Self-proclaimed Digital Rockstars are everywhere! Just ask the twenty-something who is applying for an Account Manager position what they are good at and they will tell you, just about "everything!" After all, the twenty-somethings are digital natives! They were the first to adopt Facebook, while simultaneously mastering the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, so of course they are digital superstars!
I can speak from experience, social media savviness will only get your big toe into the door at an inbound marketing agency. Yes, it's important to understand the nuances of each platform, but let's dig into what is much more essential when considering whether or not you have the grit to be an Account Manager in today's dynamic digital world. To share with you the "best in class" examples of an exemplary Account Manager, I will introduce you to Kevin Page.
Kevin is not your everyday millennial. Yes, he is in his mid-twenties, and one might draw a conclusion, like they often do when referring to this generation of hires, that he is unrealistic, self-centered, cares more about solving the world's problems than his client's, and after practicing inbound marketing for a few years considers himself a "master" — but that's not Kevin. He's a digital native and HubSpot expert who realizes that mastering those tools is awesome, but understanding that clients, strategy, hard work and organization are even more important. In fact, our only problem with Kevin is that there is only one of him!
As we continue to grow as an agency, we will continue to look for folks that can work towards meeting the bar that Kevin has set so high. Here is what it will take to join the ranks of Kevin:
You can learn skills to help you do your marketing job more proficiently, but you cannot be taught passion. Passion means not only caring about doing a good job day in and day out, but it also means caring about your clients' success and constantly challenging the status quo. It's knowing that you can do it better, smarter, and driven to providing results. Relentless passion shows up in your commitment to your ongoing learning; reading books, blogs, listening to webinars and podcasts. Not because anyone told you to do it, but because you want to stay one step ahead. As Albert Einstein said, " I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious."
Obsessed with Organization
I often ask the question in an interview, "rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 on your organizational abilities." I have come to learn that any response below an 8 or 9 means this might not be the job for you. A rockstar account manager has to juggle many different clients in many different industries — all at one time. A typical day for Kevin may start with a recap of yesterday's bi-monthly client check in with one client, quickly followed by crafting the agenda for the next client meeting. In between agendas and re-caps he might be organizing a video shoot, troubleshooting a HubSpot technical problem and handling an unexpected client request. To say that organization and attention to detail is imperative is understating its importance.
In a small company, it's widely known that there may be a time you need to wear many hats. That's just part of the deal, and you know that going into it (or you do now!). The account manager that is indispensable is the one that will edit a blog post when the content manager gets called away from his desk unexpectedly, will schedule and optimize content for social media distribution (see your social media skills do matter!) when their righthand support system goes home sick, or raises his hand to take on a new client even when their workload seems about all they can handle. Being able to play in any position on the team at any time is what being a team player at StoryTeller is all about.
Locked Down Reliability
Anyone who has led client relationships knows that expectation management and timely follow through are instrumental for achieving success and client retention. When account management is executed flawlessly, the client has a predictable cadence for day to day communication and an inherent trust that commitments will be followed through. At StoryTeller, locked down reliability is one of our five core values that we take quite seriously. I think if you asked any one of Kevin's clients they would say in unison, "Kevin has my back." In other words, he is locked down. This sentiment has to be earned. It stems from showing up every day with an organized-forward thinking-troubleshooting plan, and the consistency of its delivery.
Professionalism doesn't just mean that you dress for the part and wear a coat and tie when you have an important meeting or presentation. Much of professionalism is how you communicate day in and day out. It means that you do more listening than you do talking, it means that as the client lead, you aren't afraid of having challenging conversations when you know it's in the best interest of the client's goals. It also means that when faced with feedback, you handle it gracefully and hopefully learn from it. Professionalism means you know when to push the envelope and when to take a back seat.
If you still think that Account Management is your forte, then we would love to connect. We are often asked the question, "what does success look like in this role?" and hopefully you now have a better idea if you are the kind of person that will excel in client service and is potentially the next StoryTeller. There is only one Kevin, but we are confident there are other exceptional digital superstars that are looking to raise the bar even higher. I am sure even Kevin would agree!
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