When taking on a new client it’s important to ensure the on boarding process goes as smoothly as possible. For the client themselves, it can be quite a nervous time as they want to ensure their accounts are handled with care and nothing is lost in terms of performance and knowledge as the accounts move over. For the agency inheriting the account it’s incredibly important to allay any concerns and reassure the client – first impressions matter, just ask our display team!
Below are 8 key steps to ensuring a smooth transition.
Sorting Out Billing
Since the removal of Google’s agency kicker several years back it is more common than ever for billing agreements to be held with the engines themselves rather than through the agency. At Croud, we recommend that the client builds a direct relationship with the engines and establishes credit lines with each one. This step needs to be planned prior to transfer as setting up new credit lines can sometimes take time to process and needs to be established beforehand to avoid any downtime. Thereafter the client will hold a direct relationship they can carry forward for years to come.
Gaining Access to The Clients’ Accounts
Before any real work can take place we need to gain access to the different accounts. This is not limited to just the engines (AdWords/Bing) but also supporting platforms such as Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), Google Merchant Centre and access to the Shopping Feeds themselves. Croud’s stance on the setup of these accounts is that the client should have full ownership with agencies being allowed access. There are times however when accounts may be set up by other agencies which results in them becoming the only administrators to the accounts – this can often cause difficulties and so should be addressed at the earliest opportunity
Kick Off Call
The next step and in many ways the most important step is the kick off call. This call will set the tone of your working relationship with the client. Added to this this a huge amount of knowledge transfer that needs to be accomplished on this call. As a result, a comprehensive agenda for this call is a must, and at Croud we take this further by sending through all supporting documents (such as the Client Creative Messaging form) ahead of the call, ensuring that everyone is as prepared as they can be for the call. During this call it’s also important to cover the following points:
- Define what success looks like (e.g. CPA target or a ROI target).
- Discuss reporting requirements.
- Understand current tracking setup.
- Agreeing the regular meeting times.
- Gain a deeper understanding of the business.
- Learn about wider marketing/promotional activity.
- Agree languages/markets to target.
- Discuss any red flags that should be noted.
- Gain an understanding of what has worked in the past.
- Set expectations and provide a clear roadmap of realistic deliverables.
Letting the account performance slip during the transition phase is only going to lead to doubt in the client’s mind as to whether they have chosen the right agency. Great care must be taken to manage the account in its current state before wholesale changes take place. Additional resource to support account management during this time is a must!
Audit of Historical Performance
A full and in-depth audit of the current account alongside historical performance needs to be conducted, to highlight possible areas of improvement that can be explored in the next stage. Croud use a very in-depth auditing process covering everything from account settings, account structure, ad-copy / extensions, keyword coverage, bidding tactics, shopping set up, new product adoption and audience targeting to name but a few…
Account Development Plans
During this stage and using all the information from previous stages a top level account structure should be planned out, along with the planned developments to take place under the new structure. It’s important to plan this all out on a timeline so the client will be able to see when changes will be pushed in the account. At Croud we supply our clients with a login to their own ‘Croud Control Dashboard’ where they will be able to see the ADP timeline in full.
It’s important to share the plan firstly internally with the future account management team to ensure they are happy with the planned development work and to see if they have any feedback. Following this we then need to present our plans to the client to make sure they are comfortable and understand the reasons for our considered approach.
Transitioning to The Ops Team
Once an ADP has been created and both parties are a happy with it, it’s time to hand over the account to the account manager. This should be done with a complete knowledge share meeting handing over all the relevant information. The implementation team should also introduce the account manager to the client in an initial call to ensure both parties can ask any questions they may have during the handover.
Ongoing Support & Auditing Process
After the account has been handed over, the implementation team should remain on hand to support with the early stages of the account development. At Croud the implementation team conduct quarterly audits of all our clients: these are cross referenced against the initial targets and objectives but also reviews where we are against current best practice to ensure we doing all we can to improve performance!