040: All Aboard! Amazing Client Onboarding with Jenna Meldrum (Office Hours)
Two of the key responsibilities of account management are expectation management and client onboarding. In this episode, we learn from Jenna Meldrum, account manager extraordinaire at Optidge, how a successful onboarding process sets the tone for the rest of your client relationship. We also learn how to manage delicate conversations about scope and upsells and how to manage the people on both sides of the table: your team and the client.
An Optidge “Office Hours” Episode
Our Office Hours episodes are your go-to for details, how-to’s, and advice on specific marketing topics. Join our fellow Optidge team members, and sometimes even 1:1 teachings from Danny himself, in these shorter, marketing-focused episodes every few weeks. Get ready to get marketing!
Key Points + Topics
- [1:13] Jenna Meldrum is an Account Manager for Optidge. She has a bachelor’s degree in employment relations. It’s really just fancy HR. She had been on the fast track to employment law after jumping around to different majors upon first starting college. Once she got her degree, and before she could transition to law school, she was offered a job in a company’s HR department. After a short while working there, the manager of the Marketing department liked her work and asked her to join his team. She did, and that’s where she learned how much she loved marketing. She has since blended her love for marketing with her love for helping people to become an account manager.
- [4:04] What is client onboarding? It’s the first impression the agency will get of a client and the first impression a client will get of the agency. Onboarding should be done for clients of any size and presumed length. In every situation, we need to make sure everyone has what they need for success and that expectations are set for the beginning. The first impression is vital as it sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. It can help start a long-term customer relationship where the client values and trusts you, which can also lead to upsell opportunities.
- [6:03] When it comes to setting expectations, of course, Jenna has had instances where clients have pushed back on the original scope. Everyone wants to get exactly what they need. Sometimes, even after onboarding, you’ll need to reset expectations. If the agency is doing its job very well, the client will naturally have questions about what is or isn’t in scope. She has had some clients that aggressively push back on their expectations. In those cases, you just need to approach with a level head, have a discussion, and see what changes need to be made (expectations, services being performed, breadth of a given service, etc.). Being flexible is very important because things and relationships do change.
- [8:25] When you’re dealing with people, there will always be feelings. Jenna notes you must come to expectation-setting conversations with team members very gently, especially when it’s concerning something someone’s created. At Optidge, we do everything with our whole heart and soul. The team member needs to know it isn’t a focus on their work; it’s just an ongoing change in the account. It’s important to come to these conversations with solutions already in mind. If there are problems with an account, don’t communicate that with the team too far in advance. Once you’ve met with the client and brainstormed some solutions, then bring in the team.
- [10:03] What’s in scope? Most clients are looking at exactly what the scope is on a regular basis. Most of the time, when they ask the account manager, the question is innocent, and they’re genuinely curious. Sometimes, they want a new add-on service, and then you get on a call. There is the rare occasion when a client pushes back on something they believe SHOULD be in scope. Those are a bit more difficult to handle, but ultimately, this just means you need to have a conversation. It’s always a good time to take a step back and see what the client is saying they’re needing that we’re not providing. Then, if we CAN provide it, we should work on an upsell or change order.
- [13:25] There has been the rare occasion when discussing an upsell opportunity we have brought to the client, they’ll get upset. They don’t want to spend more money. When this happens, we just steer the conversation back to the point: we want to support the client. We saw this opportunity for greater results and wanted to present it to them. Account managers aren’t salespeople. Jenna will often invite experts in to upsell conversations. It’s also important to be honest and transparent. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so, and let them know you’ll take it back to the team and get a full report on the topic.
- [15:15] An account manager must know the processes they’re managing inside and out. Just having a surface-level understanding of the day-to-day isn’t enough. You don’t always need to know the “why” behind the strategy, but you need to know the strategy. This is where knowing your client comes in handy. If you know your client and their goals, you’ll understand the strategy. This makes answering questions and setting expectations about timelines and outcomes much easier. It builds trust with the client when they see you know what’s going on.
