The art of Account Management  

3 most important traits of a good Account Manager

Some say that Account Managers or Account Executives in Ad agencies are no longer relevant.  In the parlance of our times…to steal from The Big Lebowski…Project Manager may be the more relevant term.  We think it’s just a matter of semantics.  No matter what you call this person…someone needs to push initiatives through the agency.  At BCH, we still use the term Account Manager.  And there are certain skills our account people must have.

Whatever the term, there are 3 key traits this individual must master:

1. Anticipation – It helps staying at least one hop ahead of your client if you’re going to rise above being merely an account waiter because anticipation is at the heart of strategic planning. Discipline your mind to ask, “What happens if. . .” and unpredicted changes will be easier to swallow because, well, they’re not quite so unexpected. Top account leaders plan for how they’ll approach every situation from simple phone calls to presenting the next annual campaign. Anticipation illuminates opportunities you might not have thought of. It’s worth practicing.

2. Empathy – This one’s simple. How is what you do likely to make the other guy feel? Put yourself in their shoes – don’t be afraid to clarify expectations about performance, behavior and outcomes in advance. And when you improve empathy you’ll unavoidably improve listening skills . . . and in agency/client relationships there’s certainly room for more attentive listening, right?

3. Curiosity – In our experience top account people continuously improve their craft by reading books and articles, attending seminars, listening to tapes, and devouring how-to’s. They don’t say, “Haven’t got time to read ’cause I’m too busy doing my work.” If you think about the logic in that sentence for a moment what they’re actually saying is they’re just too busy staying right where they are to get ahead. Say what? High achievers know if there’s someone available who can help them learn and prosper, they want to get to work!

So yes of course, aspects of this role such as details and meeting deadlines are also important traits.  But as far as we are concerned these are a given.  Greens fees…if you will.  If you really want to find a good account person, quarterback…point guard or whatever term you want to use, we would recommend looking for the 3 traits outlined above.  We know we do.