Account Management Skills
In digital marketing, PR and advertising, account management is the function of ensuring the clients’ needs are met and that services are provided to the highest standards. However, as campaigns and services usually incorporate the skills of various people client's prefer to deal with one point of contact only, the account manager.
It is the role of the account manager to act as the single point of contact for the client, managing the relationship while ensuring that the company delivers a high-quality service. So, what does this account management role entail?
What Does An Account Manager Role Entail?
The most important aspect of an account manager’s role is the ability to be able to communicate effectively. The account manager will be responsible for identifying the needs of the client by asking pertinent questions and listening attentively to their requirements.
An experience of dealing with customers at various levels in an organisation, particularly senior managers, is essential. Although the account manager will spend a considerable amount of time in the office, they will also be required to attend meetings at the clients’ premises.
An account manager will also need to act as a project manager in the office, once the specification for a campaign has been identified the account manager may be required to formalise a team who can deliver the work. Also, they will draft action plans and assign tasks to different technical departments. Once issued they will then ensure that services are delivered on time and meet the clients expectations.
Global Account Management
The ever increasing requirement for high-quality digital marketing and advertising services means that more and more businesses globally engage such companies for help. This has led to a rise in the number of client-facing job opportunities available in the sector.
These days experienced account managers with a background in providing high-quality relationship management can expect salaries in the region of £25k per annum with exceptional performers in large agencies receiving in the region of £40k per annum basic.
Traits of a Good Account Manager
6 traits of a good account manager are:
- People Person – a good account manager, will have the ability to be able to relate to people along all aspects of the supply chain. Whether they are talking to directors or assistants, they will have the ability to engage at the right level. Furthermore, they will also manage their tone, body language and non-verbal aspects of communication to build rapport with stakeholders.
- Well Organised – to ensure that services are delivered on time account managers will need to be well organised. By managing themselves and their diary effectively, they will prioritise tasks and rearrange when necessary to get the job done.
- Sets expectations – when a company sets high expectations but fails to deliver it can have a significant adverse effect on the reputation. However when a corporation underwhelms a potential client, there is a risk of losing out on the custom. A good account manager will be able to strike a balance between setting the right level of expectation, acting with integrity, while also ensuring that expectations on delivery are managed in line with this.
- Great Presenter and Negotiator – one of the more important aspects of the account manager role is to secure the contract. Quite often the account manager will need to deliver a pitch to potential clients to seal the deal. Not only that but the account manager will need the capability to negotiate a profitable contract and land the business.
- Commercial Understanding – When it comes to bringing new clients on board customers like dealing with people who understand their needs, and preferably the sector in which they operate. Account managers don’t always need to be subject experts but the ability to demonstrate they can grasp the important aspects of the sector will give the client piece of mind that they are the right agency to deal with.
- Manage Meetings – In many roles, it can be easy to let meetings over-run and lose focus. A busy account manager can ill afford to waste time dealing with irrelevant issues. A good account manager will lead positive meetings with clients and staff to ensure that matters are addressed and efficient decisions are made quickly.
Account Manager Skills Needed To Get the Job
The top 5 account manager skills required are:
- Communication – talking on the phone, meeting new people, managing team members, writing reports and presenting to large groups are all aspects of the job, this is not a job for a shrinking violet. If you are shy, quiet and prefer to be left alone, then this isn’t the job for you.
- Organisation – you’ll be in and out of meetings, catching up with clients for coffee and hitting those looming deadlines so you better make sure your diary is constantly up to date.
- Digital Marketing – you may not need to have in-depth understanding of the various types of code or what kind of design layouts would be best, however, an understanding of the different processes and the most efficient of these is important. An account manager will be expected to be a font of knowledge for the customer and capable of explaining what is and what is not possible within their budget.
- Project Management – as an account manager you’ll be expected to orchestrate the relationship between programmers, designers, content managers and UX specialists so project management skills are integral.
- People Manager – as well as talking to clients you’ll need to communicate with members of your team, many of whom may be account assistants reporting into you. As a manager, you’ll need to develop the skills to motivate staff to work towards shared goals.
How to Advance Your Skills in Account Management
Typically employers will look for degree level qualifications in subjects like marketing, PR or business related fields to get started in account management. There are many further qualifications available that would support career development in the industry such as post-graduate certificates in marketing or membership to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Other qualifications might include project management, leadership development or coaching and mentoring. You can find out more about our course offerings over at Telegraph Courses.