For B2B service providers, retaining clients is one of the quickest (and most cost-efficient) ways to grow business. The project manager (formerly Customer Success Manager) role is essential to delighting customers and identifying when to extend terms, upsell, or expand the account. Even though most business owners and revenue-owning teams realize the importance of this position, many of them do not leverage the PM role to its fullest extent.
On top of this, even if a company has a project manager, it may not prioritize maintaining communication with the client after the deal has been closed. As you might have guessed, a poor customer experience is one of the main factors of high churn rates.
Due to disappointing customer service, many clients take their business elsewhere. Such poor interactions damage both service providers and their clients. It wastes the energy, time, and money of everyone involved.
Because there’s so much on the line when it comes to a project's success, it’s important to explore the project manager role. Why are they important for the B2B business, and what do they do on a daily basis? What are the real benefits of having a consistent PM role? This article answers these questions and more.
Why Is a Project Manager Role Necessary in B2B?
A B2B product or service is somewhat difficult to comprehend by just checking it out on a website. Unlike in B2C, the customer’s journey in B2B (mostly) can’t be entirely digital; human interaction is needed. Most clients require the caring hand of a project manager throughout the post-purchase phase. The PM’s job is to understand customer’s priorities and help them achieve their long-term goals.
Project managers are the guardian angels of customers. Unlike regular support agents, PMs communicate with the same customer directly, forming strong personal and business relationships. The job entails:
- Guiding customers from the moment they purchase a product or a service and go with them until the very end
- Explaining the sales processes
- Delivering the values of the business
- Answering any questions the client has at any time
- Tracking all the ongoing processes
- Eliminating rising problems and complications
Even after the project is done, PMs still check on the clients, making sure they get the needed support and tools to achieve their business goals. All of these small actions increase the chances of the client returning to you repeatedly, which is the primary aim of every B2B company.
The Project Manager’s Responsibilities
Even though the PM role is heavily focused on improving relationships with the customer, this position requires completing a number of small daily tasks. The PM’s main responsibility is to ensure customer’s successful cooperation with your company. However, this task itself consists of multiple daily actions. The project manager's role also includes:
- Analysis of the buyer persona, customer’s product, or service
- Planning the campaign and laying down the strategy
- Communicating both with the clients and colleagues involved in the project
- Collecting the reports from the project team and making sure they are sent to the client by the messaging specialist
- Making suggestions on the new campaigns for the client
- Organizing the working process
- Solving general problems that might occur during the implementation of the project
- Reviewing the results of the current campaign and suggesting changes
- Reporting and analysis
Project Management Stages at CIENCE
When a client makes a purchase for the full CIENCE package, a project manager, researcher, and SDRs are assigned to work with a client. Usually, such projects include six main stages:
1. Studying and planning
The PM’s main responsibility at this point is to find out about the client and their business goals as much as possible. This can be achieved through numerous phone calls, interviews, questionnaires, or simply via email conversations (whatever you’re both comfortable with).
The information they get allows them to form the buyer persona, lead generation channels, and lead campaign strategists to write good email templates and phone call scripts, and simply understand the project specifics deeper.
After the client answers all the necessary questions, the PM studies the project. They pay special attention to the following data: the client’s company, product, or service to promote; the individual requirements for the research and/or outbound prospecting; and the expectations and goals, etc.
Some of the clients develop a project strategy on their own; however, we always suggest that our PMs do it instead for a couple of reasons: Project managers have expertise in planning and managing prospecting campaigns. For example, they can see if the research is too complicated and lower the weekly and daily rates. They also specialize in particular industries and can give valuable advice based on their experience.
2. Client onboarding
Client onboarding is an essential part of every project. At the very beginning, it includes setting up an account introduction call with the client, during which the CIENCE team goes through the expectations about the project.
In a couple of days after the first meeting, the PMs together with the campaign strategist, set up a messaging call to discuss the prioritized target audience, product or service specifics, and go over the suggested approach. To avoid any future misunderstandings, we go through every detail about our process to the customers at this stage.
During the call, the campaign strategist usually asks even more questions to define all the details about the client: their product/service and their buyer persona. At the end of the call, the PM takes everything that was discussed into account and introduces the suggested outreach strategy to the client.
The client’s onboarding may take up to three weeks. This time is not wasted; instead, we start working on the draft of the Outreach Playbook that includes email templates, content for the calls, LinkedIn messages, and web channels. We also keep communicating with the client to gather as much information about their product or service as possible.