- [17:05] Slack, WhatsApp, and email – Oh my! Different clients will prefer different communication styles and mediums. The great thing about technology is that you can have all the different modes of communication on one screen at once. If you have a client that only communicates via WhatsApp – you’re downloading WhatsApp. Jenna does set some boundaries. She doesn’t give out her personal cell phone number, and she does have “off” hours when she’s not available. You also need to manage expectations about communications. A client needs to know how and where to communicate when there’s an urgent issue. You also need to let clients know that, even if a platform implies immediate responses, like Slack, for business communications, they should expect a response in 1 business day (or the time of your choice).
- [22:27] There are some clients that just do not respond. It can feel so frustrating. But Jenna knows there are some things you can do to create urgency with clients. Of course, we want clients to review our reports, but we send them in advance of a review meeting in which we walk through them together. There are certain things you won’t hear back on, and that’s fine because you know you have another touchpoint in the near future. However, if there is something urgent a client is being unresponsive to, Jenna is going to spam your inbox. Spam everything. Send a carrier pigeon. Fly there. At the end of the day, it just needs to be done.
- [28:38] Quick tips on client communication for Account Managers
- Read the room. If you have a client you can’t joke around with, then don’t. If they’re a more serious person and don’t turn on the cameras in meetings, mirror that. Whatever they do, you do. That said, don’t dull your sparkle. There will be clients you can be bubbly and bright with.
- When it comes to communication – there’s no such thing as too much. Stay on top of it. Get ahead of it. If you know something is going to or even MIGHT happen, go ahead and communicate. Overcommunication is never discouraged or unappreciated.
Guest + Episode Links
- Jenna Meldrum
Danny Gavin 00:05
Hello everyone, I’m Danny Gavin, founder of Optige, marketing Professor and the host of the Digital Marketing Mentor. Today we have a very special Office Hours episode with the amazing Jenna Meldrum, who’s an account manager at Optige. Jenna’s in charge of client management, making sure that all projects are on track while keeping clients in the loop at all stages. Patient and empathetic, she’s the link between the strategists and client. Jenna tackles all her projects with zest and dedication and holds a BBA in employment relations, which I’m going to ask you in a second about, but today we are talking about successful client onboarding. How are you?
Jenna Meldrum 01:37
I’m doing well. I’m excited to be here, Danny. I’ve been waiting to get on this podcast, just itching to get on here and talk about some client things.
Danny Gavin 01:44
We had a couple of stumbling blocks in the way, but I’m so glad that you’re here today and we’re really looking forward to this. So let’s jump right in. Let’s talk about where you went to school and your degree. I feel like employment relations is such a niche degree. Let’s talk about it.
Jenna Meldrum 01:59
Well, it’s really just HR, but fancy, I guess I was on. I guess the fast track to do employment law is what my passion is. My passion is people, and I did start with a bit of HR in my professional life after university. But starting in I was doing everything under the sun. I was switching my major constantly because I didn’t really know what I wanted. I didn’t really have a focus.
So I started with archaeology because I just had such a passion for it and an interest in history, and then it turned into geography, because I found another passion while following a passion in archaeology that I enjoy, you know, maps and things. So then that turned into something else and then I eventually ended up taking some time off. Fortunately it wasn’t, I guess fortunately, or unfortunately, it really wasn’t my choice to take the time off. I was just gifted it, which was really, really special, and it gave me some time to think about exactly what I wanted to do and what can I actually make a living off of too. And you know it’s important to have hobbies and passions, but it’s also important to, you know, think critically about. You know, what will I enjoy doing for the rest of my life, and that’s helping people and taking care of people, doing what I can for people because that really is what definitely gets me up in the morning. Do you know how can I make an impact?
So I went into employment relations and was going to get into law eventually, but then I ended up getting an opportunity with a company just doing HR with them and I decided you know what, I’m going to try it, I’m going to see where this is going to take me. And I ended up working there for a little while and the I guess the director of marketing. We were working together on an awareness campaign for the company and he really liked what I was doing and he offered me a position on his team, which ended up being fantastic, and I realized how much I love marketing and how I was able to connect that with people was looking at you know how can I take care of clients right and clients and focusing on exactly what they need and making an impact there. So I’ve married the two together in a very special way, which is really a lot to ask of one major, for sure.
