Now, if there’s one thing that I know it’s when you are a small business, your priority is survival. So organizational design and formal systems, you know, well, that can wait. Which means as an account manager, you’ve got to rely on instincts (and maybe a little prayer).

But what happens when things take off?

You can’t run an account management team like that, let alone a business. If you want to scale sooner or later, you must think about how you recruit and retain talent. And you’ve got to put those systems in place for information, planning, and control to deliver a consistent account management experience for your clients.

I’m excited to share my conversation with Calin Muresan, Existing Business Manager, at Netguru. Calin joined the team when there were only two account managers and today, only two years later, there are now twenty

In Part One, we chat about how the account management journey at Netguru began, how Calin was able to scale quickly and what he learned along the way.

RELATED: How To Set Powerful Account Management Objectives with Calin Muresan

Time Stamps

00:00 Introduction
01:31 How Calin got his start in account management.
03:34 The best thing about account management.
05:21 Account management at Netguru in the early days.
08:16 First task: double the size of the account management team.
10:16 The decision to recruit from outside the industry.
13:11 How recruitment has changed as the team has developed.
15:33 Why embracing failure has been the secret to success.
17:19 Designing and standardizing strategic account management.
18:35 Why account planning is important.
19:04 Adapting roles and responsibilities with growth.
21:26 Enabling account managers to create their own futures.
23:12 The challenges of implementing account planning.
24:29 Why yearly targets delivery better results than quarterly targets.
25:27 Gaining internal support and advocacy for account management.
27:33 Creating informal account teams to deliver results.
30:14 Don’t over-complicate account planning.
30:45 Developing an “account plan index” to measure the success of account plans.

“I want people who don’t just accept the way we do things today. And they also challenge the organization and how we should do account management. I always try to look for people that maybe reached a level in their current careers where they are blocked, their creativity is not accepted or their way of doing things differently is put down instead of actually encouraged.”

Calin muresan

Warwick: Thank you so much for joining me Calin and really excited to welcome you to Account Management Action and our interview series. We’re going to be talking about, you know, account management in all its glory and, different perspectives. So I’m really excited to welcome you and to hear what you have to say.

So why don’t we get started just a little bit about, you know, who you are and how you got into account management. Where did you get started?

Calin: Thank you very much for making time. And I’m actually really happy to have this discussion. How I ended up in account management? Well, so, yeah, my name is Calin. I’m from Romania. I used to live in UK and I used to work in project management in UK. That was my dream after university. I went up planning to work in commercial project management in industry, in heavy industry. And I ended up exactly doing that. But switching to Poland, moving for personal reasons to this country meant I can’t continue my career.

I didn’t speak the language. And I ended up in sales. I ended up in sales because I speak Romanian. And my first role here was to actually be an account manager for SMBs, which are buying Intel products. So CPUs, but that was doing account management remotely from Romania. And that was my first kind of touch with account management five years ago.

And from then I never left sales and never left account management. I went through a few roles of full cycle sales. So I did everything. Outreaching, inbound, cold calling everything. You call it customer success.

And then I ended up at Netguru where I am for two and a half years now, where I came for pure – we called it customer success back then, but it’s actually account management. We changed the name, in the  meantime. So here I ended up being pure account management.

The reason is the way the sales department is split here, it’s actually split in two very big parts, new business and existing business. So account management deals purely with clients which are already won as clients of Netguru so for the last two years, that’s what  I’ve been doing. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a high growth company.

So I had the chance to actually grow the account management department and practice in this company. So when I joined, that was the third account manager today, actually we are 20 people in my department, officially from last week. And so that’s where we are.

Warwick: That’s literally incredible and I’m really looking forward to sort of exploring that journey of yours from going to three to sort of 20 and what that’s looked like and the challenges.

So why have you settled on this sort of account management space? You’ve been across so many areas,  of the new business, existing business, there’s the operational side, sales.

What’s the best thing about account management? Or why are you sticking with it?

