Being a client manager is a balancing act. It requires being attentive to many clients at once, with each client having a number of projects moving at the same time. It’s fast-paced and you are often pulled in many directions at once.
Over the course of three years working at agencies, I’ve developed five strategies that help me keep the many balls I need to juggle in the air.
Create a system that works for you. It is a trial and error process to find the system that best works for you. I’ve worked with various project management tools over the few years, but I’ve found that the old-fashioned to-do list works best for me. I have about a two-page long to-do list of projects moving and tasks that need to be completed based so I can visually see which client will need my most attention at a given time.
Prioritize. At the beginning of each workday, I look at what needs to complete for each client, the due dates and determine the order of urgency. I identify five priorities for that day so I can always refocus my attention to those when needed. As new emails pop up in your inbox throughout the day, it’s easy to get distracted and forget what you need to focus on.
Don’t let emails distract you. Of course, you always respond to client emails before the end of the day. You will likely have emails coming into your mailbox from multiple clients and vendor partners. It’s easy to get distracted from your primary focus by all those emails. To help prevent that from happening, I’ll always read the email but if it’s able to wait, I will put a red flag on it to remind myself to respond later. If I’m unable to address the client’s need before heading home for the night, I will let them know I received the email and will get back to them in the morning. The red flags help me see how much time I’ll need to follow up on my inbox.
Hold people accountable. Timelines are important in this industry and keeping everyone accountable for those deadlines is essential as a client manager. Whether you’re waiting on something from your colleague or edits from a client, always send a reminder to help them stay on track. I keep key deadlines on my calendar so I can look ahead at what is still needed to meet a given due date.
Ask for help. There are always competing priorities when you’re an account manager and some weeks are busier than others. If it gets overwhelming and my to-do list is getting longer faster than I am crossing off tasks, it’s important to ask colleagues to help triage what is on your plate. Sometimes they’ll even have time to take a task for you. But just talking through your to-do list with someone else can make it feel less daunting.
-By Hannah Summers
Follow us on Facebook @ImpactStories and Twitter @ImpactDC