Having been in business for 10 years, we’ve only come across a handful of truly great account managers. What’s up with that? We decided to find out by asking one of the best we know, Tanya O’Hara from King Fish Media, to share her secrets.
Tanya, what do you know that these other account managers don’t?
Well, first I might ask you this: Is it a coincidence that King Fish Media also started nearly 10 years ago?
Intriguing. Are you suggesting that King Fish is the birthplace of good account management or that we just work well together?
A woman of few words. Is this how you get so much done?
No one has ever called me a woman of few words before. But I do pride myself on my efficiency. Seriously though, I’m not sure the answer. It can be a stressful job, and some of the best account managers I know have left the industry in seek of a less hectic pace.
How do you keep from folding? Is it just a personality thing, or are there some skills you can develop?
Both. I do think that it takes a certain type of person to be an effective project or account manager, but let’s be honest: It’s not rocket science. Sure, it’s important to be task-oriented, deadline-motivated and organized. But in my experience, the difference between a really good account manager and one that’s just so-so, is the ability to relate to and really listen to clients.
I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening. What?
See, you’d be a terrible account manager.
I know. Your job terrifies me, and I’m pretty sure a lot of rocket scientists would feel the same way.
I was just saying it’s more about relationship building than anything else.
Talk more about that.
It’s a process of identifying the personality of each client and then adapting my approach accordingly. For example, a work style that’s successful with one client may fall flat with another. It’s challenging, but it’s also what keeps things interesting.
Can you really please everyone?
Let’s face it: There are sometimes circumstances beyond your control. For instance, on one project, we had organized an outdoor photo shoot with a large number of models and, believe it or not, animals. On the day of the shoot, the sky opened up and it poured and poured and poured. In. The. Desert. Could NOT have foreseen this one! But we pulled it off.
I can’t reveal all my secrets.
Are you constantly worried?
Yes. In fact, my New Year’s resolution is to worry less. Just don’t tell my boss, because in a way, it’s my job to worry. (Really, you won’t tell him, right?)
This will be a good test to see if he reads our blog.
[Hey, Cam. If you’re reading this, Tanya was just kidding.]
Does being an account manager carry over into your personal life?
Ha! Yeah, you’d think that my house would be uber-organized, my kids would always wear matching socks, and I would’ve taken down our Christmas tree by now. But sadly, none of the above is true. Outside of work, I’m fairly laidback. I actually like a little chaos at home, and with a house full of rambunctious boys (my husband included), it’s a good thing! That being said, I fully admit to morphing into a drill sergeant before school/work each morning, and I have no problem, eh-hem, prioritizing tasks for my husband. Oh, and I sleep with my Blackberry.
Who do you think has a harder job than you?
I’d say that anyone who doesn’t love their job has a harder job than I do.