A Taste of Account ManagementBY Cory Madsen // Account Manager
How fostering client relationships is like baking
Picture a freshly baked whoopie pie. I know you can see it (maybe even taste it): two chocolate cakes held together by a sweet crème filling. That’s me. I’m the filling.
As an account manager, it’s my responsibility to serve as the liaison between our clients and our internal team. I help to amplify the voices on both sides by understanding client needs, priorities, and goals. And, hopefully, add a little flavor in the process.
Maintaining these relationships is a lot like baking—it can be complex, requires a level of creativity, and in many cases, demands technique and historical knowledge. But to me, there’s a simple formula to follow, and if we can do that, we’re in for a real treat.
Read the Recipe
In the recipe, it’s all laid out. We know the expected outcome and clearly defined steps needed to get there. This is also the step when we inventory the kitchen—do we have everything we need? What’s missing? How do we get it?
A solid relationship with a client starts here. This is where we learn about their needs—goals and objectives, what they already have in place, and identifying what we need in order to be successful.
We work through this “recipe” together: a fully transparent look at deliverables, standardization, reporting, tracking, tagging and the like, to help give our clients full trust in the process and set expectations moving forward.
Combine the Ingredients
This is the process itself—determining a plan and setting it all into action. It requires attention to detail, an understanding of all of the pieces coming together, and a pulse on each step of the way.
In our industry, these are what we call the fundamentals. It’s in these details where we flourish—we commit to communication, to ongoing insight into performance, and to giving complete visibility to clients as necessary throughout the execution. Our clients depend on our ability to anticipate any obstacles to progress, and keep projects on a path towards success despite any conflict of opinion that may arise.
This is also where a relationship strengthens. Because this part of baking is intensive and there are a lot of different pieces coming together, we rely on open and honest conversation, as well as empathy to acknowledge the uncertainty and challenges our clients may be facing. Part of the job of an account manager is to care—about the varying points of view, the hesitations, and of course, the solutions.
Preheat to 375°
Putting the mixture in the oven seems simple. And it is: make sure the temperature is correct, your bakeware is placed in the right spot, and the door is fully closed. Poof. The rest is dependent on how well the ingredients were combined.
For us, it’s a little different. We still play a role in the “baking process.” We are monitoring, tracking timelines, adjusting, and yep, you guessed it, still communicating. We are hyper-focused on successful campaigns or projects, so we are dialed in on each step to ensure we deliver what is expected.
The best part, the final part: savoring. Going over every detail, engaging not only your tastebuds, but your sense of smell, sight, and touch. We did it, and it was worth it.
At the end of a campaign, we share results, understand implications from those results, and answer any questions that may have come up relating to the initial goals, process, or final product. It’s my responsibility as the account manager to have a firm grasp on all of it so that we are able to have a fruitful and meaningful conversation at the end.
As a client partner, I am excited and constantly advocating for their business. Because I am present through each phase of a project, I am a tether from beginning to end. I hold myself, the team, and the work to a high standard. I’m the filling.
Now… let’s bake some cakes!