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Everything Your Clients Want to Know About GamePlans

Gray MacKenzie
Gray MacKenzie is a true operations nerd who has spent the past decade helping hundreds of agencies build more productive, profitable, and healthy teams by solving the core issues plaguing their project management.

To chat with Gray and have ZenPilot lead your team through the last project management implementation you'll ever need, schedule a quick call here.

This season, we’ve been exploring the journey that successful inbound partnerships follow. The milestones are:

  • Inbound GamePlan
  • Building the Engine
  • Tweaking/Redesigning the Website
  • Inbound Campaigns

When casting this journey to a prospective client, they’re naturally going to have a lot of questions about the starting point—the Inbound GamePlan

Why Clients Have Questions About the GamePlan

A lot of agencies dive straight into tactics. Because of this, clients almost naturally expect agencies to start with the granular “here’s what we’re going to do, exactly.” 

It’s also normal for a client to be extremely eager for results. In their mind, tactics often equal direct results and growth. 

The truth, however, is that so many inbound partnerships start with tactics and end in failure. The bottom line is that starting with inbound campaigns is a fatal mistake. 

Come Prepared

It’s important to come prepared for these kinds of conversations. By anticipating and thinking of your answers ahead of time, you’ll be equipped to best lead your clients. 

You’ll also have something vital to success—confidence. 

As you’re evaluating these questions and answers, consider how it relates to your agency. I also highly recommend centralizing your unique answers in a place where any member of your team can gain access. You never know when someone will be in the unique situation to sell a GamePlan. 

Here’s what your clients want to know about a GamePlan. 

What Exactly is a GamePlan?

The GamePlan is a strategic plan to unite an organization to the mission of systematically sharing answers to prospect’s and customer’s questions through helpful online content. It lays out the first 12 months of your inbound partnership. 

The GamePlan is so much more than just a well-researched plan of attack. It’s part pep rally, part brainstorm, and 100% actionable strategy. 

Key Point: GamePlans Are 100% Actionable

It’s important to stress that the GamePlan is so extensive that if the client wanted, they could implement it themselves. 

The hope, however, is that everyone works well together and wishes to carry on to bring it to life. 

Why Do We Need to Start with a GamePlan?

The easiest answer is one we already covered—starting with inbound campaigns leads to failure. 

Your client might have push back at this initial answer. The best way to combat it is to give specific examples of how not starting with a GamePlan ended in disaster. 

You Need to Identify Buyer Personas

Again, clients want to start cranking the leads right away. The honest truth is that you need to start with a GamePlan to identify your client’s ideal Buyer Personas in gratuitous detail. Otherwise you’re just assembling a bunch of poorly planned tactics together. 

Clients often think they know their Buyer Personas better than they actually do. They might have some idea, but most of the time vital pieces of the puzzle are missing. 

The GamePlan defines the full Buyer’s Journey for each Person, which includes

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

The Reason People Aren’t Sure How to Market

To take this one step further—the root of all marketing confusion is not knowing Buyer Personas. 

Your clients don’t know what to do because they don’t understand their Buyer Personas well enough. If they did, and knew them like their own family, the method for reaching them would quickly make itself known. 

Inbound is a Laser 

Inbound is not a shotgun. It’s a different animal than direct mail, cold calling, and all of the other methods that have come and gone. Inbound is a laser. The only way that laser can hit the mark is with a defined strategy for winning. 

Your Team Needs to Be Bought In

One of the biggest advantages of the GamePlan is that it unites an organization around the idea of inbound. 

Inbound is a culture change. It impacts the way marketing and sales is handled. At the end of the day, it also determines whether a company grows or remains stagnant. This should be the concern of everyone in the organization. 

Gaining Insights from Unlikely People

Many organizations isolate each department. They tell sales to stay huddled in their part of the office. Same with customer service. And same with marketing. 

There are so many important insights to be found with these unique perspectives. Ultimately, the whole organization can help us reach true growth. 

What Are the Sections in a GamePlan?

The GamePlan process includes three major sections that build on one another:

  • Marketing analysis and competitor research
  • Person research, findings, and identification
  • Content planning for 12 months 

How Long Does It Take to Create a GamePlan

Typically the GamePlan process takes two-to-four weeks from start to finish. 

But really, it depends on how available your client is. If you can’t meet with them in a reasonable time period then it could take a lot longer. 

If your client’s leadership team isn’t available at all for the GamePlan meetings, it might be worth reconsidering. 

The leadership team has to be bought in and present. 

When Will You and the Marketing Department Have This Done?

Hold the phone!

So often clients will assume that just you and the marketing team will approach the GamePlan process. 

It doesn’t work that way though. As I mentioned above, if the leadership team isn’t willing to show up then you shouldn’t be either. A GamePlan’s success is dependent on the kind of people you can get around the table. 

Why Do Leadership and Other Team Members Need to be Involved? Isn’t That Why We Hired a Marketing Department?

This might be a point of tension, but the reality of the bigger picture is that inbound affects the entire organization. 

Without the understanding and involvement from leadership and other relevant team members like members of the sales and customer service teams, we aren’t able to understand the full picture

Regardless of what you client’s leadership team believes, every team member has something unique to offer

Inbound changes the way a company behaves. It also is the lead-generation source, which affects every single department. Leadership should care and be involved, or I promise, one day soon they will lose focus and cut inbound from the budget

How Much Time Do We All Have to Carve Out?

Naturally, they’ll want to know how much time is required. The GamePlan process rolls out over at least two meetings that require the time of leadership:

  • The Discovery Meeting
  • Final presentation

The other meeting—Persona Meeting—should be handled by whoever the Persona experts are, which you’ll identify during the Discovery Meeting

What Do We Get in the End?

Another common question is, in a nut shell, what will they receive.

The GamePlan is part pep rally, part conference and part strategy. You get the experience, knowledge, but on top of all of that you get a defined, specific plan that identifies researched and intelligent action steps for the first 12 months of the relationship.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

There You Have It!

That’s just about everything your client will want to know about a GamePlan. 

Did we miss something that you’re hearing? Let us know in the comments. 

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