In this episode, client account management expert Taylor McMaster outlines the all-important details for achieving exceptional client service.
Taylor and her team at Dot and Company provide client account management services to growing digital marketing agencies. They help agency owners scale their businesses by nurturing their client relationships and relieving them of daily management tasks so that they can focus on other facets of their operations.
Taylor’s background and how Dot and Company was born 1:27
The typical agency that Dot and Company works with 5:20
The characteristics of agencies that need a client manager 6:11
Tips and tricks on transitioning client management to your team 7:21
Where agencies fall short with in client management 10:16
What to look for in a Client Account Manager 12:11
The Perfect Onbording Experience 14:40
Taylor’s Secret Weapon 17:06
What to do when a client is uncommunicative 18:51
How to keep client relationships from getting stagnant 20:36
How many accounts should an account manager handle 22:00
Keeping a client relationship strong when things are going wrong 23:34
The most important thing about client management success 25:27
How to connect with Dot and Co. 27:08
Taylor’s book recommendation 28:31
People and Resources Mentioned
Hey, everybody it's Joe Troyer, and welcome back to show me the nuggets. I am super excited today, to have Taylor McMaster on the podcast today. And we're gonna really be talking about client management and client management success, something that I feel like I was just chatting with Taylor about. nobody really talks about right. Nobody talks about transitioning from a one man band to a team and client management and and what's that transition look like? And how do you keep your clients happy with other client managers, not just you. And I'm just super excited, and really anticipating today's conversation with Taylor. And without further ado, Taylor, welcome to the show.
Taylor McMaster 1:17
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me on.
Joe Troyer 1:20
So before we dive into like your background, can you tell us about Dot and Company and what you guys do there?
Taylor McMaster 1:27
Sure. Yeah. So my team over my team and I over at Dot and Company, we do client account management for digital marketing agencies. So like a lot of you who are probably listening, who are agency owners, we actually work with a number of agencies providing client account management services,
Joe Troyer 1:47
Awesome. But before we do that, let's talk about your background. Can you give us a little bit of a catch up on on how you get started in this crazy digital marketing and digital agency world as we know it today?
Taylor McMaster 2:01
Yeah, yeah. So I've been in marketing for my whole career. So I worked in traditional marketing, the classic, you know, worked nine to five in a cubicle, I did it all. And I just loved everything about marketing. But I always had kind of that entrepreneurial spirit, I knew I wanted to do something on my own, I had no idea what I was going to do. But when I was working in full time, I decided to, you know, explore the online digital marketing world, fell into the whole, Click Funnels trap, and started building funnels and landing pages and realized, kind of, for a lot of us who go through this kind of process of realizing, wow, there's like a whole other world out there of marketing. So I started to kind of get really curious. And then, after a while, I was like, You know what, I'm just gonna take the risk. So I drained my retirement savings, and left my job and started my own marketing agency. So I was doing everything from writing copy to building landing pages, literally any work I could get. And I felt lost for a while, probably like a lot of you agency owners who are listening, you know, you kind of take a while to figure out what it is you're even good at, or what you want to spend your day doing. And it wasn't till a couple years in that I was at a mastermind and I kind of was going to this mastermind thinking like, I don't really belong here. I don't know what I'm doing. And at that event, I said to myself, okay, Taylor, like, what do you really want to be doing everyday? What do you feel like you're really good at. And I've always been good at chatting with people, organized, you know, project management, talking to clients. So I said, Well, maybe I could just white label for other agencies and kind of do this contract role. And at this mastermind, everyone was saying, Oh, my gosh, I'll hire you, I'll hire you to do it, I'll hire you. And I was like, Okay, well, I'm going to go home and figure this out and kind of went home and started working with a number of agencies. And I really just had to execute it myself first to figure out if it was even like a, like a need in the industry. And people started reaching out. And so I just organically started to grow the team, to where we are today with 15 people now. And quickly growing. So yeah, that's, that's the short version of Dot and Company being born.
