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How to be account management-ready

You’ve just been given a PR account management responsibility – so how can you get off to a good start?

I’ve always thrown myself into any new role enthusiastically but I came stressed and overloaded when promoted to Account Manager because I didn’t have a plan to manage my own transition.  This tends to be the biggest challenge faced by those who attend my Account Management course.  Here’s what you can do:

1. 90 day plan

The first 90 days in a new job/role are crucial and you’ll be under pressure to deliver.  So make a plan. Meet with your boss to determine what is expected of you in terms of account delivery, client servicing and team management.  Then visit your clients and meet everyone that you are going to be working with. You’ll need to find out the formal and informal ‘power’ structure so that you can learn how to get things done.  Then achieve a quick win.

2. Get organised

There will never be enough time in the day to do everything.  Accept this.  Yet there is time to achieve the most important things but you’ll have to take control (and be a little selfish) because others will eat into your time.  Mornings tend to work best for most of us, so start each day with a clear focus on the three most important tasks and get them done by 11am.   This little video shows that if we focus on giving time to the important things (represented by the large stones in the video), there is still space for the interruptions, the niggly requests for little things and general clutter of email (represented by the sand in the video).

3. Act differently

The role of account management requires making decisions and working with people to get things done and this will require that you act differently on different occasions. This helpful video demonstrates the use of three key leadership approaches.

4. Guide clients

Persuasion is at the heart of much PR.  Yet moving from a ‘doing’ role into an advisory role doesn’t happen overnight as you’ll have to gain the respect and trust of your clients.  Accelerate this by understanding your clients – listen more than you talk.   Consider how your clients prefer to communicate and adapt to their style when delivering good as well as bad news.

5. Find a mentor

Learn from someone who has been through the same process.  Find a mentor – someone who you can share concerns, feelings and frustrations with – who can act as an objective sounding board. Complement this by taking charge of your own learning.  Enrol on a course, attend a workshop, join a webinar, listen to a podcast, and subscribe to relevant RSS feeds. There is no shortage of readily available resources available face to face or on the internet.

You can learn more about how to take on the responsibility for managing clients and accounts at my next CIPR Account Management course on 28 February.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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