Working with a digital strategy agency is a powerful step towards growing your presence online, but what does working with an agency actually look like? Let's walk through the steps we take after a partnership has been solidified.
Signing the Quote
The final step of the sales process with us is a proposal or quote that can be signed digitally through our HubSpot Sales Quote tool. It's delivered to you via a link that you can review online. This link is authorized for a specific person, so if you are the manager, but not the signer in your organization, you'll need to let our sales team know so we can specify the signer in order for them to have access to the page as well as signing privileges. The signer will have to receive an email to verify that it is them before they are able to sign the quote.
Meeting Your Client Success Manager
After signing your contract or project quote, our Business Development Manager will send an email introducing you to your primary contact with our agency — your Client Success Manager. Your Client Success Manager (CSM) will be your main point of contact at HIVE. We believe a single point of contact with our digital strategy agency makes managing communication, strategy, deliverables, and the entire relationship easier. All communication may flow through a single channel, but other HIVE team members will be pulled in as needed, via email, portal comments, or even at meetings to strategize and implement your inbound marketing plan. The point is that you won't need to worry about sending your website requests to one person, your copy to another, your design questions to someone else, etc. It will all flow through your Client Success Manager and he or she will take it from there.
Within two business days of the introductory email, your Client Success Manager will send you a welcome email outlining what the next steps are to get started with HIVE Digital Strategy. Those next steps typically include completing an onboarding questionnaire, setting up a kickoff meeting, and getting acquainted with your client portal.
Completing an Onboarding Questionnaire
Why do we send an onboarding questionnaire? Well, since we utilize a single point of contact with our client partnerships, much of the information and assets needed to complete your campaigns successfully will need to be shared with multiple people on our team.
The best way to do that is to have a single document for all of the information to live. That’s why we utilize a single collection of information to get the partnership started off right. Although some of these questions may overlap with areas and topics discussed in sales meetings with our Business Development Manager, this is an important step to capture all of the information directly from you, the expert, and to ensure that we start off with the correct facts. We'll also gather login information in the questionnaire so that is contained in a single location.
Many times our clients have multiple team members that will be involved in our campaigns. We encourage everyone on your team that will be involved to submit their own onboarding questionnaire to gain a wider, more robust view of your business. More frequently than not we find that even internal stakeholders have different priorities, views of the business, and details that they want to focus on.
Questionnaires will need to be completed at least 24-48 hours prior to your kickoff meeting to ensure your CSM has time to properly review and prepare for your kickoff meeting. Oftentimes, your CSM will have follow-up questions based on your responses. In this stage of onboarding, we're gathering as much information about your business and goals as we can to successfully prepare for your priority projects.
Your Client Portal
We use a third-party project management app for all client relationships. This allows our CSMs to perform task management in a consolidated location that includes comment functionality and task status view for you, as well. In addition to tasks, this portal will house monthly marketing agendas, reporting, and links to any branding guides or other critical pieces needed to complete our work.
More than one person from your team can be invited to the portal. Simply request additional invitations from your CSM. Portal invitations will be sent via email. Projects, tasks, and timelines will be available within a few days in your client portal, and work will begin. Progress can be monitored within your portal by viewing statuses associated with tasks in a project.
Your Kickoff Meeting
We prefer to schedule kickoff meetings within a week of contract signing, depending on schedule availability. The goal of the meeting is to get to know each other face-to-face (most meetings with be via a video call), recap our scope, roles, and responsibilities, answer any follow-up questions we have for you or that you have for us, and ensure alignment for our partnership moving forward.
Typical agenda items include a review of any follow-up items from the onboarding questionnaire, review of the scope of work, determination of meeting cadence, a quick orientation of our project management tool, and alignment of goals and KPIs. This is a great meeting to invite your full team, even those individuals who may only interact with your CSM occasionally for specific projects. It is always helpful to put a face (and a smile) with a name.
For monthly retainer clients, the next step following a kickoff meeting is a 90-day plan.
Shortly after your kickoff meeting, we will begin your 90-day plan. This is a plan for the first three months of strategy and proposed projects based on information and goals gathered throughout onboarding and the kickoff process. This ensures, in written format, that we are in alignment and can hit the ground running with your campaigns.
However, this plan does not mean we are locked into the activities outlined in the 90-day document within those first 90 days. We utilize a point system because we know that with every good plan unforeseen things may (and likely will) occur and we must be able to pivot. That is why we meet on a regular cadence to review project status but also to review the data and determine if our original plan still makes the most sense for that month. This also allows space to incorporate new projects that always seem to arise in our marketing worlds.
We create a 90-day plan in order to launch our partnership with a longer-term campaign. We think about marketing strategy in terms of campaigns (rather than single tasks or projects) in order to enhance your overall digital marketing presence and objectives, rather than addressing a more limited focus with single projects. We combine longer-term goals to improve your digital strategy alongside small wins built into your campaign to show progress and ROI along the way.
Your 90-day plan document will outline proposed projects for the first three months that align with your business goals and our strategy recommendations. The points allocated for each project task will be clear on this document as well. This 90-day plan document must be approved (or altered and then approved) in order for work to begin in the HIVE, so you always know what we're working on for you.
The Strategy Work Begins
Once your strategy and project plan has been approved, we get to work. All progress, as well as communication, will live in your client portal and your CSM is always just a few keystrokes away. We'll build upon the work completed in the first 90 days with data-driven decisions for later campaigns, along with feedback and insight from you and other stakeholders at your company to ensure that we're always in alignment.
We love to help businesses optimize and grow their digital strategy and inbound marketing, and are ready to get to work for you. Here's to our fruitful future!
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