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How to Skillfully Scale Your Accounts

How to Skillfully Scale Your Accounts

It’s almost impossible to have a realistic playbook for managing the growth of certain accounts. Whether you’re scaling up or down, the changes can be unpredictable and may disrupt your traditional processes.

Finding a new routine will take time, effort, and possibly additional resources. As an account manager, you have tremendous pressure to keep clients happy and continue to be proactive in their business as you scale your services and support their business growth. It is a delicate balancing act which can drive you mad. And having to juggle all of these responsibilities may cause you to drop the ball at some of the most crucial times. However, below are a few tips to help you manage the process of strategically scaling your accounts.

Prioritize the day

Your working hours are limited, so use them wisely.

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One handy piece of advice would be to start mapping out your time almost down to the minute and assigning numbers to accounts that correspond to their level of importance.

This does not mean neglecting smaller accounts. Falling into a lazy routine with these accounts can cause you to miss opportunities to grow their revenue (and thus your own earnings) or to lose customers altogether.

Restructure your work

Account managers have an ever-increasing list of responsibilities. The top performers have seen success when they delegate some of their work out.

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For example, if you need to concentrate more on the relationship side of the accounts, then you can utilize another employee who might be better at project management. There is no adjusting to this change without experimentation, but the experimentation phase will be a critical time. Confusion or mistakes coupled with changes will make clients understandably nervous about their future. And because a business will always need to be ready to adapt, a high priority must be placed on how to work out the kinks to develop new systems and processes for dealing with problems.

Scale down select accounts

Don’t discount the process of scaling a business down or firing yourself from an account entirely.

By shrinking the scope of certain work arrangements, you free up time to allow you to either seek new business or strategically scale higher-potential accounts. At the same time, you will want to avoid over-servicing accounts just because your schedule is more flexible as the enthusiasm may be off-putting to a client.

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Navigate roadblocks

As a business expands, so do the layers of bureaucracy.

So, when you read news about one of your clients hitting a revenue milestone or getting a new round of financing, it may be the perfect time to initiate discussions about scaling your services with them. However, this must be done skillfully as growth can be both an exciting and tumultuous time for workers.

Though your contacts may have bigger budgets to purchase your products and recruit your services, they may need to start seeking additional approval from their supervisors and managers. When you deliver your first sales pitch, gather information about who the other decision makers may be and figure out what you can do to get their buy-in as well.

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Insist on a progressive timeline

It’s a big shock to the system if anyone jumps from spending $200 a month to $2,000, even when it is clear that doing so would be a wise investment. To help ease your clients into an aggressive spending spree, suggest slow increases to their budget over time. That way, they can go from spending $200 this month to $500 next month, $1,000 the month after, and finally $2,000 a month after 60 to 90 days.

This can alleviate a client’s anxiety as it mitigates their risk and gives you the opportunity to prove that they are making the right investment by purchasing your product or recruiting your services.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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