Joe Troyer 4:20
Perfect. That's awesome. I love that aha moment, right? Being born out of really necessity, you being you know, kind of lost and not sure what you're going to do yet. And then you're at this pivotal mastermind event. And everybody's like, Yeah, please, like we'd love to hire you. That's a crazy transition. And obviously sounds like things went, came together really fast after that. So I'm sure that you see under the hood of a lot of marketing agencies just like we do, right. We do back office fulfillment, you know, PPC management specifically for our clients with Google ads. And we get to see companies of all shapes and sizes and how they operate and the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I'm really curious, like, what do you? What do you see as the common threads of the companies that come to you, the agencies that come to you looking for your help? Are they the people just getting started? Are they like, you know, 2030 clients deep and it's owner operator ran, and they're just pulling their hair out? Or what's the typical agency looked like that comes in finds you?
Taylor McMaster 5:20
Yeah, you kind of nailed it there. It's the agency owner, who has clients has revenue has been through growing the agency, you know, they've proven themselves and they're at the point where their goals are to scale. They don't want to be doing all the client management, nor should they be. And they're kind of at this next step. But they're at the point where maybe they don't know how to hire somebody, they don't know where to look, they don't know how to train, they don't know what to pay them. Or maybe they don't want full time employees. And that's when people reach out to us kind of seeing what we offer and seeing if this could be a fit for their agency. But it's definitely when their goals are to scale. I would say it's kind of when they come to us.
Joe Troyer 6:00
So they got an existing roster, they're looking to scale. What are some other characteristics of that point, that pivotal point when agencies are really looking to bring in a client manager?
Taylor McMaster 6:12
Yeah, so mostly, it's agency owner lead. So they're doing, you know, the sales calls, but then they're the person who's managing the client, the relationship, doing the project management, facilitating with the team, maybe working with you and getting the PPC going on the back end and kind of juggling everything. And they realize that okay, in order for me to have like a sustainable agency, I need to focus. So maybe it's sales, maybe it's strategy, maybe it's client management. So it's, it's the agency owner, who's doing it all. That's generally when they come, yeah,
Joe Troyer 6:45
I can, I can feel like that, that it's gonna be such a struggle to bring on a client manager, like I've been there, myself, and it's giving that person so much trust, like, you've built this relationship, you got the sale, you built the relationship, you're doing fulfillment, and even if everything's going fantastic, like handing that relationship over for somebody else to manage, feels like, like, I'm turning over the keys to my life, right, like my livelihood. What are some tips or some tricks? Taylor to de risk some of that transition?
Taylor McMaster 7:21
Yeah, that's a good question. And I think every agency so unique, you know, even when I was running my own agency, I still have a client from then. And we're best friends, and I love her so much. And the thought of transitioning that over, that would be a longer cycle than it would be a new client for me. So when you think about transitioning out your client management to your team, you have to be ready, right? Like, you have to really look at your life and your business. And you have to say, like, I am ready for this to transition. And I know it's not going to be the exact same as when I'm doing it. But I'm hiring a team that I trust and that, like I'm ready for this. So what I would say is that it's a lot easier when they're new clients, because say you're the agency owner, and you're on the sales call, and you can talk up your team, you can say, okay, as soon as you come on board, Bob, I'm going to transition you over to Carly on my team who was absolutely amazing. She's going to do everything for you. From here on out, I'm still here, but she's your go to person, you know that transition is a lot easier than, hey, Bob, we've been working together for five years, I know everything about your life, we've had dinner multiple times. And now I'm handing the reins over to your new client account manager, that transition we recommend is a little bit longer, right? It's going to be gradual. And you're going to bring in this client account manager and prove themselves to the client as you kind of slowly step away. And then the clients will start to love your team, they'll start to see that maybe they're getting quicker responses than the agency owner would or maybe their projects are going smoother or, you know, it's just more of a professional relationship. So I would say it is unique to every agency. But it is doable. If you're an agency owner thinking like, I don't know how I could ever do that it is doable.
Joe Troyer 9:07
I think you hit on a big point right there a big key is that they're getting back to them faster. Right? I know that when I brought in account managers for big accounts that I've ran for a long time, for years. You know, somebody like some of my larger accounts, that was the key thing that really helped the transition was the turnaround time being so quickly that they started actually going to the account manager before they even knew that they were going to become the account manager then it was like a really easy transition to say, Alright, great. Now Taylor is going to be your account manager because you guys are working together so much anyway. And it almost was like they decided
Taylor McMaster 9:45
Yeah, right. It's building that trust.
