020: Follow Your Gut to Find Delight in Client Account Management with Taylor McMaster
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it takes to be a brilliant account manager, this is the episode for you. Taylor McMaster owns and runs DOT & Company, a digital marketing agency turned client account management agency. With her, we discuss the power of experiential learning, mentorship from many individuals, and how to truly delight your clients.
Key Points + Topics
- [1:45] Originally, Taylor thought she wanted to be a teacher. She was organized, loved talking to people, and thrived in structured environments. So she enrolled in an Arts degree program at University. The summer before she was set to start school, her future father-in-law asked her why she wasn’t going to school for business, as she had talked to him about it and helped him with his business many times. And he was right. So, she called her college and changed her degree plan, and went on to get a bachelor’s degree in marketing. An option available to certain university students in Canada is to do “work terms.” This means working in Co-Ops or cooperative working environments. This means certain businesses will sign up to have students work for them for four months and teach them all about that role in a company. The student will usually cycle through three 4-month jobs at different businesses. And in Canada, they have to be paid for their work sessions. After graduating, she worked in the marketing field for other businesses until the entrepreneurial drive in her got too loud to ignore. So she quit her job, started a business on her own, and it just grew from there.
- [4:00] Taylor cannot emphasize how impactful the work terms program was for her. Of the four hundred or so students in her business program, only ten opted into the program. She knows they all learned so much and got great work experience from those jobs. And she continues to emphasize how powerful that experience was when she returns to speak at her university.
- [7:00] When it comes to how the learning experience was for her, Taylor much preferred the real-life, hands-on experiences to the in-classroom theory discussions. The classes that stood out the most were the ones where they would discuss real-world business. Experiential opportunities are essential to deep university practice.
- [11:05] It’s hard for Taylor to land on a hard and fast definition for a mentor as they can look so different in every aspect of life. She’s had many mentors for many different stages and roads of life. Her mother, grandmother, coaches, professors, and more have all mentored her. A common thread she finds in a mentor is that they are someone you can confidently ask for help, and they can give you a perspective that perhaps you can’t see. Being a mentor is really more of a vibe than a title. She finds herself avoiding mentors that don’t have the qualities she wants to draw out of herself. So, people who are very energetic, aggressive, and hustle-focused are not the mentors for her as she craves a more peaceful and positive life that doesn’t require putting in 80-hour work weeks.
- [14:15] One of her many mentors over her life has been James Schramko. He is the one who instilled the mindset in her of “you don’t need to work a million hours to be successful.” He also told her that, as an agency owner, she needed to get out of the day-to-day work and put herself in the business owner’s shoes. And she did that, and it really helped her business thrive.
- [16:40] In her current role, Taylor mentors many people, especially those who work with her. Sometimes people can put too much pressure on setting up a coaching plan, strategizing, and mapping everything out. However, the most helpful thing can often be getting on the mentee’s level. She finds success in mentoring others because she’s done much of their work. She does find it very difficult not just to tell people what to do and give them the answer. She’s working on it, though, and now strives to ask people if they want her to offer solutions. Finally, she notes how important it is for mentees to know they have dedicated time with her, time that she has scheduled on her calendar for weekly one-on-ones. They also know she’s always available via Slack or email if they just need a quick chat.
- [19:38] Taylor owns and runs DOT & Company. DOT & Company was originally a digital agency but shifted from managing their clients’ digital marketing campaigns to managing digital clients for other businesses through offering Client Account Management services. An account manager can look different in each new agency. At DOT & Company, they’re account management experts. They’re pros at speaking to clients, understanding strategy, organization, handling project management, and they’ve all been marketers at some point. So while they may not be SEO or Google Ads experts, they can understand a company’s goals for those platforms. When they begin work with a new client, their goal is to remove the agency owner from the day-to-day seat. They take over client communication and internal departmental communication.
- [21:08] Taylor’s top three keys for successful account management are:
- 1 – FIT is key. Both with her employees as well as with their clients and partners. They partner with agencies with similar values and are friendly people who want to better the world. They also hire people as account managers that are at a higher level. They have a lot of experience, are warm and friendly, and match the very specific set of values DOT & Company. hires for.
- 2 – Ongoing coaching and mentorship are imperative. They ensure their account managers are always up to speed on the new skills, platforms, and tactics. In a client-facing role, everyone needs a mentor and a coach.
