Account executive training? In most agencies, an AE’s first day consists of:
- A “fill out all the paperwork” meeting with your HR/accounting person
- A quick tour of the office, introducing the new account executive to the team as you walk through
- A lecture about protecting passwords from your IT staffer
- And a reminder that their first client meeting is at 10:30 am. That morning.
No worries — you’ll train them later, right? Unfortunately, many an agency has incredible intentions of starting a training program for their account executives but usually client work trumps training and it doesn’t happen.
One of the reasons it doesn’t happen is because usually the agency owner is the one who is supposed to develop the training. Enough said.
But let’s say you really are serious about developing an internal account executive training program. What does it need to include?
Understanding the big picture:
- Why does a client hire an agency?
- What does an agency owner look for in an account executive
- How does an agency work and make money
- Agency accounting (AGI, etc.)
- How does an account executive influence AGI for better or worse
Getting the work done:
- Work flow/process inside agencies
- Serving as the client advocate inside the agency and the agency advocate with the client
- Helping clients be a better client
- Helping the agency become invaluable to the client
- The money pits and how to avoid them
The business of business:
- How businesses make money
- Business metrics/KPIs
- The different levels within a company and what each of them can do for/with the agency
- Identifying business problems and delivering solutions
- Pricing for profit – don’t leave money on the table
- Managing and controlling changes and the black hole they create in your profitability
- Helping your agency be more profitable
Critical skills for being an irreplaceable account executive:
- Presentation skills
- Sales skills
- Team building skills
- Digital literacy
- Managing/growing their own expertise
All of that assumes you’re already working with them on developing strategy and the core marketing competencies along the way, as part of their daily work with clients.
If you really want to develop this sort of a program, you could do it in modules and host a series of long lunch and learns. Or you could shut down for a few days and power through it.
Account executive training is vital to your agency’s ROI, growth and long-term success. Either you are going to have to keep doing it yourself…. or you’re going to need account executives who can carry part of the load.
Yes — it’s a huge investment on your part of do all of that training and to keep it current. But, you can’t expect them to know how to be a good account executive by osmosis.
Fortunately for you, if that seems a bit daunting, we’ve got you covered. Our AE bootcamp and advanced AE bootcamp is account executive training on steroids. Two intense days of hands on learning, small group work, a team presentation assignment, and much more.