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The Partners Playbook: optimizing agency work

Welcome to the Partners Playbook, a new series from Wix Partners on how you can optimize your agency business. Here we speak to Wix Partners about their process, client relationships and how you can scale your business in the years to come.

Originally, Seven Circle Media was Dante Montovano’s freelance project. He’d take on one or two clients between his full-time marketing positions. It wasn’t until a conversation with his friend Mary Murphy, who worked in the retail banking sector, that Montovano and Murphy decided to establish Seven Circle Media as a web design and marketing agency.

In March 2020, Seven Circle Media joined the Wix Partner Program. “It was a total game changer,” says Montovano. “We became a real company: Getting more leads, building things up, scaling and growing the business — I can’t tell you how grateful we are. It’s changed how we’re able to do business.” Over the past year, Montovano and his team created 100 websites and experienced a 50% increase in revenue.

After joining the Wix Partner Program, Seven Circle Media delivered six times as many websites with less stress — but how? It focused on collaboration and effective communication.

“Efficiency” is a buzzword for agencies: It points toward maximum productivity with minimum expenses — which is what Seven Circle Media was able to find when it joined as a Wix Partner. Below, Montovano provides some insights that led Seven Circle Media to scale up and harness better client relationships.

Equip teams with tools that optimize communication

Agencies move quickly. Equip your clients and team with tools that streamline project management and close unproductive feedback loops.

Web design has hard deadlines: Clients want to launch now, with all the functionality and tools optimized for success. To stay on track to launch, your team can’t be caught in a feedback loop that leads to hours of trial and error to get something right. “While I still do more face-to-face interactions with our clients, I always direct them back to the Wix Feedback Tool,” says Montovano. “It keeps everything organized and cuts down on the waiting game for edits. When our clients leave feedback, we usually get edits back to our clients within 48 hours!”

Alongside the Wix Feedback Tool, Seven Circle Media uses the Google Workspace Mailbox from Wix. The Seven Circle Media team also uses Google Sheets for project management and Google Documents for extensive editing notes. “When we have two or three projects going, these services have saved us about 10–20 hours per week,” says Montovano.

Even with so many ways to communicate, however, Montovano doesn’t think face-to-face communication is going away anytime soon. “People buy from people. You need to get to know your clients — and you can become friendly with clients and communicate for months after the project is complete.”

Part of getting to know your clients is having avenues of communication available. You set the foundation for when your team should use email over Slack, or when it’s easier to hop on a Zoom call and have a face-to-face interaction. You need to do that with clients, too.

Acquire client examples to do your best work

The agency-client relationship is a partnership. Just as clients expect you to provide information about your services, you need clients to supply information to your team about their products and services to speed up the learning curve.

“As Seven Circle Media’s sales team likes to say, ‘We can take a vision and turn it into a great website,’” says Montovano. “We normally like to ask for logos, colors, other websites they like. Part of creating efficiency is having samples to refer to so we can hit the nail closer on the head in the first round and not have to go back-and-forth as much in early stages.”

Agencies need to standardize front-loading information. Clients may get overwhelmed with multiple onboarding questionnaires or surveys. If clients miss an item, that’s okay: Your team serves as another checkpoint to ask clients for style guides, product information or other in-depth information.

Prioritize documentation

It’s the old tried-and-true: Documentation of communication and processes keeps agencies and clients in sync from start to finish.

Detailed documents are a mark of good house-keeping. Have the latest project update at the top of your customer notes. For general processes, think like someone who just joined your team: Is there too much jargon that will slow them down? In regards to contracts, will clients understand what they’re signing for? We’ve discussed the No-Surprise Doctrine before — and if you follow its mantra of clear communication within all of your documentation, you set everyone up for smooth project management.

The future of collaborative web design

Web design always has an eye toward the future. What will catch consumers’ eyes and have them return to a site again and again? For Montovano, “Design is always changing” — which is why your team needs to have an eye toward the future. One way to do that is to consider what tools you have, and what tools allow your team to expand their skill sets.

“In terms of collaboration, the My Designs feature from Wix is incredible — we’re able to copy over things quickly. Testimonial areas are always really great in terms of website functionality,” says Montovano. “Keeping up to date on trends is super important for Seven Circle Media, so we keep an eye on Dribbble as well.”

Montovano makes web design sound easy. When you have your foundation set with a great team and the right tools, the future is yours.

Ready to see how Wix helps you step up your efficiency game? Join the Wix Partner Program today.

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