Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Things Every Account Manager Should do to Improve Their Career

Hi Everybody!  I hope you are doing great.  Today, I’m going to circle back around to account managers and account executives and discuss how to make yourself more valuable.  First off – why do you want to be more valuable?  Good question. 

In my opinion the best solution for anyone I talk to is for them to stay in their current position.  Making a move is messy, difficult and stressful.  That said, there are times when it is unavoidable.  With this in mind I’ve come up with some ways that you can make yourself more valuable to your company and in the worst case scenario make yourself more marketable.  Here goes:

1.  Develop a specialty or a niche

This is huge.  The one way you can set yourself apart from the rest of the pack is to be a specialist.  This will make you invaluable to your current employer and in the event you need to make a move will give you the opportunity to find a position looking for your skills.  Additionally, the ability to become a specialist will give a future employer confidence that you could do it again in another segment. 

So – how do you become  a specialist.  Every book of business has some common denominator.  Typically it is in an industry segment or a line of coverage.  Immerse yourself in this and get to know as much about it as possible.  Spend an extra five minutes on the phone with your client or underwriter.  Take notes when talking to your producer.  Slowly but surely you will notice that you will be able to speak their language and be able to make educated recommendations.  Give yourself the gift of a specialty – it will pay you back.

2.  Build up your marketing skills

This one is really important.  It doesn’t matter if you are in a centralized marketing organization led by a marketing manager or a decentralized organization where you do all of the marketing.  You will be in touch with underwriters and have an impact on submissions.  The best account managers I know make a positive impact on the marketing process.  There are a couple of ways you can do this:
  • Build a relationship with your underwriters – people do favors for people that they like
  • Be proactive and intuitive – know ahead of time what additional information underwriters will ask for – have it ready
  • Be responsive – to a degree the underwriter is your customer as well – go fetch additional information that they want in a positive and timely manner
  • Choose your battles – don’t ask for favors with every submission – save up that goodwill you are building
  • Don’t cry wolf – don’t put a rush on things for every submission it will decrease the likelihood of you getting that really important one through.

3.  Increase and improve your client facing activities

Perhaps the best way to make yourself indispensible is to make your customer love you.  Take advantage of every opportunity in front of your client to make an impact.  First of all this will make them very responsive to your needs.  Secondly, your producer will hear about it.  Just like with an underwriter build a personal relationship.  Take notes about their family, hobbies and vacations so you can ask about them later.  Be very responsive and solution oriented.  If you solve their problems in a timely, polite and pleasant manner they will love you!

That’s all I have for today!  Have a great weekend out there and as always please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments.  I’m always available at

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