Account Management Tips


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Account Management Tips

  1. 1. Tips
  2. 2. What is account management? X Account management is not about power and status.  It is about performance and achievement (but needs good relationships to do this) Most account management roles are about control. Controlling budgets, resources, the PR plan, the client and the account team. It’s a time intensive role which requires the ability to step inside as well as outside the PR activity. Make the role work for you An account manager can’t do everything all of the time. It’s a bit like asking a conductor to play the score of music all by themselves. Relationships are crucial. Decide where to focus your energy by placing the following in order of priority:  Managing team  Handling clients  Managing PR programme  Media liaison  Generating new business  Promoting company matters Review these priorities regularly otherwise you’ll become complacent and won’t develop yourself and others. You’ll have to delegate up and down, so learn how to coach and develop executives as well as push back to directors. Implementing a strategy to grow business Did you know? Time spent on account management can account for up to half of an agency’s time! But great work with existing clients does not necessarily make for a profitable account. Manage your existing clients profitably before setting your sights on new ones by:  Having a clear contract which sets out what work is and is not included and ensure that there is a clause that allows the agency to invoice for over servicing.  Negotiate hard on payment terms – money in the bank now means more profit than waiting three months for payment.  Tackle over servicing head on. Is it your own inefficiencies or an over demanding client?  Have systems in place to manage how staff are spending their time and be able to demonstrate this in a graph to client. Then find a way to resolve the issue.  Use technology to automate time consuming administrative tasks, so that agency time can be spent on achieving goals. Tip: it’s much easier to grow business with existing clients than go through the time consuming cycle of new business pitches.
  3. 3. Finding new clients Look for clients who want solutions similar to those that you have provided to others Get the timing right and you can win business from the competition by being in the right place at the right time with the right solution. Network, network, network. People buy from other people and word of mouth is everything in this business. Tip: if you are spending a lot of time working on new business pitches, you’ll send out the wrong signals to your account support team who might become disinterested in working with existing clients. Successful project management The process is a complete circle with communication at the very heart. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Defining project/sharing a vision Planning Doing, delegating and motivating the team Monitoring and managing expectations Closure and feedback The crucial stages are 1), 2) and 4). The others tend to look after themselves. Are you and the client working towards the same goals? Clearly define the project at the outset. Is the plan realistic in terms of achievables, budget and timings? Have you thought through tiny details such as client or colleagues’ holiday? A good plan is essential, but has to be flexible too. If there’s a major disaster on the same day as a PR news story is due to go out, do you have a contingency in place? Managing client expectations Consultancy work involves juggling different clients and every client expects themselves to be the account team’s priority. Often it is those clients who shout loudest who gain the lion’s share of an Account Manager’s time! Smart Account Managers find out what motivates their clients and find the shortest path to achieving the outcome that they really want. Did you know that every project has three key drivers: 1. Time 2. Cost 3. Quality Every driver is important, but not equally so. So use open questions and active listening to find out what’s really important for the client and project.
  4. 4. Dealing with difficulties 1. Act the chameleon by adapting your people style to others’ styles to help negate any personality clashes/ find common ground.     Handle dominant, goal driven people by keeping written material brief, be results-focused and assertive. Handle dramatic, excitable types by showing enthusiasm and keep them interested by injecting new ways of solving problems. Handle nice, friendly people by getting to know them personally and work in partnership to solve problems. Handle formal, thinking types by being business-like, follow step by step procedures and prepare fully. 2. Use assertiveness Even if you don’t feel it – act assertive. 55 per cent of what is said is picked up by body language, 38 per cent by voice and only 7 per cent by words – so there’s no point pondering over assertive words when your tone of voice and body language can convey it more clearly. 3. Learn how to push back by:     Offering solutions Questioning the priorities Discussing possible risks and alternatives Or if these fail, then take responsibility for the project, but get agreement that you will redirect it to someone else and oversee it. By Maud Davis FCIPR Maud is a PR consultant and CIPR approved trainer, who splits her time between running high profile media campaigns and delivering training. She has over 20 years experience in running and managing accounts whilst working at small, medium and global consultancies including Hill and Knowlton, Richmond Towers and Nexus. Today, she specialises is managing media relations driven accounts, where three of her campaigns have picked up PR awards, working for Sopexa UK and Ceres PR. She has been training with the CIPR for over six years and is course leader on the CIPR Advanced Certificate and serves on the CIPR Marcomms committee. Want to learn more about Account Management? Find out more about the CIPR’s ‘Account Management’ workshop run by Maud Davis at CIPR CPD Downloading and reading this guide is worth 5 CIPR CPD points. Find out more about CIPR CPD at