remote-workAs Heinz Marketing has grown in the past couple years, an increasing percentage of our clients are well outside of the Seattle and Pacific Northwest area. We’re very excited and honored to represent clients throughout the United States and overseas.

There’s still a distinct advantage (on both sides) to working with a sales and marketing partners who’s just across town, no question. More frequent in-person meetings, far more face time with key employees up and down the organization from both sides, etc.

But we’ve also been able to foster, extend and deepen relationships with clients that are hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

I really appreciated a recent set of recommendations from Howard Sewell and Spear Marketing on working with a remote marketing agency. Here are a few things we thought were worth adding to their already great list:

Centralized files
Create a place in the cloud where shared documents can be securely accessed by anybody quickly. Great way to avoid big files as attachments in email as well; just send a link to the file via Box.com, Dropbox, etc.

Consistent filing system structure & document naming conventions
Equally important can be the naming conventions you use for individual files (as well as versions of in-progress drafts). This saves a lot of back and forth about what’s recent, where to look for something, etc.

Clarity on shared systems, passwords and login credentials
It’s quite common for clients and partners to share access to platforms such as Salesforce.com, Eloqua, Marketo, Hootsuite and more. Keeping a common repository of how to get access, and clarifying who has primary ownership of each system or tool, can also save time and increase productivity.

Structured, regular meetings & status updates
Effective communication on objectives and progress is important in any business relationship, but especially when working remotely. We recommend standing weekly meetings with pre-written agendas and quickly-sent summaries of decisions & action items, as well as end-of-week reporting on progress, metrics & next steps for the following week.

Don’t rule out regular face-to-face time
Getting together on a semi-regular basis in person is still worth the investment, especially if you can plan it around events or conferences that you’ll already be traveling to anyway. Great partnerships where common values and objectives are shared can clearly be established and fostered remotely, but there’s still nothing that replaces getting together to accelerate relationship building.