Q: I lead an important account for my company and need for 2020 to go well in order to grow their business. I have some time to prepare. What steps should I take?
Zoe, 39, account manager and consultant
A: Reflect on the past, then use your insights to prepare for the future.
Start by taking the long view. What has the arc of this account been? Think about how it was first launched -- what was your firm's winning message? If you weren't on the account then, talk to colleagues who were involved and steep yourself in the historical record.
Reflect on events that have transpired since then. Accounts have their ups and downs. Find the lessons from successes and bumps in the road.
Notice who is involved on the client side and how that may have changed. Are you considered a strategic partner by them? You'll be able to tell by the titles of people you work with. If it used to be the chief marketing officer and now you're talking to people lower in the hierarchy, this creates risk for you.
Looking at past year, give yourself a grade for how well you have:
-- Met specific requests they have made.
-- Anticipated their needs and provided information proactively.
-- Created a strategy for helping them succeed.