Joe Troyer 9:48
Yeah. 100%. So where do you think or where do you see most often that agencies are falling short of when it comes to account management. Again, I'm sure you see agencies with all shapes, sizes, you know, skills or no skills. What do you think are the top things that are easy things that they're missing out on?
Taylor McMaster 10:10
Yeah, and I think we already talked about the first one, but definitely getting back to people in a timely manner agency owners, and like you're busy, you're you're running and you're running a business. And at the end of the day, if you're onboarding clients, and running projects, and sending reports, and doing invoices, and accounting and HR, like, there's only so much energy you can put out, so definitely getting back to people in on time is the number one thing that agencies fall short width, I would say sometimes it's letting clients just like control everything, like not setting the expectations, right, or giving your clients the process to properly communicate. So you know, a lot of agencies run their whole business in slack. And I personally don't love that, because I find it gets kind of communication is everywhere. But for some agencies that works, but you have to have a process for how clients can use it, right? You don't want to be laying in bed trying to go on Instagram, and then you're replying to clients, you know, you have to have a process and expectations for your clients. And another thing that I see within a lot of agencies is they don't really have a hiring process in place. So you know, for example, if you're hiring a client account manager, or you're hiring a sales person or project manager, and if you're going through that entire process yourself as the agency owner, and you don't have a process, it gets really tricky, because you're spending so much time on hiring, and maybe the training part takes up too much time or you're getting candidates through the door who just aren't a good fit. So I would say that's a huge thing, as well as having a process to hire for this role. And you know, we have people on our team, that's their full time job is hiring for that reason, because it's really tricky, and it's really hard. So I would say like having that process is really important.
Joe Troyer 11:56
Good stuff. Okay. So if you're gonna bring in a client account manager at your company, like what are what are some of the key things that you look for in the person? What type of person are you looking for? And what type of like work history Are you looking for in that hire?
Taylor McMaster 12:11
Yeah. So I find this client account manager role really hard to hire for. And I know that sounds funny coming from me, but it's super hard, because we're looking for a unicorn. And it's, you know, it's not only, like, the things that we look for are, of course, personality fit. So that is number one for us, they have to fit not only our company adopted company, but be a personality that can also fit in different agencies. So personality is one second is their communication. So you need someone who's good at written communication, and also good video communication. And we all know not everyone is strong on video or written. So that's a huge thing that we look for. And then again, experience in digital marketing. So do they have the understanding of marketing funnels and KPIs and Facebook ads versus PPC versus YouTube ads versus like coaches and ecom? Like, how can they kind of come to the table with this experience? And so in our hiring process, it's very detailed. But it takes a lot of people to come in, quote, top of funnel from our hiring process to even find a strong candidate to work at our company. So I would say though, high level is personality, communication and experience.
Joe Troyer 13:32
Yeah, I will say when we hire client managers too yeah, they are, they are like unicorns, because they got to know both sides, they got to be creative. They got to also understand like, the the math and how the algorithms work. But then they also have to be able to actually handle a client set expectations, be able to actually manage the project. They're definitely very, very difficult to find that I would completely agree with you. And I was hoping for a different answer something that was like, Oh, well, it's easy. We just do this. But I have to agree. They're they're a little bit like unicorns for sure.
Taylor McMaster 14:06
Yeah. So much goes into it, yeah.
Joe Troyer 14:09
I know, Taylor, that you talk a lot about onboarding and how like, it's the start of every client agency relationship. And by your standards, I know it's a really important part of what you guys do in an agency's role of bringing somebody on board correctly, them sticking around for a long term and, you know, not turning out the the other side with all of your experience and your standards, like what do you think, a good or the perfect onboarding experience really looks like?
