Account management: doing what you don't want to do

February 08, 2016

Every job has aspects to it that you’re not going to like. Yep, that means every single one of us will have to face a point in our working week (or day) when we have to consciously bite back our groans and push through.

Do any of these scenarios ring a bell?

One of your clients is a effluent removal firm and one is a high profile sports team. You get an urgent request from the effluent removal company and a non-urgent request from the sports team. Which task do you action first?

It's the last day of the month and you need to get your remaining invoices processed. You have a mountain of urgent client work too. What do you do?

You have an unhappy client on your hands. Their job was delivered late which meant they didn't have enough collateral to give out at their trade show. They are demanding answers (and compensation) and you keep putting off making "that" call.

Your client has asked you to action something you have never done before. You are feeling nervous and unsure about how to start, and the request is getting pushed further and further down your "to do" list.

     

    There are at least 10 reasons why we may not feel like doing certain things:
    • Boredom: It's far easier to work on tasks and projects that we find exciting or that we have an interest in. If boring tasks are part of your job (and they will be), then how you choose to prioritise and process your clients' work will become an indicator of your maturity level. Choose wisely.
    • Procrastination: In the immortal words of Saint Nike: Just do it.
    • Elitism: Do you feel that some tasks are beneath you and that you shouldn't have to do them? Unfortunately that attitude won't make you many friends in agency-world (especially small agencies). It might be time for an attitude-tweak.
    • Feeling overwhelmed: When 1001 tasks descend on you at one time it's easy to feel like you are drowning. If you stick to your Account Management Triage system, you should make it through (relatively) unscathed.
    • Staring at an elephant: Is there one enormous task or project that you are not sure how to begin? Remember the old adage: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It's time to break that elephant into bite-sized pieces and start nibbling!
    • Not feeling "into it": Tired? Grumpy? Had an argument with your partner? Moody teenagers can get away with letting their emotions dictate their actions, but that's not going to wash at work. You'll need to ignore your feelings, even if you have to go on autopilot for the rest of the day. Or, you could just tell your client you don't feel like doing their work...!
    • Administration anxiety: If you are one of those Account Managers who treats invoicing (and other admin tasks) like it's a disease, then be assured you are not alone! It will help to remind yourself that no admin systems and no invoices means no agency revenue (or - worse for you - no job). All of a sudden admin tasks miraculously get a little easier to bear.
    • Fear of your clients: Do you have an unhappy client? Spend a few minutes imagining yourself in their position. Ask yourself why they might be unhappy, what you (or your team) did wrong, and what you can do to take the sting out of the situation. The best thing you can do is to address the issue as soon as possible - the longer you leave it, the worse it will get.
      [Side note: if you seriously dislike interacting with your clients, then you should probably consider a new profession.]
    • Fear of the unknown: It's amazing how a little illumination can banish all fear of the unknown away. The first step is to recognise the fear, acknowledge it, then educate yourself as quickly as possible and move on.
    • Fear of failing: Work guarantee: we will all fail. The main thing is to not let this fear paralyse you. Learn as much as you can, then just give it a go. Unfortunately some of our toughest (and best) lessons are learned through our mistakes.

    Account Management is all about tough and easy, light and shade, fun and mundane. Without that contrast our job would be boring and we'd lose the ongoing sense of challenge. You may even find those not-so-great tasks weren't nearly as bad as you first thought!

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