Calin: So the thing that really attracted me, I love sales. It’s one of the things I never thought I would say when I was in university or in high school and so on, cause I imagine sales is like the door to door man. Like the guy who comes and pushes and pushes himself in, selling you the product that you don’t want. But why I like the account management part of sales is the length of the relationship. Virtually there’s no end. With new business sales, there’s always kind of an end. You close the deal.

At some point you pass the account over to an account manager. The way, especially the way I do it now, and the way I built this department is, virtually the account is yours forever. As long as you keep the account and the client alive and you grow it, the potential of you to work with an account can be over years, if you’re staying for years in an organization.

And for me, this is very attractive. Something about my personal side is like, I really liked building relationships. So this is the part, the relationship part.

Of course sales comes out of it, I’m not going to deny that. There is big satisfaction of doing sales, but it’s a bigger satisfaction to actually see the result of your sale.

And when you’re an account manager, a lot of times have to be there and be accountable for what you sold as well, because otherwise you might not be able to do a repeat sale. That’s the reason, this part specifically for me.

Warwick: I felt the same way. I think sales and account management are sort of two sides of the same coin.

Both are about solving problems. and for me, you know, when you win the business, that’s when the sales relationship ends and that’s when the account management relationship starts. But ultimately you’re both serving the same purpose, which is to help your clients succeed and help them use your solutions to contribute to that.

What did it look like when you first had just three people? What world did you enter into as you started?

Calin: So I entered into a super fast growing company. So Netguru – I mean, it’s not just my team who grew up significantly, Netguru overall as an organization. So what we are just to clarify we’re a, software consultancy.

So basically we help organizations around the world regardless of the industry to go through digital transformation with their design, with the development, for their applications and consultancy as well. So the room to work with any industry it’s here, and then, the origin of the company is 12 years ago.

It started pretty much as an outsourcing, but people tended towards consulting because it’s  much more value adding thing and it gives you room to grow. So when I entered the organization two and a half years ago, Netguru was already on this trajectory in which it was doubling the business year on year already for two years in a row. That means the employees were growing, the revenue was growing.

You know, amazing times the last few years, I can’t say anything until probably a month ago when COVID hit us with reality. Amazing, amazing growth. And so I entered this organization in a moment where we were acquiring a lot of new clients – a lot. I mean, our new businesses, it’s an effective machine and it’s been an effective machine before account management even existed here, I would say,

But we were acquiring just like amazing brands and amazing names that probably a lot of other companies would wish to work with, and then  working one or two projects and then things were flattening out. And the only way the business was growing back then, I mean, the main part of the business was growing back then, it was from new business, which works till one level.

Of course. So when I entered the organization, I entered at a good moment. I entered just as an account manager. as a customer success representative, but I entered exactly the time when we started having more and more enterprise companies as clients, more and more bigger organizations. We were moving from smaller startups to well funded startups. Organizations with hundreds of people, tens of stakeholders, not one or two. Organizations in which talking with the CEO is not as easy anymore or not even possible in theory to reach to that person.

So I ended up with this, joining Netguru at this point. and then through a circumstance of events, I moved into a team leader position even five months later. And then from there, I started building the way I – of course the way the organization allows me because it fits into the visio – but in the way I saw fit the account management. By that, I mean, achieving proactive attitude, because it was very organic.

When we were a very small team, it was impossible to be proactive. So the client was coming back and was happy. Clients were saying, I want more. It’s easy to sell when the client just says they want more. But I wanted us to also explore, to navigate their organizations, to talk account plans, to  talk account-based selling, to think all the multitouch that we can bring. So things that were pretty much impossible two years ago, because we were three people.

One of the first things I did as a team leader was – my first goal – was double the team. That’s what our COO back then, he is the CEO now, he said, Calin, you’re team leader so now, there was five people already by the time, so please by end of the quarter – it was Quarter 3, 2018. you need to have 10.

So that was the target. So your team leader of a new team, which is not even a full working function, but also double the team. Because obviously we can’t achieve all these things unless we have the people. So that was the first big challenge, recruiting, in a highly competitive market.  I mean the market at the moment it probably in the last month it changed, but it was driven by not by the companies, by the employees.