Danny Gavin 04:07
I don’t think I told you the story, but when I was studying for my MBA, I took one of these employment type of tests to see like what I would be good at, and the two areas that I fell into was HR and marketing. So it makes sense that we drive so well. But yeah, I mean, and to me like the reason why it made so much sense for both of those, because, yes, I also like people. So obviously I decided to go the marketing route. But, as you know, like in day to day, especially when you’re working in an agency, you’re dealing with people all the time. So if you enjoy dealing with people, that’s great. If you don’t, it might be a little bit hard. Let’s jump right into the main topic of today, which is about client onboarding. We’re going to talk about how to have a seamless new client onboarding, from a discovery call to running your first campaign with a new client. Let’s introduce, like, this concept of client onboarding. What is it? Why is it so important?
Jenna Meldrum 04:57
Yeah well, onboarding really is. You know, that’s the first impression that you’re getting with an agency, and also with the client too. You’re really setting the stage for how is this relationship going to work long term and it can be from anything like long term, meaning if you’re only here for an audit or if you’re here for the foreseeable future. We want to make sure that you have everything you need and we have everything we need and we’re making sure that expectations are set from the very beginning. And that first impression is so key because if you don’t start off on the right foot, if things are shaky, if things aren’t organized and that’s going to set the tone for the rest of the relationship. So having a successful onboarding is probably one of the key things to a successful ongoing relationship with the client.
Danny Gavin 05:39
And you kind of make me think, like you mentioned, like if there’s just an audit but you know, sometimes we think that it’s just a small project and onboarding isn’t necessarily required. But if you think about it, a point which you just said is like it’s that first touch point. In a way it’s also like a sales opportunity, right, but it’s like to really show who you are. So even if it’s, let’s say, a smaller project, but I think onboarding is a really good idea.
Jenna Meldrum 06:01
Oh, definitely, yeah, like you said, even if it is just an audit, like you are setting the stage for how that relationship is going to go, regardless of how long it’s going to be right, Because, yeah, it is an upsell opportunity, like every time you’re meeting with a client is really setting the stage for whatever future could be with them. If they have a bad experience from the very beginning, they’re not going to think of you when they need something else right. But if they have a good experience and they trust you and they feel comfortable with you and the agency and being client focused and client centered, you know I’m the first line of defense and if I’m off, then that’s really going to show what the client relationship and how well they trust us.
Danny Gavin 06:39
So we know a really big part of a successful client agency relationship is where the expectations are set in a way that both the client and the team understand what to expect. So do you have any examples of clients that pushed back on your original attempt of setting expectations?
Jenna Meldrum 06:58
Oh, yes, I mean, of course, everyone wants to have exactly what they want and what they need and especially, you know, even after onboarding, there are times where you need to reset expectations. So I’ve got many examples of that, but just kind of overall. You know, a lot of times people kind of forget what expectations are, especially if they feel very comfortable in the relationship. If we’re doing our job really well, you’re going to have those questions of oh, what is actually in scope and what is out of scope and what are the expectations? You’re going to have those questions if you’re doing a really good job. So don’t be afraid of those questions.
For sure, definitely I’ve had some clients that have really pushed back on what they are expecting and in those cases you just have to handle it with a very level head and come to it with innocence and just be like you know what?
I see that you don’t understand what the expectations are. So let’s talk about that and let’s see maybe we do need to change what those expectations are, because when a client comes to you and is saying, hey, something doesn’t feel right, that means that either something was wrong to begin with or something just needs to change. So sitting down with the client, talking through their concerns. Whatever issues have arisen since the expectations were set originally, it’s important to see how things have changed and see how you can adjust things, and being flexible on that too is very important Because, as we said, things do change right and the relationships do change, and you have to be flexible with that and be able to adjust to a certain point.
Of course we need to protect our internal team. You know our time is precious too, and so is the client, so we need to do something that’s going to work for both sides. And coming to some kind of problem solving conversation with a client is sometimes uncomfortable for people if you’re not focused on making something work, so sometimes that can be a little daunting. But just getting on a call with someone and being able to talk about their concerns does really go a long way with the client in building that trust and that ongoing relationship with them.
