Client Onboarding - A Must Have Checklist For Agencies

Client Onboarding - A Must Have Checklist For Agencies

Mar 30, 2021 7 min read

So you've just won a new client (yay!) — now what?

As an agency, signing on to a new client is an absolute delight. Even if it's a daily occurrence, the excitement never wanes!

You can give new clients a great first impression of your agency, build stronger client relationships from the get-go, and provide winning client experience that makes them want to return again and again.

What Is Client Onboarding?

Client onboarding is the process of embracing a new client to your business. If you don't have a detailed strategy for doing so, you're likely to overlook important details and make mistakes that may cost you both time and money.

Onboarding is an opportunity to build a relationship, address concerns, get the client up to speed and start the project on the right foot. By the end of your onboarding process, you want the client to feel confident that they will achieve the desired outcome.

With our client onboarding checklist, you can create tailored onboarding experiences that give you a solid foundation to work from and help new clients feel confident that your agency was the right choice.

Benefits Of Having An Onboarding Checklist

Better Client Relationship

Capture details about your client's workflows and preferences so you can tailor how you work together.

Never Miss A Step

From initial intro calls with relevant team members to regular monthly check-ins, having a checklist for onboarding a new client means that you're always one step ahead and can anticipate their needs.

Improve Your Efficiency

Quickly see where each client is in the onboarding process and what's left to be done — so you can keep growing your business.

Less Churn

Clients are at three times more risk of leaving in the first 90 days. If you build a friendly relationship and demonstrate your value early on, they're more likely to stick.

Ensures Compliance

This varies differently for different industries, but when you have a citable onboarding process, you can ensure that the legal part of signing a new client is taken care of.

More Clients

By delighting your clients early on, you have a much better chance at a good relationship, upsells, and referrals down the track. 84% of B2B decision-makers begin their buying process with a referral.

When Should Client Onboarding Process Start?

The client onboarding process should start the moment after you've received a signed contract. There's a lot of work to be done, so you'll want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

Marketing Client Onboarding Checklist for Agencies

1. The Proposal, Contract And Payment

A verbal "yes" is thrilling in its own right? Sadly, it means nothing until you have a signed contract along with the payment.

Providing the client with a copy of the contract should always be the first step in the onboarding process. If they're pleased about working with you, it won't take long for them to review the contract and return a signed copy.

After this point, the only thing left to do - wait for the client to make payment! Be clear with the client about how you'd like to receive compensation, such as bank wire, check, credit card, or other payment gateways.

It is awkward to request for payment upfront, but it's a good practice to at least request an advance deposit. Neglecting to ask for payment puts you at a risk of non-payment, which can bog down your agency's growth.

2. Adding Client To Your Agency CRM

Use spreadsheets or a dedicated CRM tool for your agency to add the new client to your agency's database. Ensure that your new client and all the details you acquired from the sales process have been updated in your CRM.
Are you not currently using a CRM? Start using today.

A good CRM tool should make you able to
• Get a quick view of all the previous communications with the client and never lose out on the context of the conversation
• Add tags to a client based on their current stage in the funnel and drive insightful analysis
• Share notes about a client with your team, like the best time to reach out to contact or takeaways from previous conversations

Statusbrew's CRM

CRM-statusbrew

3. Onboarding Questionaire

This step is the first chance to reconnect with the client after the sales process is over, try to make an excellent first impression.

Send a comprehensive yet briefed welcome email that gives the client the information on the next step.

To gain a better understanding of the client and their requirements, send the client an onboarding questionnaire.

Few tips to make the most of this step:

  • Don't include too many questions (15 to 20 at the most)
  • Carefully consider how you distribute the questionnaire, such as via a Google Sheet or software application
  • Politely share a deadline (something like: we'd love to receive the questionnaire back within ten business days)
  • Offer to help with any questions or concerns
  • A well-thought-out questionnaire will result in helpful information both for the current onboarding process and future use

Here are some questions you can include in the client onboarding questionnaire:

  • What is your business information? (address, phone number, contact information, etc.)
  • Mention our Single point of contact (SPOC)?
  • What would make our agency a successful project for your business? (use objective metrics if possible, ex. 50 more leads)
  • Have you worked with a similar agency in the past? (If yes, share your pain points)

Bonus: Ask the client for some referrals at the bottom of the questionnaire (If any). Maybe your new client has a friend or colleague who could use your services too.

4. Have A Kick-off Meeting

Conduct an internal kick-off meeting and assign the client to the appropriate team member.

Your internal kick-off is a time to assign the client to a team, brief them on the work scope, ask and answer critical questions, and distribute all applicable information.

What if you cant meet your team in person? Checkout how to work with remote teams.

If you run a virtual business and you don't have the ability to meet your client in person. Get your client to find a time that works through your calendar software to book a video (or audio) conference.

Make sure your video conferencing software works flawlessly. It's not a great impression if you have technical issues when you're having your first meeting (no one wants that). We've found Zoom to be one of the best option available, but it may vary depending on your or your client's location.

These are certain things you should go over in the client kick-off meeting:

  • Introductions between the client and the team
  • Business goals for the client
  • Cover major deliverables and responsibilities, including a timeline of action
  • What are the next steps?

5. Creating Client Accounts for Tools Your Agency Uses

Its very likely that your agency is already using a variety of tools to manage existing clients. You should make sure that your Account Manager provides your new client with access to the tools you will be using in the process to manage their account.

Make sure you give a proper explanation of what the tools are and how you will be using them. You may also chose to share a taining documentation (if needed).

If your client is unfamiliar with or has issues with the software you are using, you may want to go that extra mile and schedule a meeting to guide them on the tool(s).

For instance,
We at Statusbrew use Slack for quick client communications. Zendesk as a customer service platform for managing support, sales, and customer engagement and internally Asana or Google Drive for project management.

6. You're Welcome

The welcome package is an opportunity to educate the client and reinforce their purchase decision. Make them feel home – at ease. A little effort goes a long way! After your kickoff meeting is put into action, make sure the client gets some welcome package. A welcome package can be a mix of both digital and physical gifts.

Your package of digital gifts can include:

Cheatsheet
This can be a document that your client can print and take reference for any information they need on the business. may include regular business hours, location(s), contact information, emergency contact number, and FAQs.

Homework
Are there any resources that your client has to read in order to get the most out of your product? These resources could be a series of articles that can help them understand what's going on.

For instance, Statusbrew has a help center where our clients can get all the information about our products and best practices.

Achievements
Have you delivered great results for similar brands in the past? Share their stories with your new client as case studies.

Product Videos
Creating a product video is a good way to get your clients excited about working with you (see example below).

Your package of physical gifts may include

  • Hand written welcome letter to your client

  • Swag package(branded merchandise). You can send out bracelets, notepads, hoodies or shirts to your clients with your brand on it. Not only will they love it, but it's a fantastic branding opportunity even for your business.

The way you planned at the start is not necessarily the plan you have to stick with. As the relationship with the client progresses, things might need some changes based on the results they see or if your client wants a change in direction.

Figure out what is and isn’t working for your client and tweak your plan as per need. Ask for feedback throughout the onboarding process.

If something is not going the way your client wants it to, you may risk churn. Address problems before they become too big.

Be mindful about your communication frequency but also be vigilant. Above mentioned points are key to minimizing client churn and building your agency’s client base — and with a client onboarding checklist, you can set yourself and your client up for success.

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Anjali Kandey

Anjali is a marketing manager at Statusbrew. She likes to write content that addresses a solution. She can be found in her garden when not on her computer.