So in a very highly competitive market, in a market in which there are not many organizations like us, so it’s hard to find people which have experience already. And also we are a very young company, so we’d make mistakes and the culture is different and so on. So there’s also, there’s also a level of blocker you can’t go after very experienced account managers.

Well, first of all, they wouldn’t come and most probably want to report to a 29, 20 years old Callin. At the same time they would come with an industry experience that we actually wouldn’t utilize fully actually. So that will also not be good. So yeah, that was the big first challenge.

And then slowly from there we managed. So the result is we managed to double the team in a quarter. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best recruiters, that I had. And, and we did interviews day in, day out, pretty much and direct searching and I was actually looking for hunters, so that was my strategy back then. I was not looking for account managers, I was looking for hunters.

And the reason for that was I wanted to bring this proactive, the hunger to the team. So my target in the first round of recruitment was going for hunters and trying to bring hunters, which want to do account management into the team.

Warwick: I’ve been through that very same experience where you’re the smaller player, trying to recruit experienced talent from larger organizations or more established companies – it just doesn’t  happen.

People aren’t going to leave their secure jobs and a well known business in that sector to come and work for you. It just – you just can’t get those people. It’s just very, very challenging. So you have to have a bit more of a wider view on your skill sets and where you’ll take people from.

Was that a challenge for you or were you like all in, I’m happy to consider other industries? What was your thoughts around, you know, the recruitment pool and where you get people from?

Calin: So I was not, I was not actually going for companies from the same industry. So I was not going after other software houses in general and I still don’t do that. I mean, now it’s also a matter of, I know a lot of them and there is this industry, you know, the industry is small and I don’t like poaching people directly. But at the same time, the thing that Netguru was trying and I was trying to build here was unique. So I knew that if I go after other software houses I won’t necessarily receive the type of people I’m looking for.  Because they were doing account management in the same way we were doing back then.

So what I did, I went for industries that are transferable. Transferable  knowledge.  I mean account management and I keep saying that  -sales is the same – it doesn’t really matter. If you sell a tractor or if you sell, I don’t know, a super complicated solution, to some extent the logic and the mindset is the same. So if the mindset is there.

This is what that was looking for is the mindset. And then I tried to look for very similar, but not the same industry. So I was looking for advertising and media. This is because I really like how account management is done in these industries. It’s very personal, very proactive. So I was looking at the digital agencies in general.

I looked at corporations a little bit, but the way they do account management, it was not for sure, not even close in maturity in our case. So it was not attractive for them. So that was the idea looking for industries, which are also not IT. And this is attractive. At the end of the day, we’re an IT industry, so it’s attractive. People want to move towards this industry and I’m lucky enough that Netguru actually has a very strong employer brand. So, this is something I didn’t know, personally, because I’m a foreigner in Poland, but Polish people and especially the young people in this industry – we’re one of the most sought IT employers in Poland. So this puts us in a very good position.

Like were always on top with like Facebook, Google and Tesla in Poland. So like we fight with them for the spot. So this helped of course, I think what was attractive for people. I mean, would be good to ask them as well? I was always telling very openly, there is not – it’s a bit of wild West.

We’re still building account management. So it’s your opportunity besides developing as an account manager to actually develop how do you want to do account management? So this was very attractive. I think back then for people cause now two years almost.

Warwick: To have that voice and bringing those different people from different industries, different backgrounds brings more ideas and more perspectives has that changed as you’ve grown the team? You know, your recruitment strategy? Have you had to evolve that as your business has grown and as your team’s developed? How do you kind of go about, you know, if you’ve got a headcount tomorrow, what do you look for now?

Calin: Well, for sure it changed, I mean, we became better at doing recruitment fo sure. We learned a lot of lessons, some of them the hard way. We recruited the wrong people, which is a failure of both. I always say recruiting, but it’s a failure on both sides. So, it made me reconsider some mistakes we did.  And it’s painful on both sides because it usually ends up with parting ways. And it’s not a pleasant experience for anyone.

