To be honest, Account Managers (AM) are one of the most unrecognized individual in the marketing and advertising industry. Through the years, they are simply known as someone who acts as a bridge between the company and the client. But what not most people know is that their task is more than just reminding the internal team of the deadlines and conducting meetings with the client.
Account Managers have the most exhausting task in the industry; they prepare marketing strategies and plans, coordinate with the design and content team, and play the biggest role of being the company’s external representative (you know, they’re like the company’s ambassadors).
It requires more than just the basic presentation techniques to become one of the best account managers in Singapore. It’s not just about chasing and scheduling meetings. Being an account manager means constantly juggling tasks from different departments. Here are some techniques (or pointers) for account managers to help you be in the game and lead the company to the right path.
1. Don’t just ask, probe
As any other jobs, it’s not a good idea to pretend that you instantly know everything. Bad AMs do not have the confidence to admit that they do not know some information. Some bad AMs even pretend to know everything so they can look smart in front of the team and client – while in reality, they really don’t. To be a good AM, it’s best to ask questions and diagnose the problem. It’s called probing. It’s the act of uncovering the information that lies beneath each information. Pretending that you are well-equipped for every project can be the root of a problem.
Ask as many questions as you could, especially for things that can be a bit too technical. For example, you are working on a web development project that you know nothing about. You can ask the developer to give you a brief information as to how web development works. Do not just throw vague instructions to the developer based on how the client requested for it. You will be able to manage the account better if you know the ins and outs of the projects, instead of just giving out tasks. In this way, you can easily fix if there’s going to be any problem along the way.
Asking the right questions and probing constantly can form a comprehensive understanding of a certain topic. Same goes with your client relationship. Do not just jot down their requests. Ask them further as to how they want the strategy to be executed.
Remember, account managers are think tanks, you’re not just a messenger.
2. Communication is a must
Call the team in the middle of dinner, or call them early in the morning – it doesn’t matter. Make sure to keep an open communication with everyone and to update them from time to time about the progress of your project. Since AMs are always on the go, your ideas and concepts may come when you least expect it – while on your way to the office or on the bus going home. You can relay that information right away (anytime), before you forget it. That’s fine.
Check the status of the project with your team. It’s not that you don’t trust them on what they’re doing, but make it a habit to ask how it is going. It’s just a gentle reminder to make sure that you are following your own timeline.
Moreover, and this is very important, keep your presence alive even if you don’t need anything from the team and the client. Just a little chit chat about their current projects and accounts. It’s not really something that can affect your daily work, it’s something that can also keep the relationship alive. You will be surprised how simple “how are you doing” can do to keep the communication in the right path.
In this way, the team or the client will feel more confident that you are on top of the game and you know exactly what you’re doing.
Communication is the key to keep the management intact.
3. Become the industry expert
If you are in advertising, learn everything you can about advertising. If you are in marketing, study all the principles and aspects of marketing. Make some time to read news and updates about the industry that you are in. Don’t just focus on your clients and accounts. Widen your horizon so you can develop awareness about your business.
For instance, if you are in the digital marketing industry, make sure to familiarize yourself about the specific details of Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, E-Commerce, Web Development, and Content Writing. Each of these subjects have different principles. Make it a point to understand everything that you could to master, or learn, the basics of each. There are blogs and websites that can help you with this.
It’s a double-edged sword, actually. If you know your industry well, you can pitch properly to your clients and you can swiftly delegate tasks to the team.
4. Be part of the team, not boss them around
Account Managers are persuasive, smart, and obsessive-compulsive. We all know that. They are, basically, driving the future of the company – managing both external and internal relationships. Because of that, and also due to many pressure, some AMs tend to act so much like a boss instead of being part of the team.
Whenever you communicate with the artists, developers, writers, and other members of the company, do not treat them as a button to switch on if you need something from them. Do not just give orders. Instead, be part of the process. You can work with them using the ideas and desires of the clients so they can better conceptualise ideas. After all, you’re the one who’s in the meeting, right?
This aspect also deals with taking tasks from the client. You should know when the request is too much or if the team cannot handle it anymore. If you will keep the attitude of being the team’s boss for every project, the team will lose their morale and motivation to work.
Here’s the secret: collaborate and integrate.
5. You should show some feelings
As an account manager, it pays to have high emotional quotient. Simple things like remembering the client’s birthday or their company’s anniversaries can be a good foundation of your connection. It somehow shows that you are not just there for business, you’re also building a relationship.
The same approach can be applied to your team. Short banter about other things outside work can create a better camaraderie between you and the entire company. It can begin with simple conversations and offering compliments.
Good words and sweet acts are always a good way to build a strong foundation.
6. Be prepared all the time
There’s no arguing on this one. To be a good account manager, you have to make sure that you are prepared all the time. You have to know how to respond appropriately to all questions – and not just the usual “I’ll take note of that and we’ll get back to you” response. You have to provide sensible answers all the time.
Also, make sure that you are fully equipped before going to meetings and presentations. You have to have a sense of initiative and proactivity every time you will deal with the clients. Before going out presenting anything to the client, make sure that you have discussed these matters with the team. Successful project meetings starts with proper preparation.
Oh, and also, ALWAYS be on time. Punctuality is a vital part of business.
Account Managers are, basically, Superheroes
Taking the 6 points we mention above may not be enough to become an entirely successful account manager, but it’s enough to start off your engine and drive the company to success. Making sure that you are well-knowledgeable about the industry and you are keeping your internal and external relationship intact is the base of any AMs task. It’s the basic requirement to be the best.
Behind every successful campaign, new account wins, and award-winning projects are account managers who have dedicated immeasurable efforts to make sure that things are done properly, if not perfectly.
Hats off to all the AMs!