Danny Gavin 08:54
So that’s like setting expectations with the client. After you meet with a client, how do you go about setting expectations with the team, both like what they should expect, but especially, I guess, in a scenario where you might be a more of a difficult client, how do you set that expectations with your team?
Jenna Meldrum 09:10
When you do it with any people, there’s always going to be feelings, and you know you have to come to that very gently, especially if it has to do with you know the work that someone’s doing or something that someone might have said. Of course, people put their whole heart and soul into what they do and especially here at Optage, we do everything with our heart and soul and we do a lot of really fantastic work. But there’s a lot of care that needs to go into those kinds of conversations with the team, because you need to make sure that the team is continued to be inspired by the work that they’re doing, that this expectation reset does not reflect directly on them. It’s a reflection on what has been going on. So it’s not a personal thing, it’s just all right, this is the situation, this is what’s going on and these are the steps on what we need to do.
So it’s important, as the account manager or the account coordinator, if you’re leading the team, to come with solutions already in mind. Don’t come in a panic, don’t communicate too far in advance, like it’s happening. I think you should let everything be dealt with, or at least started and start to figure out, having those initial conversations understand what’s going on with the client before you talk to the team and then let the team know, like this is what’s going on. I’ve already spoken to the client. This is what they’re feeling. These are some solutions that I have. What do you guys think? And then get their buy-in on the changes and making sure that their expectations are set with the new expectations, and it’s a team effort of figuring out what will work.
Danny Gavin 10:38
How do you approach a situation with a client who needs to be reminded of the scope of a project? Do you still feel nervous? When you first started, was it nervous? But now you have it under wraps, so we’d love to dive into that a little bit deeper.
Jenna Meldrum 10:50
So I guess, when it comes to scope again, if you’re doing the job really well, like, clients aren’t looking at exactly what the scope is. So you get that question often like, oh, is this in scope or is it not? And most of the time it’s just innocent. You know, they just want to know exactly what’s going on. But then that also gives the opportunity for a bit of an upsell. Maybe, like, they identify there’s something that they need that maybe we’re not currently providing, that might be new. So you definitely want to get on a call and talk through exactly what that looks like. But then just sharing what the current scope is usually fixes that situation and the client’s usually happy after that, and then we might be doing some more work with them, which is always exciting. The more you can support a client, the better you can support a client, so that’s always really great.
But then there’s always the rare occasion where a client pushes back, expecting that you know this should be in scope, like, maybe if it’s a small detail in the service line possibly that they want to have happen as well, like adding an additional page on a website design, I think that that should be included too, just because it makes sense to them. Those are a little more difficult to handle and, of course, when I first started, that was like my worst fear is like, oh no, they’re going to want something that we’re like they’re not already paying for and that we are not providing. So what do we do? And it’s not, it’s not a scary thing, it’s just just means again that there needs to be a conversation about what is in scope, what we’re doing and what we can do to support them to.
So not scary, but just a little nerve wracking sometimes when you do hear from a client that says, hey, I need something and you’re not giving it to me. But it’s always good to take a step back and say you know what this is. Just them telling me that they need something else and we can. If we can provide it, let’s provide it. If we need to change something, let’s change something. Let’s make that client happy. It’s a lot of just open communication to make sure that the client understands what we can do and just making sure that they feel heard and supported in what they need.
Danny Gavin 12:36
So I think along those lines where the client comes with something, that’s one situation, but sometimes you know the team or you know the group that’s working on the project, realizes oh, we have this opportunity to upsell the client right, introduce a new service or introduce something new. So how do you handle upsell conversations?
Jenna Meldrum 12:54
Well, a lot of the time it does come from people asking like what is in scope? And then we help them Additionally, we help them, support Helps them a little more. So those are, those are the fun ones. That’s easy and that really helps build that, that knowledge in, like that Rolodex of things that you can say to help upsell in a situation, especially if you’re not a salesperson like myself.
But, in those situations where it’s kind of on a call, clients are asking about things and they want to add something on, or there’s an opportunity that the teams brought, like he said, if the teams brought something, of course we want to make sure that we have all of our ducks in a row. We want to make sure that we’re showing exactly how this can benefit them and why it can benefit them and how it can go in partnership with what we’re already doing. And I think that’s a very key thing is to show them this is going to improve what we’re doing, to help them see how it can improve their company. Overall and Coming from a standpoint of you know we’re here to support you. We want what’s best for your company. I think is the best way to start an upsell conversation, especially one that isn’t started by the client.
