Alyssa Boczar is back in her favorite spot on the couch at Quilted Squirrel.
She’s glowing, as usual, and sitting with the comfort and confidence you’d expect from the coolest senior account manager in the business.
Approaching her one-year anniversary at Quilted Squirrel, Alyssa is consistently enthusiastic about working with our team. (If anything, she’s tolerant of our nonsense.) So sitting down to talk about her insights on account management—in this second installment of a three-part series featuring her thought leadership—is undoubtedly an exhilarating experience.
As an account manager, working with a bunch of creatives can be fun but exhausting. How does Alyssa handle working with so many unique personalities?
“Getting to know my team has been so important to our success,” Alyssa begins. “Not only because they’re wildly interesting human beings, but because understanding their communications styles allows us to better work together.”
Whoa. Alyssa’s team sounds pretty awesome. Maybe even the greatest team ever assembled, in any field, ever. But they’re still human, which calls for an especially human approach from Alyssa every day.
“The last thing I want to do is say something in a way that offends them at 3:30 in the afternoon or before a 5 p.m. deadline,” she explains. “Knowing what to say—and how to say it—to each of my team members sets them up for success and helps me get clients their deliverables in a timely manner.”
Mastering human dynamics seems like a pretty big part of the job. And yes, an account manager must be able to roll with the punches; they should be a good sport and an even better team player.
That also means being prepared for stressful situations.
How does Alyssa—and how can other account managers—avoid common pitfalls of the position?
“There’s at least three ways I try to overcome obstacles,” Alyssa says.
Don’t put off communications with clients.
According to Alyssa, “It’s tough completing tasks and supporting your internal team at the same time. On top of that, you’ve got to keep clients in the loop. It’s best not to keep clients guessing, so being ahead of updates is where I like to be. That means sharing progress, showing direction, asking questions, or resolving issues whenever possible.”
Balance your time throughout the day.
“My days are typically busy with a mix of meetings, planning, executing and communicating with the team and clients,” Alyssa explains. “I love each aspect of this, but I’m only one person—so when I’m in a meeting, I can’t be planning, executing, or communicating. It’s a tricky balance, but having an understanding of how my team works (and keeping our priorities straight) helps us meet goals and deadlines while staying (somewhat) sane.”
Don’t assume your team knows all the details.
“When you’re in the thick of conversations, emails, and meetings with clients, it can be tough to remember that your internal team members only know as much as you share with them. Overcommunicating details will help everyone pull together a better end product.”
Being a good account manager calls for ruthless optimism. How does Alyssa manage to stay upbeat and positive all the time? Meditation? Coffee? Hard drugs?
“Um, not quite,” Alyssa chuckles. “Fortunately, I think I was born hardwired to be a positive thinker. It could be my greatest strength or my biggest weakness. I guess it just comes down to believing that there’s no sense in being negative, as it really doesn’t solve anything. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my days, but I always tend to find the bright side of every situation.”
It’s the sort of bright-eyed but honest response you’d expect from Alyssa. And respect. And admire. Because being an account manager means making difficult decisions. The ability to do so calls for a pleasant yet powerful personality. How does Alyssa pull it off?
According to her, at least three things:
- Prioritizing client work in a way that keeps them happy and our team sane
- Knowing when to say no
- Regulating how many cups of coffee to have in a day
Aha! So coffee was a critical account management tool all along. Alyssa, you’re busted. But not lost for words (even if we are running out of room in this blog), so stay tuned for Alyssa’s third and final installment of account executive insights next month! We’ll see you then.
Don’t want to wait?
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