Good Account Manager Or Fence-Sitter?
So you’re thinking of becoming an Account Executive/Account Manager. What does this kind of job entail and what distinguishes a good Account Executive/Manager from a bad one?
What Does an Account Manager Do?
Account Managers usually work for Marketing or Advertising agencies and they function as the main link between an agency and a client. All communication that happens between these two parties goes through them. Their job can be divided into three main parts:
- They hear what the client wants (or can even help a client figure out what they want).
- They communicate the clients’ needs to the creatives in the agency (these can include anybody from a Copywriter, to a Graphic Designer, or even an Art Director).
- They ensure that the idea is executed properly so that it can eventually be pitched to the client or in the case of digital agencies: be published or posted online. In simple language, Account Managers need to make everybody happy and make it seem like they’re not taking anyone’s side which is why more often than not Account Managers are serial fence-sitters.
The Account Managers Dilemma
Account Managers can usually be found in the eye of the storm. A storm known as making sure the client is happy with what is being produced by the creatives, and making sure that the creatives are understanding enough of a client’s wishes and changes in plans and approvals. It can be quite a bit of a back and forth especially when the Account Manager needs to disagree with a client or stakeholder (which mind you, happens quite regularly). This leads us to the next part of this piece.
What Skills do Account Managers Need?
Above all else, Account Managers need to be extremely diplomatic. It is very possible that a client comes in with an idea that isn’t as hyped up as the client makes it out to be. It is then the Account Managers job to communicate that to the client without offending them or belittling them in any way. It may also fall on the Account Manager to educate a client on Marketing/Advertising or even Industry matters. This essentially means that the Account Manager not only needs to have great social skills and a great EQ (or emotional intelligence) but also have a solid understanding of business operations and an even better grip on Marketing. In addition, Account Managers need to know when to be stern and firm and when to be warm and forthcoming. Otherwise, patient, tolerant, and centered individuals are highly favored for this role as the pressure can be intense as client servicing is no easy business.