There are times when you lose clients not for anything you did or didn’t do, but rather because of their poor processes, this is a lesson we learned about client relationships.
We recently had a case like this where the client (the person signing our cheques each month) wasn’t seeing our reports or work we were doing.
After the dust settled, it came to light that the whole time we were working in a silo.
Communicating with the right people
I was emailing with someone weekly who had a company domain email address. We had monthly video chats and we discussed strategy and tactics. We were seeing growth in terms of traffic, leads, engagement, and rankings — all things we strive for. We doubled their organic traffic in nine months.
All of which didn’t matter in the end because the key stakeholders weren’t seeing the reports. Which, if you’re keeping score at home, is kind of a big deal. And although I know that this was not the only reason, it was a big one. Value can only be seen if the right people are looking.
So this is what I’ve learned and will be applying next time.
Don’t assume the stakeholders know you exist
- Be proactive from the start. Ask to be part of some team meetings, Slack channels, project boards — anything than will keep you involved in the conversations.
Check (double-check) that you’re sending your reports to all of the necessary people
- Teams change. Organizations restructure. The person you were once dealing with may no longer be involved in the necessary meetings. Ask who needs to be seeing the reports you’re producing; those who are making decisions based on your work.
Make sure you regularly ask about their business goals
- Make sure your work is continuing to align with their goals. Things change. What was true a year ago, may not be anymore.
Ask for feedback
- You can’t improve and grow with your client if you don’t ask for feedback.
Get things in writing
- This is just good practice. If your work changes, redraft that contract. It’s more work, but it will protect you in the event that your work is questioned. Other things worth getting in writing: client goals, campaigns, challenges, and internal changes.
It’s the nature of business to fluctuate and change. But being proactive can help you stay a step ahead. This episode has taught me that we still have lots of room to improve our processes. And even when you’re seeing positive results, there might be more that you need to do.
Sometimes, really good work just isn’t enough.