When working on an account, you get into a rhythm with your client about the goals for the account, future initiatives, and the rapport with your contact. When your client goes through the main point of contact change, it feels like there is a wrench thrown into your world. Sometimes this happens due to the person getting a new role within the company or other times they are heading on a new adventure elsewhere. With some of my clients, I have been working with them for over three years and it can feel like losing a friend who you had the privilege of talking to every week while also going through performance (you know, the main reason for the call). While you might miss some contacts more than others, below is are four ways on how you can make a seamless transition for your account and help your new contact fit into their role with ease.
- Show Your History
- Express Your Worth
- Pave the Way
- Keep in Touch
Show Your History
The first impression with a new point of contact is important. You are helping this person learn the ins and outs of the account while also creating a new relationship. By creating a timeline of the account’s history under your care and even beforehand is a wonderful resource for them to use. The timeline shows the shifts in strategy over time and tests implemented to show the momentum under your care. The example below is an example slide from a presentation of a current transition and the timeline goes back from the beginning of Hanapin’s relationship with the client and the shifts of transitions from our side and the client’s side. It is a visual story that shows dedicated partnership and not just a personal relationship with the account manager and the client. It’s a great reminder for the new person and their higher-ups that the continued relationship is important and has been for an extended period of time.
Express Your Worth
Sometimes when there is a transition, you don’t always know the reason and it could create murky waters moving forward. When I get a new point of contact, it is the perfect time to reset expectations of the account and this can cause new momentum for new initiatives. During our transition presentation, we state what we have identified as our client’s key business challenges and we allow room for the contact to open up on their perspective of their key business challenges. This shows you are on the same page, or if you aren’t, it gives you the opportunity to start together on the same page to clear the waters.
During these presentations, you have the data from your client relationship timeline to show successes from previous tests and your solid understanding of the account. It is your time to shine your expertise and like a good little digital marketer, you will have data to back you up and also conveniently placed in your timeline. Now you can focus on your plan moving forward and how you and the client are going to tackle the challenges and get over the next hurdle. If you need a bit of a confidence boost to help you jump over the obstacles here is The State of PPC 2018-2019 to view the current landscape.
Pave the Way
In the following meetings, continue to have an open dialogue and ask about their goals for the account and motivations in their new role. You might find that the contact wants to prove their worth to the company by hitting specific goals not met previously, the company is expanding its scope in Paid Search, or maybe they are thinking about bringing the business in-house. Whatever their goal is, it is easier to work together when you know their personal and professional goals are for the role.
By allowing transparency early on you can understand some of their behavior is due to pressure and you can create ways to relieve the stress. For example, with a different client, our meetings were essentially a time for their team to come together to create an agenda for their next interaction with their executives. We adjusted how our meetings ran and I would deliver insights in more sound bite type formats which made it easier for my clients to share the work with their bosses. This slight pivot in our time together took a lot of pressure off of them and made their results look great to their bosses. If you run into a situation when the client might be considering taking the business in-house, you have an opportunity to change the relationship to be more consultative and the type of work could change with the client is pulling the levers and you are giving the overarching strategy. By listening early on in the transition you have room to adjust to the situation and shift client relationship strategies when necessary.
Keep in Touch
Earlier I mentioned that some of my contacts and I had a great rapport and I was genuinely sad to see them go. When you hear about your contact is leaving, celebrate their opportunity and stay in touch either by LinkedIn, Twitter, email, or whatever way you both seem fit. It has happened on more than one occasion when a contact leaves to work for a different company, they have reached out to their previous account manager to take a look at their account or an opportunity to pitch for this Paid Search business. The most recent client I received just last week was in this exact situation. He was able he reached out to us because of our past successful relationship and he wanted us to assist him again in his new role. Now I have the chance to work with someone again with rapport already gained and a new account to dive into account.