April 27, 2017
As the digital marketing industry grows with new updates, platforms, tools, and thought processes, it’s natural for many accounts to:
- Expand their reach
- Refine more sophisticated strategies
- Develop new complexities
This continual evolution of PPC combined with potential shifts or expansions of business goals can ultimately make it challenging for a single person to manage. In situations like these, a team can be useful for distributing responsibilities and reducing the personal workload while ensuring expert work can still be maintained through individual contributions.
There are different ways to design a team for fulfilling work goals and duties, but a common technique – as practiced by our “team of teams” approach here at Hanapin – is to have a designated lead who oversees correspondence and tasks, with one or more supporting colleagues in various roles (e.g. analysis, technical, or implementation). We often hear or seek advice on the best ways to develop our leadership or strategy skills in hierarchical team designs, which is indeed vital for progressing toward these foremost positions and enhancing our personal development.
If you find yourself in a supporting role, whether you’re new to the job or industry, possess specialized knowledge in a specific area, or simply enjoy assisting others, you may wonder what you can do to improve your efforts in this endeavor. This thought has certainly crossed my mind many times since my recent introduction to digital marketing. Through time supporting large accounts, reflection on such experiences, and conversations with supervisors and peers, I’ve assembled a starting list of four pointers that have helped me begin answering this question.
Although I’ll assume the lens of a supportive position in our discussion, you don’t have to strictly belong in this role to benefit from the following tips. In fact, being a strong account lead involves knowing the best way to support clients and the team under your management, as a leader is only as good as their ability to help and inspire others.
1. Communicate Well And Communicate Often
Good communication skills are a staple of countless job descriptions and applications, and it’s easy to take for granted with such prevalent demand. Since supporting a team by nature encompasses frequently working with others, your success can vary widely with your aptitude at connecting with colleagues and clients, understanding their goals, and conveying your thoughts and solutions. Without quality communication throughout a chain of processes or decisions, confusion and misinformation can quickly arise to make your tasks obscure and frustrating. By the same token, the inability to express your results or findings to those on the executive side can render your work less actionable or insightful.
What does it mean to communicate well? The key is placing yourself in the mindset of the person you’re interacting with to better comprehend the information they seek or provide. By tailoring your thoughts and response to best suit their needs, you have a much higher chance connecting with others in the style they’re accustomed to. Good communication also involves being able to:
- Extract important details from a larger whole
- Explain concepts in a concise yet impactful manner
- Ask the right questions to clarify muddled points
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your team. Inquire so you have the right resources and direction for the job. Finally, know that communication skills are deemed skills for a reason – they improve with observation, practice, and patience.
2. Discover And Own Your Expertise
As mentioned earlier, one benefit of creating a team for your PPC accounts is the ability to distribute responsibilities across multiple people. This benefit, in turn, leads to a further positive aspect – the emergence of specialized roles and skillsets available for exploration. While supporting a team, investigate the tasks you enjoy performing within the bounds of the account and immerse yourself in them at every available opportunity. By learning and growing in a self-prescribed role, you’ll benefit not only your team with your knowledge but also the broader company. Discovering your expertise conveys to others you’re the best person to rely on for support regarding your developed proficiency, which will undoubtedly spark higher satisfaction of your work.
On the topic of expertise, remind yourself regularly of the value you bring to your team. It can be easy to forget this when operating more in the background and less in the light of leadership, but the consistent endeavors supporting the team is precisely what makes your contribution so important. You form the backbone of your account by catalyzing others’ success. When I first started work on the account I currently support, one of my supervisors told me within a few months he envisioned me as the account expert who could approach nearly all questions related to it. This was a daunting prospect at the time – especially for one fresh out of PPC training – but with time spent learning, this thought slowly became reality. Now, it brings me joy to know I’ve helped new team members transition onto the account, addressing their questions and concerns with confidence while building tools for promoting success in their positions.
In short, approach account support not just as a role to fulfill but as a learning experience wherein you provide unique worth to those you work with. Your knowledge can help influence the direction and decision-making of the account whether you recognize it or not.
3. Develop A People-Oriented Mindset
Supporting a team is, at its essence, a service-focused position. Whenever you are supporting an account, a client, or fellow colleagues, ultimately you are helping another person with a problem or achieving a goal. Thus, a major component in feeling inspiration and happiness in being a support is having the desire to help other people. The ability to connect with others and feel as though I’m contributing to their wellbeing is one of the most important attributes I personally seek out of a career. As such, my favorite days occur when I witness the work I accomplish making a direct, positive impact on someone else.
What does having a people-oriented mindset consist of? Its end form is the motivation to assist your teammates or clients first and foremost, placing them or the collective group above your own interests. More generally, it’s an attitude wherein your behaviors are fueled by the awareness of others and how they will be affected by your actions. Two thoughts can help develop this type of mindset and in turn, bolster your strength in supporting others. First, simply listening to people – without interruption and while internalizing the implications of their statements – can greatly enhance understanding of how to approach different individuals. Second, just as in the discussion on communication, placing yourself in the shoes of others will provide insight on their thought process and how you can best interact with them.
Even if this mindset isn’t your typical inclination, remembering a supportive role involves helping others can help frame your thinking to provide the best assistance possible.
4. Learn The Art Of Delegation
Out of the four tips provided, this is certainly the one I struggle with the most. It can be difficult especially considering the previous talking point on wanting to help others. After all, it seems counterintuitive to request aid when you’re attempting to alleviate their burden as a support, right? This is precisely the type of thinking you want to avoid when learning the art of delegation. We must first realize that reallocating work is not asking fellow team members to simply do our tasks for us, but rather a way to ensure all obligations can be fulfilled in a timely manner. It can be tempting to take on every job as a support – perhaps to take the pressure off others or to prove you can handle the challenge – but you typically end up being more productive (and less stressed) utilizing the team structure to spread the workload while focusing on a few projects at a time.
If you’re still wrestling with the idea, you might try viewing delegation as an opportunity for others to shine and share in the team success, a perspective first introduced to me in this article by our very own director of HR here at Hanapin. By sharing responsibilities you would normally assume with colleagues, particularly those who are new or unfamiliar with the tasks, you provide them the chance to learn something new while reinforcing your support in the team’s growth. I’ve utilized this reasoning to help me feel more comfortable in situations where I might have otherwise been hesitant about placing my workload on others.
Supporting a PPC account can be a very rewarding experience with its strong emphasis on learning, helping others, and importance to a team. It’s my hope these four tips provide some brief insight on how you can better support the account teams you may be a part of.
Do you have any other thoughts or tips from your own experiences supporting PPC teams? We’d love to hear from you!