Yesterday afternoon I made my first client visit stepping into the shoes of the outgoing Account Manager. I have been nursing hopes of doing Account Management for the last 9 years. This company has placed their trust on me to handle this major account from the development side. I am not expected to do the complete sales role but only interact with R&D for development projects. Actually a sort of extension of my current role in Marketing for this particular category.
Nevertheless, I will be the face of my company for the development arm, a role which a Sales person traditionally handles. So ultimately I get the best of both worlds- Marketing- the role that I love and where my skills lie, and Account Management- something that I have been dreaming off both as an experience and as a notch to add on my resume and also to test myself and my capabilities.
For I am aware that Sales is a dirty role.
For starters it comes with the baggage of sorting out a lot of logistic issues- you cannot just meet clients and send reports- all the dirty job of tax forms, forecasting, order processing, follow ups fall on you.
You have to show your teeth to the client inspite of the fact that you really want to grind your teeth on their face. You need to bear with courage and politeness even if the client is abusive and using filthy language for you or your organisation. You need to make a hundred calls and run after the client for minor feedbacks. You cannot blame them if they don't give a feedback but they & your team will definitely blame you for not collecting feedback. You have to arbitrate between the organisation you represent and the client who believes you are on their side. A friend once mentioned- serving 2 masters is the phrase.
In that regard I am lucky that only the glamorous part has fallen in my lap. By default & design. As I mentioned, I was the logical choice to take up this role because of my current capacity in which I am handling the same category in which this client is present.
My first visit in this capacity yesterday. I got a taste of what it is all about. The client took my class in terms of voicing out all the grievances and complaints they had against us. Some valid some not at all valid but I had to agree to all of them, this being my first visit.
On the positive side, I managed to probe and sort of elicit a brief from them for one of their large brands. Touch Wood.
Wish me luck. As I mentioned, I had been hoping for this role for a long time. My understanding of the product and the business was high in my previous company but I was never rewarded with a role in Sales, something everyone who knew me knew that I had been hoping for. I was never considered good enough for wearing an Account Manager's hat and they never never gave me the chance to test their theory.
With my comparatively low level of understanding of our product in this company, I am allowed to play the role which is crucial, this being a big account for us. I am truly thankful and grateful.