“High expectations are the key to everything.”
~ Sam Walton
Expectations come with the Account Manager job. Expectations from clients … the internal team … the agency owner.
And they’re high expectations. But before you can meet–or exceed–them you need to know what they are.
Last week in part one of this three-part series we covered the expectations clients have of Account Managers. This article digs into the expectations of another important group … your co-workers.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
You’ve heard all the sayings before about how critical teamwork is. Only when everyone works together towards a single goal will the team succeed. This is why you need to understand the team’s expectations of you. So you won’t be the one pulling the team down.
Here are the top ten expectations your co-workers expect of you.
1. Expect Great Work
Ad agency team members want to work with an Account Manager who expects greatness … from himself … from creative … from the media department … from everyone in the agency.
The Account Manager should work to remove any barriers to success. And should do whatever he can to help his teammates succeed. Make their jobs as easy as possible. And minimize the opportunities for mistakes. It begins with the planning, involves clear communication throughout, and ends with execution.
2. Critical Thinker
You are expected to always be thinking about the business. Don’t just take orders from the client. Understand why the request is being made. Ask the hard questions to get to the root of the ask.
Ask questions of your teammates too. You have a lot of knowledge about your client’s business. Play the devil’s advocate. My philosophy has always been that I am paid to provide my insight … I’m not paid to just say yes.
So always apply what you know and provide insight and feedback … to your clients and your team.
3. Be Trustworthy
Team members must trust one another. Otherwise it falls apart. Your co-workers want an Account Manager who they trust to “get” their great concepts or media strategies. And will fight for them as their own.
But also, your team needs to know the client trusts the Account Manager to “get” his business and know what will deliver results. If your client doesn’t trust you, then your co-workers are less likely to trust you too.
4. Have Their Back
The team must believe you support them. Openly express your gratitude … and give credit when it’s due. If they are working late on a deadline, or missing a lunch … be there with them. Offer to bring them food. Make sure they understand that you appreciate them and you are there for them. And with them.
5. Be Creative
One doesn’t typically think of an Account Manager as creative. That’s why we have the Creative Department. But Account Managers are expected to be able to think creatively when it comes to problem solving. To look at a situation from all sides and consider possible options. To step outside the box.
6. Be Direct
The team expects their Account Manager to be open and direct. Deadlines are often tight and there’s no time for vagueness. And there’s no place for game playing or trying to manipulate co-workers. You’re expected to efficiently and clearly present the facts and help develop the solution … without finger pointing.
7. Strong Communicator
We’re in the communications business, so strong communication skills is a must for an Account Manager. Your team relies on you to help the client articulate his needs, but also to relay them clearly and thoroughly to the team. And then to communicate back to the client. It can’t be like the telephone whisper game where the message has changed by the time it gets to the end of the line.
8. Mad Organizational Skills
You are expected to be the knowledge base of the account. You touch all areas, all departments. You’re exposed to all facets of it. So you are the keeper of all the information. This requires the Account Manager to be highly organized; able to produce a fact with a moment’s notice. And to keep the team organized.
9. Manage Expectations
Speaking of expectations, the team expects you to be able to manage the client’s expectations. After all, if the client wants an ad to be done Friday, but the team won’t have it ready until Monday, the client is going to be quite upset. By keeping everyone informed and on the same page, there’s less likely to be disappointment.
10. Be Humble
Nothing breaks up a team faster than an ego. There’s nothing wrong with being smart. But if the ego is solely focused on individual excellence, the team will suffer. The key is to be willing to merge egos or talents toward a single goal. So be ready and willing to make whatever sacrifices you need to for the good of the team. Your team’s success … and ultimately your client’s success … depends on it.
As I was working on this article, I couldn’t get the lyrics of an old Mac Davis song out of my head:
“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.”
So, for your enjoyment, I’ll close this out with Mac singing the song,
Come back next week for Part 3: The Top Ten Expectations the Agency Owner Has of Account Managers. These are definitely the folks you want to impress!
Better yet, sign up below and I’ll email it to you.
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