- 3 – Processes and continual optimization are essential to a long-lasting client-agency relationship. The marketers must always find ways to do things better for their clients. Also, if you’ve just sent an incredibly detailed email that you know is the best, you should be documenting that. Systems and processes are key to their roles as account managers. We’re humans and make mistakes, so it’s vital to have systems and processes to help with that.
- [24:07] Taylor recalls the exact moment she knew she wanted to transition DOT & Company from a digital marketing agency to an account management firm. She was on a Mastermind trip in Fiji. She had been struggling with what to do next in her agency and what she wanted to do because it wasn’t fun for her anymore. So she followed her gut and asked herself what she did like. She liked a busy day filled with meetings. She loved being organized. She realized this sounded like an account manager and how cool it would be if that were all she did. She then realized this was a need in the industry, so she decided to pivot, and it all just grew from there.
- [26:45] One of Taylor’s common mantras for account managers and agencies is to delight your clients. Her number one tip to do so – proactive communication. You should update your clients before they ask for one. Send them updates. Send them gifts. We live in such an isolated world; it can be easy to forget that there’s a human on the other side of the screen. So more and better communication is step one to delighting your clients.
- [28:30] One of the benefits of having DOT & Company for your client account management is their goal to increase the length and lifetime value of the average client account. In order to get clients to stay with an agency for longer and ultimately invest more in that agency, one must have a dedicated account manager. This person will be the one to pick up on the little idiosyncrasies and details that show how a client is truly feeling. As previously mentioned, proactive communication is a necessity. Finally, they are constantly finding ways to do a better job for the client. Maybe that entails upselling them on a different service. Or perhaps, it’s walking away from a service. They find ways to work with the team and strategists to bring better client results.
- [30:48] Imagine you’ve just started working with DOT & Compnay account managers at your agency. Taylor knows it’s important for agencies to understand that there is a learning curve when integrating these people into your system. Just because someone is an experienced account manager doesn’t mean it’s an immediate download of the intricacies and nuances of your agency. They need time to learn these things, and it doesn’t happen in a week. Taylor’s account managers know to ask the right questions and are not afraid to express when they don’t know how to do something and ask for help. Then, over time, they will take over the various elements of client communication, management, and more.
- [32:46] One of the most common pain points that brings agencies to DOT & Company is agency owners doing it all. They’re in client meetings, answering phone calls, and sending emails for the day-to-day work. Many have even tried hiring for this role before, but it’s hard to find someone smart, strategic, and driven to help. And not having to spend all your time training that person on your business. That’s why DOT & Company can be so incredibly beneficial to an agency because they are that person that is so hard to find that has the know-how and drive to help you.
Guest + Episode Links
Danny Gavin 00:05
Hello everyone. I’m Danny Gavin, founder of Optidge, Marketing professor and the host of the digital marketing mentor. Taylor McMaster is the founder of dot and Company, where she and her team help digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy with full service client account management or Cam services. Dot and Co was originally a digital agency themselves and they found that they loved nurturing client relationships more than running their ad campaigns. So they made the switch and now focus solely on client account management. Taylor is also the cohost of the Happy Client podcast, where she interviews top names in the industry, discussing what keeps clients happy in the agency world. I’m so excited to have Taylor here, especially because we do some business together and I’ve also been on your podcast, so.
Taylor McMaster 01:08
Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. I’ve been, I think we’ve been talking about this for a while. So I’m so pumped that we’re finally on air.
Danny Gavin 01:18
Yeah, you’re definitely one of my inspirations for starting a podcast, so it’s been cool to kind of come a full circle.
Taylor McMaster 01:24
Yeah, podcasting is probably one of my favorite things to do. So you’re going to love it. And this show I know will be successful because all the things that you have to talk about and your experience. So I’m very excited to be here.
Danny Gavin 01:38
And I wouldn’t it be great if we could just only do podcasting?
Taylor McMaster 01:41
Wouldn’t that be the best job ever?
Danny Gavin 01:44
So Taylor, let’s talk about your educational and work background. How did you get here today?
