How to Onboard Clients with Immersion Workshops – Whiteboard Friday

Spending high quality time getting to know your consumer, their objectives and capabilities, and getting them acquainted with their workforce units you up for a greater consumer-company relationship. Immersion workshops are the reply. Learn extra about how to construct a powerful basis with your purchasers on this week’s Whiteboard Friday offered by Heather Physioc.

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Video Transcription

Hey, all people, and welcome again to Whiteboard Friday. My identify is Heather Physioc, and I am Group Director of Discoverability at VMLY&R. So I realized that if you onboard purchasers correctly, the remainder of the connection goes rather a lot smoother.

Through some arduous knocks and bumps alongside the best way, we have come up with this immersion workshop mannequin that I would like to share with you. So I truly carried out a survey of the search business and located that we have a tendency to onboard purchasers inconsistently from one to the following if we trouble to do a correct onboarding with them in any respect. So to fight that downside, let’s speak via the immersion workshop.

Why do an immersion workshop with a consumer?

So why trouble taking the time to pause, decelerate, and do an immersion workshop with a consumer? 

1. Get educated quick

Well, first, it permits you to get much more educated about your consumer and their enterprise rather a lot sooner than you’ll in case you had been selecting it up piecemeal over the primary 12 months of your partnership. 

2. Opens dialogue

Next it opens a dialogue from day one.

It creates the expectation that you’ll have a dialog and that the consumer is predicted to take part in that course of with you. 

three. Build relationships

You need to construct a relationship the place you already know which you can talk successfully with each other. It additionally begins to construct relationships, so not solely with your rapid, day-to-day consumer contact, however folks like their bosses and their friends inside their group who can both be blockers or advocates for the search work that your consumer goes to attempt to implement.

four. Align on function, roadmap, and measuring success

Naturally the immersion workshop can also be an important time for you to align with your consumer on the aim of your search program, to outline the roadmap for a way you are going to ship on that search program and agree on how you are going to measure success, as a result of in the event that they’re measuring success a method and also you’re measuring success a distinct approach, you would find yourself at fully completely different locations.

5. Understand the DNA of the model

Ultimately, the aim of a joint immersion workshop is to actually perceive the DNA of the model, what makes them tick, who’re their clients, why ought to they care what this model has to provide, which helps you, as a search skilled, perceive how one can assist them and their purchasers. 


Do it stay! (Or use video chats)

So the setting for this immersion workshop ideally ought to be stay, in-individual, face-to-face, similar room, similar time, similar place, similar mission.

But worst case state of affairs, if for some cause that is not doable, you too can pull this off with video chats, however not less than you are getting that face-to-face communication. There’s going to be a number of again-and-forth dialogue, in order that’s actually, actually necessary. It’s additionally necessary to constructing the empathy, communication, and belief between folks. Seeing one another’s faces makes an enormous distinction. 

Over 1–three days

Now the best setting for the immersion workshop is 2 days, in my view, so you will get rather a lot achieved.

It’s a rigorous two days. But in case you want to streamline it for smaller manufacturers, you possibly can completely pull it off with one. Or when you have the posh of stretching it out and getting extra time with them to proceed constructing that relationship and digging deeper, by all means stretch it to three days. 

Customize the agenda

Finally, you need to work with the consumer to customise the agenda. So I like to ship them a base template of an immersion workshop agenda with classes that I do know are going to be necessary to my search work.

But I work aspect-by-aspect with that consumer to customise classes which might be going to be the precise match for his or her enterprise and their wants. So straight away we have their purchase-in to the workshop, as a result of they’ve pores and skin within the recreation. They know which departments are going to be difficult. They know what goals they’ve of their heads. So that is your first level of communication to make this profitable.

Types of classes

So what sorts of classes do we would like to have in our immersion workshop? 


The first one is a imaginative and prescient session, and that is truly one which I ask the purchasers to carry to us. So we slot about 90 minutes for the consumer to give us a presentation on their model, their overarching technique for the 12 months, their advertising technique for the 12 months.

We need to hear about their objectives, income targets, goals, issues they’re attempting to clear up, threats they see to the enterprise. Whatever is on their thoughts or retains them up at night time or no matter they’re actually enthusiastic about, that is what we would like to hear. This imaginative and prescient workshop units the tone for the whole remainder of the workshop and the partnership. 


Next we would like to have stakeholder classes.

We often do these on day one. We’re staying fairly excessive stage on day one. So these will likely be with different departments which might be going to combine with search. So that may very well be the top of advertising, for instance, like a CMO. It may very well be the gross sales workforce. If they’ve sure gross sales goals they’re attempting to hit, that might be actually nice for a search workforce to know. Or it may very well be international areas.

Maybe Latin America and Europe have completely different priorities. So we might want to perceive how the model works on the worldwide scale as opposed to simply at HQ. 


On day two is after we begin to get slightly bit extra within the weeds, and we name these our practitioner classes. So we would like to work with our day-to-day website positioning contacts contained in the group. But we additionally arrange classes with folks like paid search in the event that they want to combine their search efforts.

