September 16, 2016
Have you ever received a call or email from your agency that you will be getting a new account manager? The thought could be frightening, especially if you LOVE your current AM. After you take a deep breath and realize life will go on, keep in mind the 4 points outlined below to help you transition.
1) The Agency Knows What They Are Doing
This isn’t your agencies first go round. They should have some sort of protocol in place to handle the change, whether it’s an employee leaving or being promoted. If they don’t, bring it up and ask what their plan is. You shouldn’t have to wonder how the transition will take place. At Hanapin, we use a checklist that looks something like this:
Having this type of protocol on file ensures everyone knows the expectation and helps reduce/eliminate items falling through the cracks. Remember, make sure your agency not only has this protocol, but uses it.
2) Repeat Goals And Expectations
The first time you talk to your new AM (after the introductions) make sure you share the most important items regarding the account and your expectations. Speaking up and verbalizing the goals you have for the account and why/how they were created would be beneficial during this time. Confirm the new account manager knows key points that you shared with the previous AM, even if they’ve said they met and discussed everything. It doesn’t hurt to double check the transfer of information. The more you re-share, the less likelihood something important will be lost in the shuffle. I know this process can feel repetitive and something you shouldn’t have to do, but you are only hurting yourself if you don’t. AMs are human and not perfect. The more you set them up for success, the more opportunity they have to be successful.
3) Understand Account Manager Differences
Understand that more than likely, the new AM and the old AM will not have the same personality, communication style or way of doing things. Getting used to those differences will be a bit unnerving. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the new AM isn’t as qualified or as good as the old. It just means they are different. Sometimes personality differences are more than you want to handle. A personality fit can be just as important as expertise.
You can handle this situation in one of three ways. First, you could do nothing and feel uncomfortable or disenchanted. Second, you can express your concern and work with the AM to make changes to help with the fit. You can get to know each other beyond the numbers and work together to get where you need to be. Finally, the third way, and not something that happens often, is to request a new account manager. This initiative should be a last resort. Agencies do take time and put a lot of thought into who your AM will be. That decision is based on a number of factors, including:
- Account management experience
They don’t just throw some names in a hat and stick you with who is pulled out. There is a method to the madness so don’t take this option lightly.
4) Embrace The Change
Finally, although change can sometimes be scary, there are some possible benefits. A new account manager can bring a fresh perspective to your account. They can pull from previous experience and offer new ideas. You may even like them more than your original AM (it really is possible). Their communication style might more closely match yours, which could eliminate some of the stress you would feel during this time.
Remember, following the steps I have outlined above will help set you up for success when change occurs. It isn’t a time to get nervous but a time to embrace a new opportunity and reinvigorate the process. Change is inevitable. How you respond to it will be the foundation for your success.