Welcome to the second part of the client kickoff meeting blog series. If you haven’t read the first part yet, here is the link to it. In this second part, we are going to go over the key aspects that you should cover during a client kickoff meeting in order to make sure that,.
- You and your clients are on the same page
- You both come to a common agreement on various things like,
- Project Scope
- And you establish a strong business relationship with your clients
4 Key Areas to cover in a Client Kickoff Meeting
1. Have a formal introduction of both the teams
Kickoff your meetings with a session of nice and warm introductions. The meeting would have key stakeholders from your team as well as your clients’ team. So, give each and everyone a chance to introduce themselves and explain what their role is. This provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to know each other.
This will also give you an insight into each person’s expertise — something that will come in handy when delegating and executing responsibilities.
The ultimate goal here is to build rapport with the group. You’ll most likely be working closely with the people in this meeting in the coming months. So, it’s never a good policy to keep them nameless and faceless.
2. Discuss the project’s scope
The actual discussion begins from here. The first thing that you need to talk about is the scope of the project.
Project scope is basically the sum of all the things you are going to take care of as a part of this project. This includes,
- Project-related tasks (e.g. write a piece of software)
- Specific deliverables (e.g. a training plan)
- And defined outcomes (e.g. percentage of their staff that will be trained).
For the purpose of a kickoff meeting, you only need to give a high-level overview of the scope. You can have just one or two slides with five bullet points each.
Wondering what exactly should you discuss here? Think of the major parts your project is delivering. For example, in a construction project, this would be setting up a building, doing the plumbing, electrical wiring, and so on. This would be the scope.
Along with this, you should also list those things that are not in scope. For example,
- Maybe you set up the building but the client wants to do the flooring and tiling by himself
- Or you leave out the lighting setup
This is what we call ‘out of scope‘, in project management. The reason why you should mention what is not in scope is that you don’t want people to have wrong expectations.
Because this will only backfire later on when somebody asks you ‘Why isn’t the lighting installed?’ and you say ‘Oh, didn’t we agree this was not in scope?’.
3. Set SMART goals
Next up, focus on the project’s goals. While you may have heard about your client’s goals during the sales process, you will now want to actually set goals that are SMART.
Meaning, the goals need to be:
- Specific: Determine the type of goal you're pursuing and make sure it's not too broad or vague. For instance, "getting more views on a blog post" is not a specific goal, but something like "improving average traffic generated for the blog post by paid social" is.
Measurable: Establish how you will track the goals. Develop a process for measuring and reporting the success or failure of specific business goals that have been promised to the client. Extending the example above, you might want to measure the traffic stemming directly from your client's paid social efforts. And also measure to see how it stacks against the total traffic their blog is generating.
- Attainable: Make sure that the goals are achievable. For example, it would be too unrealistic to set a goal to generate 5,000,000 organic sessions per month for your client’s company blog. Find out what your client’s previous efforts and achievements are. Then try to benchmark what has been done before so that you can showcase growth.
- Realistic: Set realistic expectations with the clients. The client may want to see 5,000 leads per month generated. But if his retainer only covers two blog posts per month and he has never had a lead come through his website, then this goal might not be in the realm of possibility.
- Timebound: Establish a deadline for achieving goals. Discuss
- The amount of time it will take to create and deploy various activities related to the projects.
- And how long will it take to actually see the benefits of those activities.
4. Come to an agreement on collaboration
On the other side of this meeting, you are going to enter into a relationship with your new client. This means that you will be working in collaboration with each other for the next few months.
So, in order to avoid agonizing over why your client is calling you at 1 AM or wants you to redo your work for the fifth time, always agree on the collaboration process beforehand, namely:
- How often you'll communicate?
- Who contacts whom and when?
- How and when feedback is given?
- Who's in charge of the review?
- And the number of reworks (and cost)?
This creates a comfortable and friendly environment for both parties to collaborate and work together.
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