Two Birds with One Stone: Transition an Account & Improve it at the Same Time
July 28, 2010
It’s an exciting time of change at Hanapin Marketing. We are getting ready to move into a bigger facility, we have a new sister company, Tingian Ventures, in development and a couple of our team members have moved on to babies (congratulations, Amber!), marriage and graduate school. With all of that, we have brought on some incredibly talented new additions to the team – like Rob, Amy & Caleb. Plus, we still have job openings for Junior Account Managers.
In the past, we have talked about Inheriting Accounts from other Agencies, but what about internal accounts? As we adapt to the changes around us, we have developed a list of best practices for internal account transitions. Below are some tips and suggestions for how to smoothly transition an account to a new manager in a way that may even render new ideas and improved performance.
- Start Early!
- This may be easier said than done. Sometimes, team members may leave unexpectedly or with little notice. Don’t panic if that happens. Hopefully, you have a history of the account in place via Basecamp or another project management system (we document almost all information on an account or changes made to an account, just in case).
- However, if you are in a nice position where 30 days notice is given, or maybe even longer, don’t wait to transition! Start giving the new manager campaign to-dos as early as possible. This will allow them to get a feel for the account without needing to know every little detail right away.
- If time allows give the new manager at least 2 weeks of sole management (this will come after the steps mentioned below). At this point, the original manager (let’s just say this is you) should be hands off, allowing the new manager to face any challenges with the ability to ask questions if needed, as you are still on site and available.
- Internal Download: This involves you, the new manager, and any notes on the account. You’ll want to spend a couple of hours going through the account history, specifics about the client (their contact preferences, any quirks, etc.), and immediate plans for the account. For the immediate plans, it might be helpful to document monthly to-dos for the new manager. Write out all actions you were planning on taking in the next month or two that will help the new manager stay on top of any current plans while also helping them understand the optimizations made on a consistent basis. Be sure to grab some coffee – these sessions can be very long with a lot of information and you’ll want the new manager to be as alert as possible. Make sure they take good notes!
- Introductory Call with Client: At this point, the new manager should be ready to meet the client. I’d suggest letting the client know on the phone, if not in person, that you’ll no longer be managing the account, and that you would like to set up a call or meeting to introduce their new point of contact. Please, don’t call them up one day with the new manager on the phone and introduce them right there. Give them some time to absorb the information of your departure before you introduce anyone new. When it comes time for the call, make sure the new manager takes lead – you will want to assure the client that this person knows the account well and can competently speak about it.
- Keyword Audit: I’ve recently acquired a couple of new accounts and I decided to do a keyword audit with each client, which I found incredibly helpful. I created an excel document with all keywords in the account and included a second tab for negative terms. Having spent ample time learning about the client and the account, I went through all of the keywords and highlighted any that may no longer be relevant. I also embarked upon some keyword research and created a third tab with suggested terms I thought could be added. A fresh pair of eyes can do wonders for an account and this is one of the benefits of a transition. It’s always good to do some spring cleaning right?
- Client Meeting: Once the audit was complete, I sent it over to the client for approval and requested a meeting to go over the terms. By this point, the old manager was gone and I was on my own. The time I spent with the client really digging in to the account was incredibly helpful. It helped me better understand the product and target audience, and reassured the client that the account was on the right track. Plus, they were pleased I was willing to spend so much time with them. During this time, I also spoke with the client about goals of the account. This particular account had been with us for a while and the goals were a little outdated. We redefined our benchmarks and both left the meeting feeling good about what needed to be done to hit the new goals.
- Ad Audit: Once the Keyword Audit was complete, I moved on to ads. I revamped several of the old ads and created new ones for the new terms added to account. As with the keywords, I wanted the client’s input so I sent them over approval before implementation. When the client reviewed them, she found some old ads she thought could incorporate a new tagline that had been developed for other marketing material. If we had not gone through this process, she may not have thought to share the tagline with me.
With any change comes a time for reflection on the past and ways to grow in the future a time of transition can actually help facilitate growth. Following these steps will ensure that not only the transition goes smoothly, but you may even develop new ideas for the account. And if nothing else, you’re showing the client that not only do you care about their account, but you are a proficient search marketer.
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