Danny Gavin 14:01
Have you ever had a client push back and be like hey, like why are you upselling me what you know? I pay a lot of money to you. Now you know why you want more? Have you ever had a negative reaction?
Jenna Meldrum 14:11
sometimes. Sometimes that does happen and sometimes you’ll. You’ll see clients get very upset because they don’t want to spend any more money, especially if they have a large budget and they’re already spending a lot, of course, but in those situations it really does come back to. We just want to support you. We see this as an opportunity. We wanted to give this information to you so that you can make an informed decision for your business.
Danny Gavin 14:34
You’ve got different extremes but kind of the same feeling. So like if someone’s paying a thousand dollars a month and now you’re offering them hey, we’ve got this really cool thing, we know it’s gonna help you and hey, it’s gonna be another thousand, that’s a big jump right. So that in a way that’s like a scary conversation. But on the other hand, if someone’s paying like fifteen thousand dollars a month and then you know they’re adding something which is out of scope and it’s gonna be five hundred dollars, that’s also a little scary. It’s like I’m already spending fifteen, why do I need to spend another five hundred?
Jenna Meldrum 15:02
So yeah, that’s a massive percent increase In budget, which is harder to sell, definitely so. That’s why you need to come with all of your ducks in a row, like I said. You have to come with your reports, your analytics, like your Expected projections, right, and just come confident in what the new strategy is going to be and, of course, like it’s not as a sale. I’m not a salesperson, so I usually will invite other people who are, you know, experts. Right, you don’t have to do it alone and you also don’t have to have all the answers right away. It’s okay to say you know what. I’m not entirely sure what that would look like. Why don’t I take that back to the team and we’ll come back to you with a full report with Exactly what that will look like, which clients are usually very happy to you know? Wait to get you know more information than to have you know something half done.
Danny Gavin 15:48
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Jenna Meldrum 16:51
You know, guide the project, guide the relationship with the client as an account manager, you need to know the process inside and out. I would say that just having a surface level of what the team does day to day would not be enough. You don’t necessarily need to know the ins and outs and the lies of the strategy, but you do need to know all the parts and components that go together to make the strategy, because we have fantastic strategists that know exactly the lies in the house and my responsibility is to make sure that that’s all communicated properly, but not necessarily that I need to know the lies behind it. But in understanding your client, I think that’s probably the most important thing outside of knowing processes. If you know your client and their goals, you’ll understand the strategy. You won’t need to worry about that.
But understanding the process itself is the most important thing, because then when you’re talking with clients about what they need to expect for timelines or for you know expectations on projections, for you know their results. That’s important to understand you. So understanding our process as well Will help in the client understanding and trusting that you know what’s going on and that, I think, is the key thing to building that relationship with clients, especially during the onboarding phase, of Communicating what’s going to happen and then seeing that result actually happen. Not so much the result with you know the campaigns. You can’t really promise anything there. You can just say what you know, we’ve seen before and what we expect to happen. But expecting certain things in the process of building the campaigns and launching the campaigns is Something that the team and the account manager needs to be able to communicate to the client so they feel safe.
Danny Gavin 18:28
So you’ve mentioned communication quite a bit.
Jenna Meldrum 18:31
Danny Gavin 18:33
So we’re going to dive a little bit deeper, get a little more specific. So different clients prefer different communication mediums, frequencies and presentations. How do you handle all the different preferences, especially if you’re managing five to 10, maybe more projects?
Jenna Meldrum 18:48
Well, the great thing about it with technology is that you can have all different modes of communication on one screen at one time. It goes back to knowing your clients. So if your client is going to respond to you better on whatsapp, you’re downloading whatsapp. If they’re not going to respond to you by email, then there’s no point in emailing them anything because you’re not going to hear back from them. So what’s app is where to go.
