Navigating the first stages of a new client partnership can be tricky for any marketing or advertising agency.
Nurturing the budding agency/client relationship, whilst ensuring both parties are firmly on the same page, with agreed expectations, at the same time as getting under the skin of the client business in enough depth to gain useful insight is a very steep learning curve.
In this edition of our Tips and Tricks series, our Director of Client Services Joe Haynes shares five key pointers for onboarding new clients.
1. Invest time in developing an onboarding process – it’ll make early campaign conversations much easier to navigate
Applying a process for the introduction of new clients should be at the heart of any new business proposition and sets a marker for a good working relationship. You want to make the transition from contract negotiations into campaign planning and, ultimately, delivery, as smooth as possible, so put your steps in place to make it pain-free for all concerned.
2. Have an open and honest approach – establishing a clear dialogue with your new client and gaining their trust is the foundation that successful working partnerships are built on. From this, great things can happen
If you set your stall out at the beginning, you’re likely to face fewer bumps in the road throughout your client’s campaign or retained activity. By having an open and honest dialogue, you can work to agreed deliverables and objectives.
3. D3. Set mutually agreed objectives. There’s nothing worse for a client than setting up KPIs and ROI metrics halfway through their campaign – you’re basically running late on actions that should have been implemented in the first week!
The desire to hit the ground running on a new project can sometimes prove to be a hindrance further down the line. Engage in the onboarding process, understand what your client is aiming to achieve and set out key performance indicators that you can track at regular (agreed) intervals in your campaign.
Crucially, it’s worthwhile to chase the quick wins and show your client you mean business, but ensure the foundations for success are actioned too.
4. Create an effectiveness roadmap for your project. How are you going to ensure your campaign is effective? Agree on what effectiveness looks like and how you will report on it
At Different Narrative we pride ourselves on working effectively with our clients. Effectiveness isn’t just about the outputs delivered but also about ways of improving business performance. Tap into evidence-based decision making.
Keep an open mind as every day’s a school day. And identify inputs, outputs and outcomes that will engage your client’s team. Use data to inform your planning which will make your outputs and outcomes more effective.
5. Make working with each other enjoyable – be human, walk a mile in their shoes, be empathetic and be flexible.
Never lose sight of things as seen from your client’s perspective, and especially that of the end user you’re trying to engage. Immerse yourself in the client’s world by holding kick-off meetings in a relevant space where you can get to know their products, and maintain a flexible approach to your partnership to get the most fruitful return.