There are only two simple rules for great client management. All of the other rules are complicated.
I’ve worked with or for digital agencies of all sizes, and I’ve met some bad client managers. I’ve had to watch cringe-worthy conversations between clients and consultants. Some I may have enjoyed watching.
But I’ve also worked with or for some amazing account managers. The great ones always managed to keep their team – if not always themselves – in the client’s good graces. There were some gruff ones, lots of warm and friendly ones. Some were meticulous and some were a mess. But they all did two things.
1. Get to work before your client.
2. Think of your client before he or she thinks of you.
These alone aren’t sufficient enough to make you a kick-ass account manager, but there isn’t a kick-ass account manager who doesn’t do these two things.
By setting up at your desk and actively thinking about your client (not the organization, but the person) you’re giving yourself important advantages when it comes to:
And it’s all before one email has been sent. And that’s every day.
That’s a huge head start.
After that, great client and account management becomes less concrete. But without those two acts it’s intangible.
Whenever someone comes to me now with problems getting a hold on a particular account management project, I ask if they’re doing these things. Starting always helps.