better insight into what and how we’re doing. Now I am in complete control of the agency.”

“The whole team is well-versed in stringent financial management.”

“Jay meets monthly with our operations manager, financial specialist and me, to review and discuss data from the previous month and make informed decisions based on that insight. He takes us through the detail so we can see the complexity of what’s going on and then we simplify it so we can work with what it’s telling us.

“Beyond the monthly meetings, he supports our operations manager and financial specialist with specifics such as cost, price, calculations etc too. Those sessions are usually detailed and profit-driven, helping them understand the right metrics to use and in the right way to improve profitability. The whole team is well-versed in stringent financial management.”

Now we’re on track with our financial goals and growth plans.

“A year on, and we’re on track with our financial goals and growth plans,” says Arjan. “We have a business model that works perfectly, underpinned by a robust commercial strategy that’s driven by the information that matters. The agency is organised to be more profitable. We’re clear which levers we need to pull to affect turnover, and this approach is driving the entire team to get us to where we want to be.

“Jay’s knowledge has been fundamental to shaping the agency for success. He’s very clear that an agency has to deliver around profit, and the commercial rigour he helped create set the business on solid foundations for growth.”

Arjan says, “Jay pushes us to achieve more, to reach our potential. He’s clear about what we can achieve and in his advice to help us get there. Working with Jay really is the kickstart that sets your agency up for success.”

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