Client management is no simple task. Juggling multiple accounts requires a great deal of organization and prioritization.
You may have multiple clients that ask for last-minute projects and tasks. Or that one person who always seems to change their mind after you’ve already agreed on a direction. You may have an entirely different problem and hardly hear from a client at all.
Whatever your situation looks like, you’re under a lot of pressure to deliver quality work quickly.
So how do you manage a multitude of clients and keep your internal team on track? Let’s take a look at a few tips.
6 Tips For Managing Multiple Clients
1. Get Organized
Start with yourself. If you don’t stay organized, you can’t expect anyone around you to do the same. You can’t always control the people around you, but you can control yourself.
Use project management tools like Basecamp to keep track of deliverables and distribute tasks to your team. Set deadlines and provide details about each task or assignment so everyone can shine!
Project management tools help create a collaborative culture of organization, transparency and accountability. And don’t forget to prioritize tasks; this will help everyone stay on track without getting overwhelmed. It's a good idea to have all communications related to projects go through your project management system. That way, nothing gets lost in the abyss of emails or private messages.
2. Use a Calendar
Create a company calendar so your team knows what you're doing and when you’re doing it. Sync this across all of your devices so you can access this information on the go. Google Calendar is a handy option to choose, although there are more extensive calendar apps you can try if you prefer something more robust.
If you’re the type that can look at your calendar when you wake up and stay on track, awesome! If not, set up reminders 15 minutes before each meeting to help you switch gears. It's also a good idea to set aside some time before each client meeting to review your notes from your previous meeting. That way, you know exactly what you need to discuss and accomplish in the next one.
3. Create a Morning Routine
Finding your rhythm first thing in the morning will help you set the pace for the rest of the day and be more productive. Even if you aren't a morning person (which I definitely am not), the mornings are the perfect time to orient yourself and focus on the job at hand.
Sometimes, getting started first thing in the morning can be the most difficult part of your job—especially when you know you have a stressful client meeting coming up in several hours. But the beauty of a routine is that it's easy to get into. Once you're used to starting your day off focused, you'll naturally switch from "happy hour brain" to "work brain" as soon as you step through the office each morning.
So what should your morning routine look like? Some people are able to focus more effectively if they only check their emails once a day, and mornings can be a great time to do that. For others, your morning routine might be as simple as making a to do list of everything you need to get done that day.
Here are a few things I do every morning to start the day off right:
- Check emails and star anything that requires my feedback. Because we use Basecamp boards to manage our projects, I get dozens of emails that don't require any action on my part. By marking the ones that do, I can avoid digging through all my emails later in the day when I have the time to finish the requests. As a note, I don't drop everything and respond to emails in the mornings. I just read through them and mark the ones I'll need to address at a later time.
- Create a task list for the day. I do this after I've read and marked my emails, because usually, something in one of those emails is urgent enough to need to be included on the to do list for the day. Most days, I add a task at the bottom of my list along the lines of "Address starred emails" so I remember to go back through and respond to emails. I prefer to use pen and paper to make my to do list because the physical act of writing improves memory, and there's something so satisfying about physically checking off a to do. If you prefer digital to do lists, free apps like todoist allow you to make one in a matter of seconds.
- Grab some coffee. No explanation needed.
- Start on the biggest or hardest task. Instead of putting off the tasks that I dread doing (which is a temptation that never seems to go away), I work on those tasks first. Not only do I have more energy and brainpower to get the task done first thing in the morning, but I also start the day off with a feeling of accomplishment by getting these difficult tasks done first. If I procrastinate until the end of the day, there's a much higher chance that the task won't get done correctly—or at all.
4. Create a Plan and Stick To It
When it comes to campaign or project planning, having an outline of goals and deliverables is crucial. Start with the end goal in mind and identify the materials you need to make that happen. This will also help with that client who is always changing their mind.
An outline gives you the leverage to say, “This was our goal and this is why we structured this campaign/graphic/social media post this way.” It's also extremely helpful for your team. They can review your outline and see exactly what is expected of them.
For our ProPlan Clients, we create quarterly plans to identify our clients' priorities for the next three months. Once we have identified their goal (we shoot for SMART goals that can be measured), we create campaigns to support those goals. Then, at the end of each quarter, we run analytics to determine how close we got to achieving that goal. The process may be a bit different for your business, depending on the type of good you offer and who you serve, but having a clear plan can help any B2B or B2C company stay on track.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
We aren’t superheroes. We can’t execute all of our clients’ requests all of the time. And that’s OK!
I know it doesn’t feel good to say no, even if the client is a handful. We all want to be the golden goose, and we all want to see our customers succeed, but we are only human. If you can’t accommodate a last-minute request without another client’s work suffering, you’re just going to have to say no.
What happens when a client makes a request that you wouldn’t suggest? Explain to them why you chose to structure the campaign a certain way, educate them about what they will lose out on, and tell them that you are sticking to your suggestions. You can also refer back to the plan you made when something is requested out of scope.
Think of it this way: It's better to say no and upset a client than to say yes and upset several because of a dramatic decrease in quality!
6. Realistically Manage Client Communications
In our hyper-connected world, it’s hard to give our clients our undivided attention. It’s even harder to resist the urge to respond to everything and everyone within 5 seconds. If we constantly respond right away, we condition everyone to expect that from us all the time. Again, we aren’t superheroes!
Let your clients know the time of day you check your email, whether it's first thing in the morning or right before you leave the office. I clearly communicate with my clients that I only check emails three times a day (8 a.m.,11 a.m., and 3 p.m.,). The rest of the time, I put the phone down, turn off my office chat, close the email tab and focus on the client meeting or the tasks in front of me.
By fighting that urge to respond to clients right away, I ensure that my clients don't expect immediate communication. This also helps them remember that they aren't my only client. I'll get to their project as soon as I can, but I have other clients who need my help.
Another thing you should always consider doing is having one selected point of contact for each client. If your business is like mine, where there are multiple people on a project who work face-to-face with the client, this is a must-have. Otherwise, your client might send a request to one team member and the same request to a different team member without telling you. Then you end up with duplicated work, frustrated team members, and a lot of wasted time. Plus, as the project manager, you want to understand exactly what's going on in the project. You can't do that if there are discussions going on behind your back.
Focus More On Client Management And Less On Marketing
In the end, managing client accounts takes a balanced mixture of organization and flexibility. Every situation and every client will be different. But if we set a foundation, keep organized and aren’t afraid to stick to our guns, we can make an impact for our clients and help our entire team shine and keep our sanity!
It's also important to note that if you're overwhelmed trying to manage your business's marketing on top of your projects, you're creating a recipe for disaster. As humans, we can only focus on so many things at once. If you stuff your plate full with client meetings, sales calls, social media management, and content creation, something is bound to slip through the cracks. And there's nothing as frustrating as forgetting about a crucial client deliverable or sending a reminder email out after the event has already happened.
So don't take on more than you can handle! Let a team of professionals take marketing off your shoulders so you can focus on keeping your clients happy and your business profitable. When you partner with a marketing agency like ROI Online, you can feel confident knowing you have a solid strategy in place that brings leads to your door without you having to lift a finger.
If you aren't sure whether ROI Online is a good fit for your business, read the case study below and find out how we helped one entrepreneur turn his one-man shop into a successful, thriving business.
gif by GIPHY