Account Management For Dummies

It can be a lot of pressure. You sever the client relationship, the client severs the contract, and you find yourself severed from your job (kidding!). But really, account management is an integral part of keeping clients, and more important, keeping clients happy.

It’s a constant balancing act, and it’s a lot of work, but in its essence it can be boiled down to some simple grade school fundamentals:

1.) Treat others kindly. It goes without saying that when you’re an account person it’s your job to develop and foster relationships with the client. You need to get them to like you, get them to trust to and get them on your side. Just as important is the relationship you have with your internal team. It’s your job to balance the client request with what’s realistic and feasible. You need to know when to say yes and when to push back.  It’s a delicate balance, being the advocate for the client and being the advocate for the agency, but it’s important that you develop good working relationships with both and can be empathetic to each side.

2.) Play well with others. You’re not going to love everyone you work with and not everyone you work with is going to love you. Try to understand where they are coming from... Are they getting pressure from their boss? Is someone pushing them to meet an unrealistic goal? Did they drop their Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee on the sidewalk on the walk to work? Be respectful, hear them out and try to work with them, not against them.

3.) Listen and ask questions. The client gives you creative feedback or requests a new project scope. Before you jump right in and start burning hours, make sure you stop to really think about what they’re saying or what they’re asking. What is the context? What is the goal? What are they really looking to do? Don’t be an order taker— listen, ask questions and make sure the team is aligned and understands the request.

4.) Do your homework. Know everything there is to know about your client, their brand, their industry and their competitors. Become the subject matter expert for your client and your internal team. Clients will value your educated opinion and the internal teams will thank you for knowing every last detail.

5.) Try your best. You’re not always going to meet the deadlines and you’re not always going to knock it out of the park on the first round of creative. That being said, the client knows when you’ve phoned it in and when you’ve made an honest effort. Likely, if you’ve done your groundwork in establishing a strong relationship with them they’ll (hopefully) understand when you explain what happened, why it happened, and what you’re going to do it make sure it doesn’t happen again.

...It’s all easier said than done, but what isn’t? At the end of day, behind all of the complex strategy decks and glossy creative presentations we’re dealing with people. Take it back to the basics and follow the principles that got you this far. And when all else fails, take them out to dinner.

Let us help your innovation-driven brand get the credit it deserves.

Contact Greg Straface at [email protected]

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