July 1, 2014
New client account assignments are not a task to be taken lightly. In fact I would say this might be one of the most crucial steps in onboarding new business. Account Managers (AMs) can’t be assigned like used car lot salespeople (“Whose turn is it?”). Why is that? Because just as any account has multiple facets of need, Account Managers have different experiences and focus areas to offer. I’ve compiled a list of 6 factors that I see as critical, and equally important. In no particular order, when agencies get down to assigning new client accounts to their team they should consider:
Plain and simple, each vertical within the paid search market has its peculiarities and intricacies. So if an Account Manager is available who has managed campaigns in the same (or comparable) industries, consideration should be given to the value that experience holds. It can eliminate a slight learning curve for vertical-based lingo and language, in addition to general audience demographics.
Vertical experience shouldn’t be a deal breaker, however. Some of the most valuable account growth opportunities are born from a completely fresh perspective. That said, if this particular planet can align in the account assignment galaxy – take advantage.
Client-Account Manager Chemistry
I’m going to break someone’s heart here, but not everyone gets along and not everyone can work together effectively. For that exact reason it’s imperative that client and prospective AM personalities be taken in to account before assigning new business. This may take the form of communication preferences (email vs. phone vs. screen share, etc.), all the way to actual language and tone. In order to ensure this factor is handled objectively, it’s important that account assignment responsibility lies with a leadership team member who has all parties’ best interest in mind. That also requires each of those parties to accurately indicate personality types and where fits and mismatches could occur. Opposites can occasionally be incredibly valuable to one another – however generally speaking, keeping like personalities together is good idea.
Pain Point/Performance Issue Familiarity
Similar to vertical experience, enlisting an Account Manager who has had specific experience tackling and eliminating pain points or performance issues relevant to the new business account can be huge. There is never a magic wand that fixes account performance troubles, but seeing comparable problems in the past can help narrow down potential solutions to troubleshoot. Even if the pain point ends up being unprecedented, experience in executing potential solutions can speed up the process of getting to new strategies to eliminate the problem.
AM Skill Level vs. Account Complexity
The team at PPC Hero has written multiple times about the delicate balance that is agency account management. Determining the best ways to manage time alongside client account needs and priorities isn’t simple and the more tenured the AM – the more practice they have in this area. Account management could include Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter sponsored posts, LinkedIn Ads, 3-4 other platforms, call tracking, bid & budget software, complementary account management tools, CRO testing and landing pages…and I’ve just tapped the tip of that iceberg. That list doesn’t even begin to fold in the client communication and services aspect! Again, AMs who have been around the block a time or two can handle this balancing act with poise and grace so overall experience should certainly be measured against new account complexity.
Budget/Account Size Experience
Not necessarily related to the number of paid engines the new business account may be running, the total ad spend and AM experience with that budget size is an additional area of expertise to contemplate. It can be difficult for an AM with predominantly small business account management experience to handle growth opportunities in a 6-figure spend account. Typically budget size experience comes with tenure, but that isn’t always the case. The right AM for any particular budget size will know when automation versus manual adjustments can and should be made, as well as how to communicate expansion or contraction needs to the client.
AM Availability & Current Capacity
Let’s say the new client account you’re onboarding is having serious performance trouble. There are campaigns across a handful of platforms and conversion tracking needs to be audited right out of the gates. Assigning an AM who already has significant budget under management to that account isn’t a good idea no matter how much relevant vertical experience that AM has.
The new account requires particular attention and bandwidth, especially in the formative initial months of the partnership. No AM is Superman, so overloading even the most talented will end poorly for everyone. That said, don’t sell your all-stars short – if they can handle it, experience might help lower perceived time required to manage the account.
What are some of the things you want taken in to consideration when your campaigns are being assigned to an Account Manager or team? For Account Managers – what factors do you think agencies or clients should also look for in an AM? Share your experiences or ideas with us in the comments section below!