Ten things account managers do that piss me right off
Posted on: 2012-10-11
in How To
pr account management
pr account manager
This post is an excerpt from the PR Account Manager's Handbook. Click here to download the entire series as an ebook. By @TopLineFounder.
By my count, I’ve worked with 22 account managers in my PR career. I’ve worked under them as an AA or AE, alongside them as a fellow AM and I have managed them, as the owner of a PR consultancy. They have ranged from the abysmal to the outstanding, so here I have compiled my list of ten things that an AM can do that will genuinely get my goat:
Spot a piece of coverage in the FT that they have secured for the client, exclaim in delight, then go and make themselves a cup of coffee! Your client needs to feel that you are ahead of them – as soon as you see that coverage, you send it to them as fast as your internet connection will carry you. You don’t want the client sending their coverage to you!
Blame an AE when something goes wrong. This is a perfectly valid style of leadership but one that I absolutely cannot stand! Act like a team leader. Support your team all the way and take the blame as a team, then address the issue.
Send an email with no context. Leaving an internal meeting where something has been agreed, and then emailing the client about it as if she has been at the internal meeting is just bloody stupid. The client gets the email, doesn’t have a clue what you’re on about and a whole ream of confusion ensues. Err on the side of caution - assume the client never knows what you're on about and provide detailed context on everything. The client has no idea what a byliner is and don't talk about Response Source as if she's a subscriber. Demonstrate some emotional intelligence here.
Saving things on their desktop. No, Mr Centre-of-the-Universe, we don’t want to have to search through your Ibiza snaps to find our media release when you call in sick. Use the server like the rest of us. And while you are at it, stick to other company processes. They’re designed to help us function like a team, but they only work if you follow them. I don't care how much coverage you can place, if you can't function within a team, your value to the company is limited.
Happily watch me take notes in a meeting (client or internal). If I am taking notes it is only because I have noticed that you are not taking notes or that you are only writing down the occasional word or point. I really really don’t want to do this. However, I do it because I am running a business and that business has to run smoothly. If that business is to run smoothly, then meetings need to result in action points, and action points need to be translated into tasks, and tasks need to be done and fed back on. You should be worried every time you spot me doing your job.
Say ‘the client should be really happy with this service’. The client shouldn’t be anything! Whether or not the client is happy is entirely down to the account manager and no one else. The client will be happy if you have identified the need, defined what success will look like, put metrics in place for measuring progress, delivered on client expectations and communicated success and failure properly with the client.
Ask me to proof a feature, then, once I have done so, accept all my changes and send it straight to the client for approval. Aside from revealing your inability to think independently, this sloppy approach annoys me because my changes need to be proofed!
Secure an interview and then celebrate. I’ve seen many an account manager think that getting the interview in the diary is their job done. Sadly, that’s just the first of many hurdles. I’d prefer it if you’d wait for the coverage to come through the door, or through my Google Alerts before you break out the champagne.
Come back from holiday and then say at 1pm on their first day back, “I haven’t seen that as I still haven’t been through my emails”. Your first day back is not an extension of your holiday. Create a system and get through your emails quickly. Delete all the spam and the irrelevant ones (last week’s Response Source requests or Gorkana alerts) and you’ll cut them down by two thirds. Then read through them quickly, set tasks where actions need to happen and move on with your day.
Come to me after a morning of pitching and say ‘that story’s not going to work – the media’s not interested.’ I’m not buying it. Firstly, the right account manager can make every story work, they just need to find the angle and persist. Secondly, why are you dumping this on my lap? Don’t bring a problem to me unless you have thought about next steps and can propose a few solutions.
Hungry for more? Download the Account Manager's Handbook in its entirety by clicking here.