What we changed? We started looking more for experienced, proven experience already. So why? When we were building the team, we needed hungry people, you know, hungry and creative people. And that meant a lot of time we recruited very young people, which might have been in their first account management experience at Netguru. Now we went and started going for more senior people. And by that, I mean, people who have few years of experience in account management, again, not the same industry. But maybe, they’ve been account managers to industries that we would like to work with. So this is something that we’re starting to look at.

But in general, the thing that stayed common,  we are still looking for very self-starter type of people, because this is still a very big thing in Netguru’s culture, even if we’re 700 people it’s one of those important things – you’ve still a chance to build your way. And because I still believe we’re building account management and I still want creative people.

I want people who don’t just accept the way we do things today. And they always kind of challenge also the organization, how we should do account management. So this is something that I always try to look for: people that maybe they reached a level in their current careers or current places where they are blocked, their creativity is not accepted or their way of doing things differently is put down instead of actually encouraged.

Warwick: I love the idea about you wanting to bring people in that are excited to have their voice heard and make a contribution to the direction of account management at Netguru.  How do you make that happen? Like, what are some of the things that you do?

Calin: Whenever I introduce a new initiative and I introduce a lot of new initiatives over the last few years. And yes, I did a lot of mistakes and I learned my lessons and I still learn them today. I’m just at the start of this journey.

I always consult with the team. And a lot of times I changed my mind based on their feedback on the way we tried things. And one other thing, whenever I introduce new things, I always tell them, even if it’s frustrating and it’s a change, if it doesn’t work, we’ll just cancel it.

So I think this is also sometimes a big fear. It happened that we introduced a new process or a new, I don’t know, way to try to encourage AMs to do some specific behaviors. I got the pushback. I said, okay, let’s try. We tried. I saw it doesn’t work. I came two weeks later and said, cool. We canceled it.

Sorry for the pain. Thanks for the feedback. We’ll take the good part and apply it in a new process. So we try to continuously iterate and I try to encourage the team and, I think we have a really good open culture. You can speak up, you won’t be punished for saying, “Hey, this doesn’t work.”

Or, you know? Or you also won’t be punished for trying new things. This is very important for me. Like someone, when I joined Netguru said there is no failure. There’s only lessons learned and that’s true.

You know, if people fail two or three times on the same thing, then of course it’s a failure. If they fail and they learn the lesson and they actually shared the lesson also with the organization, for me, this is very valuable. So I try to encourage them, especially when they are new. I tell them the same I have been told when I joined, just go for it. Make mistakes, break things, and just go for it and see what happens.

You know? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen. The truth is you’ll lose a sale and okay. That’s life.

Warwick: And obviously you’re growing the business and there’s more demands coming through. And where were the things that you saw where immediate gaps that needed closing or where were the things that you spent your time embedding?

Calin: We didn’t have standards for how we do things. So the account managers that we already had here were amazing. But they were great because they were great.

And we’ve been lucky to have great people when we recruited the next five. Again, really great people, but we didn’t have the same standard. We didn’t have a Netguru way, let’s say, of doing account management. So while that’s not something bad, of course I don’t believe that everything should be exactly the same.

There should be a level of standard because it brings a level of quality or continuity and it actually makes it easier for Netguru to work with our department because our department naturally falls between others. In between finance, in between project management, delivery. And then if your experience as another department in Netguru, every time you work with an account manager varies significantly in style of work and reports that you’re using and so on – this was a big challenge.

Like the first week I was like, okay, now we actually have to start standardizing stuff. You know, it’s about now we have to start creating processes. So we have the hands on board. We can do the work. Cause we were 10. We kept recruiting. That’s the reason we’re 20 today. But that was the moment we said, “Okay. We have to start like defining processes.” We need to define the split between account managers and project managers, because it was a lot of gray areas still, who does what and we started having conflicts. And those teams were growing at the same time, you know?

So that was probably the first, the first big challenge once the team started growing is to set the standard.

