How to Set Yourself Up for Success
As an account manager, I work with a variety of clients across many different industries, each with diverse needs, goals and objectives. Every hour of each day is different; I may be updating a website, proofreading a guide, programming a compensation statement, reviewing analytics, and more. There is never a dull moment which is the #1 reason I love what I do. A close second is knowing that my clients walk away (or better yet stick around) happy with a well-executed project. It’s why I’ve worked in this field for nearly 15 years. In all my experience, I’ve found there are some tips that can help set my clients up for success.
Here are three things I think everyone should consider at the start of every project:
Samuel Johnson once said the first step toward greatness is to be honest. Maybe you didn’t LOVE the first round of design options, or the wording seems off brand for your company in a first draft. I’ve heard just about everything. So don’t hold back. What did you like? Or better yet, what didn’t you like? The first step to a successful project is providing concise, honest, and professional feedback early in the process to avoid any 11th hour rewrite or design change.
What’s your timeline?
No, your real timeline.
There is no cookie cutter approach to all projects, and timelines can vary. Sure, some elements of a project have strongly defined timing requirements, like how long it takes something to print (7-10 business days) or programming a statement file. But there is often some flexibility when it comes to turnaround times, especially in the second or final draft.
Determining a timeline should be an open conversation between myself and my clients. Let me know if you have a vacation planned in the middle of a project, or if you need to provide a final draft for approval to another stakeholder by a certain date.
A project timeline can be as fluid or rigid as you need it to be, within reason. Be realistic with how long you need to review each draft with internal stakeholders and communicate any adjustment to a timeline as early as possible. Bottom-line, don’t be afraid to discuss or adjust the timeline.
To flex, or not to flex your ability.
How collaborative do you want to be? Are you the next William Shakespeare and want a heavy hand in the writing process? Maybe you have a background in marketing or design, and have ideas to make the design better? Or, you could just be too busy and want to trust it all to the experts. Tell me your preferred level of involvement and I can tailor my approach to suit you. No one wants to nag, but I can, if that’s what you think you need. My approach is adapted to your desired approach.
In Conclusion… Cue record scratching sound effect. Full stop. We’re just getting started! With most projects, we kick-off with a discussion, define your goals and objectives, and establish next steps – you know the drill. But keeping these three key pieces of advice in mind will help empower you as a client from the beginning and set any project on the path toward success.