Good Account Manager Or Fence-Sitter? Everything to Know About Account Management
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 components:
- They hear what the client wants (or help the client figure out what they want).
- They communicate the clients’ needs to the creatives in the agency (this includes everybody from copywriters, to graphic designers, and social media managers).
- They ensure that client needs or ideas are executed properly so that they can eventually be pitched back to the client or in the case of digital agencies: be published or posted online.
Simply put, account managers need to make everybody happy and make sure that it doesn’t seem like they’re 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 the creatives are understanding enough of a client’s wishes, changes in plans, and approvals. There can be quite a bit of a back and forth in situations like this. Especially when the account manager needs to disagree with a client or stakeholder (which mind you, happens quite regularly). For this reason, account managers need to have a particular personality make-up to succeed. 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 proposes an idea that isn’t as hyped up as they make it out to be. It is then the account manager’s 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 in the client servicing industry.