For companies offering service-based solutions, it’s critical to ensure that the promises made during the sales process can actually be met by the project team during an engagement with a potential client. While this concept is nothing new, the ways organizations align their sales and delivery components can vary.
At Go Fish Digital, we focus on performing our services in a way that is tailored to a client’s industry, business model, and unique goals and challenges. We’ve developed methods to address prospects’ needs during the sales process (without overpromising), and set them and our project teams up for success once they become new clients. While not a comprehensive list, the following highlighted areas are a combination of what we’ve found effective, along with general best practices we strive to implement and improve upon for each new client interaction.
Customized Proposals & Relevant Supporting Material
Tailored client services often begin with customized, detailed proposals. Once we’ve established the desired services for a potential client and if our approach is a proper fit, we dive into the proposal process to outline the specifics.
When developing a proposal, we ensure the necessary aspects of the engagement are clearly outlined, including the following areas:
Often the first portion to address in a proposal, we describe the details of our execution strategies for each in-scope service, including key phases of the project and practices we will use (and avoid) to achieve results.
A significant part of our proposal specifies how our project team members will be working with the potential client’s in-house team. This segment usually outlines the format for status meetings, KPIs to focus on for reporting, access needs to client resources, and shared platforms that allow mutual visibility into progress/updates.
Scope of Work:
Like any standard scope of work, we build out this section with the specific deliverables that will be included with each service. We also define what project team resources will be covered, expectancy for regular calls/meetings, and reporting cadence. Depending on the service, our scope of work also provides a breakdown of the project timeline, with details on the initial onboarding and ramp-up period.
While it’s usually more of a supplement to the standard parts of a proposal, we often weave in any situational findings with our services overview, which are based on research performed upfront. For our primary services such as SEO, this may involve conducting a cursory review of a prospect’s website to analyze issues and identify potential opportunities. Including this information helps provide context to our proposed strategies and gives the project team a head start for the engagement.
Relevant Case Studies & Examples:
It’s helpful for any potential client to see an example of our work done for similar companies within their industry, or involving the specific service they’re interested in. Case studies and other work examples make for great supporting material and are often presented in conjunction with a proposal. Aside from helping the “selling factor” for a prospect, sharing relevant examples of previous success can give the project team a benchmark to reflect on and strive to replicate.
Seamless Project Handoff
When a new client has officially signed on with us, we make sure the project team receives the full background from the sales process and that our client onboarding sets them up for success. In a detailed “brain dump” given to the project team, everything from major client concerns to key dates/deadlines are passed over to be built into the project agenda.
Our sales team has learned a great deal about how to refine the handoff process, especially from members of the project team. In one instance, a group of project managers provided specific questions to use as a guideline for sharing a new client’s background, which they considered important for knowing upfront. Here are examples of some of the questions:
- Why did [New Client] choose our agency?
- What was [New Client’s] motivation for hiring an outside agency?
- What is the primary business goal?
- What (if any) specific issues is [New Client] aiming to solve?
- What examples were shared during the sales process?
It’s also been beneficial to bring project managers or other service experts into discovery calls/meetings with a potential client. They’re able to offer insight into how a campaign will be run and what can be expected based on similar situations they’ve managed. Then, when the project eventually begins, they can carry over to their team the background details they’ve gathered from their involvement in the sales process.
Detailed Record Keeping & Review
Keeping consistent, detailed records during the sales process is key for providing the project teams with important handoff information. It’s also proven to be helpful for tracking down prospects that couldn’t previously hire our agency.
Over time, our agency has improved its existing service offerings and has even created a number of new service options. As this continually happens, we find appropriate opportunities to revisit past prospects that our updated options can work for. In some cases, proposing our new service formats has reignited their interest, since our team could now successfully cater to their situations. Staying current with updates on the services side has proven to help the sales cause in this regard.
We couldn’t identify these opportunities without properly documented records. From what we’ve experienced, simple CRM tool functions allow users to set custom fields and labels for prospect/client profiles. We’re able to use these functions to sort and filter through customer data based on fitting attributes, and locate past opportunities to revisit.
As a final recap, effective methods for ensuring client satisfaction through sales and service alignment can differ, depending on an organization’s unique setup. We’ve specifically found that customizing sales proposals, refining our handoff process, and leveraging detailed records are invaluable ways to accomplish this, and we’re eager to discover more.