Taylor McMaster 01:49
Yeah, so I back in the day wanted to be a teacher. Actually, I always kind of thought that I would just go into becoming a teacher. I was always really organized. I loved talking to people, I loved structure, and I just thought that was just a natural progression. So before. Starting university, I was enrolled in the arts program at the university I was going to, and it was that summer before going to university that my father, my now father-in-law said to me, Taylor, what are you doing? Like you need to be going into business. You need to be going to marketing that. Like, because I would always help him with his business stuff, for my family, with their business stuff. And I was like, you know what? You’re right. And so I called up the school, changed my major and went into the business program. And I don’t know what it was, but that really sparked something for me, that it was just like a realization that you must follow. Kind of what your gut is telling you and what you’re really good at and what you’re passionate about. And I was always just kind of scared to go into the business program, but here I was, so I started the business program. I did four years of an undergraduate, studied marketing and business and I actually did an additional semester doing work terms. So I got a year of experience before even graduating where most people wouldn’t actually take on that extra work. So I did that and I did a number of coops and learned really just kind of working from the ground up. And then by the time I graduated, I. Landed a job in marketing which was kind of crazy, you know, like was going to become a teacher. Ended up working in marketing and then of course over a number of years realized that the entrepreneur in me was burning pretty strong, so ended up quitting my job. And kind of we’ll probably get into that, but you know, the education really started me off on the right foot and kind of pointed me in the right direction.
Danny Gavin 03:55
Obviously you’re in Canada and I don’t know if everyone knows about like the Canadian educational system, but some of the terms that you just mentioned like coops and work terms sounds really amazing because it sounds like you got reallife experience. But if you could share with some of our audience who maybe aren’t familiar with some of those terms, I would love to learn more about that.
Taylor McMaster 04:12
Co-op It would be like a cooperative. Working environment. So it would be how ours was structured. Here was it was three four month work terms, so I would work in different organizations. So I did three. I did one at a bank, so I was working in a bank getting real life experience. That was four months. The second one I worked in marketing at a bank, so I worked in like the head office of a bank here in Nova Scotia, Canada where I live and then the third was in retail marketing. I moved to Toronto. I worked for a company called Canadian Tire and it is a massive retailer here in Canada and I was in the marketing department. So essentially businesses will hire on students and they get to learn everything that kind of happens within their role. We get paid for it and we get, you know, that experience. And if I wanted to stay in Toronto, I could have definitely like gotten a job there. It was an amazing. Organization, but wanted to move back to Nova Scotia. So yeah, that’s a great question because I’m sure people don’t really know what that means. But yeah, here in Canada we have to be paid for our work sessions.
Danny Gavin 05:27
But that’s so cool that was a part of the university experience, cuz a lot of people here in the US like you can get away with technically just going to classes. And what I try to tell people all the time is no like you need to have internships and work opportunities cuz that’s what. Is going to mold your future. It sounds like that was kind of handed to you. Not saying you didn’t deserve it, but the university gave you that opportunity to, and that sounds amazing. Just those four different experiences.
Taylor McMaster 05:55
I would say maybe there was about less than ten of us in the Co-op program. And maybe like three four hundred people in the business program in our year. So very few of us did it. And even to this day, I go back and speak at our university and that’s the one thing I tell people to do, but no one takes it up because it’s extra work. It’s an A whole extra four months. So yeah, it’s really cool. Some of the universities here actually embed it into their program, but ours didn’t, which is actually really. Kind of sad, you know it. I think in business specifically, it should be embedded. Like you’re saying. Doing those internships and getting work experience before you leave campus is so important wow so you were definitely the top, like I’m thinking trying to do the percentage, but the top % of your class, you know, having the right having the insight to do that amazing and doesn’t surprise me to where you are today. But you know that drive. Is now and so you know it was there earlier on as well. So when you look back in the classroom, any experiences that you can remember that were sort of impactful directing your path even nowadays?
Taylor McMaster 07:07
Honestly, the things that I. Learned in the classroom, some of them were applicable, a lot of them weren’t. But the classes that really stood out to me were where we actually got to learn about real businesses and real experiences. So we had a couple, One was a retail marketing class and we got to go into, we got to work with like a mall, a local, like big shopping center, and learn about their marketing strategy. So any time that we got to go out of the classroom. And really learn what it’s like in the real world is where I thrived. Also another class we did was branding kind of. It was actually an agency specific class and we got to work inside of marketing agencies and do pitches. So we actually worked with the head of marketing for McDonald’s and we did this whole like campaign and we pitched them and. That was really cool versus the theory that we were learning in class was kind of dull to me. I was like, I’m never going to use this, although I probably do, but it’s just in the moment, you know, when you’re learning this, you don’t have any work experience. You’re just kind of like, I don’t know what this means, but really seeing it in the in the real world was something that really stuck with me.
