Digital Marketing   |   Clock Icon 5 min read

Transitioning Account Managers: How to Prepare for a Seamless Switch

by Alice Chambers   |   Aug 23, 2016

Transitioning client accounts between digital marketing account managers can seem overwhelming at first. As the incoming account manager, you are responsible for continuing to build and maintain a relationship with a client. Additionally, you must be prepared to take the reins once the transition process between account managers is complete. The overarching goal for a seamless account transition is to make the client feel like nothing has changed.

Though you will be balancing many moving pieces, a seamless transition is possible. The secret in preparing for the transition process is in understanding the details and background information of your new account, before the transition occurs. There are four key areas to focus on during preparation:

Understand the Client’s Business

The best place to begin learning about a client’s business is through the website. Take a look around the site to really familiarize yourself with the client’s brand, how they position themselves to the public, and their business objectives. Does the client mention any milestones or key accomplishments that have taken place during the past few years? Also, be sure to learn about their products and how they differ from one another. This will allow you to speak about the client’s product and brand right from the beginning and further enforce a seamless transition.

(Imagine being on the client side and dealing with a digital marketing consultant, without any knowledge of your brand! It would severely damage your relationship.)

Once you feel like you have a strong grasp of the information provided on your client’s website, take time to review this information with co-workers who are already familiar with the client. Are they able to confirm your findings? Do they have any additional insight to lend?

Learn about the Account History

In depth research into account history is also important. Take a look back at the account from the very beginning to see how it has progressed over time. In chronological order, review internal correspondence among your co-workers, minutes meetings with the client, and monthly reports. You should try to be able to discuss the account history as if you had been the account manager since the very beginning.

Learn about the key performance indicators (KPIs) or goals that have been established for the client. Find out why those specific KPIs were established and about the account’s success in meeting those targets.

Finally, with a team member, discuss the services that your company provides to the client. Discuss upcoming projects and the projects that they recently worked on, along with their successes and failures. This way you’ll be able to provide further insight into the type of work that would be most beneficial for the client and won’t make the mistake of suggesting repeat projects. Additionally, be sure to learn about the client’s various digital marketing campaigns and how they are set up.

Get to Know the Client

Everyone is different and has a unique personality – including your client contacts. It’s important to try and get to know these different personality types before entering into the client relationship. This can provide insight into the way that the client typically reacts to various situations – any major differences in their reaction can help you spot “red flags” and respond to them accordingly.

It’s also important to be aware of your client’s knowledge level in the digital marketing world. A contact with minimal experience in digital marketing will require you to explain account activity differently than a contact who has a strong background in digital marketing. For example: It would be extremely frustrating for a client to read a report focused on “Impression Share,” when he or she has no clue what “Impression Share” means.

Each client will also differ in their preferred methods of communication. It’s helpful to know this beforehand so that you’re able to communicate in the most effective way off the bat, hold up to their expectations, and further support a seamless transition. For example: Does the client prefer to receive weekly reporting vs. monthly reporting? Does the client prefer to video conference vs. speaking over the phone?

Learn About Your Internal Team

At Workshop Digital, account managers and analysts work to support the same accounts. Just as it’s important to understand how your client works and communicates best, it’s as equally important to understand how your team members work and communicate best. A team that is aware and communicative of their own strengths and needs is a team that is able to successfully support the needs of their client. Upfront communication will help save time and prevent you from needing to work out any internal issues down the road.

Remember that every transition will be different, so it’s important to adjust these strategies accordingly.

As an account manager, your goal is always to make your client’s life easier and support their successes wherever possible—the same holds true during account transitions. Advanced research and preparation will support a seamless transition and help your client understand that they are still in good hands.

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Alice Chambers