And one of the hardest ones to do was at the same time I was introducing an account planning mindset. So the idea of sitting down and actually planning your account, and not only think one quarter. This was something we were doing.

We were thinking one quarter at a time. And that took to be honest, it took two years. So I started this when I became team leader and I believe I just passed the crossing, the chasm, I think it became normal this quarter. I still don’t think the journey ended, but I think it took two years to get to the mindset where everyone finds it natural.

It was easy to give people promote – not promotion – but the opportunity to promote when you’re still three people, but when suddenly it’s 10, you have different divisions, different motivations. So then the questions came, “Hey, where is the career path? Where are the things I need to do to become a senior?” And so on.

And so it became, you know, it became all bureaucratic, but not in a bad way. In a way, the good parts of bureaucracy, we had to start to create things.

Warwick: I mean, have you had to kind of look at new roles?

Calin: We didn’t create yet new roles. Not fully. So what we did, I mean, now we have three team leaders, so the department is organized.

They have three different teams. I mean, the scope of the team is exactly the same. It’s just the difference in how much a team leader can do. And the team leaders report to me and I report to the Head of Sales. But by doing this we actually created a bit of a new role. So in the past, when I was a team leader, I was also an account manager.

So I was doing, account management on my accounts and half of my time or more, I was actually building the team and doing the team leading part, growing development goals, career discussions, and so on. What we did now – actually this an experiment we’re running still – but I believe it’s a direction of maturity. The team leaders are not doing accounts anymore. We switched their role into a portfolio manager and, this is something we’re still fully defining. I don’t want to say it’s defined because I’m working on it pretty much the last few weeks. But basically what this person does, they still work on those accounts in their portfolio, which are key accounts or the strategic accounts, but they are paired with the account managers.

So now you have suddenly four hands, you know, working in an account. More opportunities to open doors at different levels. There is a different level of expectation I have from each role, but this is kind of the only new role we created. So we gave the opportunity for people to be more. strategic account management.

All of the three team leaders were senior account managers. Otherwise you couldn’t be a good portfolio manager because it’s someone who has the big picture, someone who is accountable for the account plan, someone who’s going to build a quarterly business review, someone who’s going to open doors with the more senior people in the organization.

So this is the only thing that we created a new.

Warwick: I think it’s good for people to know that if they are in your situation, building a team, they don’t have to think on day one, what their team needs to look like in two years. You can be a bit organic about it.

Calin: And this goes back to what I told you at the start. There’s also room for them. And I’ve seen in other teams and actually myself. The reason I’m leading this is actually me pitching for this. And this is very big about Netguru. You can still build your role. So if one of them – if they hear me now, they’ll probably use it against me – if one of them sees room for a new role being created, a new speciality or new, I don’t know, practice line, however it’s called. There’s always, Netguru’s always, myself also, but Netguru as an organization listens to these things. It’s still small enough of an organization to allow these things being created. And this is very critical and that’s why I told them when I recruited them, I tell them, “there is still room for you to build your role.”

So the career paths are there, but there is still room for more.

Warwick: I think that’s something that people should consider a lot more is that job crafting element where you can reshape your role and put a business plan forward or a business case forward, share that with your leaders, you may find instead of having to quit or go to a different department, you may be able to continue to grow within your role by, you know, pitching a different version of it. And I don’t think people do that enough and that’s great that you’ve got a culture where that’s encouraged

Calin: And as a leader, it’s one of the most, I mean, it’s one of the most easy things to do.

If someone comes and puts a good plan in front of you they’ve taken all the hard work out of it for you.

And it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful to enable those things. It’s such a high satisfaction to allow someone to build something they believe in. And at the same time, if it’s aligned with the vision and what you’re trying to build, it’s just made your life easier and that’s the truth and it’s just beautiful.

Warwick: Absolutely. And to your earlier point, you can always just try it for a few months and then if it turns out it didn’t work, they go back to their old role or whatever. So there’s no real risk.