There are certain boundaries that I have when it comes to certain communication types and platforms. I usually don’t give out my personal phone number one because I don’t have it connected to my hip at all times and that really is the worst way to contact me, but also because I have off hours and a lot of these clients that we work with this is their personal business. Our point of contact isn’t always someone from the marketing department, it’s the owner of a company. So I do have those kind of boundaries a little bit when it comes to that, because we do have business hours and that kind of changes a little. But when it comes to inside of business hours, just managing where clients are, if they’re in Slack, making sure that you’re connecting with them and also communicating what the expectations are for.
Communicating us is a really good thing, so it’s important to let clients know on onboarding how frequently you’re checking your messages, when to expect responses, what to do when something’s urgent versus something that is just a question, especially when something is urgent and we’ve got lots of urgent things happening we want to make sure that we’re triaging appropriately, so sometimes we need the client to help us out a little bit there, to just communicating what is urgent to them.
So including urgency in your messaging is also very important, regardless of what platform you’re communicating on. But balancing where you’re finding different communication from clients, just making sure that you’re regularly checking in all of those spaces and it becomes second nature once you start looking in a bunch of different places. I’ve got a couple emails for a bunch of different clients and different platforms, and then we have Slack and we’ve got WhatsApp and you’ve got who knows what else. But there are definitely a lot of ways to communicate and finding out what works best and is going to move the needle on what’s happening with a client account or a client project is what is most important.
Danny Gavin 21:07
And I think setting those expectations with the communication channel is really important, right? Because sometimes when you open up yourself to WhatsApp or even to Slack, because it’s such an immediate platform, the clients expect immediate responses. So sometimes it’s kind of a hard balance where it’s like, okay, we’ll give you access to Slack, but do note that we may it still take us, you know, one business day to get back to you. What do you think about that? Like, do you think it’s possible to give someone a present that ideally they’re expecting to get an immediate response, but then at the same time, have some expectations where you know things might not be immediate? Like, do you think you’re setting up the relationship for failure or is it actually like something you know? Is it something to consider, something good to do?
Jenna Meldrum 21:50
I think it’s something good to do, but it does depend on the client and it’s not something that I would recommend for every client, especially if it’s a client that sometimes can expect more than what we’re able to provide when it’s a little uncomfortable in those expectations.
If you have to reset expectations with a client multiple times over the same thing, then don’t put them in an immediate response kind of platform. Keep them in email, keep them, keep them at arm’s distance so that you have time to work on the projects that they’re asking you to work on. I think that. Otherwise, I think it’s great to have clients in a very quick medium like that, especially Slack. I think that it’s fine. But it’s all about the expectation setting and the type of client, because, again, what’s most important is making sure that you can get those quick responses and move the needle on projects Right, because we don’t want to be held up. The client doesn’t want to be held up. If you have a client that is really good with communication and understanding that things do take time and they’re reasonable with it, then definitely add them into Slack. But if they are a little more hands-on and need a little more expectation resets, I would recommend leaving them in email.
Danny Gavin 23:03
Yeah, and we’ve gone through some clients where we’ve given them Slack access. We’ve set expectations and it hasn’t really worked out and we’d actually had to remove that kind of discomfort. But I think what’s cool is at least we tried it. We tried it, we saw if it would work, tried it a second time, but then it’s okay. It’s okay to change the communication method and I think that actually helped the relationship because then we basically provided the right medium for the type of individual yeah, and I think it’s always worth a try, even if you do have one of those clients that do need expectations reset.
Jenna Meldrum 23:37
This might be the thing that does it. So it’s worth trying and making sure that the client feels heard, and maybe what they need is to be in one of those quick medium platforms where they can message quickly and they know that you’re going to respond.
Danny Gavin 23:50
So, Jenna, how do you deal with those clients where you send them updates, you send them reports and they just don’t get back to you and you have to remind them a second time, a third time. It seems so frustrating. How do you deal with that?
