How to make the most of the onboarding process
Okay, you’ve won the pitch, they’ve signed the contract, and all that’s left to do is get to work, right?
Before you start, there are some specific things that you need to know in order to allow you and your team to start producing results for your client quickly.
What you need is an onboarding process. Without one, key information is likely to be missed and overlooked.
From finding out who your day-to-day contact is to learning about your client’s revenue split, there are many important details you and your team should be aware of, and the onboarding session is the perfect place to start.
Here are my top tips for how to make the most of your next client’s onboarding journey:
Before the onboarding meeting
Help them to prepare
From statements of work to meeting slides, make sure your client has everything they need before the real work starts.
In an onboarding session it’s likely you’ll have questions that your client probably won’t be able to answer off the top of their head. It’s also likely that you’ll want relatively detailed answers.
Send all important documents, presentations and enquiries in advance to give your new client plenty of time to prepare.
Assign the best team
When deciding who to take to the onboarding meeting, make sure to include anyone who was at the pitch, along with those who will be working on the account.
It’s an important opportunity to raise questions and the perfect chance for those who are involved in the project to begin building a relationship with the client.
During the onboarding session
Now that you’re face-to-face with your client, it’s time to really immerse yourself in their world. Doing so will help you to better understand their business and what they want to achieve.
The onboarding meeting should allow both parties to gather important information that can be used to meet your shared goals.
Ask the right questions
The whole point of the onboarding session is to find out as much information as you can about your client, so asking plenty of questions is essential. However, you need to make sure you’re asking the right questions – the ones that will actually help you to achieve your objectives.
You’ll want get this type of information:
- Organisational structure
- Who are their day to day contacts?
- Who signs projects off?
- Who else do they work with?
- Can they provide access to Google Analytics, Search Console, etc.?
- Product/Service information
- What is their product/service range?
- What are their most popular products/services?
- Business objectives
- Do they have an overall business strategy that they can talk you through?
- SWOT analysis
- Market analysis
- Are there any industry traits/trends?
- Who are their competitors?
- Why should their audience choose them?
- Target audience
- Who is their target audience?
- How does their audience find them?
- Brand guidelines
- Do they have brand guidelines and can they provide them?
- Does their audience know what type of brand they are?
- Marketing plan
- Do they have any marketing plans for the next year?
- Are they doing anything that could impact your plans?
Tell them your plans
It’s likely that you’ll have already run through your plans in the pitch, but the onboarding meeting is a great time to talk about them in more detail. This allows you to provide further reasoning and rationale for why you are doing these things, whilst gathering feedback. It also gives both you and your client a chance to get really excited about what is coming up!
Arrange regular catch-ups
You and your client should decide how often to have scheduled catch-ups, where you can contact them to touch base and update them on progress. It might be that emails are enough for certain clients, while monthly, weekly or daily calls are necessary for others.
Get to know them
The onboarding session is the first time you’re able to see what your new client is really like. Once the questions are over, take them out for lunch and seize the opportunity to get to know who they are as people, rather than just clients.
Spend some time with them outside of the meeting room and you can guarantee that your relationship will be stronger as a result.
After the onboarding session
Immediately after your onboarding session, be sure to follow up with a call or an email and send across any notes or actions from the meeting.
After a couple of days, contact them again to check that they’re happy and to ask whether they have any questions, or if there is anything they’d like more information about.
Follow these steps and your client should be well and truly ‘onboarded’. Now it’s time for the fun stuff: get cracking and get those results!