Landing new business is just the first step in growing a profitable agency.
From here, you need to effectively manage, retain and grow accounts.
As stated in Paul Roetzer’s (@paulroetzer) book The Marketing Agency Blueprint, “loyal clients lead to higher retention rates, greater profit margins, more predictable cash flow and stronger referrals.”
So, how do you continue the momentum of the business development process, deliver on promises made, and make your agency truly indispensible?
Below are some tips for ongoing management after the deal is won.
1.) Set Clear Goals and Expectations at the Onset
Assess all areas of your client’s organization, from internal marketing team strengths to technology utilization and beyond.
Use this as a starting point for conversations about goals and strategy.
Ensure that both parties are on the same page from the get-go for maximum success.
2.) Bring Value, and Demonstrate Results
Connect all agency activities to audiences and outcomes.
In doing so, remember that your job as a marketer is ultimately to affect the bottom line.
Therefore, track results in metrics that matter to clients—e.g. leads and sales conversions.
Don’t hide behind arbitrary metrics, such as impressions, ad equivalency and PR reach.
After setting benchmarks and measuring performance, adapt strategy and activities to focus on those initiatives that produce the best results.
3.) Mix Builders and Drivers
Builders are services designed to set the foundation for success (e.g. website development, social profile setup, sales collateral, marketing technology integration), whereas drivers are intended to produce short-term results (e.g. ebooks, email marketing campaigns, promotions, digital ads).
To demonstrate value early in the relationship, you must be effective at balancing both.
While builders are essential for future success, they often aren’t measurable in the present.
Therefore, clients can quickly lose patience, and start to question your value. To combat this, agencies need to strategically manage expectations, while blending builders and drivers.
4.) Continuously Bring New Ideas
Stay on top of industry trends and changes in technology.
By remaining at the forefront of innovation, you can continuously adapt strategies, and create more efficient and effective account teams.
As examples, consider the growing impact of mobile, search engine algorithm changes and social networks on marketing campaigns.
5.) Remember Little Things Add Up
Relationships are built on a thousand little moments.
Use social networks to connect on a more personal level with clients, and build stronger partnerships.
Keep updated on their interests and activities through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+, and use those platforms to improve the frequency and value of your communications.
How do you build client loyalty? What tips do you have for account management, retention and growth? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Tracy Lewis (@Tracy_J_Lewis) is a consultant at PR 20/20 where she is involved with client services and account management activities. She is also the community manager for Marketing Agency Insider, the hub for a more open and collaborative agency ecosystem.
For more on growing and retaining accounts, check out Marketing Agency Insider’s Client Services Webinar Series, which will launch fall 2012. Use promo code RSW15, and save 15% on registration.