Both personally and professionally, my motto has always been “organization is the key to success,” and let me tell you … that became very relevant when starting my role as an Account Executive (AE) during COVID times.
As an AE, organization is extremely important. Adjusting to a strictly remote / digital world right off the bat comes with it’s challenges, of course, but maintaining a strong level of organization has allowed me to streamline workflows and client / internal communications to ultimately succeed in my role.
Here’s a few helpful AE tips to keep yourself (and others) organized:
- Use a planner, calendar, Post-It Notes (whatever works best for you) – I live, eat and breathe my Google calendar. It is important to have a clear vision of what your day (and week) is going to look like in terms of client meetings, internal discussions and priority deadlines. Having an idea of your workload can help you prioritize internal tasks to better support the team and meet deadlines. A great way to maximize your calendar is by utilizing reminders. Reminders are easy to set and can be easily moved, especially during COVID times, as timelines often change. As we are all working from home, we don’t have the luxury of shouting across the office for a one off question / comment. This keeps me on track with project / proposal submissions, billing, or simple questions I want to ask a colleague during scheduled calls.
- Create agendas for internal / client-facing meetings – As an AE, face-to-face communication is important for fostering relationships and building stronger connections. As COVID put a halt on in-person meetings, we’ve turned to virtual outlets so we don’t loose that face time. However, as we continue to work from home, many factors interrupt our precious meetings. Dogs barking, kids screaming and door bell deliveries are just a few interruptions we’ve all experienced. These distractions can easily side rail meetings and cause you to lose your train of thought. In order to avoid that and keep your meeting organized, create an agenda! Whether it be a 10 minute side-bar or a two hour marathon meeting, having a set agenda will ensure the meeting stays on track.
- Utilize a project management system – We use Basecamp at Spitball, however in the past I’ve used Freedcamp and Wrike. These programs do generally the same thing (dashboard of projects and tasks) but the level of complexity and detail varies. Find a system that works best for you and your team. As an AE, it is our duty to ensure all project deadlines and to-do’s are current. It is especially important to keep projects up-to-date in the COVID world, as team members rely on this platform for a quick update on what tasks are pressing / how a project is progressing.
- Set internal deadlines for yourself – Before any work goes out to the client make sure you take the time to review beforehand. Similarly, set deadlines for you to check up on your internal team to ensure the workflow is moving forward accordingly. While a teammate may be assigned a task and given a deadline, they may lose track of time. As an AE, you are in charge of keeping projects moving. Don’t be afraid to send a friendly reminder to your coworkers (or clients) if something is being held up.
- Create shared agency / client documents – Google docs, slides and sheets are LIFE-CHANGING. Set up timelines, project trackers and feedback documents using Google, so you and your client can both view, edit and share. The great thing about Google documents is that all users can view / edit in real time. As everyone has visibility, it keeps both parties accountable. Clients don’t have access to our internal project management system (Basecamp), shared documents are a great way to mimic those Basecamp projects. While sometimes tedious to replicate, it’s so important that everything matches and is continually updated so there is no confusion on either end. And believe me, the clients will definitely appreciate these documents… that’s one less email they have to sift through!
- Keep your inbox clean – Much of an AE’s day is spent responding to client and vendor emails. That said, keeping your inbox clean will avoid you from feeling overwhelmed, since adjusting to the COVID world is overwhelming enough. I can’t tell you how much anxiety I get when I see someones inbox reach the triple digits… or worse! I recommend creating parent folders within your inbox for each client and subfolders for each individual project. Once you receive an email, review, take action accordingly and move that email into its respective folder. This method will ultimately free up space in your inbox for only items that have yet to be addressed. Why clutter up your inbox if an email has been addressed and there is no further action required? File those old emails away!
By implementing these simple organization tips, you can set yourself up for success!