Taylor McMaster 14:41
Yeah, I think the biggest thing to always think about when you're onboarding a client is that you're you're working with humans, and it's hard in our virtual world to remember that. But when you think about onboarding a new client, you want that experience to be the best ever from day one, when that sales person transitions it over. To your client account manager, you want them to be warm and bubbly, and quick and proactive and like a system, right? Everything comes down to systems. So if you're being quick to communicate, you're proactive, you're keeping your clients excited. And you want to make this new clients feel like they're the only client, right? So you're speaking, if the client speaking to the salesperson, and they're like, Okay, let's do it. And you're like, Okay, great, like, I'm gonna pass you over to Taylor, she's your client account manager, she's gonna onboard you. And then I come in, I'm like, Hey, Joe, I'm so excited to have you on board. Like, let's do this, let's, you know, get you on board. And here's what I need from you. And just like keeping them excited, and making them feel like you have dropped everything in your day just to keep give them that experience. And I think that's the most important thing. And we, you know, in the agency, world, systematize everything. So sometimes it can just feel like a checklist that you're going through, like, okay, now you need to pay now you need to give me this night. Now you need to do this. But like, if you think about, these are humans and you want to keep them excited. That is kind of the most important thing.
Joe Troyer 16:05
I gotta agree, I think that you can tell like when somebody bad is running a meeting, and it's just boring, and you don't want to be there, like how is your client supposed to feel in their shoes. And a good friend of mine, Josh Nelson has a really successful agency and runs an agency mastermind as well. And he says like the number one reason that client stopped working with agencies is indifference. And I gotta say that like just the the bubbly personality and the client, thinking that you're doing everything in your power to knock it out of the park, for them is such a big part of that, right? That Taylor's always got my best interests at heart. She's always putting in the work for me. She's always over delivering, she's always happy, you know, that goes such a long way, I believe. And in keeping that indifference kind of feeling from the client at bay.
Taylor McMaster 16:54
Joe Troyer 16:55
Awesome. So I got a note here from our producer, Eduardo, he's like, you gotta ask Taylor about her secret weapon called the daily pulse. What the heck is the daily pulse?
Taylor McMaster 17:06
Yes. So this is something that we coined over a dot and company. And essentially, it is a daily touch point. And it came it stemmed from the idea that you need to be pulsing in and out with your clients on a daily basis, maybe every two days. But again, your clients want to feel like they're your only client, and they want to feel like you are there for them. Keep in mind, these people are probably spending 1000s of dollars for your services on a monthly basis, they're probably, you know, they might have been burned in the past they may have might have worked with other agencies and not gotten results, the little thing that you can do to just make them feel like they're the only client on your roster is to give them this daily pulse. So really, it's proactive communication. It's, Hey, Joe, like got your onboarding form. We're working on it. Hey, Joe. Next step is we're writing some scripts for your ads. I'll be in touch tomorrow. Hey, Joe, like it's going to be three days for the scripts. Do you have any questions? In the meantime, here's this, you know, it's, it's touching base with even if you don't have anything major to say, it kind of stems back to you know, how we always say, don't do that you don't have to be perfect before you take action. It's kind of one of those things, right? You don't have to have a huge update for your clients before you talk to them. So send them a quick pulse, send them a quick update, whether it's good or bad, or doesn't really feel like it means anything to you. But it's just that proactive communication.
Joe Troyer 18:30
So, what do you do when a client goes dark, right? You send in your sending communication, you know, once a day or every other day, and your client goes dark, and they just stop responding. You can see that they aren't even looking at their emails, you can see they're not getting opened, you just keep the same posture. what's what's your recommendation in a situation like that?
Taylor McMaster 18:52
Anytime this comes up with our team, my recommendation always is to find another way. So do they have a phone number? Do they have you know, another email address? Are they on Facebook that you've messaged them before? Maybe you should get your boss to send them a quick email and you know CCU in, whatever you need to do to get in touch with them, you have to do it's your job. So I would just say, just because they're going dark doesn't mean that you should stop. Just keep finding ways to communicate with them. Obviously, in the online world, sometimes it's hard if people don't answer their phone or answer their email. But as long as you have that track record, that you're trying your best, and that you're, you know, doing everything you can to get in touch with them. I think that's kind of the most important thing.