Danny Gavin 08:21
Yeah, I love that. As some of you know that I’m a professor at the University of Houston, and my big thing is all about experiential learning. And therefore for people who are going to university, those theoretical classes are great, but the more experiential learning opportunities that you can grab on to have those real life experiences, that’s the way you want to go. And honestly, that’s how my agency started, right? Was literally a project out of school that eventually turned, it turned out to be my first client. So that’s awesome that you had those opportunities at this university. It’s very cool.
Taylor McMaster 08:55
And I love that you encourage that because I think that. People don’t understand the importance of it until you’re on the other side, You know, they say, oh, I wish I did take more experiential learning, or I wish I did do those things, or even the smallest thing, if you are. In university, go up and meet your professor in their office. During office hours, shake their hand. Get to know them that are those are skills that are going to get you so much further in life than just sitting in the classroom and trying to get by. I remember my intro to business professor, he said in one of our first classes. He said I want each and every single one of you to come to my office and shake my hand. And so when you did, he taught us. How to do a real handshake? And it was like the smallest thing. But to this day, every time I shake someone’s hand, I’m confident, I look them in the eye. It’s firm. I’m not, you know like nervous and those small life skills, If you can just pick up on those, it’s so important.
Danny Gavin 10:00
So I know it opted we have a little bit of an unfair advantage in the fact that I’m a professor and I can hire students, but one of my employees that have been with me for so long and she’s been with me for over 5 years. The reason that she stood out is because she literally came up with me, came up to me and asked questions. So that’s another huge thing. Like, people don’t take advantage. Like, they don’t realize, like, the average individual just sits back and lets life pass them by. But the people who grab those moments and aren’t afraid to ask questions, that’s where they get to places. And that’s so cool. I feel like our backgrounds are.
Taylor McMaster 10:35
Very similar, yeah. And I love this reminder of going to university. Like I don’t think about these things on the daily. But when I think back of the things that I really did, you know, reaching out to people on LinkedIn to network or doing coops or meeting my professors, those are things that the majority of people didn’t do. And those people aren’t running their own businesses now and those people aren’t, you know, maybe in the same position. So it’s really fun to kind of look back and see all those little things that stack up.
Danny Gavin 11:03
So now what we’re going to do is we’re going to move on to mentoring. Now you mentioned that your future fatherinlaw was actually, in a way, a mentor, right? Someone who kind of kept an eye out for you, kind of knew what was, you know, where he felt where you would be successful. So that’s cool. And i think we can talk about that more. But before we get into that, how would you define a mentor?
Taylor McMaster 11:25
I think a mentor can look so different in every aspect of your life. For me, you know, my mom has always been a mentor to me. And for most people, they may not consider that, you know, a mentor or my grandmother was a mentor to me, but then sports coaches or, you know, university professors like yourself, they’re all I think it depends on. What you’re looking for out of this person. But I think at the end of the day, a mentor is someone who you can confidently ask for help and they can guide you in maybe what their expertise is or maybe give you give you a perspective that maybe you can’t see or you’re not looking right at. But to me, a mentor, I have tons of mentors in my life still, and my husband’s a mentor. My coworkers are mentors, My assistants. A mentor, you know, like. It’s more of a it’s a vibe than it is a title to me.
Danny Gavin 12:18
I love vibes, so I think I can agree with you on that. So are there any traits you avoid in a mentor, like where you kind of notice there’s something in that person was like, I don’t know if I want to confide in them or? Take them as someone who I can speak to a.
Taylor McMaster 12:36
Hundred % This actually recently happened to me. I had to have a real gut check and a reminder with myself. It’s when somebody isn’t possessing the qualities that I want. So let’s say let’s say I’m working with somebody and. They’re telling me what to do and they’re saying this is what I suggest and this is kind of the direction I would go in if I were you. But they live a different life or they might have different values than me or they might have a vision that looks different. So people who are really like hustle, grind, aggressive business people, that is not for me because that is not the lifestyle that i’m going for a calm and peaceful and happy lifestyle that I’m going for, you know, So if it’s not an alignment of what i’m really working for then that’s kind of not the mentor for me and sometimes that takes some time to figure out. But I’m more drawn to people who are really positive people or they’re working less than the average, you know, 40 hour work week and they’re super happy and they have a family and they’re really successful and those are the people that i book up to versus the people who are working 80 hours a week and they like to remind me of it. You know, those are not the people that I am drawn to.
