Top tips from five years of account management

Written by Yurie Oates on Wednesday 10th June 2020

WHAT IS ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT?

Account/project managers support the day-to-day running of their account: they are the glue in a team who make sure projects are completed on brief, on time and on budget.1

The business of medical communications: a guide to getting started in account management by Lindsey Heer, 3rd edition published January 2020

I think that broadly speaking, the role entails:

  • Team liaison: with medical writers, digital, studio, proofreaders etc.
  • Regular client meetings (on the phone or in person)
  • Finance management for individual projects as well as forecasting throughout the year

One of the things I enjoy the most is the conversations I have with colleagues and clients alike; these include passionate discussions about science and data on many occasions!

This blog post could have been entitled “I learnt from my mistakes so that you don’t have to make them!” – and fortunately, the subject has been contained to the professional arena.

To ensure projects run in the best conditions possible, there are three guiding principles I try to apply day-to-day, which have been shaped by my experiences to-date.

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1. Never make assumptions

In project management, it is essential to be clear on roles and responsibilities, items that have been agreed on, next steps etc. Having these voiced and/or written ensures expectations are understood by everyone and leaves little room for unexpected challenges. This top tip can be summarised very concisely:

  • Ask questions
  • Be explicit
Ooooops

I assumed the client’s logistics agency took care of everything for a standalone meeting, and didn’t check how to get from the hotel to the conference centre as it was only 300m away in Google Maps: we did not realise there was no bridge across the lake in between, and the agency had to book transport buses for delegates at the last minute. A stress that could have been avoided had I asked a simple question!

2. Be considerate

This applies for colleagues as much as for clients and physicians: I try to put myself in other people’s shoes as often as possible, to take their needs into consideration. Here are a few of the questions I might ask myself:

  • What does my colleague/client need, that I can help with?
  • How can we manage these priorities effectively?
  • Is this email clear, succinct, and with the most important question at the top?
3. Have fun

Everyone has a role to play in building healthy professional relationships and contributing to a pleasant work environment. Working hard is more achievable and sustainable when a strong sense of solidarity and motivation has been established, and having fun can be a catalyst to this.

These guiding principles are relevant to other industries and human interactions as well, so I hope you will find them useful!

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To find out more about what it's like to work in medical communications, please get in touch https://www.openhealthgroup.com/careers