Joe Troyer 19:33
Definitely, I would tend to agree. I think a lot of agency owners get scared, right? That if they become a nuisance, or if they're bugging the person that the person is going to cancel. And so when they stop responding or aren't checking in, it's like, Yeah, no problem. I get the hint. You don't want to talk to me, and they feel like that's the play versus staying top of mind. And so I do agree with your strategy. I think it's better to To deal with it head on, because again, you know, like, like my friend says, Josh, you know, I do believe that indifference is probably the top reason why people cancel. So love that. What do you what do you do? Or what are some best practices to just keep the relationship like fresh, right? If you're talking with a prospect every day? Like how do you not annoy the prospect or get older? How do you not feel like, man like this guy's gotta hate me by now? Every single day like, how does that not get stagnant I guess
Taylor McMaster 20:36
yeah. So you know there's different ways that you can communicate with them even say you're emailing them every day, maybe it's a loom video once a week with walking through the report, maybe you're sending them a survey to see how happy they are with their their onboarding process, maybe you're inviting them to be on your podcast, maybe you have a podcast, or you want to feature them on your blog. So kind of giving them kind of those extra touches, maybe you're sending them a welcome gift, just a quick coffee, like, you know, little things that you can kind of keep pulsing into your clients that you know, might wow them. It might not, but you feel like you're getting creative with your with your communication, because the online world can get boring at times, and you're sitting behind a computer. But my favorite is to send somebody a Starbucks gift card and just say, Hey, I really wish I could take you for coffee. But since I can't, I hope you can grab a latte on me or something like that.
Joe Troyer 21:31
Yeah, that's awesome. And I love the the analogy of sending them the pulse, right? Because that's not just sending them a communication, like just some random limb video, I think that's a, it's a good explanation, giving them a pulse, right? You want it to be happy, you want it to be exciting, you want to you know, be over delivering. So definitely love that. From a practical standpoint. I'm curious, like, if I brought on an account manager tomorrow, right? How many accounts can an account manager handle? What's kind of the math behind that? What's that look like?
Taylor McMaster 22:01
This is probably the most asked question from agency owners. And I wish I had a very specific answer. But it really depends. So for an example, one of our agencies runs, massive launches, and course like with course creators, so three clients for her agency takes up as much time as one of my agencies that has 30 clients because of the clientele, because they have a lot more meetings a lot more creative, a lot more moving parts versus minds just strictly quick onboarding. And you know, a couple calls a month, you know, so it really depends on your agency, if you're, you know, in a lead gen agency, where there's no meetings, and there's just a weekly report, and kind of a little bit of back and forth, you can work with a ton of clients with one account manager. But if you are kind of full service, and there's tons of moving parts, it's going to be significantly less. Yeah,
Joe Troyer 22:57
cool. So um, let's talk about like, when things aren't going well, right, as an account manager when things aren't going well, and what I mean by that is the client's expectations aren't being hit, right, right, wrong or indifferent. Whether they feel like you're not doing a good job and you are in it's just, they don't understand it, right. But when that relationship is starting to sour, because of the, the results, so to speak, what are some things that an account manager can do to to build that relationship and keep it moving in a positive direction, and keep that relationship strong, instead of the client just you know, sending in, you know, their formal written notice that they're canceling?
Taylor McMaster 23:41
Yeah. So I mean, this happens, right? We're working with clients who have budgets, and we're trying to get them results. And a lot of times things don't work in our world, right? So you're gonna have angry clients. And I think the most important thing is just to build that relationship from the beginning, because it makes it easier if these things kind of happen. So obviously, proactive communication from the beginning. But if things start to look a little bit, you know, like they're going downhill, book a meeting with the client, get on there, make sure that they feel like you get them and you're not being defensive. That is the worst thing that you can do, right? You want them to feel like you're listening and you're saying, okay, like I get it, like, Okay, so here's what we're going to do. We're going to get new creative quickly, we're going to ramp up. XYZ. I'm chatting with the media team, I'm going to be sending you daily reports to make sure you feel like you know, all hands on deck here. If the relationship is looking pretty sour. Obviously you want to bring in the agency owner or the operations manager, of course, so that they know you don't want to be kind of sitting in silo and you know, you could have told the agency owner. So be proactive in that sense. Try and make it work on your own. But if you have a gut feeling like things are going Go sour, bring any agency owners that they're aware. But I think just make sure that you're you're billing relationship, right, like making sure the client feels heard and that you're doing everything you can to, to get them the results that you need.
