“If I had to describe it in one word it would be 'networking.' That’s really the key to being successful in account management – building key relationships with extremely busy individuals."
I’m a senior client services manager, some people call it client services, and some people call it account management. At the end of the day it’s business development. I work with new and existing clients and my job is basically creating relationships with key engineering leads, managers, directors and VP’s. This is often times easier said than done, but once I establish a relationship I begin discussing the project scopes and the engineering support that they require in order to ensure the successful execution of their projects.
If I had to describe it in one word it would be “networking.” That’s really the key to being successful in account management – building key relationships with extremely busy individuals.
I always try to think outside of the box and come up with new strategies. I actually do a lot of hunting in my spare time and there’s a lot of strategy involved in this as well. My love for strategic and solutions-focused thinking allows me to come up with out-of-the-box ways to be successful in both my personal and professional goals.
I think this job fits me perfectly. It allows me to be creative with how I build relationships and gives me the privilege to get to know amazing people and the cutting edge technologies that they are working on. Often times we are working on projects that are extremely advanced and it’s truly inspiring to have a firsthand peak at the technologies that will be shaping our future. This is literally beyond my expectations of a “dream job.” I never thought that there was a position out there that goes hand-in-hand with who I am as a person, my hobbies and my work ethic.
My approach in building a relationship is more than just business-focused. For example, a gentleman I’ve worked with was a CX Manager at Google when I began working with him. I ended up getting to know him and we would go to playoff basketball games and other events together. He wound up growing through the ranks and switched companies to join Facebook for an even higher title (he was a senior director). He utilized me at Facebook as well and we ended up filling over 40 specialized positions—very niche engineering operations positions. He then changed jobs again and now he’s a VP at another company, and I talked to him just last week. I told him about my vacation last month, and he told me about the trip to China he’s taking because it’s not all about business. Business is not the only reason I call. I frequently call managers that I work with just to check-in and see how things are going whether they’re working or unemployed – I always stay in touch with people. This really creates a much stronger bond than what most managers have with their clients.
I’d say the hardest part of the job is that there are a lot of fly-by-night companies out there that don’t really offer solid talent. They use cutthroat strategies to try to undercut business. Recruiting, account management and staffing in general sometimes gets a bad name due to these types of companies. The hardest part is showing a new manager that you don’t know very well (and that you’re trying to build a fresh relationship with) that you’re not that type of company and that your ethics come before the dollar. You have to show them that at the end of the day, you are with a company that provides a genuine service and conducts business in an ethical way above all else.
Often times we’re working on technologies that aren’t public, and that can be absolutely insane! My whole position is to understand the job that we’re going to be filling. I am the one that creates a useable/searchable job description, so I have to understand what we’re going to be working on. This includes understanding the type of engineer needed, the areas of expertise they need to have focused on, the types of technologies and companies they should have experience with and more. I try to get as close to the new products and technologies as possible to ensure I have a solid grasp of what the individual will be working on. I’m a very visual and hands-on person so often times when I’m talking with the managers that I have better relationships with I’ll set up a meetings with them so I can demo the products. That’s probably something that a lot of people don’t know – we’re often times getting hands on with products that are not released yet.
Think outside-of-the-box and be yourself. This is an industry where a lot of people try to conform to what an ideal “business development manager” should be like. At the end of the day, managers want to work with someone they can talk to, not someone putting up a front. If you’re the type of person that enjoys working with people, building relationships, and you’re not afraid of getting rejected here and there, then the sky is the limit. Just network as much as possible and the business will come.