Every successful agency knows that the key to their success is knowing how to work well with clients and how to hold productive meetings with effective communication.
If your agency wants to get great results and see the business grow and scale, understanding how to communicate and how often to communicate with clients is the first step. The conversations your team has in these meetings are to build the foundation for a strong relationship with your clients, and in turn, to have more successful partnerships.
10 types of client meetings and how to run them effectively
No matter what type of agency you’re a part of or the type of clients you partner with, here are the ten types of client meetings you need to know how to run effectively.
- Initial client meeting
- Campaign kickoff meeting
- Weekly (or biweekly) deliverables meeting
- Smarketing meeting
- Monthly report review meeting
- Annual strategy meeting
- Troubleshooting meeting
- New (out of the blue) project
- Confirmation call meeting
- New direction meeting
1 Initial client meeting
Before you can roll up your sleeves and get started, first you need to have an initial client meeting. This is when the project team meets with the customer for the very first time to get the ball rolling.
Some points of discussion during the first client meeting are:
- Project milestones
- Points of contact
- Any other expectations
It’s important in an initial client meeting to get as much information about the client and their needs as possible. Be sure that your team comes prepared with a list of questions to ask and details they’d like some elaboration on.
At the end of the meeting, your team will decide if you’ll be moving forward with the client and taking on their business. Remember that if things don’t feel right or there isn’t enough alignment, it’s okay to say “thanks, but no thanks” to not waste anyone’s time or money.
Have one source of truth.
Show up prepared for every meeting as a collective by using a collaborative meeting agenda tool like Fellow.
2 Campaign kickoff meeting
When your agency has landed the business of a new client, it’s time to get to work. Remember that no campaign, project, or initiative should start without an expertly crafted plan, which will happen in a campaign kickoff meeting.
Once underway, the two teams working on the campaign will be introduced to one another, and the main points of contact will be laid out. Then, the groundwork and expectations are clearly defined, and roles are assigned amongst the teams.
When a campaign kickoff meeting is complete, both teams should walk away with a clear understanding of the basics of the campaign. Everyone should also know the best means of communication and how often to provide status updates.
3 Weekly (or biweekly) deliverables meeting
Another meeting your agency should be prepared for is the weekly or biweekly deliverables meeting. No matter the meeting cadence you choose here, the purpose of these meetings is to keep clients up to date on tasks, where the team is at specific milestones and a general look into what they’re working on. Having open and honest communication with the client establishes the right type of working relationship.
Holding these meetings is an excellent way for the client to see what’s going on behind the scenes, ask any questions, or fix minor adjustments along the way. It’s critical with deliverable meetings to keep to a similar meeting agenda every time, so the conversation stays productive and everyone knows what to expect going in.
For these meetings, it’s in your best interest to send the client a status update document ahead of time, that way it can be updated each week by your team for an accurate and up-to-date record.
4 Smarketing meeting
No this isn’t a typo, there really is a thing called a smarketing meeting, and it’s where sales and marketing come together to work as one cohesive unit.
Doing so isn’t always easy, and sometimes sales and marketing have trouble seeing eye-to-eye. However, if your agency is to deliver the client’s desired results, the two departments need to be in constant communication with one another.
Depending on what works for each team, communication can be weekly or biweekly, so they have the chance to go over leads, follow-up on any qualified leads, discuss current opportunities, and go over feedback regarding the quality of the leads.
The goal of a smarketing meeting is so that sales can see how marketing is working on getting the highest quality leads into the pipeline. Additionally, marketing should be getting actionable and specific feedback from sales as to how to improve the content and the marketing plan as a whole. Having this alignment can not only benefit sales and marketing but every other department within your agency.
5 Monthly report review meeting
A monthly report review meeting allows your team to fill the client in on data related to their project or your partnership with them as a whole. It’s important when presenting a report to a client that you have their full attention, as your team likely spends a reasonable amount of time collecting and analyzing data. Having a meeting with a monthly cadence to go over these numbers is a great way to improve results and find ways to improve how the teams are aligned going forward. It’s also the time to pinpoint which numbers are falling short of expectations.
Some data points you can choose to go over include:
- SEO results
- Standings related to goals, milestones, or KPIs
- Analyzing lead tracking and customer acquisitions
- Numbers related to advertising campaigns
6 Annual strategy meeting
The start of a new year can bring many exciting things – one being an annual strategy meeting. It’s time for the team to meet with the client’s primary decision-makers to review annual reports, establish a new or updated strategy, and set some new goals or milestones for the upcoming year.
Taking the time to do so will show your client your continued dedication to their business and how your team can bring them continued success.
7 Troubleshooting meeting
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned, which is when agencies hold a troubleshooting meeting with their clients. Whether there’s an unexpected roadblock that needs handling or something is quite literally broken, something needs immediate attention.
These meetings can only truly be effective if you avoid blaming or finger-pointing. The team needs to work together to get the project back on track so, if possible, no milestones or deadlines are missed, and the client remains a happy customer. It’s also important that, since these meetings have some tension and frustration, schedule them as quickly as possible to get ahead of the problem or challenge the team is facing.
8 New (out of the blue) project
Is something new coming down the pipeline? Better have a meeting to discuss before things get too far down the planning stage.
While most agencies prefer to plan out their calendar at the start of the year, new and time-sensitive projects sometimes land at your feet out of nowhere. If you have the time to take them on, a new project meeting has to happen first. As soon as there’s an opening on everyone’s calendar, get a meeting on the books so you can get the essential information, prioritize tasks, and plan of action as soon as possible.
Projects that are out of the blue are sometimes the most important, critical, or timely in the eyes of a client. Due to its importance to the client, do the best you can to set aside the time to understand everything about it before getting started.
9 Confirmation call meeting
While some client meetings take a lot of planning, a robust agenda, and a full-house in attendance, others can be short and sweet – like a confirmation call. These occur when the agency needs a quick detail confirmed before moving forward or if specific project criteria must be approved before anything can continue.
If you don’t have the roadblock of time working against you, these can sometimes happen in an email instead. But, when the team is approaching a deadline and needs confirmation as fast as possible, a meeting is the preferred method. Being proactive and agreeing to meet for a quick sync can show the client that you’re committed to completing tasks on time while also being appreciative of their feedback.
10 New direction meeting
Sometimes your team has to act on their feet and pivot when they least expect it. When this is the case, it’s time to hold a new direction meeting.
When your client calls to let you know the project is going in an new and unexpected direction, the tone has changed, the target persona needs to be altered a bit, or any major change has happened to what the original project details describe, holding an impromptu meeting will help steer the trajectory in the right direction.
As you hold this meeting, be sure the right people are in attendance, and the team gets as many details about the adjustments as possible. Once the meeting, it’s back to the drawing board!
Master the art of a client meeting
There’s no better time than the present to throw some time on your client’s calendar and take communication to the next level. But before you do, identify which of the ten types of client meetings is the right one to have. And of course, don’t forget to get organized ahead of time with a meeting tool like Fellow.