How to be a great search marketing Account Manager

I read an interesting post last week over at Gonzo SEO on mistakes that should be avoided in account management. I have finally found five minutes to spare before the Easter break so thought I’d add a little more to the conversation by outlining, in my view, what makes a GREAT Account Manager in a search marketing environment:

Someone who is prepared to be on the front line
An Account Manager is on the ‘front line’, the face of the company. You need to instill confidence in clients. This is the very nature of working on a consultancy basis; clients pay for your expertise. You must therefore show an exceptionally high level of knowledge and poise.

Having exceptional industry knowledge
Being client facing means you represent the knowledge of the company – if you are not up to scratch on your knowledge it reflects on the company as a whole. There is no room for vagueness in being an account manager.

Getting ‘under the skin’ of your clients
This involves understanding each of your clients markets, their position within these markets, their key selling points, their objectives, issues and details of their campaign. You should always feel ‘on top’ and in control of your clients. You need to really care about your clients and the success of their campaigns (and business) to be an excellent Account Manager. Inevitably, this is easier with people you actually like on a personal level but even when you find working with a particular client frustrating, you should not let negativity creep into your mindset; you will begin resenting clients and your quality of work will suffer. Commitment to your clients is all about going the extra mile in everything you do.

Ability to ‘handhold’
Search engine marketing is often a mine field for clients. You have a responsibility to guide them smoothly through the process. You should want clients to learn from you; ultimately, this enables them to make more informed decisions in the future and to understand the true value their search marketing campaign is delivering for their business.

Managing the expectations of your clients
The biggest challenge faced by an Account Manager! Results in search engine marketing do not happen overnight. Clients must understand and accept that it requires a long-term strategy that will produce results over time – not immediately. Managing expectations begins during the sales process but responsibility inevitably falls on the Account Manager once the campaign begins and throughout the partnership.

Being Proactive
You should always be on your toes thinking about how you can help the client develop their campaigns further. A search marketing campaign can never be considered as ‘complete’; there are always things you can be doing to drive the campaign on. A good Account Manager will be proactive in suggesting new ideas to the client.

Ability to retain clients
Being committed to your clients leads to a high retention rate. Retention leads to company growth. It is one of the main responsibilities of an Account Manager to maintain strong and sustainable relationships with clients. There is no point, as an agency, in winning new business if clients are being lost as quickly as new ones are being gained! Obviously, there will be cases where clients are lost for reasons outside of an Account Managers control but an Account Manager must focus on offering customer service of any exceptional level to maintain a strong client list.

Organisation
Managing multiple clients demands a high level of organisation. Without it you will fail as an Account Manager. You need to be ‘on the ball’. Only by being organised can this be achieved. Organisation is integral. The Account Manager is often the person holding the campaign together, communicating with staff members internally and with the client, and therefore dictates the success of the campaign.

Attention to detail
All correspondence must be to a high standard in terms of grammar, punctuation and spelling. CHECK, CHECK AND CHECK again before sending anything to a client!

Ability to manage your time effectively
A good Account Managers is continually thinking about the tasks that they do, the time spent doing them and how they can work more efficiently.

What do you think makes a great Account Manager? Have I missed anything here?

Until next time have a great Easter break…

2 Responses to How to be a great search marketing Account Manager

  1. Thanks for the feedback.

    I agree that it is a little too idealistic to expect one person to possess all of the attributes described. However, I think with the right training, development and application it is possible to get pretty close.

    I suppose it is a case of finding people with the right core attributes as you describe and then developing their skills in areas where they are not quite so strong.

  2. Those are great points, Ben. I think the three that stick out the most to me (in terms of must-haves) are:

    1. Be prepared to be on the front line
    2. Ability to handhold
    3. Organization

    While I think it would be ideal to have all of the qualities you described, I think you at least need to build on a strong foundation of the three mentioned above.

    Great post!

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