We are all always looking for the perfect fit, Cinderella’s glass slipper, the apple to the eye. But we also know that, historically and realistically, not everything is made to slip right on like a tailor-made suit made just for you. It is the same for any business, any client, any brand. Not every service provider is meant to provide their services to every client. Some clients don’t need those services while some do but do not have the values, budget, or ambitions that fit. This creates a dangerous conundrum for B2B agencies.
They could be chasing an enticing project or a prospective client for days and weeks, only to realize that the shoe doesn’t fit. Not every prospective client presents a perfect business opportunity. For B2B agencies, this realization often arrives after much effort, time, and precious resources are wasted already. If only there was a way to screen clients so you would know — even before you started working with them — if the project would pan out, right? Except there does exist such a tool — and they are known as the Client Intake Forms, or Accounting Intake Forms.
Technically speaking, any working professional — doctor, marketer, contractor — could make use of a client intake form to determine if a client, and the prospective project they have on offer, is worth the effort. A client intake form is essentially exactly what it sounds like — it is a questionnaire that you can hand your clients the moment they arrive as a prospect. The form includes questions, the answers to which can help you dodge the clients, and projects that do not seem like a good fit.
So, What Type of Questions Does Client or Accounting Intake Forms Include?
A client intake form tries to judge whether you — as a B2B agency — and the client is a good fit. To this end, it includes questions about the products and services the brand has on offer, the values they hold dear, their aims and objectives, their weaknesses — especially ones they need your help with, the funds they are willing to spend to fix said weaknesses and achieve aforementioned goals, and so on and so forth.
The goal, obviously, is to not just determine whether the prospect is viable but also to ascertain what kind of professional relationship you may go on to share with the client and what their expectations are of you. The data gathered through the form also lets you, from the beginning itself, witness how the client sees themselves and their brand, thus, setting the tone of the professional conversation.
A client intake form is, thus, a powerful tool that can help you save resources and gain prospects with whom you can go on to build smooth professional relationships. For the uninitiated, though, such a form could be a tad difficult to design. But, fret not since, as long as the design of the form focuses on the information you need not just to weed out clients who are not a good fit but also on gleaning as much data about the brand (and its products) as possible, you are pretty much good to go.
So, without further ado, here are the questions that a well-balanced client intake form should ideally include:
1. Company Contact Information: A client intake form should first and foremost include space where the client should enter the name of the company, person of contact, primary and alternative communication methods, and various logistical information about the brand.
2. Details About Their Products & Services: This field is where the client would need to include details about the products and services they have on offer. This will not just tell you what they do but also give you data on what they feel they do and how they do it. You get the image of the brand straight from the horse’s mouth, basically.
This information can already help you weed out clients who you think won’t be a good fit — especially if they work in an industry you have no idea about or do not offer services aimed towards.
3. Their Aims & Values: Ask them what they want to achieve. See what kind of goals they have set for themselves and for you and your agency. If their goals are too lofty, you can talk to them about taking them down a few notches. If their goals do not fit your services, let them know what you can offer them and what you cannot. Again, this data can help you understand what the client wants — setting the tone of any future professional relationship you share — and it lets you know whether you are the one who can help them meet those goals and decide accordingly.
4. What They Are Struggling With: Ask them their pain points. What challenges are they facing? What products are they struggling to promote? Where are they losing their customers? When they note down the challenges, they will invariably tell you problems they feel that you can help with. If you are part of an agency that can help them fix those flaws, great. You have a new client. If you don’t actually offer the services they need to fix those issues, tell them that too. Then inform them of what you can help them with.
5. Their Budget Information: Getting information about what kind of funds they are willing to spend to get you to work on their campaign or project is important. If they are aiming high but their budget is low, ask them if they are willing to tweak it. If not, see if you do offer any services that can fit within their specified budget. If that does not work out either, you will know that it isn’t a good fit.
Budgeting information can also help you set your expectations and boundaries. You can decide what kind of resources and effort you can afford to pour into the project depending on the budget and set your boundaries accordingly.
6. Client History: Getting the client’s history is important for agencies and professionals whose work is affected by that history. For medical professionals, the client’s medical history is not something they can afford to ignore. For B2B agencies, this could be an opportunity to find out if others have worked on the project before, if they have previous iterations of the same project, if the client had conducted some relevant market research previously, etc.
7. Competitor Info: Let the client tell you who they view as their competitor without you having to do competitor and market research. This way, you will know where to look and who to look at. Check what their competitors are doing and how they are doing it. You can analyze your prospective client’s performance and demand gaps accordingly.
8. Miscellaneous: Finally, this is the section where they can ask questions, address concerns, or leave information that they think you may need to work on the project.