3. Campaign launch
Set-up activities take between ten to twenty days, depending on the customer requirements and the specific services being provided. Once it is all done, the campaign is ready to get going. The project manager's responsibility at this stage is to make sure all the principal components of a campaign are ready for the launch, which include:
- Contact list to ensure quality leads and low bounce rates
- Email send-outs organized in waves
- Calls to the leads who reacted to these emails (Callers also touch the ones who haven't reacted yet)
- Follow-up emails
- Programmatic ads and new landing page
- Contact meeting scheduled
4. Ongoing campaign
The project manager’s role at this stage is to supervise ongoing processes, focusing on:
- Setting up bi-weekly meeting calls with clients and colleagues
- Collecting feedback, ideas, and concerns from both teammates and clients
- Monitoring the campaign statistics and results at least once a week
- Planning and introducing changes, if necessary
The PM generally has two to three backup plans for one campaign. It’s essential, in case the initial strategy doesn’t work as effectively as expected.
5. Analysis of the results
At the end of the campaign, which might last for twenty-one days (full cadence), the project manager collects all the reports and data to complete the final review. The purpose of this stage is to make a comprehensive analysis of the campaign starting from the research or outreach standpoint, plan the next steps, and point out the most effective strategies moving forward. The project team presents the final report of the campaign to the client.
6. Campaign completion and launch of the new campaign
Generally, a project has several campaigns that are conducted simultaneously. After sending the report to the client, the PM suggests discussing any campaign improvements or offers to launch new campaigns, if necessary.
We mostly promote people inside the company to project managers role rather than hire people from outside the company. It’s because we need people in this position who understand the specifics of our work. In this case, they won’t promise impossible things to our clients and will be able to help other employees involved in a campaign, if needed.
—Vladimir Alekseenko, the Head of PM Department at CIENCE
A Typical Day in Life of a Project Manager
Daria Danska, the Project Manager Team Lead at CIENCE, shared a typical timetable of a PM with us. Back in 2017, after a year with CIENCE, Daria was promoted from the position of an SDR to a Customer Success Manager. Today, Daria is the Team Lead of the PM department, and she is doing a great job. Please, note that the time stated is in PDT.
12 pm – 2 pm (7 am – 9 am EST): Clock-in. That’s the time when the PM checks the daily to-do list per each client account. On average, they have about twenty customers per manager. They also need to prepare for the regular meetings and calls with the internal team and the clients.
2 pm – 2:30 pm (9 am – 9:30 am EST): the PM handles a bi-weekly call with the first customer. Its average duration is around thirty minutes, depending on what exactly needs to be discussed. However, some clients prefer longer conversations, which can take over an hour sometimes.
After the call, the PM needs to update the team that works with that client about any account changes that were discussed during the call. Then, the PM assigns tasks to the colleagues involved in the project and updates the client on the next steps discussed through email or Slack.
3 pm – 4 pm (10 am – 11 am EST): Internal meeting with the CIENCE team. These types of meetings might be happening throughout the day (from one longer meeting to several fifteen minutes calls prior to each client).
4 pm – 5 pm (11 am – 12 pm EST): Lunch break.
5 pm – 5:30 pm (12 pm – 12:30 pm EST): Bi-weekly or general client sync-up call with the second customer. The PM provides the account changes to the data team and distributes tasks.
6:15 pm – 6:45 pm (1:15 pm – 1:45 pm EST): Conducts the third bi-weekly or general client sync-up call. Team discussion about the account updates and assigning the tasks.
7:30 pm (2:30 pm EST): Internal meetings. This meeting is usually shorter than the one in the first half of the day and lasts for about half an hour.
8 pm – 8:30 pm (3 pm – 3:30 pm EST): Call with the fourth customer. The PM gathers the team to announce the account changes and designates the task.
9 pm (4 pm EST): Clock out. Time to close the laptops and have some rest.
The schedule above may vary depending on the number of clients each PM handles and the amount of assistance they need. Some projects require more attention and time dedication management skills, others may be easier to keep track of. However, each client receives enough time to solve their needs directly with their PM.
Get Outbound Results with Project Managers
Regardless of the services or product you provide, PMs will make sure the communication between you and your client goes smoothly from the very beginning of your business interaction. They will keep track of all the numerous ongoing processes, solve critical situations which will definitely occur, and improve the customer’s experience to ensure optimal results.