The Art of Listening
After working on various Account Management teams, I have realized that it’s not the number of words we say that’s important, but more so what we say. In order to ensure what we say is truly impactful and reflects the highest level of thought and concern for both our agency and clients, sometimes it’s best to pipe down and just listen. Save your words for the most effective moment (after all that listening, of course). The simple act of listening can push an Account Steward to be an effective tool for both client and agency success.
Below are the 5 crucial things for which an Account Steward should keep their ears peeled:
1. Listen to your industry leaders:
In advertising, we should never stop learning. Make an effort to continue your education and take advantage of webinars, marketing conferences, articles, Ted Talks and more. Stay up to speed with the latest tactics and technologies, that way you can offer your client and agency team groundbreaking ideas. Once you’ve read a study or completed a really fascinating webinar, be sure to report back to your team, agency or client on your learnings and how to apply them to your business.
2. Listen to your marketplace:
Account management is way more than just day-to-day project management. We need to think bigger. Urge your agency and client both to supply you with the tools and time it takes to understand the marketplace and trends. Ask your client how their sales performed in the last month, and be sure to request ongoing reporting. Stay up to date with your Facebook page trends, or ask your boss for the latest Nielsen report on your client’s industry. By achieving this step, you are allowing yourself to become a strategic asset to both your agency and your client.
3. Listen to your client:
Understand your client and come to know them well so that you can represent them at the agency, even when they are not present. But once you’ve come to understand your client, make sure you don’t lose your own point of view. A true Account Steward learns how to interpret client needs and goals, and uses their expertise to strategize the best way of achieving them.
4. Listen to your agency team:
Get ready to bust out your spy gear, because here’s where you become a Double Agent. While you just mastered getting to know your client, the same goes for your agency—come to know your team and their work well. Understand why your media team is recommending a social media strategy, or why your creative team is recommending a TV spot that features dogs dressed in holiday sweaters. The best Account Steward can stand up for the agency recommendation even when the entire agency team is not present.
5. Listen to yourself:
You just spent so much time and energy listening to your industry leaders, marketplace, client and agency. You are full of great ideas and smart thinking. Rely on your learnings and voice your recommendation based on what you know. Be sure to always give an idea, thought, or feedback, and be able to explain why. By providing rationale for your ideas and recommendations, you will allow them to stand more ground.
Mastered your listening? Read about how great Account Stewards provide strategic feedback.