Best Traits of An Agency Account Manager

October 9, 2020

This is what we’ve learned over the years for what it takes to be a great Account Manager. Some of the brightest Account Managers in the marketing industry possess the following skills.

Juggling Spinning Plates (AKA Multi-task Management)

Juggling spinning plates is a tremendous analogy (analogy being the keyword; don’t try this at home!) for Account Management. To be successful in the role of an Account Manager, you must be able to balance multiple projects and accounts. What does this entail?

Volume and Variation

Not only do Account Managers manage a large number of clients and people, but they also manage projects for a range of companies and staff (ie. Videographer, Publication Relations Coordinator, Digital Ads Coordinator, etc.). This means taking the time to learn about multiple industries and brands and taking the time to learn the workflows of each of your team members. In any one day, an Account Manager can work on projects for Law Firms, all the way to Food and Beverage. Within each of these projects, you’re required to manage different service types.

You’ll learn quickly how to jump from managing a video shoot to overseeing a digital ads campaign in a short period of time.

Empathy

Empathy is a great life trait, but it comes in especially handy in the role of Account Management. There are two key stakeholders Account Managers should always aim to have empathy for:

Your Team

Your team is working hard in the trenches to get their work done to the best of their ability on a daily basis. It is crucial that you empathize with them when they need clarification on what you’ve asked of them, are feeling anxious about their workload, or are just having a bad day. We’re all human with many things not only happening within our professional lives but personal as well! Take the time to understand what a team member might need to be successful, and always be open for a chat just to “check-in”. Make yourself available to staff so they know you’re on their side and here to help.

Your Clients

As an Account Manager, you always want to be delivering for your clients. Many times this can mean you need multiple things from your clients, including final approval, to deliver results for them:

  • Branding Assets
  • A specific piece of information only they have
  • A quote for a timely press story
  • The list goes on

It is vitally important to understand their busy schedule. On top of working with you, the Account Manager, and your agency, they have a whole host of other daily responsibilities. Be mindful of this, and consider the best way to get what you need from them. What method of communication do they prefer? Is it easiest to set up a weekly call with them to cover administrative items all in one slot? For example, if you need 5 items from them, rather than sending 3 separate messages, thus inundating them, consider sending one clean, organized message that keeps everything in one thread, and is easy for them to read and respond to (hint, this makes your life easier too, since you only have to refer to one message thread for multiple items).

Accountability

Similar to empathy, holding yourself accountable for your actions is not only an important life trait but also incredibly important for Account Management. Consider the following scenario:

You’ve delivered a final proof of a social media calendar to your client for approval, so it can be scheduled and ready for posting. The client gets back to you and is frustrated that items X, Y, and Z that they had asked you to include are not featured. Before you even look back at your communication with your team to see where the stop-gap was, take full ownership of the mistake in front of your client. At the end of the day, the content was relayed to you before you sent it to the client, so you will have missed this, regardless of if your team was asked to include items X, Y, and Z. 

This is important because:

  • You’ve shown the client you are responsible for your actions. This builds rapport as they know you won’t point the finger when mistakes are made.

You’ve shown your team you have their back. Team is the keyword here. You’re in this together, and as the leader of the team, you’ve assumed responsibility.

These three traits go a long way in managing the wild world of Account Management. The most important thing about this role: it is incredibly rewarding! You get to work with amazing people on both sides; clients and your team. Delivering great results as a team makes the job that much better!