Marketing is a very fast-paced, mobile, and geographically diverse business. Unless your agency is exclusive to one city’s metro area, you likely have contractors, full-time employees, partners, subcontracting agencies, and clients across the country — and even the globe. In this type of environment, security is paramount. 

Web-based tools for document editing, social media, and analytics are convenient, but they can create silos of information and make daily collaboration with colleagues and clients a monumental hassle. This is especially true in the marketing world. Multiple people must gain and grant access to internal and external information to keep everything from becoming a convoluted mess. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can sacrifice security for efficiency. Marketing might be a spur-of-the-moment, around-the-clock business, but you have to maintain efficiency while showing clients that you’re reliable. How you handle access to client materials doesn’t just affect your employees’ productivity — it directly impacts your ability to serve and retain clients. 

Poor Security Processes Hurt Client Service

Your job is to launch products, help differentiate clients from competitors, and get clients noticed. But you can give the appearance of having a disjointed process and security vulnerabilities when you and your employees require clients to use multiple, disparate web tools for project collaboration and access to agency deliverables. 

And if you misplace credentials to their tools or request them again each time you onboard a new employee, that doesn’t instill confidence. Also, allowing open access to sensitive client data across your expansive team doesn’t instill a sense of agency trust in your clients. 

The data you handle can make or break a client’s business, and that means your reputation is always on the line. If something happens to a company’s sensitive information — and it can be traced back to a lost Post-it note, an unsecured web tool, or a malicious employee — you will lose business. And because of the tight-knit nature of the agency world, it could mean you gain a bad reputation, too. 

So how can you foster better client service? Demonstrate a structured, efficient process for client management, position yourself as a trusted confidant, and, most importantly, make sure you offer a secure web management strategy. It all starts with your agency processes, so take these five steps to modernise your operation for today’s digital landscape: 

1. Centralise and streamline security and productivity

Find a tool that delivers a balance of security and usability. It should operate across all common operating systems/browsers, have a mobile app, and come from a reputable, secure provider. Using a central system to manage logins and access gives you a way to grant and revoke account privileges as your staffing and projects change. 

2. Track access to everything

Set up a way to track who logs into every account (both clients and employees) and who owns each account and can grant access. In a large agency with remote workers, it’s easy to lose track of this information. However, it’s very hard to regain control of online assets, so make sure you choose an access management tool with audit capabilities and a user directory. A history of usage patterns can also help justify client billing. 

3. Grant access only to people who need it 

Your access management tool should allow you to offer access without sharing credentials. For high-risk clients, enable two-factor authentication to increase security. And only share login information through a secure central login management tool — never verbally or via written form. 

4. Distribute the power and duties 

Establish checks and balances for people who can assign and revoke access to corporate and client accounts. This provides continuity if someone leaves or is on vacation. 

5. Make it official 

Train your employees and clients on proper data security practices and formalise your processes. Make sure these processes are easy for everyone to manage. Oftentimes, companies make the mistake of implementing complex password policies without giving employees and clients the tools they need to manage passwords. 

Secure, central access management of your online tools is a simple way to facilitate effective communication with clients while fostering collaboration and better client service. When you’re able to showcase how you handle important digital assets, clients will see you as a trusted advisor — not an unreliable agency that puts them at risk. And as every good marketing firm knows, effective communication has the power to transform lives.