If fostering stable and fruitful relationships with your prospects and clients has been a challenge lately, you should revisit your communication quality. The art of communication means effectively and efficiently dedicating time and knowledge to build trust with your clients on their digital marketing efforts.
Communication is key to managing an agency, not just as part of the sales process but also as part of your PPC service offerings. You know you are striking gold when you have achieved harmony between the services provided and the client’s goals. It means you can talk the talk and walk the walk.
So, how can you find this balance with your current clients and potential leads?
Easy, but first, let me share a few pointers that can take your agency communication beyond the ordinary.
Set Middle Ground
Something that stuck with me throughout my time handling client and partner relationships is: “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” -Tony Gaskins.
Helping the client understand communication values is not about setting boundaries but creating clear expectations of what they can expect from you and, in return, what you expect from them.
Examples of what I mean are:
- How soon clients need to get back to you for project approval to avoid delays
- Business hour guidelines and responsiveness
- Expectations of ongoing communication
In other words, lucrative partnerships are not one-way streets. You and the client must work as a team on digital marketing efforts.
There’s More Than The Client; It’s Their Business Too
It’s not just the sales manager that has to establish rapport with clients. It should be a priority for the account manager, too, if you are expecting a longer client lifespan.
Using ad agency management software to ensure you have a seamless communication line between your sales and fulfillment team means both parties avoid the client having to repeat themselves. Giving everyone insight into the entire story leaves room for an account manager to note any useful or pending information to acquire before actually talking to the client.
It’s worth noting that as flattering as it is to know all about the client, it’s also impressive to know everything about their business, especially if it will contribute to a wow factor in the digital marketing strategy you will be presenting them.
Don’t Shy Away From Setting Expectations
Sometimes, it’s hard to put your foot down. It can seem like all that matters is impressing the client to ensure you have a smooth onboarding period with them.
Still, you’re doing more harm than good by postponing the most important agenda item, and that’s setting clear expectations. This is critical to avoid any misunderstanding or misconceptions about the contracted services.
“78% of agencies report that client expectations are an issue that needs to be addressed frequently during their partnership.”
Timeframe & Performance
Setting a timeline with milestones and possible results will give you the time to manage the account and follow through with the initial plan of action without being interrupted every other day about unexpected dips in performance. We strongly suggest requiring a minimum of a 90-day commitment to ensure you have enough time for your PPC services to make an impact on their bottom line.
Realistic Goals vs. Target Goals
When your clients understand the path on which you want to take their business and the strategy you intend to use, you provide benchmark data to set realistic goals.
This is where a communication plan comes in handy. You can establish check-in frequencies with the client throughout the first few months, which will feed your growing relationship and give them a sense of security in the investment they are making.
SLA (Service Level Agreement)
In no way should a contract pressure a client into accepting what they can’t understand (another reason why communication is of the essence when presenting a contract). Your SLA agreement should reflect precisely what you have been telling the client since the prospecting phase and include a few other generalities that are common across all digital marketing agencies.
We don’t recommend signing off on KPIs and goals since those can never be set in stone for a myriad of reasons. Instead, make sure you are clear on what they can expect from the service they are paying for and all the associated limitations.
The SLA serves as proof of commitment from the client based on the proposal presented for their business.
At times, clients will not know what’s best for their business and transmit impulsive remarks based on a random whim about the initial marketing plan you presented.
You may feel frustrated at the client for overlooking the time and effort invested on their behalf, but you need to put a stop to that kind of thing as quickly and succinctly as possible. If you start letting them dictate the strategy, it will hinder your ability to provide efficient PPC management.
The client sought out or agreed to your services from the get-go. You should reiterate that you are the expert and are genuinely vested in growing their business online, and have the experience to do it.
The best way to accomplish this is to proactively educate your clients. Waiting until the last minute to get your message across to the client always backfires.
95% percent of customers expect businesses to communicate proactively, not reactively. (Loyalty360)
Handling PPC Objections
When a prospect or client questions management fees, competitors, performance, and more, the salesperson or account manager communicates and clarifies those concerns to move forward with closing a deal or implementing the marketing strategy.
Objections can help build and strengthen relationships because they allow you to clarify through communication. The best way to handle objections is to be honest and concise throughout the client experience and ongoing life cycle.
You will face objections every day, and it is in your best interest to master handling them, even if they cannot be overcome in the end.
Even seeking out support, like Academy, can help train you on how to handle objections and sharpen your communication skills.
Ask your teams to compile common objections and set sessions to find solutions to handle them. Standardized responses will better prepare you for expectation setting in PPC.
Transparency and Effectiveness
Keeping your clients informed, regardless of account trends, is crucial to maintaining their trust. When trust is lost, so is all hope for them to feel they can continue investing and believing in your PPC services.
So, when a client asks you how their marketing dollars have been spent and what they got in return, be honest! Sugarcoating and beating around the bush will result in irreparable outcomes and sever any chance to regain their trust in the future.
Your client will understand that you must schedule things far enough in advance to ensure you are fully prepared to give them the quality services they deserve. Like any other business out there, we are always busy with meaningful work for which we’d hate to waste each other’s time.
That being said, set recurring meetings and confirm each other’s attendance.
Here are some topics to set up meetings and check-ins for:
- Account performance and reporting overview
- Bi-weekly check-ins
- New strategy proposals/account growth opportunities
If either party has an inconvenience for which they cannot attend, letting them know in advance is the best way to respect each other’s time.
Now that is great communication, right there.
Provide An Agenda, Then Sum It Up and Send Via Email
Showing and communicating an agenda is every client’s dream. It allows them to prepare for the meeting and includes any topics they wish to discuss as well.
After your calls, make sure you send a recap email denoting points of discussion and follow-up items. This will ensure that your next call will have productive conversations and not just happen for the sake of completing a communication task. Honestly, I’d rather cancel the session and wait for the next one if there is nothing to talk about worth the client’s or my time.
Build A Strong Bridge
An open and ongoing connection with clients contributes to the reputation and success of your agency. However, open lines of communication will only be there if you devote time to maintain them.
We’d love to help you map out how a PPC management platform like Compass can transform your agency operations.
The right ad agency management software can give you the time to invest in better communications and more sales so your agency can grow and scale.