Joe Troyer 25:14
That's awesome. All right. So, at the end of the day, what's the What do you think are the most important things that the audience takes away? When it comes to client management success? Is there anything that we missed,
Unknown Speaker 25:25
um, that it's a game changer? Yeah, having a client account manager inside of your business, like I have this for my own business. Now I have someone who manages all my clients, you know, I'm not dealing with fires, I'm not dealing with anything like it's, you get so much time back in your day, by hiring team members who actually know what they're doing. But yeah, building a business isn't just about the day to day, it's really about the lifestyle that you're going for, of course, so I think it's important to think about what is the next 3,6, 9, 12 months of your agency going to look like? And if you're at the point where you're thinking, Okay, I might want to hire someone, I would say, Get that scope together sooner than later. So that you can start to think about on a daily basis, okay, I'm in for client meetings today, would I give this over to my client account manager, and start to build that SOP for your agency soon. So then when the time comes, that you might hire someone into your agency, you kind of have that SOP built. And of course, if if you love doing account management for your clients, there's nothing wrong with that. I think in our industry, a lot of people say, Oh, you have to outsource like sales, account management, everything. But you know, at the end of the day, if this is your favorite part of your agency, like you don't have to get rid of it. Maybe you do hire a project manager. And you still are client facing, that's okay, too. But I think it comes down to what your goals are and your agency, your lifestyle goals, and what your strengths are perfect.
Joe Troyer 26:55
And if somebody is looking to work with dot and company, how would they get in touch with you guys? Or what would next steps look like?
Taylor McMaster 27:01
Yeah, just pop over to our website, dot and company Co. We're also on Facebook, Instagram, all that stuff. We also have a podcast too, called the happy clients podcast. But yeah, I would love to, to chat with any agency and kind of learn more about what they're up to.
Joe Troyer 27:19
Perfect. We'll link those both those resources up in the show notes. And then if somebody's looking not necessarily for like a done for you solution, or a done with you solution. What do you have any recommendations in terms of training or systems or processes that they should be looking at? or investing in? Or any programs you'd recommend?
Taylor McMaster 27:37
Yes, we have them all. Yeah, so we do train a lot of account managers as well. So if you have an account manager in house, or you're hiring, we actually can come in and help train them in our methods. So yeah, definitely reach out on our website. If you have any questions, we have a shop there, you can kind of get your hands on our resources and things like that.
Joe Troyer 27:59
Perfect. All right. So last question, wrapping it up. This has been awesome. I know everybody's going to get a ton of value out of this. So I always ask instead of asking you to recommend three books, which I feel like every podcast does either love a book, or I hate a book, right? So I'm always looking for good book recommendations from entrepreneurs in similar circles, right? So I like to do something a little bit different. I like to ask what's the one book that's made the biggest impact on the way that you do business? And why?
Taylor McMaster 28:31
I like this question because I'm also the same I either like or really don't like a book. I don't like that was a waste of my time. But I like the compound effect. I read this book a really long time ago. And what it really taught me was just to do more of what's working but yeah, so I just think it's so important as entrepreneurs to not get distracted and if you think about the compound effect if you just keep doing what you're doing and improving on it, then the compound effect will be you know, it'll just happen so I like that one.
Joe Troyer 29:06
Yeah, sure. I love that book. I remember reading it probably due for reread though, but I was just chatting with one of my friends and he was like, named five places in your business where you get a 15% lift over the next six months. And and I rattled off, oh, well, we're not good at this, this that, you know, these are the areas we could get an easy 15% and he's like, great, that compound effect doubles your business in the next six months. And I was just like, Oh, wait, what? So so I think you're completely right. And and, you know, we as entrepreneurs, not just agency owners, but all entrepreneurs, it's hard to stay focused. And I couldn't agree more if we just stick down the path that we're on in slog it out every day, right, that will really have the benefits from that compound effect.
Taylor McMaster 29:54
Yeah, yeah. Good one.
Joe Troyer 29:56
Love it. Good stuff. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. I know everybody's gonna love it and love to have you back on in the future
Taylor McMaster 30:03
I would love that. It's been a pleasure. Thank you.
Joe Troyer 30:07
All right everybody. Hope you guys enjoyed this episode of Show Me The Nuggets. We'll see you guys on the next one.