Account transitions are an inevitable part of our jobs here. I even wrote a blog post about it for Acquisio a few months ago. However, since this can be a recurring event, I thought I'd share the transition template I've used a few times now, and explain why I think it's a great way to 1) get to know your new account, 2) prove that you're learning about the new client, and 3) that there actually is a plan in place.
Get to know the account
The first part of this process is meeting with the outgoing account manager. Set up a meeting for an hour and talk about the account. Treat it as though this is an internal kickoff meeting you’re having with your business development team for a new client. Ask all the same questions:
- What engines are they running on?
- What are their goals?
- Do they have a set CPA or monthly budget?
Next, get into the account itself. Download into AdWords & Bing Editors and start getting to know the account structure:
- Is it set up the way you would have done it?
- If not, is that a bad thing?
- What’s active? What’s paused?
If you utilize a project management system like Basecamp, look through old threads to see what’s been discussed in the past and what’s actively being discussed.
I find it very helpful to find specific historical documents. Was there a PowerPoint presentation at the last year-end meeting? What was in it? Find the notes that were taken by the people present at that meeting – surely there was some good discussion that took place off-slide. Even go back to the kickoff documents to see what the foundations were for the project when it first launched.
Prove you know it
Write up a summary of what you’ve just learned. Drafting up what the client is all about and what is going on will not only force YOU to get to know your new account better, but it'll also prove to your team and the client that you're putting in the effort to come onto the account with some existing knowledge already.
I like to include the basic details of the account: who are the client contacts, when does the contract run through, what are the basic goals, etc. Follow that up with more in-depth details about the account. This is where you’ll want to show off your understanding of what is actively going on right now:
- What projects are in the works?
- What’s upcoming?
- What’s been stuck in limbo for ages?
Lay out a timeline
It's really easy to just say "there will be a gradual transition from AM A to AM B," but isn't that so very vague? Come up with a plan - whether it's 4 weeks or 7 weeks - and explain what to expect for each and every week. This will prove to the client that they're not just being given some random person, but that this new person is going to be guided by the outgoing manager and become an actual member of the team before the previous manager is even gone.
When the plan is developed and the document pulled together, share it with the client when you're introduced. Right after you tell them all about your awesome experience that landed you the opportunity to work on their account, walk them through the exact plan. It'll give them a lot more confidence in you and make them feel much more secure knowing that there is a plan in place, and that they're not losing a familiar face as they get to know a new one.
This may not be the ideal transition solution for every single scenario, but it’s a great starting point and has worked well for me during several transitions now. Download the example below and give it a try as a template next time you’re transitioning accounts between team members. And let us know what you think!