Alyssa Boczar sits comfortably from a couch at Quilted Squirrel.

But she won’t be seated for long. She’ll be up and at it—moving and shaking with clients in no time.

And for good reason. Our senior account manager loves bringing us closer to our clients (and each other). As the heartbeat of our creative agency, Alyssa stops at nothing to make sure that projects are flowing, people are smiling, and business is booming.

How does she do it? What are three characteristics every account manager should have?

“Big-picture thinker. Effective communicator. Excellent listener,” Alyssa answers.

Big-picture thinking

What does this mean to Alyssa, and why is it such an important quality in an account manager?

“Being able to understand the full scope of a project will help you understand what you need to do to get the desired results,” she explains. “Being able to think three steps ahead helps you prompt clients for information you will need, create a clear path for the creative team to get the job done, and know when to pivot when things aren’t working.”

Effective communication

Alyssa smiles brightly as she states clearly and confidently her thoughts on effective communication.

“Account managers are the intermediaries between the client and the marketing team,” she says. “That means you’ve got to be able to share important information to each party effectively.”

Okay, important information. Makes sense. What kind of info, though? And to what end?

“It’s important to clearly communicate timelines and deadlines to clients to manage their expectations on the scope of their project.”

Ah, yes yes yes.

Excellent listening skills

Putting together a bang-up marketing plan or creative project involves a lot of ins, a lot of outs, and a lot of what-have-yous. That means paying attention to everything. With that in mind, what are some benefits of effective listening?

According to Alyssa, “Listening to the client and understanding their needs helps you meet their goals the first time around.”

For sure. As every professional knows—regardless of their career or industry—there’s nothing worse than walking away from a meeting with no answers and no direction.

“It’s imperative to ask questions and listen to the intricacies of a client’s business so you understand how to best represent them,” Alyssa elaborates. “If you work with a variety of clients across many different industries, there may be a variety of marketing pieces to produce… and each one might require a different spin for a specific purpose or audience. Of course, every conversation has to be valuable.”

Time is money, as they say. And time management is, well, something else entirely—but it’s not for everyone (such as woozy copywriters, for example). That’s where an experienced senior account manager comes in. For Alyssa, time management is a learned skill.

Time management techniques

“In college, I was taught the ultimate way to manage your time and increase productivity was to make lists and plan out your day in 10-minute increments,” Alyssa says. “I tried it for a while, but have fallen out of habit since then.”

Fair enough. Even though that approach could work for some account managers, it might not work for all. So, what’s another time management technique?

“It comes down to determining your priorities and knowing when to call it on something that’s taking way too long. There’s a saying, ‘Eat the frog,’ which basically means, ‘Do the thing that is important—even if it’s not your favorite thing to do—and do it first thing in the morning.’”

Eat the frog? Interesting theory. What’s it like in practice?

“I’m not the best at doing this every time,” Alyssa admits. “But I do know that when I stick to it, my day goes a lot smoother because then I’m not dealing with a large, looming task over my head all day. It’s all about lists, prioritizing, and taking time each day to look ahead to the next.”

So, what’s next?

There’s so much more to talk about! But in the spirit of brevity (and readability), let’s stop here. We’ll have to wait to learn more from Alyssa in our next installment of this exclusive interview series.

Until then, follow Alyssa on LinkedIn, give her a call at (716) 202.1279 if you want to work together, and check back to the Quilted Squirrel blog page for more marketing content.

See you next time!

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