We may arrange time with analytics. So this will likely be the place we demo our commonplace website positioning reporting dashboards after which we work with the consumer to customise it for his or her wants. This is a time the place we discover out who they’re reporting up to and what sorts of metrics they’re measured on to decide success. We speak concerning the objectives and conversions they’re measuring, how they’re captured, why they’re monitoring these objectives, and their current baseline of efficiency data.

We additionally arrange time with builders. Technology is important to truly implementing our website positioning suggestions. So we arrange time with them to find out about their workflows and their choice-making course of. I would like to know if they’ve useful resource constraints or what makes an excellent undertaking ticket in Jira to get our work carried out. Great time to begin bonding with them and provides them a say in how we execute search.

We additionally need to meet with content material groups. Now content material tends to be one of many trickiest areas for our purchasers. They do not at all times have the sources, or perhaps the search scope did not embrace content material from day one. So we would like to usher in whoever the content material choice-makers or creators are. We need to perceive how they assume, their workflows and processes. Are they presently creating search-pushed content material, or is that this going to be a shift in mentality?

So a number of instances we get collectively and discuss course of, editorial calendaring, model tone and voice, no matter it takes to get content material carried out for search.

Summary and subsequent steps

So in spite of everything of those, we at all times shut with a abstract and subsequent steps dialogue. So we work collectively to take into consideration all of the issues that we have achieved throughout this workshop and what our large takeaways and learnings are, and we take this time to align with our consumer on subsequent steps.

When we go away that room, all people ought to know precisely what they’re chargeable for. Very highly effective. You need to ship a recap after the actual fact saying, “Here’s what we learned and here’s what we understand the next steps to be. Are we all aligned?” Heads nod. Great. 

Tools to use

So a few instruments that we have created and we’ll make sure that to hyperlink to these beneath.

Download all of the instruments

Onboarding guidelines

We’ve created a regular onboarding guidelines. The factor about search is after we’re onboarding a brand new consumer, we fairly generally want the identical issues from one consumer to the following. We need to know issues about their historical past with website positioning. We want entry and logins. Or perhaps we’d like a listing of their opponents. Whatever the case is, it is a fully repeatable course of. So there isn’t any excuse for reinventing the wheel each single time.

So this commonplace onboarding guidelines permits us to ship this record over to the consumer to allow them to get began and get all of the items in place that we’d like to achieve success. It’s like mise en place if you’re cooking. 

Discussion guides

We’ve additionally created some actually useful session dialogue guides. So we give our purchasers slightly homework earlier than these classes to begin fascinated by their enterprise otherwise.

We’ll ask them open-ended questions like: What sorts of issues are your small business unit fixing this 12 months? Or what is likely one of the greatest obstacles that you have had to overcome? Or what’s some work that you just’re actually happy with? So we ship that upfront of the workshop. Then in our enterprise unit discussions, that are a part of the stakeholder discussions, we’ll truly use a number of of the questions from that dialogue information to begin seeding the dialog.

But we do not simply go down the record of questions, checking them off one after the other. We simply begin the dialog with a few them after which comply with it organically wherever it takes us, open-ended, comply with-up, and clarifying questions, as a result of the conversations we’re having in that room with our purchasers are much more highly effective than any data you are going to get from an e-mail that you just simply threw over the fence.

Sticky notice train

We additionally do a reasonably superior little sticky notice train. It’s actually easy. So we go out sticky notes to all of the stakeholders which have attended the classes, and we ask two easy questions. 

  1. One, what would trigger this program to succeed? What are all of the components that may make this work? 
  2. We additionally ask what’s going to trigger it to fail.

Before you already know it, the consumer has revealed, in their very own phrases, what their inner obstacles and blockers will likely be. What are the issues that they’ve run into up to now which have made their search program battle? By having that easy train, it will get all people within the thoughts body of what their function is in making this program successful. 

Search maturity evaluation

The final device, and this one is fairly superior, is an evaluation of the consumer’s natural search maturity.

Now this isn’t about how good they’re at website positioning. This is how nicely they incorporate website positioning into their group. Now we have truly carried out a separate Whiteboard Friday on the maturity evaluation and the way to implement that. So make sure that to examine that out. But a fast overview. So now we have a survey that addresses 5 key areas of a consumer’s capacity to combine search with their group.

  • It’s stuff like folks. Do they’ve the precise sources? 
  • Process. Do they’ve a course of? Is it documented? Is it enhancing? 
  • Capacity. Do they’ve sufficient funds to truly make search doable? 
  • Knowledge. Are they educated about search, and are they dedicated to studying extra? Stuff like that.

So we have truly created a 5-half survey that has plenty of completely different questions that the consumer can reply. We attempt to get as many individuals as doable on the consumer aspect to reply these questions as we will. Then we take the numerical solutions and the open-ended solutions and compile that right into a maturity evaluation for the model after the workshop.

So we use that workshop time to truly execute the survey, and now we have one thing that we will carry again to the consumer not lengthy after to give them an image of the place they stand at the moment and the place we’re going to take them sooner or later and what the largest obstacles are that we’d like to overcome to get them there. 

So that is my information to creating an immersion workshop to your new purchasers. Be positive to take a look at the Whiteboard Friday on the maturity evaluation as nicely.

We’d love to hear what you do to onboard your purchasers within the feedback beneath. Thanks and we’ll see you on the following Whiteboard Friday.

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