So talking about account planning, and you’re telling me it’s taken two years to kind of where you feel like it’s finally kind of embedded and that people are, you know, on board with it and it’s sort of part of the DNA. Why did it take so long? What were some of the obstacles you encountered in terms of implementing account planning as a requirement?

Calin: So we started seeing results in fact, after a few quarters, what I meant, it took two years to actually become such a natural thing. Now they’re excited. They’re excited. Two years ago they were running and everyone was hiding when it was coming about.

We started initially with the end, by that, I mean, we started with a presentation internally when you do the account plan. But we didn’t start building the logic, the mindset, how do you plan actually? How do you think a year ahead? How do you not think one quarter? And also our KPIs were aligned for quarters back then.

Because I was an account manager myself still as a team leader, I managed to experiment. I had a few accounts where I experimented things. And as I was experimenting them, I was trying to use that as an example to others, say, “Look, this is what I mean by account planning. This is what I did in my account. This is the result. This is why I would like us to think this way about our accounts.”

And of course, I didn’t achieve only success, but I achieved some really nice successes and you know how it is? One of those overnight successes  and I was showing actually no, this was nine month, planned deal, you know?

So the reason it was very challenging was first of all, our KPIs were quarterly focused. So making people think more than a quarter was cool. They accepted it, but the KPIs kick  you in. Like the KPIs and the targets and the sales targets are per quarter so you’ll always choose the most immediate goal, even if it’s a smaller deal over the bigger deal that you have to work for six months.

So that was one thing that we changed actually from this year, we are on yearly targets. So this is something that changed because it gives people opportunity to actually work longer, think longer. It forces them actually than to just to give them opportunity because the targets are ambitious.

The other thing was to show to the rest of the organization. Actually account planning came in parallel with explaining to Netguru what’s the value of an account manager? Because us going to account plan, we have this event every quarter called Account Plan Days. And, basically what happens – and at the start, they were very small, very few people attended – was an account manager comes and they have 30 minutes for their account.

10, 15 minutes presentation, very fast. What’s happened in the last quarter. What are my goals? What I achieved, where I’m blocked and so on. And then 15, 20 minutes of questions from the audience. We keep it open for anyone in Netguru. Like we usually say if you want to come, come – if you’re a developer wherever.

First few editions, we had mainly people from business development, we have a few people from management. I mean, we were lucky enough. I was lucky enough to be again, the value of this was so. I got sponsors at the C level, which were present. So the CEO or CSO is always present there. Growth started coming, then project management started coming and now it’s ended up that in one session on average is 30, 40 people.

And it’s interesting because suddenly like, you know what happens now? First, we also changed the way we set our goals. They’re more ambitious and we introduced actually objective and key results. So we put one objective and few key results on an account per year. We tried to not make those about the sale opportunity itself.

We try to make those about., the soft things like, you know, developing relationships at C-level in a measurable way. The I don’t know, maybe exposure together or navigating the organization. Adding, I don’t know X contacts and having so many discussions. So it’s not about the sales. You don’t get the sales number in account plans.

But what happened is like these days, the events are, first of all, they are having very nice attendance. It took a year, of course, Account Plan Days, but it became such a normal event. So like last quarter it happened, just a week or two after COVID hit. So it was even nicer because it was all, we’re all remote. So now we all go for account plan days.

So it became nice, but it became an event that now it’s acknowledged at the end of the quarter, towards the end. you know, there’s two days, you know, with 20 sessions, that’s how many accounts we just do this half an hour per account. So it makes it manageable for the account manager – half an hour per account is not a lot.

It makes it hard just for those few people that want to stay through all of them. But what happened is because you have all these departments after that, people come and say, “Hey, you know, you said about these challenges. You know, you can fix it in this way?” And then ideas now start being crowd-sourced from the organization to the account manager, and this is something super valuable.

And this is what I was dreaming when I started it.

The other thing is the account manager starts feeling empowered to actually go to the CEO himself and say, I need you to open the door for me here in this way. And so they started thinking as their accounts as their own business. You know, and this is also something essential for me.

