It’s important to consider the owners because they are ultimately responsible for your job. They determine the accounts you’ll be assigned to. They determine your promotions, raises, and bonuses. Bottom line … the agency owners will make or break your career.
So let’s make sure you understand how to meet and exceed the owners’ expectations.
1. Be a Leader
Oftentimes the agency owner began his career as an Account Manager. So he knows first hand what it takes to do the job. Owners look for Account Managers to be strong leaders. Someone with the skills to manage the client, his business, and the various internal teams.
Ask ten people what the skills are that make a good leader and you’ll get ten different answers. No doubt important traits include: empathy, flexibility, humility, authenticity, motivator, delegator, positivity, trustworthy, responsible, creative, problem solving, listener. Watch and learn from the leaders in your agency.
2. Be Personable
Because the Account Manager is responsible for so many relationships … clients, internal departments, management, prospects … the owners expect them to be personable.
They should be good networkers who are comfortable meeting new people. They easily build new relationships and are a magnet with their genuine personality. Account Managers who are difficult to get along with won’t make it far or long in the agency business. Remember the saying “You attract more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.”
3. Be Respectful and Respected
Not only do owners expect Account Managers to have a healthy respect for them and the other agency leadership, but owners expect their Account Managers to be well respected by their clients and their co-workers. The owners know that without respect, others will not listen to the Account Manager much less follow him.
4. Always Quick to Adapt
One of the most attractive things about advertising is that it’s always changing. Every day is different. Clients come and go. Projects change. People are always moving around. But this type of instability is not for everyone.
Account Managers who flourish in this ever-changing environment are valued by owners. Embrace change as an opportunity to learn new skills … new technologies.
5. Be a Strategic Thinker
Account Managers lead their clients and they lead the team. Though it’s important to be able to communicate effectively and document the direction and the work, agency owners expect their Account Managers to be strategic thinkers. To be smart, creative and intuitive. Able to analyze the situation and develop a results-oriented plan. Capable of distilling the strongest positioning and creative strategy.
6. Be Forward Thinking
Advertising is an innovative industry. The leaders set new standards and are always looking for the next big thing. Something to help the agency and its clients stand out … to get attention … and to get ahead.
Agency owners look for Account Managers who are curious and have the ability to look ahead. Who are always asking questions and are not afraid to think outside the box and take a risk.
Account Managers bear a lot of responsibility. They manage the agency-client relationships and they lead the planning and direction of the account and the work. Account Managers contribute greatly to the profitability of the agency. For these reasons, agency owners demand Account Managers have the highest of integrity.
8. Financially Sound
Account Managers must have solid financial understanding in order to ensure the account is profitable for the agency as well as accurately billed for the client. The owners expect you to manage the billing … thoroughly, with integrity, and to meet certain profitability goals.
9. Be a Good Mentor
Account Managers grow up to be Supervisors, Directors, department heads and even agency owners. To succeed in all these roles, Account Managers should be good teachers and mentors for the younger Account Managers reporting to them.
Agency owners want Account Managers who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do hard work. But the best Account Managers are good delegators. They don’t micromanage their direct reports. Training is typically informal and on the job. So the best Account Managers are not only willing to pass along their knowledge, but are very good at training the next generation of Account Managers.
10. Mad Sales Skills
Let’s face it, advertising is a sales business. And new business is the livelihood of the agency. So owners expect Account Managers to contribute to new business pitches.
This includes developing the presentation, the documentation, and presenting to the prospect. Mad writing and presentation skills are a must in addition to the strategic skills to help guide the recommendations of the agency.
“Steep yourself in your subject, work like hell, and love, honor and obey your hunches.”
~ Leo Burnett
This concludes our three-part series on the expectations of Account Managers. Whether it’s clients, co-workers, or the agency owners, you have your work cut out for you. But you wouldn’t have been hired if you didn’t already possess these skills or show potential for building them.
Don’t expect it all to come to you overnight. It’s a lengthy process to master all these traits and they will come over time with work. But having an understanding of what the expectations are is the first important step in the process.
Don’t Miss a Thing
Sign up now to receive next week’s training article in your inbox.