Jenna Meldrum 24:01
There’s a lot of things that you can do to create some urgency with clients, especially if there’s something like reports, of course we want them to review them, but usually we’ll send them in advance of the meeting and we go over them in the call and we talk about any questions that they have and explain the whole thing to them, and we send them videos with the reports as well. So that really helps answer a lot of questions. So there are sometimes when you aren’t going to hear from a client on something, and that’s okay because you will have a touch point with them later. So those are usually fine. But when it comes to something that’s like hey, we need to verify your account and we only have a couple days to do it well, a month or so to do it and they’re not returning any of your messages, your phone calls or anything like that it does get a little frustrating because you know that the campaigns are going to be paused and the client wants you to make sure that you can continue to run ads. And it comes down to us, right, it’s our responsibility to make sure that it’s done. So that means for me that I will be messaging you. I will be spamming your inbox until we get what we need, and I’m comfortable with that.
Some people aren’t. Some people like to give a lot of space. I like to give space where space is required, but less space when it’s required. So things like that are urgent, you spam everything. Send a carrier, pigeon, fly there. Do what you need to do to get what you need, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many times you message, it Just needs to be done.
Danny Gavin 25:29
Yeah, and really the client does appreciate it Because you know the opposite, where like there was something really big and you didn’t even say anything like that’s so much worse, right.
Jenna Meldrum 25:40
Oh, definitely, yeah, I never like that’ the worst fear, like my career worst fear, is that there was something that we should have said and we didn’t. But I never want to hear that from a client that you know this was happening and you didn’t do anything about it. So I’m that’s why I love to message on all different platforms, because I’m like nope we’re gonna we’re gonna get you somewhere.
Danny Gavin 26:00
Yeah, and you know it reminds me of kind of like how I in a way motivate my colleagues, or you know you kind of talk about is you always want to be in the position where you’ve done everything that you can, that You’re chasing after the client, instead of the opposite way around? If the client is chasing you, that’s the worst situation. We’d rather be doing more than we have doing, overwhelming the client. I’d rather do that than the opposite, where we’re doing too little on them and they have to chase us.
Jenna Meldrum 26:25
Exactly and I 100% agree with that, and that just goes back to the client that we had in slack that we were trying to make that work. We did everything that we could and at the end of the day, that’s what we can say is that we tried everything to make that relationship work and it didn’t work in slack, so we tried something else, but we feel good about the amount of work that we did.
Danny Gavin 26:44
So there are certain accounts that likely don’t warrant regular communication, simply based on the level of the financial investment. So how do you ensure you’re keeping in touch at a regular enough cadence with those types of clients Without spending too much time as to be unprofitable?
Jenna Meldrum 26:59
Well, we have some automations that are set up. We like to do as much as we can inside of the budget and we want to make sure that every client feels like they are our only client, regardless of your ad spend, because if we’re taking you on, we care about you. So it’s important to find ways around spending lots of time on these types of updates. So the more automated that you can make them is fantastic, and the more that you can have, you know. Additional support from the team is also great, because part of my job as a client account manager is to project manage and With the team, sometimes there is follow-up. That’s needed because everyone’s busy, everyone has things going on and sometimes you do need to ask someone for something if they don’t provide it to you right away. But if the team is providing regular updates on what’s going on, then that makes my job with communication much easier, spends less time following up, which, of course, then saves more time for anything else that needs to be done for the client, which is really great. So setting up automations like that to get updates from the team so that you’re not always going and trying to pull this all Manually, saves a lot of time, especially for those clients that have a lower budget that would be automatically what I would do and that there are some other clients that you know have a lower spend but are more Demain. I were more needy, like they need more from you, and in those types of situations there’s a lot of uncomfortability with the amount of time that we’re spending and with other team members. Of course, you have that feeling of there, this is how much they’re paying us and this is how much my team can do and that it’s just not Balancing out. So, as an account manager, how do you manage that Right? Like, how do you make sure that the team still feels inspired to do what they’re doing? And it takes a lot of encouragement and takes a lot of telling the team how great they’re doing and just keeping the Positivity very high around the account so that the team continues to give you those updates and puts the time into that, because every account is important and and every person is important to get an update to.
So we have our regular cadence. Like, like you said, some clients don’t need a lot of Feedback or information or updates. They just want to know what’s going on. So it’s usually a high level. This is what’s going on. These are the things that we need from you. Is there anything that you need from us?
