I work at an agency and currently manage 12 SEO clients. My company wants to transfer 6 more to me in a month. These clients are from medium to high paying in our company.
How can I tell my company I am overloaded without sounding like a weak account manager?
11 👍🏽 1 💟 12
[filtered from 40 💬🗨]
Time to start building your outsourcing network.
EDIT: This may not be possible given his work situation
What do you mean?
Scott Allen 🎓 » Johnny
From what you described it sounds like you have more work than you can handle.
If this is the case, you are going to have to start hiring out tasks so that you can maintain quality in your deliverable and still have a life
Chris M. Walker 👑
I think he is working for a company so that is likely not an option here
Scott Allen 🎓 » Chris M. Walker
yep in re-reading that sounds more accurate.
That being said OP would be well served to develop a standard set of SOPs and learn to divide his time between clients.
Either that or talk to them and explain your concerns
Do you feel you are being 100% efficient with your time?
I'm not trying to catch you out, this is a genuine question.
I'd be looking at time management, which activities generate results, high value vs low-value work, outsource the low-value shit if you're really struggling; it shouldn't be hard to justify this as an additional business expense.
Your business case needs to go along the lines of: Getting help for the low value stuff will cost $300/week, this will allow me to focus on higher-value activities which improve client retention and growth by "xyz" basis points whilst being able to hold a larger wallet retention of clients/FTE.
Yeh you need to start outsourcing the workload. Concentrate on the macro and strategic side and outsource menial tasks.
Well, you need to sit down with your manager and explain your situation, ask for another resource, point out your issues.
Ask for a rise! I bet you they have fired employees and loading them on to you cos you sound like a "yes men" use them two balls you got between your legs ask for more money then get some Virtual Assistants (VA)s build more and leave this company and make your own!
this is a great idea in my opinion. I am definitely a yes man and the idea of going on my own crossed me many times. I just have fear really lol
Wells » Johnny
slowly do it mate, grab a few at a time
This means your doing great 💪 your company needs you more than their 6 new clients. So politely ask for hiring new junior SEO to manage everything efficiently.
This feels somewhat disorganized by your employers.
For every client, we have a specific number of hours allocated for each activity per month.
When it gets to the stage that we're giving someone more than 140 hours a month, we give work to colleagues or look to resource.
What I would suggest is that you outline what activities you need to complete for each client and provide a realistic estimation of time required.
If it's going to be significantly over that 140 mark, ask to be paid overtime or if that's not possible how the work should be resourced.
18 clients is far too many to provide actual value. That's ~2 hours per week.
I guess it's time you started your own agency. I think if you can partner with a great sales guy and you focus on account management and execution by outsourcing, 12-20 clients would give you good money. Now who's that sales guy here? I'm looking for one too. Hahaha.
Sorta' been in your shoes except I had a lot of support from leadership to replicate myself and build a team.
1) if the work load increases, the pay should increase
2) you need a team under you. Building social profiles, guest post outreach, content creation… you need a resource for each. I even had an onpage person. My role was ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT which means that I checked every piece of work and delivered reports to the client.
Once you are purely in a strategy role of assigning tasks, checking the work and updating the client, you should be able to manage about 20 clients in a 40 hour week, imo
The other thing is, if they increase your workload, the quality delivered to each client MUST decrease.
Lower your standards to meet your employer's expectation.
I’d hire an assistant or quietly outsource the minor stuff.
I was in a similar situation at a global company, I started out with five stores in three countries and ended up with 30 stores and over 20 countries, I had to tell my boss I needed an assistant and they understood and they hired me an assistant.
As someone who managed hundreds of clients for a large agency I can give some insight. You need to set your clients expectations that emails for small tasks and that you work by appointment only. This will make sure you can set aside 4 hours a day to work, and 4 hours for meetings and client questions. Most of the time setting client boundaries will make them respect your time more as they know they're working with a professional and not just some employee.
Good idea Alex thank you for this. What is the best way to convey this to clients?
Usually you do it when you first meet the client during the introduction call. However given you already have some on roster you'd need to send an email worded, due to the growth of our company and respect for your time I am now available by appointment only. If you have an emergency please email me and I will give you a call if a client cancels or during my scheduled work time. I want to allocate enough time to give you the attention you deserve while ensuring that your website is also being maintenanced accordingly. I have attached a link to my book.me where you can find available appointments and if you need a different time please email me so I can accommodate you accordingly. Thank you for your understanding and most importantly being a valued customer here.
I'm slashing my availability in half based on this comment. Thank you!
I assume you're talking to me. Glad I could help 🙂
Just have a honest chat with your manager mate. Any sane manger will understand the effort required to work on a project. Any project follows a pipeline model and you can only push so much in the pipe before stuff starts falling out from the other end. Explain your points to them and advise them that the extra workload can make you miss some of the none urgent but high risk tasks.
Ben Allen 🎓
lol at the last agency I worked at I would have been dancing on the desk if I had 18 SEO clients. We had 60-75 each that we had to touch every month.
But I understand, if you're doing real SEO, 18 clients is a lot, especially if they have big websites in competitive niches. I don't know how big your agency is, or how specialized the roles are, but you may consider asking if you can offload some of the work. If you have a copywriter, send them the copy assignments. Ask if the web designer can help with anything involving site changes. Ask if there is an intern or recent hire that can help with the easier stuff. See about outsourcing link building if that's a possibility (a lot of SEO agencies still doing link building do that), or look into paid media buying and paid links to offload some of the burden.
If that's not possible, I would just present an honest case to your boss and say you need more manpower. Show them the work log of your existing clients, and add up how much time it takes. If they are a growing agency that just can't handle (or doesn't care about) the time and work required for good rankings to keep those clients, and they're not willing to hire, they're going to just join the huge group of SEO agencies that prioritize money over their clients' rankings.
Ask your team members with your position how long they spend on the expected tasks that are performed per client, per week while taking into consideration the spend of said clients. Then compare that to your own numbers. Chances are you're prob either doing something slower and better quality than everyone else or they are hesitant to hire on anyone else due to the economy so they're forced to add work volume. Just ask around man.
I mean it depends on which parts of the SEO you actually do. I once had 100 clients when I worked agency side, but we outsourced content writing, link building and major web work. For someone who does most of the work on agency side, the industry average is around 30-40 clients.
Just ask them in a nice way, if they want 12 happy clients, or 18 somewhat satisfied clients? Because if I take one one more client, It would be impossible to give them the right level of attention they need to be successful.
Tell them you're going to need help with that. If they want to keep the clients, they need to know how to do that. Overworking you isn't going to keep that revenue coming in for long.