6 hot tips for any Account Manager
The T-shirt says: account managers solve the problems no one can solve or wants to solve, deal with difficult clients and retain responsibility for the overall growth of accounts. Being an account manager requires you to be a great listener, a calm communicator and a highly organised individual.
Though not glued to a pipeline like sales managers, they are indirectly responsible for growing their employer’s business and must work to whatever KPIs (key performance indicators), OKRs (objectives and key results) or targets their employer has set up.
Here are four hot tips for tackling the role.
Take the reigns
An account manager is no manager if they don’t have complete ownership of their accounts and every query and project processed in them. Though your colleagues may own certain processes such as deals or projects, this doesn’t change your responsibility to make them work if they are a part of your account.
This will mean not relying on your clients or colleagues to get it right but making sure it is right – checking facts, calculating margins or revenue and being able to spot a numerical or typographical error a mile off.
Learn your CRM and use it
You may not step into a role involving CRM (customer relationship management software) such as Salesforce, SugarCRM or Bullhorn, but for any account manager with multiple accounts, it’s very helpful.
It’s essential for documenting prospects and leads if working in sales, CRM is also great for monitoring account strategy and progress, plus seamless conversations across multiple platforms.
Manage your workflow with software
Don’t rely on post-it notes – you may be ‘old-school’ but no amount of ring-binders can organise files like workflow management software can.
It goes by many names, of which workflow management is only the first – project management, team management, task management… they are all ways of describing the same kind of software, which basically provides advanced, shareable, collaborative to-do-lists, reminders lists, calendars and file sharing.
Utilise online calendars
It’s 10AM on a Monday and you get a call from a client that was apparently decided the week before, and you aren’t prepared.
To avoid these awkward and frustrating moments, log all upcoming phone calls or meetings into an online calendar. Include the time, place and invite the other attendees. This way you’ll never forget a meeting again and always be prepared.
Maintain your cool
Ask any Account Manager if they’ve worked with difficult or downright fussy clients and they will say yes. It’s easy to simply slam the phone down or ignore their emails, but this will not win you any business in the long run.
Maintaining composure takes practise but can really make the difference between a good and a bad account manager. When a client is being difficult, don’t respond in the heat of the moment. Take a pause and consider the issue and potential solutions. From there you can decide on the best steps to take going forward.
Use an IM system involving all your colleagues
Remember IM?! That’s right – instant messaging! While MSN may not be all the rage anymore, IM is still the most seamless form of team communication, enabling constant communication between individuals and for groups.
Popular IM systems used in workplaces include Slack, Microsoft Teams and even WhatsApp. If you’re lacking one in your workplace, take the reigns and make IM happen, whether it’s a group chat on WhatsApp or a more considered download. But beware the curse of WhatsApp for work… those two blue ticks signifying a ‘seen’ message could be your downfall if you fancy ignoring the message!
Do any of these recommendations ring right to all you account managers out there? Share your best practice tips with your peers to keep your industry moving in the right direction and don’t forget to own it.