You close the client you sign them up. Now, how do you on-board a client to ensure success? In this post I’m going to go through how we on-board clients and what our kickoff process looks like. Let’s jump into it.
So I always start with a project kickoff and basically what this is, is it’s a an hour-long, sometimes a half hour long, meeting where every decision maker on the client’s team comes in and meets with all of the people that are going to be working on their account. So normally, it’s me and my co-founder Robert and then some of the production folks will come on to that meeting as well. We like to have the kickoff two weeks after signing. So people will sign the contract, two weeks later we have this kickoff meeting. And the reason why we wait two weeks and we don’t just jump into a project right away is it gives us a little bit of buffer time. So let’s say somebody sounds like a huge deal which for us maybe it’s like $20,000 a month or something. Some gigantic deal where we have to hire. This two weeks gives us enough buffer room where we can vet some candidates and hire some people. It also gives our project managers time to ramp things up and it gives us time for project planning.
So right now our marketing strategist and me, because I run the marketing team as well are working on 2 reviews and then we’re about to start work on another two reviews plus one client is about to start on outreach. That’s about five projects. Four of them are going to take up about 20 hours of time from Santiago, from our marketing strategist. So these two weeks gives us enough time to project plan that out to figure out how we’re gonna use that time. Do we need to hire another marketing strategist. How we’re going to stack that up? And on the client’s point of view, they don’t mind waiting the two weeks. Sometimes I think that this client is not going to wait and almost always they pressure to start sooner, but when I explain what I just explained in this video to them that normally helps them see the justification for why it is that two weeks. So that should help you as well. So before the kickoff what we normally do is we’ll spend an hour, between one hour and three hours, figuring out all that we can about the client’s business and goals.
The sales team usually takes a bunch of notes and they put them in base or they type them out somewhere and our marketing strategist, me and Robert as well we’ll be reading these notes to figure out what is their core competency. What kind of case studies do they work with? Who could their target markets be? Basically, thinking about all this stuff before we go in the room so that we’re prepared. And that’s all that we really do before the kickoff besides the project planning and everything I just talked about. Then the actual kickoff itself is broken down into two parts. So here’s the kickoff agenda. Number one is introductions and number two is the project plans. During the kickoff what we’ll do is I’ll run through the team of the client and basically each person on the client’s team will say their name and their title. -Hey, I’m Mark. I’m the founder of X agency. And then each person will go through it and then on our team we’ll do the same thing. So I’ll say I’m Alex, I’m the founder at Experiment 27. Robert will introduce himself. Everyone will introduce themselves and then we will make it clear who the point of contact is going to be. For us normally, it’s Istvan who is our account manager or Robert who is our head of production. And then the client will do the same.
Whoever there director of marketing is or their founder, whoever is going to be on top of us, is normally introduced at this point. It’s a pretty important thing. And then the second part of the meeting is the project plan where we run through step-by-step what we expect from them and when it’s going to be delivered. And normally this project plan, the way that we’ve done it that’s most effective, is we’ll take the contract that they sign which has a bunch of bullet points of what we’re going to deliver and we’ll break it down into weeks. Week one is set up interviews with three clients. Week two is set up directory profiles. Week three is review current lead generation channel. Basically, breaking it down by weeks and by deliverables. This helps stop the client from continually asking you what’s going on and it decreases refund rates because it makes sure that everyone understands what they’re buying and what you’re selling. And once that’s all done you get their buy-in on the plan.
You get their buy-in on the delivery dates. Then you go to the third part of the kickoff meeting. This is the last part and I call it the next steps. So this is whatever the next thing is that you need to do to get the project going. Normally, it’s collecting things from the company itself. So access to all analytics, platforms and sales decks. That’s what we need. We need names of three clients to interview. Names of three clients to provide reviews for directories. An email address set up if we’re gonna do cold calling or cold emailing and then dates or times for a weekly call because we like to do a weekly standup. And these next steps are also emailed to the client after and that’s the kickoff.
That’s basically everything that goes into it. And this is what… Just having the kickoffs has increased our client success rate by a lot. And it’s decreased our refund rate by a lot. It’s another time for us to reiterate exactly what we’re selling and get on the same page. Especially for us. What I found is when you start breaking up sales from production. So normally I would be the marketing strategist and I’d be the head salesman. When you break that up and you have somebody selling and then somebody else doing production a lot of times things will get lost in translation. It’s nobody’s fault and a kickoff is a good time to make sure everybody’s on the same page.
February 5, 2017