What it means to be an account manager
A question I’m often asked is “what does your job or a typical day at the office entail?” So for those of you that want to understand what it means to be an account manager in the marketing/ advertising industry, read on.
Top class client communication
An account manager often serves as the face of their company, and is likely to be the primary point of contact with clients. In other words, it’s their job to ensure the client is happy and has a positive experience of the agency as a whole.
This is accomplished by really listening to clients, to gain an understanding of their needs, challenges, hopes and fears, and then creating a plan of action to address these things.
Another big one is managing client expectations. When disruptions occur during the service delivery process, it is really important to resolve situations quickly to keep the client calm and happy, and win their repeat business. It goes without saying that all of this should be done with the utmost integrity, to ensure trust is maintained with all relevant parties involved.
Internal communication for the win
Clear and concise communication between team members is just as important as external communication. The reason for this is simple: one of the roles of an account manager is to know what their team is up to at all times. For example, if one person is not coming in to work that day, or if there has been a change to a specific campaign, the account manager should know, reallocate tasks and inform the rest of the team.
It is also important for the account manager to be honest and open. Nobody wants to work with someone who won’t listen to them, or offer help or guidance where necessary. Listening and understanding is key.
Helping the student become a master
Think back to when you started your career in account management and didn’t know much. You either needed that ‘nudge’ or perhaps just the proper guidance. Keep this in mind when it comes to how you manage your team. You should know when to be jovial and when to be firm (where necessary). Learn how to use feedback as well as how to impart. It is always good to adopt a shared-learning policy among the team as it ensures that everyone is learning continuously.
Get your hands dirty
The best account managers didn't just jump into the client and project management side of agency work. They spent years on the front lines, creating and executing marketing campaigns. They have a track record that gives them credibility and perspective.
They ‘keep’ their hands dirty by staying current in marketing trends and their clients' industries. They get into the trenches with team members to understand how they're working and where their challenges are.
Does this matter? Yes of course it does. Account managers can't speak with authority without first having earned trust and confidence. Any account manager who wants to be taken seriously can't helicopter in and out.
It’s all about respect
Respect is the foundation of a good relationship. Account managers who can move people to action first take the time to get know them in an authentic and personal way. An account manager who builds strong, genuine relationships with people can protect a team from getting committed beyond capacity. He understands the internal concerns and motivations of different people on the client side.
When an account manager has rapport and trust, he has more influence with teams and clients. This can translate into anything from keeping the client happy with a realistic production schedule to securing needed resources for the team.
The bottom line
These are some of the more important values any good account manager should have. They are especially valuable because they do more than help an account manager successfully manage the day to day. Clients want partners. The most effective account managers make sure clients know they've got one in your agency.
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