At Seer, our account teams are usually made up of an account manager and an associate. The account manager is the primary point of contact for the client projects they work on, driving the overall strategy of the project, and overseeing the day-to-day tactical work that helps drive that strategy.
The associate, on the other hand, supports and collaborates with the AM -- working on the day-to-day deliverables, reporting, and generally making sure we’re giving clients what they need to work towards their business goals.
As you might expect at a larger agency, getting assigned to new client projects often means working with someone new. To get these new working relationships off on the right foot, we like to set up time before the project fully kicks off to really get to know our new account teammate.
Whether or not you and your new colleague stick to this is entirely up to you, but here are some things to keep in mind when framing this chat:
Get Out of the Office
While you’re both mentally taking a step back from your day-to-day work, it’s also a good idea to take a break from being physically in the office. Find a space outside, head to the nearest coffee shop, or take a walk around the neighborhood.
While you’re at it, why not leave that laptop and your cell phone at your desk? There’s nothing worse than trying to get your new working relationship off on the right track only to be distracted by IM’s pinging your phone.
What To Talk About
Your conversation can be as structured or as relaxed as you’d like, but here are some topic areas you might be it useful to cover:
Your Current Workload
Talk about what other projects you are currently working on and what your workload is currently like. This lets both managers and associates get a sense of who has bandwidth for what.
Are you an early-riser? Can you be found working at your desk well after the sun goes down? Getting a sense of each other’s working styles and rhythms. That way early-risers can be mindful about pinging instant messages to those among us who aren’t necessarily at their sharpest before they’ve had their morning coffee.
Working to get a promotion in the next few months? Looking to level up in a particular aspect of SEO or PPC? Here’s your chance to communicate that and figure out ways to incorporate your work towards those goals in your new project.
Strengths & What You Working to Improve On
This is your chance to talk about what you feel you can bring to the working relationship and where you feel you might improve. The most rewarding AM/Associate relationships I’ve experienced as an associate are when the Account Manager was invested in my growth and actively looked for opportunities to get me more exposure to what I wanted to work on within the project.
How You Like to Receive Feedback
Giving and receiving feedback is a huge part of a successful working relationship. Some people prefer constructive feedback to be as direct and detailed as possible so they know exactly what they need to work on and how they can improve. Others want constant feedback, whether good or bad, so they have a consistent pulse of how their teammates are feeling about their work and performance.
How You Prefer to Get Information on a New Task
In an agency environment, tasks can come at you thick and fast. Everyone has their own workflows and processes so it’s important that you’re giving your teammate all the information they need in a format that puts them in a position for success.
Come Up With a Plan For One of You is Struggling or Stressed
Stress manifests itself in different ways from person to person. Talk about how each of you can notice the warning signs if the other is having a particularly tough time and what you can do about it.
What You Like to Do Outside of Work
Your conversation shouldn’t just be focused on the work! Try to make some space to talk about what excites you outside of the office - hobbies, interests, pets, favorite restaurants. You may even get some ideas for surprise gifts or treats for your colleagues.
Keep Checking In
The cadence of these meetings is up to you and your teammates. At Seer, though, we try to get these on the calendar at least quarterly for anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. These meetings should cover 6 main areas:
- How’s the working relationship going?
- Have there been any issues or speed bumps that need to be addressed?
- Is there anything each of you could be doing to make the other’s work easier?
- How have your personal goals changed?
- How can you best support each other in reaching those goals?
Having consistent touchpoints to step back and re-evaluate your working relationship away from the hustle of day-to-day agency work can have a solid impact on your success together.
Having open and mindful conversations with those people you work closest with is the surest way to make sure you both get the most out of your working relationship. Once you’ve worked with someone for a while, they are sometimes in a better position to reflect on your true self than you are.
Interested in working at an agency that sets you up for success with your account team? Learn more about what it’s like working at Seer and check out our open roles today!