Take it from me when I say that Account Management is no easy task. No two days are ever really the same and no two clients are ever really the same although there may be similarities. But what does an Account Manager do and what are 4 key traits you should be looking for in one?
What does an Account Manager do?
Well, they are normally a jack-of-all-trades these days but predominantly they focus on maintaining and developing the agency-client relationships. They work to ensure that clients receive a high level of service and that KPI’s and deadlines are being met. Here at ThoughtShift, as an Account Manager, you’ll find that we are the first point of contact for clients, acting as a liaison between them and our team of experts.
However, as part of this role here, we undergo and complete the same training as our expert teams in Organic, Paid Search and Paid Social tactics. Not only does this help in our understanding and knowledge of our own industry but allows us to provide accurate answers to client’s queries and advise further if needed.
But what does it take to cut the mustard to be a successful and efficient Account Manager?
1. They’re a People Person
If you’re not a people person then Account Management is not going to be the right career for you. Relationship building is a major part of the role not just on an interacting with clients level but an agency working-with-your-colleagues level as well. You’ll find that you’ll have to liaise and work with a high number of client contacts and colleagues more so than most. As such it’s important that you are a good at creating a connection with those you interact with. It’s one of the reasons that I love the career I’m in as I enjoy the variety of people I get to work with. Although, you’ll need to grow some tough skin as not everyone you interact with is going to want to talk about how they spent their weekend. It’s about understanding a persons character and uncovering the best way of working with them/what they care about/what sort of language and tone that they want to be spoken to. Once you’ve got that, you’ll find a smooth and effective way of working together.
2. They’re Great at Communicating
This is perhaps one of the key traits you need to have in order to be effective in your role wether it be verbal or written. It helps in building a solid working relationship and ensures that expectations and goals are clearly set for all parties to understand.
It’s also not just about hearing (passive), you need to be able to listen (active) and understand what is being spoken/asked. I’ve been in one too many meetings where it’s clear that what was being said was heard but not listened too.
3. They’re Not Afraid to Say ‘No’ to Clients
Account Management = making clients happy = saying yes. Well, no. It can be extremely hard to say no to a client especially when trying to develop a relationship or if it is to a client that you have a fantastic relationship with. I’ve certainly struggled with saying ‘no’ and it’s something that I’ve learnt to overcome as it in some cases, necessary to say no to a client. Although when saying ‘no’ there has to be a valid reason for doing so. It could be an unrealistic request or it might be an unethical activity that you’ve been asked to do. Either way, saying ‘no’ is not bad customer service.
4. They’ve Front Line Experience
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll find that Account Managers are a jack-of-all-trades. They’ve got to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk which is why ThoughtShift’s Account team undergo and complete the same training and do the same work that the Organic, Paid Search and Paid Social teams do. A great Account Manager needs to have perspective of their industry. By having front line experience, this gives them the credibility when talking to clients (and can help in instances when needing to say no!) and helps to build that all important trust.
Successful Account Management
The traits I’ve mentioned are just a small insight into what it takes to become a successful Account Manager but are 4 key valuable traits that should be present. It can be quite a high pressured role but is so valuable to any team as the more effective you are as an Account Manager the more you can help an agency and clients to reach their potential.
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