What makes a good account manager? How can you best develop your relationships with clients? How often should you send reports out? In this episode, Rakeeb Hussein tells Lisa all there is to know about account management, from handling clients’ expectations to the onboarding process. Listen to learn more about what might be one of the most overlooked aspects of PR.
In this episode of the Social PR Secrets Podcast, host Lisa Buyer talks with Rakeeb Hussein, the founder, and CEO of Agency Allies. Agency Allies is not the type of agency we’re used to talking about on the pod. Instead, it helps digital marketing agencies with account and project management and influencers, and social media work. As Rakeeb puts it, “we help agencies free up their time to focus on what they’re good at, while we do what we’re good at for them.”
The Importance of Account Management
Rakeeb explains that agencies are often focused on sales and are good at it. But when it comes to building and maintaining relationships with clients, they have a difficult time. But if you don’t have the right approaches or a good account manager, you won’t have long-lasting relationships with clients.
The client-agency relationship starts during onboarding, according to Rakeeb. He usually introduces himself and sends out a form for the new client to fill out. That way, he gets all the critical information. Then, he follows up with an onboarding call, which helps build relationships. He always tries to start personally and then moves on to business. He says you have almost to interview your client, asking them what they want to achieve, how their company is doing at the moment, what they expect from the relationship. It’s all about asking the right questions!
Top Tips for Clients/Agency Relationships
When it comes to clients, PR professionals dread expectations they know they can’t meet. When faced with that issue, Rakeeb advises focusing on communication. As you start working with a new client, make sure you understand their expectations. His biggest tip? Put everything in writing. Even if you agreed to something over a zoom call or even in person, always send a follow-up email laying out what was decided.
On the client-side of things, brands should understand what they’re looking for. They also need to make sure they have the right account manager. The top three things to look for in an account manager are:
- Are they communicating?
- Are they a listener?
- Are they in it for me?
Project management 101
Rakeeb’s biggest tip when asked how to manage best a project was “use the right platforms.” His current favorite is Avaza, but he has also used and enjoyed Asana. These all-in-one platforms make the process much more efficient because everything is in one place. His second tip is to make sure everyone on the team is communicating as things happen. Lastly, he recommends focusing on sustained communications with all stakeholders.
One of the biggest debates within the PR industry is how often agencies should send reports to clients. Rakeeb says that, in reality, people don’t look at reports. Clients are usually interested in very specific things, such as the number of sales generated or the number of influencers secured. Consequently, he advises focusing reports on that. He sends a big monthly report and quick weekly emails that sum up the week. They include vital highlights and things they’re working on resolving. He explains the key to reporting is finding the right platform for you and your clients.
What are the best account management tools? What are some secrets of making sure clients feel cared for? Why is onboarding so important? Listen to this episode to improve account management within your own agency!
“It’s about finding how you can change things now, rather than waiting for 2021 to happen.” – Rakeeb Hussein
Some topics discussed in this episode include:
- Account management
- Project management
- Client/Agency relationships
- Online platforms
Contact Rakeeb Hussein:
- LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/rakeeb-hussein-abb9117b/
- Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wanderlustprince/?hl=en
- Agency Allies https://www.agencyallies.co/
References and Links Mentioned
- Avaza https://www.avaza.com/
- Asana https://asana.com/
- HubSpot https://www.hubspot.com/
- Data Studio https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/
- Slack https://slack.com/