ClickUp for Agencies: Why It Might Not Be the Best Choice
ClickUp is a hot commodity in the world of productivity tools. With a valuation of $4 billion and roughly 100,000 paying customers, there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay.
But is this a tool agencies can benefit from? While ClickUp’s comprehensive feature set allows agencies to streamline their workflow, it’s not necessarily the best choice for everyone. There are certain features that are missing, and ClickUp needs to be integrated with other tools to cover all aspects of your agency workflow.
In this article, I’ll be outlining a few agency use cases where ClickUp shines, where it doesn’t, and introduce an alternative that warrants a closer look.
What is ClickUp?
ClickUp’s tagline says a lot about the product’s ultimate goal: “One app to replace them all.”
While this is a bit of an exaggeration, it does do a great job of highlighting the company’s commitment to blurring the boundaries of traditional project management by regularly expanding the scope of ClickUp’s features.
With features similar to those of Trello, Asana, and Basecamp (albeit with a different presentation), ClickUp is among the best project management software you can opt for. You can create and organize tasks, assign work to team members, and view detailed project information in a single user interface.
But ClickUp also offers features that go beyond a standard project management tool, including:
Native chat, email, document features
1,000+ native integrations for simplified workflows
30+ ClickApps for advanced customizations
Calendar and timeline management
Deep automation capabilities
Further reading: benefits of using project management software
Why choose ClickUp for agencies?
I’ll get to specific use cases in a bit. Right now, I want to answer a more basic question—why choose this tool for your agency when there are so many other options?
Competing tools like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp are all well-designed and feature-rich. The way I see it, there are two main reasons why ClickUp has an edge for agencies.
Also read: Trello for agencies
1. ClickUp’s hierarchy is perfect for agency work
Agency work is complicated. It might make sense to organize work based on clients, but the fact that there are usually multiple teams responsible for delivering services to each client complicates things.
ClickUp’s hierarchy is a near-perfect solution. You have three levels of organization—Spaces, Folders, and Lists—to create a logical structure for your work.
2. ClickUp’s customization respects agency roles
With ClickUp, every team and their members can customize views and dashboards so that they’re only seeing relevant information.
Believe it or not, this is actually a big deal for a project management tool. Most of ClickUp’s competitors only offer administrators the ability to customize.
Specifically, your teams can:
Create custom roles and assign user-permissions
Create color-coded labels for tasks
Create custom views and dashboards
3 ClickUp use cases for agencies
ClickUp is predominantly a project management tool, so it falls short when it comes to certain features you’d expect, such as billing new clients, which is popular among productized businesses.
Let’s look at three use cases where it makes sense to use the tool.
Managing client relationships is a big part of running a successful agency. There are plenty of purpose-built CRM tools on the market, but ClickUp manages to check all the boxes without being a standalone application.
Start by creating a Space for your CRM. Then, just download ClickUp’s CRM template and add it to the Space. You’ll be able to customize pretty much anything you want—from client tags to custom fields—but the templates work well out of the box with 16 fields, including:
ClickUp’s CRM works especially well when you integrate it with SPP’ client portal via Zapier or webhooks. When clients and projects fill in SPP intake forms, you can create a Zap that automatically adds the data they input into your ClickUp CRM. That means less time manually inputting data and less chance for errors.
2. Task & project management
Task and project management is the bread and butter of your work. It’s also a vital part of ClickUp’s feature-set.
ClickUp makes it easy to create tasks, assign them to team members, set deadlines, attach files, add labels, and more —all within a single dashboard.
You can also use ClickUp’s reports feature to get a detailed overview of your team’s progress. You can view reports on productivity, estimate accuracy, and task completion rate—plus much more!
3. Time tracking
Time tracking can be a tedious chore, but it’s essential for agencies that bill their clients by the hour. Fortunately, ClickUp makes it incredibly easy to track time from anywhere—desktop or mobile.
Adding time tracking to a Space, Folder, or List lets anyone with access track time spent on tasks within. Tracked time can be tagged with tags and descriptions and marked billable or non-billable. If you’ve input a billable rate, ClickUp will even calculate a running total for you.
Grow your industry knowledge
This makes it easy to quickly generate accurate invoices for clients using your billing and invoicing tool. Plus, it helps you get a granular view of how your teams are contributing.
Where ClickUp falls short
A project management tool cannot do everything an agency needs—that’s just how it is. ClickUp is not different as it lacks features such as billing and referral management, which are essential to grow an agency.
Related: how to scale an agency
Let’s look at a few features that are unavailable but needed in your business.
Subscription management & invoicing
If you’ve productized your business, you don’t want to spend time issuing invoices manually. Most of your services will be on a self-service model: leads visit your website, click a buy button on the pricing page, and pay. They can download their invoice right away, log into your client portal, and fill out intake forms.
This doesn’t just work great for one-time services, but also recurring ones. By allowing clients to subscribe to a monthly recurring service, you can focus on delivering orders instead of admin tasks.
Sadly, ClickUp doesn’t have invoicing or subscription management features, so you’ll have to hook it up to Stripe, or a different payment processor.
Referral management & tracking
Growing an agency is a tough task—but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re doing great work, your clients will refer you (for free). You can even reward them with discounts on their upcoming orders, but how do you track all of this? ClickUp sadly doesn’t have a referral tracking feature.
At SPP, we know how important referral management is, so we’ve built it into our software—available on all plans. Know exactly who’s referred new clients, track the commissions you have to pay out, and download a CSV file to make payouts easily once a month in PayPal.
Powerful forms for any use case
Although ClickUp is geared towards internal agency processes, it lacks a very important feature: a page builder. How often have you been stuck waiting for an email reply, stalling important work? Not all clients are responsive, so you might be waiting for an approval for a long time.
With SPP, you don’t need to wait because you have everything from the get-go. Ask the most important questions during checkout in your custom build order forms. And project related information? Create intake forms that clients fill out after purchase.
You can even set up contact forms for lead generation, embed them on your website, and handle them via tickets through the helpdesk module.
Service Provider Pro as a ClickUp alternative
The dependency on multiple tools is one many business owners fall into. It’s a slippery slope because you’ll need to keep a constant eye on changing features and price increases, ensuring that your operations continue to run smoothly.
As someone who’s worked with multiple agencies, I know how difficult it is to manage everything if data is spread across multiple tools. This is why SPP tries to bring all of it together into a tool that both your internal team as well as clients can rely on. You no longer need to check your email inbox, task management tool or payment processor dashboard as everything is inside SPP.
And your clients? They can just log into the portal to manage subscriptions, fill out intake forms, download invoices, and submit new tasks.