Account Management

7 Ways to be a Successful Account Manager

A list of the most important things we focus on for successful account management.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve learned a lot about the markers of successful account management at our agency Fishermen Labs. Account management at service companies or agencies is one of the most important markers of being able to scale. No matter how good your sales team is, or how good your production team is, if your client is ultimately unhappy, there’s no repeat business, there’s no referral business, and you will never find consistent success.

Here are 7 things that we strive to do on every project that we have:

1. Set Clear Rhythms
When we first started running our agency, we didn’t always have clear rhythms. We now require our project managers to have at least one touch point with each of their clients once a day and for them to provide weekly updates. For design and development processes we try and set very regular rhythms so that everyone on the team knows what to expect.

2. Set Expectations
This is one of the hardest things to do when running agile development because the deliverables are constantly changing. Given that agile is typically done in bi-weekly sprints, you can at least target expectations for each sprint. If you are doing waterfall development then make sure your expectations are clearly laid out in the beginning of the process.

3. Explain Your Process
Clearly explain the method of development you are using and what your deliverables are. Are you using agile development? Are you using waterfall? Are you using some combination of one or the other? Here’s a definition of both if you’re unclear. 

4. Build Trust
Develop a strong relationship with your client – something is bound to go wrong. In something as complex as software development, there is no such thing as a process or a project that goes perfectly. One of the most important ways to improve account management is through creating a relationship built around trust. The client should know that you are always doing your best to build the best product you can build, and that the team is highly motivated to do the best job they can do. Without a foundation of trust, small details will be argued over constantly and no one will be happy.

5. Document Everything
As much as trust is important, people also forget commitments that they make. If you have a conversation on a call, make sure to summarize that call over an email, or an agenda doc. This is also important to make sure that you are clearly translating and understanding what the client said and so that you can get buy in from the entire team.

6. Milestone Reminders
Make sure that you have reminders set for key dates – When is your product launching? Make sure that you know well ahead of time when a product is launching so you can connect with the client beforehand. If there is a contract renewal coming up, make sure to start chatting with the client well before that so that you have more conversations then just contract renewals alone. This goes back to making sure you have a strong relationship with your client.

7. Get Feedback
We’ve found that trying to get feedback at as many touch points as possible is crucial. You don’t want feedback to be given when it’s too late and the client is already furious. Instead, plan regular feedback points so that you can be aware if something is going in a direction you don’t want it to be going.

We designed Sonar because we know that account management is hard. The tool addresses a lot of these pain points and makes it as easy as possible to automate and track the above. Give it a try with your team and let us know what you think at hello@sonarteams.com