And those clients usually don’t have, you know, a Semi-regular meeting with us. It’s usually like monthly or every other month or sometimes even quarterly, just depending on what the client needs and what we feel and strategist feels is important to communicate with the client and if things change, then you know we do. We can upsell you, no problem, but I’d love to support you more because, like we said, the more we can support you, the better we can support you. But making sure that those clients that aren’t Regularly meeting with you, they need to be checked in on and they need to make sure that, or you need to make sure sorry that they know what’s going on in their account because, regardless of their ad spend, they’re still spending money and they need to know where it’s going and what it’s doing.
Danny Gavin 29:54
So, Jenna, do you have any other quick tips for effective client communication?
Jenna Meldrum 29:59
I would say two things. One read the room right. Sometimes you can’t always be your Bubbly, sparkly self with every single client, and that’s okay, because there are some clients that you can be your bubbly self with.
But, definitely read the room. If you have some clients that you know you can’t joke around with, and definitely don’t joke around with them. But if they’re more serious, they don’t put their camera on. You know. Follow suit, right, it’s what they’re doing. You mirror, so that would also include emails. You know, if you are more of a positive, bubbly person, you like to add emojis. Maybe tone down the emojis if your client isn’t really an emoji person, but don’t dull your spark either. Make sure that you stay true to yourself too. And then the other thing I would probably say when it comes to client communication Is to stay on top of it and get ahead of it.
I know we touched on this a little bit, but I think it more. It’s repeating. If you know something’s happening or something might happen, you should communicate that with your client, because you don’t want them coming to you being like why are these ads Disapproved, right? Is my campaign not running? Like no, it’s fine, those aren’t on, it’s alright, like it. Communicating that when you know it. And it’s not gonna happen perfectly every time, so don’t beat yourself up over missing something because it’s gonna happen. Because we’re all humans. Not every single bit of this process is Automated. We automate as much as we can, but there’s still the human element, so things will be missed. But Definitely don’t wait on anything. If you hear something, communicate it. If something might be coming down the pipeline, communicate it over. Communication is never discouraged or unappreciated.
Danny Gavin 31:35
So, as we start to wrap up, exciting, but you’re getting married in a couple weeks. I know and would love it if you could just share with us. I know you’re deep in wedding planning, what’s your top three things that you’re looking forward to for that, for the big day.
Jenna Meldrum 31:51
Okay. So of course, number one is getting married. I’ve got the love of my life. You know we’ve known each other since we were in high school and found each other later in life. So we’re just excited and so excited to just get married and spend the rest of our lives together. So that’s the one thing that I’m most important, or most excited about, if nothing else happens, and that’s it. We just sign a piece of paper and then that’s a successful wedding to me. The second thing, I think, is my dad walking me down the aisle. I think every little girl you know feels that that’s just a milestone moment to have my dad and my dad’s with me. So I’m blessed to have my dad on the day and my mom and my whole family and like to be able to be there to support Logan and I on our very special day. So I’m excited for that. And then I’m just excited to relax after, just find a hobby and just settle into married life and you know, this next chapter and looking forward to everything that has to offer.
Danny Gavin 32:49
Well, I’m so excited for you. It’s going to be so special, and just thinking about where you live in Canada, I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful.
Jenna Meldrum 32:57
Yeah, in October, with all the leaves changing, it’s going to be beautiful.
Danny Gavin 33:01
Yeah, that’s something down in Texas we don’t even know about.
Jenna Meldrum 33:04
Oh, the seasons, what are?
Danny Gavin 33:06
seasons it’s hot. So, Jenna, where can listeners learn more about you or follow you If they have any questions?
Jenna Meldrum 33:14
Oh well, you can follow me on. You know any social media platform. Hit me up on LinkedIn, Jenna Meldrum, you know that’s where I’m at. But you can also see me on some other podcasts Dot and Company, if you’ve heard of them, client Account Management, the Happy Clients podcast you can check me out there. I want a couple of those and then otherwise you’ll see me rocking the Client Account Management Life.
Danny Gavin 33:36
Awesome. Well, yeah, we’ll definitely put some links to some of the other podcasts that you’ve been on. Well, Jenna, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your experiences with us today, and thank you, listeners, for tuning into the Digital Marketing Mentor. We’ll talk with you next time.
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