5 Lessons We’ve Learned From Working With Our Largest Client
Recently, Perfect Search hit a milestone. No, not the first game of paddle-less ping-pong played — although that was pretty cool. Playing ping-pong with just your hands is definitely a whole new breed of gameplay.
Our milestone was that we recently began an engagement with one of our largest clients.
As you might expect, we were introduced to the client when the VP of E-Commerce rented out my second bedroom on Airbnb. You know, just your average sales strategy. Cold calling is old news. Airbnb business contacts are the future.
Even after a few months working together, it’s been a great way to continue our education as a team and personally as a CEO working with a large public company. Here’s what I’ve learned during the engagement so far.
1. Larger businesses = more stakeholders
Makes sense, right? With a big organization comes a big group of people involved in the account — and everyone has varying levels of digital marketing knowledge. Typically, marketing coordinators, CMOs and the CEO are heavily involved in digital strategy because of the high growth and impact that online marketing can have on the business.
Additionally, different stakeholders’ priorities and goals aren’t always aligned. An e-commerce manager is often goaled on the website performance whereas the CMO may care mostly about the company stock price.
It’s a delicate balance in finding common ground across the goals of all stakeholders so that the account strategy is comprehensive.
2. Cash flow implications
In the past, Perfect Search has steered away from taking on client spend due to the cash flow implications it can have on a business and the overall risk that can result. However, large clients are accustomed to agencies paying for the digital spend. So we’ve adjusted, too. It’s a learning experience.
Now, it’s more difficult to track profitability in our business. Our bank account has massive swings based on when the ad spend is paid by us to the channels and when the large client pays us for this advertising.
Also, this new ad spend is categorized as revenue to our business even though it’s more complicated than that. It’s common in our industry for companies to report significant revenue numbers, which in fact are just passed through to the advertising channels as expenses.
3. Meetings, meetings, meetings
Like I mentioned, big companies mean more brains involved in the account. Not only do we have to find time to schedule meeting with C-level executives (a challenge in and of itself!), but there are meetings for managing the client team, meetings with the Google and Bing teams, speaking to technology teams (like for Kenshoo and Conductor), and so much more.
Though it’s quite the balancing act to get all of these meetings on the calendar for everyone, they’re incredibly beneficial. Whether they’re phone calls or in-person meetings, these touchpoints get everyone on the same page. After all, strong relationships lead to success.
4. Dramatic budget changes
Budgets can change dramatically in an instant. Because of this and the impact of invoice terms that the client will probably negotiate in their favor, having a fairly large credit line is a good safety net. This ensures that any large budget increases don’t hurt the agency.
Monthly projections and more detailed reports is also necessary with managing such a large account. As budgets increase, it’s essential for additional eyes to monitor and adjust campaigns to ensure that the ad spend pacing is accurate.
5. The universal truth about development resources
It still holds true, even for large clients. Dev resources are always, always tight. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small account or the largest account we manage.
If you plan on making significant changes to client’s technology that require a lot of dev work, you need to find alternate solutions. As a rule of thumb for clients and development projects of all sizes, anticipate significant delays.
Servicing larger accounts has been a challenging yet rewarding experience for everyone at Perfect Search. We’ve learned (and, of course, are still learning) how to scale the services we offer every one of our clients — customizable reporting, persistent optimizations, regular meetings — for larger accounts.
Have you had a similar experience? We’d love to hear it. Tweet us @Perfect_Search.
Ajay Pattani is a lifelong resident of Chicagoland and is fiercely passionate about his white wine. If he could be a spokesperson for any product, it would have to be white wine. Ajay says if he could be good at one thing, it would be reading minds. If you could read his now, he’d most likely be thinking about white wine.