Not long ago I gave a presentation to a room of students, where I was asked the question ‘what makes a good account manager?’
I have to admit it was something which I hadn’t previously given a great deal of thought to, but once it was put to me, it got me thinking about what I do and what it entails.
In simple terms, most people would probably say that account management is about acting as a bridge between the staff working for the club and Scout7.
However I think good account management is about much more than that.
For me it is about establishing good relationships with people, whether that be helping senior management set-up their Scout7 technology in the way that they want it, or providing training to new members of staff, or always being available on the telephone when somebody needs you.
More than anything, it is about building up trust – it is about establishing a partnership between two parties where a club can talk to me in complete confidence about what they need their Scout7 technology to do, so that they manage their scouting processes effectively. It is then up to me to help them achieve that goal.
On an average day, I will meet at least one, if not two clients at their training ground or stadium. That will mean that I have in excess of 400 meetings in a single year. My colleague in the UK, Kevin Russell, will be no different and that also goes for the rest of our team based in other parts of the world.
With two meetings scheduled each day, you get accustomed to 5am starts
In these meetings, I may demonstrate new developments relevant to the clubs, but in the main, my job is to listen. I listen to what the club is trying to achieve through their use of the applications, what works well and what areas we can develop further.
As a provider of customisable solutions, these discussions are absolutely crucial to the future development of our platforms. It is our clients who drive our innovation, so everything that is spoken about is documented and logged with our office-based team.
In between each of these meetings, I would not be doing my job if I was not fielding calls, answering emails and making sure that the staff at my clubs are happy. Sometimes it feels like a motorway service station is my second home, which is something I probably have in common with every scout in the country!
Sometimes you can lose count of how many calls and emails you get every day, so whilst I’m on the road if I am not speaking to clients I will be speaking to head office, relaying on the key points from my last meeting and making sure everything is actioned accordingly. Then when I get the opportunity to stop, there will be time for a quick coffee and a check of my messages on my iPad, before heading off to the next meeting.
Service station stop-offs are essential for keeping on top of client emails
Once my meetings are done for the day, there is also every chance there will be a game taking place in the area that evening, which is something I would also look to attend.
The scout’s room is the scout’s coal-face, so when I go to games it seems that I know nearly every single person in room. This is a great way to catch up with people in an informal, relaxed, environment and make sure they are happy with the service they are getting from Scout7.
Keeping your own knowledge of football up-to-date is also crucial, so once the action gets underway I will be watching intently. You never know when a player or team you are watching is going to come up in general conversation, so what I see at the game helps keep my knowledge afresh.
When you do get some downtime on the road, Scout7.tv can also be ideal for keeping your football knowledge up-to-speed
So whilst account management is undoubtedly all-consuming (it is essential you have a very understanding family), it is also a great privilege to work closely with some of the biggest clubs in the world and to support some of the most intelligent and innovative people you are ever likely to meet.
It goes without saying that you get huge satisfaction when you meet a group of people inside a club with some really innovative ideas about how they want to set up their scouting and you are given the opportunity to help implement them. Then if their club succeed on the field, thanks in part to good recruitment, you feel that a very, very small part of you has helped them along the way to achieving their goals.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to say that, then I would say you have probably done a reasonable job at being an account manager!