The Art of Transitioning Client Accounts

Anyone who’s worked in the marketing and/or advertising space for more than a couple of years is well aware that our industry is one that is in constant flux. We work in a fast-paced, ever evolving industry, which often translates into new growth opportunities for us and our teams. It also means that sometimes new clients or new client contacts find their way to us, which is always a good thing!

Regardless of internal account team shifts or bringing on new clients, the account history and work has to be redistributed within your team. The thought of these unavoidable account transitions can be a slightly scary thought, but there are some steps you can take to make the transitions as easy as possible for all parties involved.

When onboarding a new client contact or team, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Discovery sessions are key in making sure that all teams are aligned in terms of business goals as well as short and long term objectives:

    • Always remember to ask about key initiatives the client is focused on and ┬áremember to ask about the challenges or struggles they’ve faced previously. With these key points in mind, you and the client are more likely to move forward successfully.

  • Determining success metrics up front means that there will be no surprises down the road:

    • Depending on the number of initiatives you plan on mapping out, determining 2-3 success metrics for each large project or deliverable is a good first step

  • Mapping out the initiatives for the next 1-2 months will help set expectations for both teams:

    • As you fall into a rhythm and determine ongoing planning, these initiatives can always expand. However, in the beginning stages, it’s usually a good idea to use an agile planning approach and iterative cycles as both teams may still be learning how to best work together.

  • Each team will need to be highly communicative upfront as everyone gets to know each other:

    • Keep in mind, it may take some time to determine preferred communication styles: what’s your new client contact’s working style? What’s their personality?

On the flip side, here are a few things to keep in mind when transitioning an existing client relationship to a new account team member:

  • Compile a detailed account overview so the new account manager has everything at their fingertips:

    • Think along the lines of client contact info, client objectives & goals, marketing campaign info, timelines, budgets, etc.

  • Allow the new account manager to get familiar with the account:

    • If possible, they should review previous marketing campaigns, project plans, planning documents and client emails.

  • Introduce the new account team member to the client and explain that there will be a transition period:

    • Make sure the client is aware that you’re having ongoing conversations with your new account team member. Provide specific examples of items you’re reviewing together to help boost confidence that this really will be a seamless transition!

  • Create a transition period where the previous account manager is still involved and able to chime in during conversations regarding current and/or previous initiatives

  • Set up ongoing check-ins once the account is fully transitioned to make sure nothing falls through the cracks

Any type of transition on an account can seem like a daunting task, but if everyone involved takes a few simple steps the process should be pretty painless. Just remember to stay organized and communicate frequently to ensure a smooth transition!



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