Why it took two years? Because this takes time, you know, like anything. The habits ,to prepare for that, to make quality presentations. And by that, I mean the targets being good. And I remember in December when we did it, especially then, that was probably the turning point, account managers came with their targets for 2020, like, you know, objective and key results.

And they started getting questioned, “Why are not more ambitious? You know why can’t you do this? Well, I’m blocked here. Well, I’ll help you,” We’d see people saying,”I’ll help you. So don’t worry. Let’s put this as a key result.” And that, that gave confidence to people.

Again, I still feel there’s still a lot of room to go in the future. But the way it became a custom and a hobby, this, for me, it was the kind of the confirmation that now it’s something that’s expected. C-level will ask me what happens if it’s not happening, you know? If it’s not going to happen they’re going to come and say, “Hey, where is it?”

Warwick: Well, you’ve got to start somewhere and it doesn’t have to be – you don’t want to overcomplicate it because then it becomes such a burden and nobody wants to do it. But I love the way that you’ve blended sort of quotas and targets with sort of more activity, soft-skill based things that are going to strengthen the quality of the relationship with the client. Things that are going to improve the experience with the client, things that are going to develop the account manager that are part of your account planning as well.

And I love that idea if those Account Days. I mean, there’s so many great benefits from that. Like you say, you’re now bringing visibility to the value that your team are bringing to the wider business. People from all different departments can now kind of feel like a stakeholder – a bit closer the client. Because I think sometimes our product, our marketing our, you know, we’re in account management, we’re often the face of it.

And I think what you’re doing with these days helps them get some insight to that. Those crowdfunded ideas. And probably great experience for the account managers to be presenting.  Developing their presentation skills and question and answer. You know, thinking on their feet when they get questions and handling, you know, conversations like that.

Calin: I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s stressful for them, you know, when you have the CEO every time and you know, the Head of Marketing and the Head of Sales and you have all these eyes on you, but at the same time. Well, you mentioned something about over complicating it, and this is something that initially we did wrong more than two years ago. We over complicated it. An account management presentation used to be one hour.

So the first Account Plan Day was 15 minutes. I told them you have two slides, nothing else. And today’s three slides. That’s the limitation. You’re not allowed to have more than three slides. So you need to keep it short because I always tell them the account plan, it’s about the Q and A. 10 minutes is just to give an intro and fast update where you are. That’s all. That made it less of a burden for the people to present.

And then we have one more element of it. We measure account plans. And so I mentioned about the objective and key results, but we have a few other KPIs that are actually the AM KPIs. And we came up with an account plan index, we call it. Which is a combination of this objective, key results, some other KPIs that we measure on accounts and revenue, and actually all of this comes to score and it gives, you know, 70%, 80%. And it gives you also a numerical indication where you are. So that’s something that it still in the works, but it works for some people. They like it. They like data. So they like to have a data point, you know, a number.

Warwick: I mean, the more you can quantify KPIs the better, because then you don’t have those arguments when it comes time to pay the people at the end of the year if you can measure things more objectively.

But, all right, well, that’s, I’m sort of blown away by that. That kind of, I mean. I think so often as account managers we’re so client focused, we tend to just work with our clients. We forget the internal thing, our internal partners and our internal networks and getting access to leadership, it can be difficult for account managers, you know? Because there’s layers between you, them and the C-level within your own company. So they’ve now got a platform where they can interact and engage and you know, there’s visibility, line of sight of what they do. They can develop relationships independently with your leadership teams as well. You know, they’re connected.

So many great things from something that seems simple, you know what I mean? But so powerful in terms of what you get out.


Wasn’t that a fantastic conversation. I mean, so much insight and actionable advice on how to scale an account management team and fast.

I hope you enjoyed it. And don’t forget to check out Part Two where we continue to talk about account management as a revenue growth engine for Netguru, why your clients sales teams are your best teachers, recommended resources for account managers and a whole lot more.

If you would like to be my next guest on Account Management in Action, get in touch. Send an email to warwick@accountmanager.tips or DM me on the social media platform of your choice @warwickabrown.


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