Agencies often struggle with onboarding new clients which can result in missed opportunities and disorganization. Does this sound like your familiar? How about lacking a clear plan and process which slows down client acquisition?
You’re not alone. In fact, some agencies experience a client churn rate of 50% or more! Having a proper onboarding process in place can improve this number, increase conversion rates, and enhance business relationships.
It’s easy to place capital and effort into marketing, advertising, and other processes, but how much have you dedicated to the onboarding process?
Don’t worry if you answered “Not much” because today we’re going to teach you how to do it effortlessly – if you keep reading 🙂
Use discovery calls to understand clients needs
Qualifying leads before you work together is a necessary, but sometimes overlooked step, in onboarding. This is precisely why discovery calls are priceless for agencies.
Discovery calls are quick chats you have with potential clients to gauge their needs, budget, and interests. It allows both parties to, as you could guess, discover whether or not they’re a good match.
How many times have you taken on a client too quickly, only to realize it wasn’t a good choice later? A simple non-committed type of phonecall can prevent this headache.
Seeing as 82% of decision-makers within agencies believe their companies aren’t completely prepared for client calls, it’s crucial to develop a template. This isn’t necessarily a script, but rather important questions and notes you customize before the call.
We recommend that you ask the following questions during your agency onboarding phone calls:
- What’s your unique value proposition?
- How would you describe your buyer’s persona?
- Who do you try to target?
- What problems are you currently trying to solve within your business?
- What’s your current budget for this project?
- What does ROI look like? (Be specific, show how much you care)
- How did you discover our agency?
All of these questions achieve one major goal: to ensure that you can solve their problem and they match what it is you look for in a client.
Feel free to create other questions that fit your exact agency and customer base. Furthermore, we also suggest that you prepare for questions they will ask. These commonly include:
- What services do you offer?
- What results have you generated for previous clients?
- How much do you typically charge for a project like this?
- What’s the process moving forward?
Having answers to these on-hand without having to wing it will make the call much more smooth and professional.
Presuming the discovery call goes well, you can move onto the next step.
Take advantage of trial periods
You wouldn’t ask someone you just met to marry you the next day, right? That’s why agencies need to take advantage of trial periods with new clients – or at least show a commitment to learning their business.
Trial periods are small windows of time where you work with a client without committing to a long term business relationship.
These allow you to ensure that you’re able to provide the service they need while working well together. A longer-term contract can then be made if the trial period goes well.
Imagine you’re a social media marketing agency, for example. You could dedicate to a two-week relationship in which you manage their accounts.
This is mutually beneficial for two reasons. One, they get to see the kind of results you can deliver. Two, you see if they’re a worthwhile account.
Creating an idea for a trial period is as simple as taking your main service and condensing it into a tiny window. What could you offer on a micro-level that will still produce noticeable results?
Once your client is satisfied and there’s potential for the relationship, you can safely extend the contract and move onto a bigger project with them.
This brings us to our next point.
Use collaborative tools to improve workflow
Think about all of the tools you use to run your business. There are probably several. Depending on the exact service you’re offering and how the client will interact with a project, agencies need to take advantage of collaborative tools for customer onboarding.
These tools speed up the process of revisions, edits, receiving feedback, and client communication in general. No more going back and forth over email or scheduling phone calls.
One such tool we highly recommend is Trello. Follow along as we show you how to use it for onboarding.
Using Trello for client onboarding
Trello is a workboard tool that allows you to organize projects, tasks, assign items to employees, share resources, and more.
Sign up for a free account to begin from the top right on their homepage.
You can choose between registering with your email or an existing Google account on the next page.
Click the “Create new board” on the dashboard and give it a title. Boards are pages on Trello dedicated toward a specific project, so you technically can create one for each new client to stay organized.
You can then create a new list and assign cards under them by clicking “Add another list” and “Add another card”.
Lists should be dedicated to overarching tasks like social media, web design, or email marketing.
You can drill down into precise actions like setting up a client’s Instagram page, designing their website logo, or creating the next newsletter via cards.
Click a card you create to add a description, add members, set a due date, and more.
Lastly, you need to invite the client to the board. This can be done by clicking the “Invite” button and entering their email.
They will be sent an invitation to sign up for Trello, and you can now easily work together on their project.
Slack is another notable tool to consider.
Have a concise and easy-to-understand agreement
Nobody likes legalese, but agreements do play a big role in working with new clients. However, contracts don’t have to be overly complex and full of technical jargon that’ll make clients scratch their heads.
One of the easiest ways to do so is via freely available templates like this free short-form contract you can customize yourself:
The key elements to include within your agreement are:
- Scope of work: What will you deliver for the client, what are the expected results, and what’s the turnaround time?
- Payment terms: How much will you be charging the client and when will invoices be due?
- Grounds for termination: Rules that determine on what grounds the contract can be ended by either party.
- Rights and intellectual property: Very important for design and tangible services to determine who owns what and when.
- Revisions: How many revisions will you offer the client? Do extra revisions have a surcharge?
Consider productizing your services
Creating custom quotes for each new client can be a tedious and time-consuming process.
That’s why agencies should consider grouping their products and services into packages. This makes pricing easier to understand for clients while speeding up how you invoice.
The first step is to determine what you typically charge for different projects. For example, looking back at recent clients you might notice that you charged:
- $15,000 for an e-commerce website.
- $5,000/month for social media management.
- $7,500 for PPC management.
You could then use these as benchmarks for your packages. Check out this web design agency that offers affordable plans for their clients to see what we mean:
Every package has a specific price and features. As you move up pricing, there are more benefits and perks.
Agencies can still offer custom quotes if a client needs a special feature or service, too. Nonetheless, packaging most of your services will save heaps of time and energy for both parties.
Onboarding clients is one of the most exciting parts about running a digital agency. It’s also one of the most difficult if you don’t have a clear process in place.
Agencies can speed up how efficiently they take on new clients by starting with a discovery call. This is a quick chat to understand the client’s needs, budget, and if there’s a fit.
The next step is to have a small trial period in which you provide your service without a long term commitment. This ensures that you work well together and the client is satisfied with how you operate.
Having a simple but safe agreement comes next. You don’t want a contract that takes weeks to read, but you want one that protects both of you. That’s why we suggest hiring an underwriter or customizing short-form contracts you can find online.
You then should take advantage of collaborative tools like Trello and Slack for improving workflow and communication. Create accounts for your clients and keep them continually updated with progress.
The last step in improving customer onboarding is through productizing your services. Instead of calculating custom quotes and having to get back to clients, let chem choose a premade plan.
Agencies can also enhance their onboarding at scale as their company grows with Morphio’s platform. Audience segmentation, in-depth reporting, and ROI tracking all make bringing on new clients seamless. Start your free trial today!