5 Qualities of the Best Account Managers 1

What I have learned from shadowing the initiate-it account management team is that there are 5 very important qualities successful account managers need.  From my experience at Initiate-it, I was able to closely relate these important qualities of the account managers with Don Draper (*character from Mad Men).  For those of you who have not watched the show, Mad Men centers around when the advertising industry was first flourishing on Madison Avenue. Don Draper, the main character in this show is portrayed as the advertising guru and the ad man that everyone wants to learn from.  There is no better ad man than Don Draper.  So, for all you advertising fans out there here are the top 5 characteristics of a qualified and successful account manager that I’ve learned so far.

1. Leadership:

5 Qualities of Account Managers - Leadership

The number one quality for any account manager to have is leadership skills.  Leadership consists of many smaller qualities within.  Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be outgoing, but in this industry, you need to be.  As an account manager, you need to be able to initiate the conversation and communicate with many different people.  You need to know when to step up and speak up.  At Initiate-It the account management team is not only outgoing but they make an active effort to spend time with clients or prospective clients outside of the office.  Keeping your clients happy should be your priority.  Additionally, it is important to keep your co-workers happy in order to work efficiently and effectively together. Resolving employee work conflicts and building new connections is all in a day’s work as a good account manager.  Why would someone want to join your team if you are not a good leader?

2. Passion & Creativity Go Hand In Hand:

5 Qualities of Account Managers - Passion & Creativity

Don’t be scared to let your passion redefine the way marketing is portrayed.  If one thing, Don Draper was never scared to reinvent the wheel and his passion always took a lead in his work.  Don Draper would write his ideas on restaurant napkins and gain inspiration from daily life events.  With this in mind, don’t be afraid to find inspiration and develop creative ideas through your advertising passion.  For an account manager, advertising passion and creativity go hand in hand.  You never know what part of your personal life may inspire the next big Coca-Cola Hilltop commercial!

3. Organizational Management:

If there is one thing I have learned from the Initiate-It account management team, it is that organization is key.  Initiate-it account managers they are on top of, not only their own work but all the other work that their tasks depend upon.  They are the project leaders, so their job is to organize everyone else’s work in order to create the final copy before presenting the project to the client.  Therefore, they are always on top of the creative team, the copywriters, and everyone else in order to make sure that all parts of the project are completed on time.  Account managers have to be organized themselves and also take on the task to organize everyone else along the way!

4. Problem Solving Skills:

5 Qualities of Account Managers - Problem Solving

Life is generally full of surprises, but if you’re in the advertising industry that is an understatement.  As an account manager, it is important to be able to face all the volatility that advertising throws at you on a normal daily basis.  Now I am not talking about your intern picking up the wrong print proofs (although that is a problem that you may face).  I’m talking about the bigger picture: last minute changes to campaigns before a meeting, steering an advertising campaign in a different direction after months of working on a campaign that was unsuccessful, dealing with an unsatisfied client, communicating unmet deadlines with your client, not over promising and under delivering, and many other challenges.  Although all of these things may not seem like your problem, they are your problem.  As an account manager, it is your job to make sure there is a smooth and successful transition of your assigned projects taking place at your advertising agency.  So yes, unfulfilled creative work and unsatisfied clients are your problem and it’s your job to be able to solve whatever problems the advertising industry throws at you.  Next time you have a problem ask yourself…what would Don Draper do?

5. Confidence:

5 Qualities of Account Managers - Confidence

Don Draper never once doubted himself so why should you?  If you don’t believe in your own ideas and your own work then who is going to?  In order to convince someone to work with you, you need to be able to present your work confidently and reassure them that you and your idea is the BEST option and there is nothing better out there.  There is always a better option out there, but the way you sell yourself and your campaign can change a client’s perception of what the best option at that moment is.  Now I am not saying to have a super ego. I am saying have the confidence to reassure your client that you are knowledgeable.  As an account manager, your client relationships may at times get rocky.  Clients sometimes feel that they know what they are doing but don’t be scared to explain to them that you know what is best.  If they knew what they were doing, then why would they seek your professional expertise?  Be confident in your role as an account manager and the work that you are presenting.

The Initiate-It account management team truly portrays these top five characteristics that can be found in any successful account managers.  They have reached Don Draper status and now with these top 5 qualities so can you!

Posted by Roshni Kotla, Project Manager Intern at initiate-it, a digital first, full-service agency located in Richmond, VA.