Welcome to this new and interesting endeavor at HiP! On each of the next seven Thursdays, we’ll be posting an interview with one of our department directors. Through this series, we’ll share each director’s expertise and experience in the day-to-day management of our demand gen agency.
While, like any post, those of this series will help to communicate tips and best practices, but it will also enable a broader understanding of our organization and its contributions to our clients. You’ll see for yourself why I so often say, “It takes a village to make a lead.”
In our first interview, I speak with Allie Strong, our Client Services Director. Allie graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BBA and a concentration in Marketing. She attended the acclaimed Isenberg School of Management and was Vice President of her business fraternity. After 3 years of business experience, she arrived at HiP and has been a driving force in HiP’s Client Services department ever since.
Let’s hear what she has to say!
What is the Client Services’ mission at HiP?
Client Services’ mission is to ensure that we successfully manage our clients’ campaigns from beginning to end, by communicating our clients’ needs to the rest of the team at HiP to get everything done on schedule. We run a huge volume of demand generation campaigns each week, so we maintain the balance to make sure everything runs smoothly to be able to make client deliveries on time.
Based on what you know of other B2B agencies, what is unique or differentiating about HiP’s Client Services?
Here at HiP, Client Services doubles as the marketing automation team. This enables us to have more flexibility over scheduling and staying on track to fulfill campaigns within schedule and within scope. Whenever we run into an issue with a specific campaign, whether its’ engagement was unexpectedly low or the ESP ran into a sending issue, we are able to quickly make the changes necessary to ensure that campaigns stay on schedule for on-time deliveries to our clients. This also gives us a direct view into the progress of demand gen campaigns, providing us greater detail for client communications.
What traits do you look for in an effective Client Services person?
An effective Client Services manager is someone who can see the bigger picture of maintaining client satisfaction overall, which managing all the small daily tasks that go into running the high volume of campaigns smoothly. This means having an ability to communicate on a client-specific basis, and being flexible to all the daily chaos that ensues from our campaign volume.
Can you relate for me ‘a day in the life’ of executing a typical client lead gen campaign?
Campaigns are broadcast in two segments each day to break up campaigns with similar target groups. Client Services receives the campaign creative from the Creative Services team, pairs it with its appropriate target group, and broadcasts accordingly. Those campaigns are data-matched by our Data team later that evening once the campaign has received maximum contact engagement. Those contacts are sent through our Call-Verification (CV) team to ensure their authenticity the next day. At that point, Client Services receives the leads back and preps them for client delivery.
Does your Client Services team leverage agile project management, reporting systems, and client communications as part of its roadmap for client success and retention? Can you offer details and examples around each?
We absolutely do, and we’d be completely insane without them! We use a whole series of checks and balances to make sure that we’re on track to fulfil client campaigns within their timeline and to keep the rest of the HiP team up to date on where each campaign and client stands.
After a few months of searching, we were finally able to come to a consensus on a project management system for HiP to utilize (to make all of our lives easier). We went with Axosoft, which is typically a software development PMS. This enabled us to personalize the entire system to mimic our unique workflow. We’re only a few weeks into onboarding the system, and everyone absolutely loves it.
We also use the Integrate platform for reporting and delivering leads, providing a method to double check that each campaign is being delivered with the appropriate data. We are able to deliver leads to clients in whatever manner they prefer, whether it is directly through the platform, via API, or by a simple CSV file.
What other steps, meetings, SLAs or processes do you have in place to ensure client expectations are met?
Internally, we stay in constant communication with each other to ensure that all client needs are being met, and that all the pieces are in motion to stay on schedule. We meet with the data team and the creative team at least once each day to make sure that we are on the same page and ready for the next day’s broadcasts and deliveries.
As for our clients, we firmly believe that each and every client has a unique set of requirements, wants, and needs, and we shape our process around those individually. Certain clients like to communicate via email on an as-needed basis, while others like to have scheduled calls to discuss overall planning. We love either.
What techniques do you use to conserve business when a client relationship is damaged or broken?
The best technique is obviously to never let a relationship make it to that point. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens – where we seem to be moving in different directions. Any time I have seen this happen, it’s been due to poor communication or miscommunication. The first step is always to sit down with that client, one-on-one, and go over the issues. Once these have been put on the table, acknowledge these issues and figure out how to move forward. If this means shifting the communication methods or honing the internal processes to better serve that particular client, then by all means, we’ll make it happen. Sometimes on the agency side it is easy to get stuck in our process, as we get lost in the daily chaos. However, taking the time to understand and listen to your client may enlighten you to a newer, better, and more efficient way of doing things.
Where do you see Client Services going in 2015 and beyond?
Client Services here at HiP will maintain its role as the hub of current client relationships. We are striving to make our communication techniques more efficient and effective, and ensure increased client satisfaction across the board. As HiP itself grows and new clients are onboarded, the Client Services team will have to adjust the way to do things while maintaining our flexibility and efficiency. Each new client brings a new set of requirements, needs, and desires, which provide us an opportunity to get creative about our current process.
Let us know what you think:
- Do you have any questions for Allie?
- How does HiP’s process compare to that of your organization?
- What are your biggest takeaways from working with clients?