How to Become a Successful Account Manager Blog Feature
Molly DePasquale

By: Molly DePasquale on May 2nd, 2013

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How to Become a Successful Account Manager

Sales Tips | Sales Training

The Account Manager is arguably one of the most important position in any company.

Externally, this position becomes the face of the company to many customers. Internally, this position is one that everyone in the company relies on.

The Account manager needs to be consistent, effective, and on top of their game to ensure they’re doing their job as well as they can be for themselves and for the overall health of the company they work for.

In advertising and marketing, the Account Executive "hands off" the client to the Account Manager (AM) immediately after a sale. The AM leads each company's formal on-boarding process: welcoming the client, establishing campaign visibility and KPI reporting, as well as other functions.

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Here are the top 5 things the best AMs need to master in order to succeed...

1. Thoroughly Understand The Customer and Their Goals. 

It is surprisingly difficult to nail down exactly what a client's goals are.

Many clients haven't reduced what they are trying to accomplish down to realistic and meaningful metric goals. To really understand what each client is looking for, especially for a test campaign, start by understanding the client's business. In essence, you need to understand as much about a client's company as your own.

2. Reassure The Client You Know What Needs To Be Done. 

Customers want to be able to turn over the responsibility for their advertising campaigns to an expert instead of having to micromanage the details.

As an Account Manager, you must proactively lead your client through the process by asking smart questions and establishing key performance metrics in advance of starting the campaign.

Stories about how you have succeeded in similar situations in the past - especially when told with confidence and enthusiasm - will go a long way toward getting the customer to put their faith in you.

This is best done by sharing with the customer the kinds of clients you/your team has worked with that had similar goals and/or marketing challenges.  If available, showing specific campaign examples and related results will breathe life into the ideas and concepts you're sharing with the client. 

3. Negotiate How They Will Define Success Each Week/Month of the Campaign.

A critical component to the Account Management role is to properly set and communicate expectations before, during, and after each and every campaign.

But to do that consistently, AMs must first listen to the client and then educate them. You must introduce and explain the thinking you will use to develop the client's campaign plan.

When clients do not see underlying strategy, they begin to question and doubt every move, like a nervous team owner with an uncertain general manager. But when they understand the thinking behind the moves, they are more open to accepting realistic results that each week.

First impressions, whether in social situations or in the first week of a new campaign, are extremely powerful. Therefore, AMs need to grab the opportunity at the beginning of a client relationship to collaboratively and proactively define success.

4. Find A Way To Make An Unhappy Client Happy. 

Eventually, even the best AMs will encounter an unhappy client.

By the time the unhappiness emerges, it is often too late to backtrack to determine what really went wrong. The best strategy is to take full responsibility for all errors. 

Take a moment to think about the situation the other way around - as if you were the client.

Would you rather work with an Account Manager who tries to hide mistakes under the rug or isn't transparent with you and how they're handling your business OR would you rather work with someone who is open, honest, and wants to work WITH you to figure out the best way to move forward with your business?

5. Sell The Client On Trying Something Else.

As an Account Manager, you're responsible for monitoring and managing the performance of your client's campaign. This means you're looking at how much money is being spent and what media channels that money is being allocated to.

You're accountable for results, so you must understand what's working and what's not working, then make recommendations for improvement and optimization. 

However, this is an ongoing process that requires earning trust from your clients, first and foremost. So, suggesting a large increase in spend before proving you can deliver a return on their investment isn't the best approach.

Take baby steps. As you gather and analyze information about your client's campaign, compile a brief report with observations that you can review with the client on your next call together. As you review, offer guidance to help the client understand why you're point these things out and what actions can be taken towards the observations you've shared. 

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About Molly DePasquale

Molly DePasquale is the Manager of Operations and Sales Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.

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