Kantata Survey Finds 74% of Agencies Shifting Business Strategies To Address Economic Uncertainties

by | Sep 21, 2023

New Survey Explores Key Challenges and Priorities for Agency Operations

IRVINE, Calif., and LONDON – SEPTEMBER 21, 2023 – A new survey from Kantata, the leading global supplier of purpose-build technology for professional services, found that 74% of agencies are shifting their priorities and business strategies in response to significant pressures faced amidst the economic downturn. The survey, created in partnership with Canam Research and Salesforce to better understand the state of agency operations, their key challenges, and priorities, found that agencies are struggling to acquire new clients and need to do more to deliver exceptional experiences to current clients, all while managing against leaner operating models.

Nearly 60% of agencies are struggling to bring in new business, with new client acquisition listed among the top challenges agencies are facing today. Of those who have made or intend to make changes to their business strategy because of economic factors, 94% report that those adjustments have been substantial. Half of respondents are increasing their focus on customer retention and half will prioritize the client experience in the next 6-12 months to improve performance and profitability. Additionally, almost half (46%) of respondents have expanded their portfolio of product and service options, 30% have revised their proposal process, 28% have revamped pricing and 28% have increased the use of automation.  

“The demands on agency leaders aren’t new or unusual, but economic uncertainty is prompting many to reconsider their business strategies to minimize the impact of external factors,” stated Kantata’s CEO, Michael Speranza. “All professional service organizations, and especially agencies, rely on their employees’ expertise and creativity to serve clients. Optimizing resource management to meet shifting market dynamics is more critical than ever to deliver exceptional client experiences both now and in the future.”

The most pervasive challenge behind new client acquisition is employee retention. What’s more, 42% shared that resource capacity planning and resource allocation is difficult. To optimize the employee experience and improve agency operations, 41% plan to invest in learning and development, and 46% plan to invest in software to streamline agency operations. 

“Happy customers are not possible without happy employees who are engaged in their work and believe in the mission and vision of their business. To achieve both, agency leaders should seek solutions purpose-built for how their business operates, and include talent development, and centralized access to the data needed to efficiently deliver outcomes consistently,” added Speranza. 

Almost 3/4 of respondents (72%) feel they could not be successful without the use of spreadsheets. Interestingly, 32% also acknowledge that one of the top challenges in their technology stack is too much manual effort because of spreadsheets. Other challenges leaders face with their current technology stacks related to agency operations and client work delivery include integration (35%), workflow management (30%) and data silos (26%). 

“While spreadsheets have their uses they are not effective for resource or project management, client servicing, and business development. Solutions like Kantata can help transform how agencies operate, improving productivity for increased performance and profitability,” Speranza noted.  

The Kantata Professional Services Cloud platform enables organizations to improve resource allocation and management, increase productivity, and deliver more accurate revenue forecasting. To learn more, request a demo of the Kantata Cloud here and download the State of Agency Operations Survey here


51 professionals with job titles including, but not limited to, Account Director, Head of Strategic Planning, VP of Operations, Creative Director, Media Strategist, and Group Program Director. The focus of our research was mid-size and enterprise agencies, with respondents hailing from businesses like RPA, 9th Wonder, Publicis, Horizon Media, Iris Worldwide, GKV, and Infiniti Research.

About Kantata:

Kantata takes professional services automation to a new level, giving people-powered businesses the clarity, control, and confidence they need to optimize resource planning and elevate operational performance. Our purpose-built cloud software is helping over 2,000 professional services organizations in more than 100 countries focus and optimize their most important asset: their people. By leveraging the Kantata Professional Services Cloud, professionals gain access to the information and tools they need to win more business, ensure the right people are always available at the right time, and delight clients with project delivery and outcomes.

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