The Best Way To Position Your SEO Agency for Client Retention

Convincing clients that search engine optimization (SEO) is a worthy investment can be a huge challenge. You’re expected to show results quickly. But SEO takes time, and Google Algorithm updates don’t make it easier. 

Plus, clients are sometimes the biggest roadblocks to your success. (Think of all the times you waited on feedback, approvals or managed direct interference with your strategies.)

Still, you need to establish yourself as a partner that drives revenue if you expect to retain your clients. 

Unfortunately, most SEOs cling to keyword and traffic data to justify their value to clients. And they often speak in terms clients don’t understand, relying heavily on jargon during meetings. Occasionally, they’ll tie traffic to conversions, but not always.

Either way, this isn’t enough. 

If you’re going to retain your SEO clients long-term, you need to position your organization as a strategic asset to their business. In short, you need to get a seat at the table. 

Here’s how.

The Biggest Mistake Marketers Make With SEO 

Too often, agencies and internal teams glaze over discussing return on investment (ROI) from organic traffic. Instead, they focus more on keywords, technical SEO issues and content opportunities when determining whether or not SEO is worth it to a client.

This is the wrong approach. The cold reality is that SEO is an investment, and you need to be focused on ROI from the start. 

If you don’t already know the conversion rates from organic traffic, you should dive into the analytics. 

Google Analytics (GA) is a great starting point but, its not recommended to rely directly on it for sales details.

Instead, you should compare your client’s overall organic traffic against what the internal sales dashboards or customer relationship management (CRM) state. Afterward, you can compare those metrics to what you see in GA. 

There will likely be some discrepancies between them. But, combining the two data streams can help you paint a clearer picture of conversion rates on the client’s website.

If you don’t have any goal tracking set up on the site, now’s the time. 

You can quickly set up goal and event tracking in Universal Analytics (UA) and GA 4 with Google Tag Manager (GTM). 

If your client doesn’t have a CRM, then things get tricky. You can recommend a CRM, or you can work with them to figure out how they track conversions.

Either way, you need to start with a baseline of data. This will allow you to illustrate how effectively your work drives sales.

The Sales Call Is Critical to Successful SEO Campaigns

SEO is like an onion; it has a lot of layers. As a result, it’s easy to get distracted by keyword opportunities and lose sight of what SEO is: a support network for sales.

SEO done right guides prospects from cold traffic to hot leads. 

But, you can’t do that with keyword research alone

You need real insights into the prospects’ challenges, pains and objections. And the best way to get that is to speak directly with the client’s sales team. 

Without jumping on a sales team call, you’ll have to infer (basically guess) what the client’s prospects need from their website performance and competitor analysis.

That’s not good enough. 

Instead, SEO should work closely with the sales team to better understand what keeps prospects up at night, what objections they may have to purchase and why they reached out in the first place. Plus, you’ll get real insights into their buyer’s journey.

This ensures that your SEO roadmap leads to assets that drive more sales. 

You don’t just want content for the sake of content or traffic. You want sales assets that build “trust bridges” between site visitors and your client. 

Even better, you want assets the sales team can send to prospects during the sales cycle. It’ll make the sales team’s lives much easier (and their work much more successful) if they have a range of assets they can lean on during the process. 

Blogs, white papers, infographics and other content that quickly conveys the client’s experience and unique selling proposition (USP) are key. 

Leading an effective sales call is the key to creating assets your client needs.

How To Lead an Effective Sales Team Call

The prep work is the key to an effective strategy call between sales and marketing. You need to have a list of questions ready to go. And you need to send these questions out beforehand. 

You want to keep the call focused

Your goal is to find out how to help the sales team with content that supports conversions. You’ll be discussing the challenges they face, and that opens the door to a possible venting session. 

You don’t want that.

The best way to avoid that is to have leadership on the call to ensure the conversation stays focused.

Questions To Ask on the Sales Call

You must be prepared to get the most out of your sales call. The following questions will help you guide the sales team to the feedback you need for creating significant assets and strategies.

Questions About Leads:

How would you define your ideal lead?
★ What are the disqualifiers for leads?
★ Are there any audiences that you feel we should prioritize?

Questions About Pain Points:

What are the most common, immediate pain points of sales prospects?
★ What are they worried will happen if they don’t solve those problems?
★ How do you convince prospects that your solution will solve their problems?
★ Do prospects describe their problem or your solution differently than how your business describes them? (If so, can you list a few examples?)
★ What solutions have prospects usually tried before?
★ Why haven’t these solutions worked?

Questions About the Product/Service:

What product or service do most leads choose? And why do you think that is?
★ What expectations do they have about working with your business?
★ Are there any misconceptions between the service or product your business offers and what prospects think those are?
★ Are there any “No Fly” terms or phrases you avoid during the sales cycle?
★ What gets them excited about working with you?
★ How long is the sales process typically?

Questions About Concerns/Objections:

What are the most common objections prospects have that make them hesitate or say “No” to choosing your product or service?
★ How do you help them overcome those objections?
★ What myths do prospects continue to believe interfere with the sales cycle?

Additional Notes/Questions:

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
★ Is there a tool, resource and/or template you think would help convince prospects that they should work with you?

Usually, the sales call will take about an hour. But you may need more time if you haven’t done one with the client before or if the sales team’s involvement is high. 

You can schedule a second call to wrap up this discovery if that’s the case. But you don’t want to go longer than an hour in one sitting as the answers may be rushed. You also want to be respectful of everyone’s time.

What To Do After the Sales Team Meeting

After the call, it’s time to take action

The first thing you need to do is send a follow-up email thanking everyone for their time. The sales team and leadership are busy. Reinforcing how productive and helpful the call was is key to ensuring they’ll be open to future meetings. 

Yes. There will be future meetings.

In the short run, if you run out of time to discuss all the points, you may need to schedule a follow-up call to finish collecting data. Or, you could send the form in an email for the sales team to complete. (But, unless this is reinforced by leadership, it likely won’t happen.)

You will also need to follow up with the sales team at least once a quarter. This is because markets, businesses and customer demands change. As a result, the sales team may have new insights to share.

You can also review notes from sales calls if you need additional insights. 

You can usually find these in your client’s CRM. Ask them to do it if they don’t have one or don’t track client calls. This information is critical for developing marketing collateral that drives conversions.

However, it’s important not to get lost in the data. Analysis paralysis is a real thing. Block out time for reviewing the data. After, get to work building out the strategy.

How the Sales Call Supports Client Retention

The key to retaining SEO clients is to go beyond keyword data, backlinks and other generic jargon. Instead, you must establish yourself as a partner determined to grow your business. 

SEO is the skillset you use to make that happen. 

Working closely with the sales team to create assets that support the buyer’s journey and help close deals makes you a critical member of their team. 

SEO done this way builds a relationship with your client that isn’t solely tied to traffic rankings and confusing SEO jargon. In other words, if their site fluctuates, they won’t be second-guessing their decision to work with you. 

Instead, you’ll have established your agency as an essential partner tied to their growth. 

And that’s how you retain clients.

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