Your company won the work, now you have to plan the all-important web project kick-off meeting with the client. Like the first day of work, the kick-off meeting lays the foundation for the relationship. The tone of the meeting can affect the success of the project as well as the relationship with the client, so this is your chance to build trust and start the project off right. This first client meeting can be a bit stressful, but being prepared is key.
As the first matter of business, it's important to include all of the team members who will be involved in the project. The kick-off meeting will include discussions about schedules and expectations by making roles, tasks, and deliverables clear to the entire team. The goal at the end of the meeting is for your client to leave feeling confident that your company can deliver as promised.
The Meeting Before the Meeting
Before meeting with the client, you and your team need to read and understand the contract, prepare any questions for the client, and have responses ready for any questions the client may ask. To this end, you’ll want to schedule an internal meeting with everyone involved in the project. This is the time to ask questions and review the details so that everyone is on the same page.
Creating the Agenda
Having a meeting agenda is standard practice and every Project Manager should have one that is outlined to share with the client and team members. The agenda will lay out the talking points and help keep the meeting organized so that all of the important issues are covered. If you’re a new Project Manager or are just looking for some extra tips to stay organized in a kick-off meeting, we have identified some key items to include:
1. Intros: When first kicking off with the client, make sure all team members are properly introduced and the client is aware of everyone’s role. In addition to stating titles, have each team member talk about what that means (e.g., As the Digital Marketing Manager, I will be managing your SEM and paid social campaigns). Putting faces to roles is immeasurably helpful in establishing solid relationships.
2. Project: After introductions, review the scope of the project. This ensures that everyone has the same understanding of the work to be done. It's not uncommon for clients and vendors to have different interpretations of tasks in the scope of work, and this is the time for those differences to be discussed. You’ll also want to identify the goals of the project and ask the client how they define success.
3. Methodology: As a Project Manager, your job is to facilitate the entire project and make sure that tasks and deliverables are completed as promised and on schedule. Discussing the type of methodology you’re using is important in that it explains your approach and justifies why you chose that specific method. If you’ve used that methodology for any specific clients in the past who’ve had successful project launches, this would be a good time to use them as examples in order to instill trust with the client.
You’ll also want to briefly touch on how you will track expenses, hours, client training, communication processes, and describe any platforms you will be using to stay organized and make sure communication is streamlined. But be careful not to go into too much detail; you want to try and stay as high level as possible because this meeting is more about setting expectations, walking the client through the project, and instilling enthusiasm in your team members as well as the client.
4. Timeline: After discussing the project approach, you’ll want to go through project phases along with a visual of the actual timeline and explain what is expected to be accomplished within each phase. Applying some cushion to your timeline could be helpful as projects tend to get delayed for various reasons.
5. Q&A: The Q&A portion of the meeting is a chance for the client to ask questions about anything that may not be clear or about project details. It’s also important for you to ask questions you think may be important to know before getting started. Remember, everyone needs to be on the same page before leaving the meeting, otherwise, your team will look disorganized and you could waste a good deal of time and resources getting back on track.
6. Close: Make sure the client has all the necessary contact information from you and other team members they are in contact with or will be in contact with on a regular basis.
There you have it: Some tips and planning to set you up for a successful kickoff meeting with your client. As a quick recap, prepare your team, make sure everyone is on the same page on the scope of work, and keep the meeting on track. You got this!
The Project Managers at New Target have extensive backgrounds in successfully managing multiple projects from start to finish. They have experience across industries and are expert at handling projects of all sizes. If you have a web development, web design, or digital marketing project that you need help getting off the ground, let's set up a call to discuss the details. Simply fill out our contact form and a team member will be in touch.
Headquartered near Washington, D.C., with offices in Los Angeles, CA, New Target provides digital strategy, web design, web development, data integration, application hosting, and online marketing for prominent national associations, corporations, and government.
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