So You Wanna Run a Project Kickoff Meeting…
The day has arrived and you’re about to kickoff with a new project or client! Emotions are running high - you’re excited, maybe a bit anxious, but ready to crush the task at hand! At the end of the meeting, goals and objectives will be established, and both teams should leave feeling confident in the account direction moving forward; however, that’s not always the case.
Kicking off a new project on the right foot is key for building trust and a long term relationship with your business partners. Read on for 5 tops to run an effective project kickoff meeting!
Tip 1: Get to Know the Client Team, Start with Intros
You know they say that you only get one chance to make a good first impression, so make it count!
Be thoughtful with your introduction, this is your chance to instill confidence in your partners that you are the right person for the job! Take the time to show that you have done your homework and talk about your:
- Role: Establish Confidence, Show Research-Based Understanding of Industry
- Years of experience - "I've been working in Marketing for....."
- Years in your current role - "I've been working at Seer for ..."
- Relevant Experience in all your years (all time) - "In my career I've worked on companies like yours, like 1,2,3"
- Relevant Experience at Seer / In Internet Marketing - "At Seer I've helped clients in XYZ industry, achieve successes like 1,2,3, and I look forward to bringing that to your account)
Encourage your clients or partners to share the same! Knowing their background will only help with growing repour and building a relationship!
Tip 2: Highlight Key Discussion Items Early in the Meeting
Once discussions begin, staying on schedule isn’t always easy. Ensure those priority items that should be addressed while you have your client in the room take center stage during this meeting and are covered first. It’s always possible to follow up with additional questions via email, but getting face to face time with your partners isn’t always possible, take advantage of it!
Pro Tip: send these to the client ahead of time, along with any other questions they should prep for!
Make the most of this time and help your client to feel prepared by sending business questions to their team before kickoff. This will help inform the agenda, give yourself time to prep follow up discussions, and give your point of contact insight into the meeting (which in turn helps them to prep their team!).
Need some help on brainstorming questions to ask during a kickoff? Check out these tips!
Tip 3: Provide a Project Overview
This shows the client that you are already considering their business!
Take time to align with the client on priority initiatives and to ensure that your project plan aligns with their business objectives and goals. It’s invaluable to know this as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of last-minute requests and ensure timely deliveries of strategic analyses that will drive growth for their business.
In a similar vein, it gives partners the time to plan and loop in additional stakeholders that will be assisting in driving recommendations forward, for example, the development team!
Tip 4: Align on Logistics and Communication
A cornerstone of all project management, before leaving a kickoff meeting, align with your partners on logistics and communication!
- What are the next steps that each team will be taking in the week following the kickoff?
- Pro Tip: Keep this organized, succinct, and assign owners to each action to hold all parties accountable!
- Where will project communication live? Will it be different for various parts of the project?
- How frequently will both teams meet to discuss project initiatives and progress?
- Weekly? Bi-Weekly? For an hour?
- Pro Tip: Try to align on timing while in the room with the client, so you have a date and time established for your next check-in before you leave!
Tip 5: Create an Internal Project Kickoff Checklist to Stay Organized
Finally, documentation is key! After walking away from a successful kickoff, align with your internal team on action items that need to be addressed, and in what priority order.
Create a living, breathing document that can be updated and shared with the client to keep them informed on status and when they can expect to receive action items following the project kickoff meeting.
Pro Tip: This is especially helpful with a large account team! Assign owners, internal due dates, and client due dates so the transition is smooth!
Items that our account teams typically include:
- Setting up VisualPing for robots.txt, sitemaps, and priority landing pages
- Set up Google Alerts for brand names, product names, etc
- Set up Google Analytics alerts for traffic and conversion drops
- Compile and deliver KO debrief
- Begin Foundational Analysis
- Begin setting KPIs
Feel confident, stay organized, and blow their socks off!