Should you be in-house, agency, freelance or some combination of the above, you have probably managed paid search accounts of various sizes. I’m not talking about just budget-wise; number of keywords, ad groups, campaigns, accounts in an MCC…you name it! How do you manage your accounts based on the size of the business they belong to, though?

There are a lot of layers within individual companies, no matter how large they are, and odds are (there are always exceptions!) you won’t be consistently reporting your PPC work to the sole owner of a company who has no one else involved and speaks to only you. Even if it starts off that way, hopefully you grow the revenue from what you’re doing enough to grow their business/team…see where I’m going?

No matter what the situation may be, as a paid search account manager, you need to be prepared to get called in by whoever your direct report is for a meeting with all the C-level executives at your company or the one you represent. Why? Because you’re the man on the ground! If that upper echelon wants to start talking details – you’ve got a huge opportunity on your hands and now is NOT the time to blow it because you can’t explain the value of what you do! Maybe it isn’t Celebrity Apprentice-level serious (please read my sarcasm, there), but it is a shot for you to earn your spot and you don’t want to waste it.

Keep the following tips in mind every day and you’ll be more than ready if you get called in to show your stuff to the C-suite:

  • Take responsibility for your mistakes. Wait – aren’t we talking about proving value, here?! Yes, and that is exactly my point. There is nothing more frustrating to an incredibly smart group (or individual) in charge than completely glazing over your failures and only discussing the wins. You already did a great job! There is plenty of that to talk about! Acknowledge any tests that did not work, as well as what was learned from them. Verify and validate any concerns and confirm how the failed optimization will be tracked to keep it from being repeated down the road. Certainly don’t spend the bulk of your conversation here, and let’s hope there isn’t a lot to discuss anyway, but don’t skip over it. It shows you’re aware and understand how every move you make can affect the overall bottom line for their company.
  • Don’t necessarily get ‘granular’ right off the bat. For starters, this should be a fairly well-prepared-for meeting, so I’m making a little bit of an assumption that you know going in just how much detail and specifics are being requested. If you weren’t given exact information, consider the overall purpose for which the meeting is being called. Dependent on whether this is an introductory meeting for internal team members, a quarterly review, annual business planning session or another company-specific type – the expected deliverables are much different. Certainly ask those who have requested the meeting how much detail they want, and let them know it’s because we PPC people are nerdy and can talk numbers for hours with them if they want! Based on what they get back to you with, make some decisions (keeping in mind an upcoming point) about how deep the data you present needs to go by metrics, timelines, comparisons, etc.
  • Relate what you’re doing to THEIR ultimate metric. Dependent on which group or individual you’re speaking with, always think of them as You 2.0 – as in they have someone they are more than likely answering to, even (maybe especially) if they own the place and they’re answering to the bills in the mail and balance in the bank account. This is what I was alluding to before, where you may not need to talk click-through rate on this particular occasion. Does it take more than a few sentences for you to explain how CTR funnels in to total enrolled students per semester? If the answer is yes and you aren’t in the meeting to specifically discuss ad copy message testing across campuses (these are very specific examples), then don’t spend a great deal of time discussing it. You’ll lose your candid audience and by the time you get to the win, they’ll be asleep. Be prepared to discuss those things (they could be reading PPC Hero just to test you…kidding!), but if that is all you have to talk about, you’ve likely missed the point and aren’t showing your total value.
  • Take NOTES/Follow UP/Follow THROUGH. Please, oh my goodness please, do not go to a meeting with anyone you work for (directly or indirectly) and NOT take an instrument for note taking. Something will certainly be said that is worth coming back to later when you can focus on it more, and if the author of that thought remembers later and you didn’t…oops. Based on your notes and the discussion, follow up after the meeting with a rundown of those notes, action plans, timelines, etc. and get that follow up in the hands of the meeting attendees (again, directly or indirectly). You absolutely have assignments coming out of this meeting, so when things are completed or at the next scheduled meeting date, present the completed projects and start back at step one.

If you can maintain this kind of presentation style and consistency when given the opportunity to prove the value of PPC to a group of C-level executives, you’ll be given much more opportunity down the road to continue improving that value.

Tell us about some of your experiences! When you’ve been in one of these situations, how did you prepare? How much information were you given ahead of time? Were you surprised or caught off guard once in the meeting? And ultimately – how did it go?! Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below and thank you for reading!