To preface this entire post, I’ll mention that I’ve been in my role for about one year now. As I’ve reflected on 2018, my expectations in regard to what managing accounts looked like at the outset were largely incorrect. I’ve come to realize that we can’t always apply standard routines, processes, and tasks to manage our client accounts. Managing them is so much more than following a rulebook, template, or guide. In reality, it frequently allows for (and requires) more creativity and flexibility than I anticipated.
For conversion rate optimization (CRO), we have a particular program structure. We often complete specific types of analyses and run tests based on our findings. However, I’ve learned that the application of our structure and account management doesn’t look the same for every client.
The important takeaway: flexibility and adaptability are key elements of success in managing both CRO and client relationships.
Here are a few things that have become increasingly important to me over the past year based on what I’ve learned.
Contrary to what I initially expected there are a lot of administrative elements to sort out for all client relationships. Usually, some other things need to happen before analyzing data sets and launching tests. When kicking off a new client relationship, below are some questions that I’ve found to be important.
- How many points of contact are there and what are each of their roles?
- Is their team driven by data and specifics, or do they prefer only high-level insights?
- Do they like to discuss details on calls or just the highlights?
- Are status documents set up to meet their needs?
- Are there any internal projects or shifts happening that could affect our work?
- What are their communication preferences?
- How can we provide as much value as possible for every member of their team?
- In many cases, there are people (in addition to day-to-day contacts) that need to understand what we’re doing and see the value we provide.
Related to some of the questions above, it’s important to figure out how people like to receive information. This is definitely not the same for each individual or team. Finding insights and recommendations is only part of the puzzle. Another part is figuring out how to share them effectively. In my experience, this can vary significantly from showing only a few screenshots to presenting large, detailed decks.
If you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to check in with the client first or ask follow-up questions before moving forward.
I’ve found that clarification is usually welcomed and appreciated. Typically, there are several moving pieces to keep track of for every account. Those moving pieces can get complex quickly and result in uncertainties or additional questions. I always prefer to have more information and context than not enough.
I won’t lie and say that things are always smooth sailing. Sometimes, a task doesn’t go as you’d expected. You get emails you weren’t anticipating. New challenges get sent your way. Anxiety-producing meetings get added to the calendar. The list goes on! I encourage you to welcome these challenges and opportunities with open arms. It’s important to seek growth opportunities and do your best to thrive in rough waters (figuratively). And if you never give up, I promise you will see the results of your hard work and this will make every tough challenge worth it.
I think account management is such an exciting topic. It’s not always easy or straightforward and there aren’t always clear paths to success. If you’re new to working with clients or managing accounts, I encourage you to push yourself, keep an open mind and challenge your expectations!