Few things are better than the feeling of signing a new client — but after you celebrate, put that champagne away and make sure you onboard them appropriately.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Start as you mean to go on?” Onboarding is a great example of what this means. If you can be organized enough in your onboarding to begin this new relationship on the right foot, you’ll be on your way to a productive and hopefully long-term partnership.

Here are some of our favorite onboarding tips — plus some great tools to streamline the process and keep you organized — to help ensure your new client relationship is successful from day one.

Transparency is Key

The more information you give your new client about the process, the more cared for they’ll feel and the more confident they’ll be in the value of your services. Similarly, the more you know about the client’s needs and goals, the better positioned you’ll be to add the most value.

It can be tempting when you’re faced with a new person you want to impress, to act like you already know everything. But most people are savvy enough to see through that act and will be much more impressed if you’re straight with them about what you don’t know and how you plan to find out.

If it’s Important, Put it on the Calendar

We make time for what matters, and onboarding meetings are no exception. Make sure you schedule these regularly and set an agenda for each one to ensure that you and the client are always on the same page about their expectations and your plan for meeting them.

Sure, meetings aren’t always the most productive, but these onboarding sessions are crucial for setting your new clients up for success. It’s so important for you to prioritize them and make them part of your standard practice, so you know that once a client is assigned, this is essentially the next step in getting your partnership started. 

Customize Your Content

While it might be easier to just have a set of standard content that you give to every new client at the outset, it’s more effective to provide new clients with tailored content that addresses their needs at each stage of the relationship

So, in addition to the initial welcome and set-up content, make sure you’ve prepared information about the various stages of onboarding that you can offer clients as they progress — this will keep you from overwhelming them and give them the opportunity to ask specific questions at each point.

Use Automation to Set Your Client Up for Success

A marketing automation tool, like BenchmarkONE, is a great way to help your client make major progress fast. Our all-in-one CRM will enable them to track their leads more effectively and understand them better, and email marketing will help them nurture and engage those leads with personalized content.

On top of all that, our marketing automation tool makes it easy to create landing pages and online forms to track visitors to their website, which your client can then file in their CRM as leads for future engagement.

7 Project Management Apps for Agencies 

Everyone could use a little help managing projects and ensuring nothing gets overlooked. Since you’ll want to keep the whole onboarding process organized and not lose track of your progress, make sure you use a project management app. Here are seven industry favorites that could be a good fit for your needs: 

  • Asana is especially good for complex teams juggling lots of tasks.
  • Monday.com brings bright colors and tons of features to your workday.
  • Toggle is all about timelines, so it’s great for projects (like onboarding) that have clear deadlines and mile-markers along the way.
  • Trello is like a digital corkboard, with tasks on ‘cards’ that can be moved from column to column as the project progresses.
  • Forecast is all about automation and AI, which cuts down on admin time. 
  • CROOW was founded in 2019, so it’s relatively new. Their focus is on providing all the features of Monday or Trello in one app.
  • Basecamp is simple, which means it’s best for collaboration on clear tasks that are easily broken up into smaller to-dos.

Signing a new agency client is a huge win; the last thing you want to do is start the new relationship off on a bad foot. To ensure things go smoothly, you need to set the tone early with the right kind of onboarding. Using a marketing automation and CRM tool for your clients will not only help you keep things organized and informed, but you’ll be able to provide them with tons of value that will keep them happy and the partnership strong.