5 Lessons for New Account Managers

By | July 15, 2013
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Don't PanicThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction classic about one Englishman’s madcap journey across the universe. He’s armed only with a bath towel and the Hitchhiker’s Guide—a compendium of all the pitfalls and thrills the universe has to offer.

The guide’s first, and most important, tidbit of advice? Don’t panic.

That also happens to be perfect advice for new account managers. When you’ve made the leap from marketing professional to account manager, it’s not always an easy gig. Sometimes being “shown the ropes” means “figure it out as you go.”

Success requires that you keep a level head, pay careful attention to your behavior, prune bad habits and capitalize on the opportunity.

I recently made the transition to an account management role. What I’ve learned so far might be obvious to veteran marketing pros. However, I hope new and aspiring account managers find value in these lessons.

1. The Client Comes First

Your job is, plain and simple, to deliver maximum value to clients. Previously, you may have taken a backseat role to client interactions or certain account management activities. Now, you’re the agency’s face. If client value, happiness and retention weren’t top of mind before, they should be now.

There’s a simple exercise to achieve client-centric Zen. Repeat this mantra until it’s burnt into your brain: The client comes first.

2. View the Experience as an Opportunity

This is not just an opportunity to prove your worth in a leadership role, it’s an opportunity to increase client happiness and put theoretical marketing knowledge into practice.

It’s also a chance to change a campaign’s course, if necessary. Failures are opportunities, too.

Each day’s activities are new opportunities for education, growth and course-correction. View all events as chances to work better, instead of obstacles preventing your best.

3. Look to Your Peers

You won’t know everything on Day One, or Day 100. Your peers are a constant source of knowledge and aid. Get off your high horse and ask them for help.

A strong team breeds strong individual professionals. An agency culture of sharing information and feedback, as well as winning (and losing) together matters. With it, new account managers find the support they need to deliver clients value and thrive in their own careers—growing into true hybrid marketers.

4. Process Matters

Having effective processes is like bringing a gun to a sword fight: even on your worst days, you still win. From using time tracking software to blocking down for peak productivity periods, PR 20/20’s ingrained processes kept me on task and on schedule—even when I stumbled.

If your agency doesn’t have processes in place to manage time, projects and inter-office communication, start developing your own. Good processes reinforce good habits‚ and weed out bad ones.

5. When in Doubt, Refer to Rule 1

Oh, and don’t panic.

I’d love to talk further about the challenges and opportunities new and veteran account managers face. Leave a comment below.

Image Source: Jim Linwood