The role of today’s account executive is complex. The key role is to support the team, be everything to everyone, chase people down, push people for status updates, book meetings, bring all the right documents to the meeting and anticipate the things that may slip up. All the while juggling these balls without dropping any. Not one.
But all that is just the basics. What separates the good from the great is that the great ones go beyond. They get it.
What is getting it? An account executive that gets it has an intuitive sense of how to match client needs and agency opportunities. They understand the essence of the clients’ business and truly believe what the clients brand stands for. When an account executive embodies the persona of the client in this way, they can maximize the relationship by knowing how and when to bring agency expertise to bear in growing their client’s business in the marketplace. They think proactively, take good risks and build credibility. And over time, the client trusts them.
Recently an account executive I know attended their child’s college orientation half way across the country. As she attended the countless parental meetings concerning what to prepare for, what to buy and what forms to fill out, a nagging question persisted in the back of her mind: “What if something happens and I need to access information (whether medical, educational or otherwise related)?” When she asked the question, the simple reply she received was to “get a Power of Attorney”. Other parents were curious as well and the AE wondered why this information was not readily available in the many preparatory lists that had been distributed.
This all set into motion the birth of an opportunity for one of her clients, an attorney specializing in wills, trust, and power of attorneys. When she returned from her trip, she called the client to suggest that he proactively target parents with children leaving for college. The pitch was clear, defining the need and the opportunity, and because of the trust he had built in the account executive, the client didn’t hesitate and the deal was sealed.
That’s getting it. Having radar for connecting client problems and opportunities with agency ideas and solutions.
An effective and successful account executive is not an order taker. Sure they give clients what they ask for, but they are always looking for new ideas and opportunities to bring to the table. But only if they get it.