Danny Gavin 13:51
And I think that’s a great point because naturally people equate entrepreneurship with like working 80 hours or killing yourself and when success. Equals not doing that, that’s so important. And you don’t have to wait right until you’ve had a business for 1020 years, but something, especially these days, that you can instill and implant in your organization in yourself, like right away agreed and that’s exactly what I did. I knew I didn’t want to work the 80 hours a week and I didn’t. I don’t believe that is a requirement. So that was kind of threaded through everything we do.
Danny Gavin 14:30
So I think that’s a good segue into one of the mentors that you’ve mentioned in the past, James Shramko. I’d love to learn more about him and how influential he was in your life.
Taylor McMaster 14:39
He has been my coach for a couple of years slash mentor and. He very much so instilled in me the you don’t need to work a million hours to be able to be successful. And I came to him with the one goal of I need to get out of the day-to-day Like I just can’t shake it. Like I just, I need help reprioritizing my business and my life. And we actually just met last night. For one of our final coaching sessions and he said, Taylor, like you’re one of the fastest people to get out of the tools, get out of the day-to-day and put yourself into the shoes of the business owner that I’ve ever met. And I think for me it’s because I really leaned into what he was telling me to do and what he had done successfully. And he kind of laid out the road map for me. And I said, okay, I’m just going to do these things. I’m going to. Find someone to replace me in this role and in this role and in this role and in this role and give up control and put the things in place and the processes and the systems and within two years I’m now, you know, not working in the daytoday anymore. And so for me it was finding a mentor and a coach who really aligned with what I was working towards. And I think now kind of looking back on that, I can say it was it was successful because he. Was the right mentor for me at the time of my life, if that makes sense.
Danny Gavin 16:14
I didn’t even realize that you went through that process. You know, naturally we’re going to talk about what you specialize in, but part of what you do is help people like get out of the day-to-day But it’s interesting that you kind of had to go through that process. It sounds like you jumped on really quickly, but you know, a two year process to kind of get yourself out of the day-to-day that’s impressive And it’s nice to know that even Someone Like You, right had to go through that. System and.
Taylor McMaster 16:40
Process, yeah. And I see so many business owners who just don’t go through that and some that don’t want to go through that and that’s cool too. It just kind of depends on where they’re at and what their goals are and their priorities. But yeah, happy to dig in and share whatever I can.
Danny Gavin 16:57
Now let’s talk about how you are mentoring others. So you obviously have a large team both. The, you know, client account managers that you go ahead and put into different agencies, but also your own sales and marketing team would love to know how you currently mentor those individuals yes so I think sometimes we put too much of. Too much pressure on ourselves of like, I need a coaching plan and I need to be learning how to be a better coach and things like that. But really it’s more getting on the same level as them. And you know, sometimes they say with like kids, you have to like kneel down and talk to them and like be on their level. And I feel like that is kind of the way that I approach it. It’s like okay, like I’ve been in your shoes. Like, I’ve done these sales calls, I’ve done the account management, I’ve experienced all of the things. So I can relate to you. Like, let’s really talk about this and let’s brainstorm together. I’m not, I find it really hard not to just like tell someone what to do. So that is something that’s taking time for me to really work on. It’s like really working on my listening skills and then, you know, saying, do you want me to give you a suggestion or do you just want me to listen? And really identifying where they’re at and maybe it’s just a bad day or maybe they need strategies to get them through this in the long term. But really getting on their level and really kind of working through how they can solve issues on their own and coaching and mentoring on an ongoing basis and not letting people just like run off on their own. So we do, you know, weekly touch points like, hey, you know, I’m here every week, you can slack me anytime. But we have a dedicated time on our calendar to really like work through issues or problems or celebrate the wins, but giving people that dedicated time and really just like listening to what their problems are.
Danny Gavin 18:47
Feel like I want you to be my boss sure come on over.
Danny Gavin 18:52
Yeah, but that that’s amazing. And I really feel like in an organization, often the people at the top haven’t done the nitty gritty. And when you actually have done a little bit of everything, you can actually relate, You know, it’s kind of hard to tell someone to do something when you haven’t done it yourself. But it sounds like that you set up a way where, yeah, I’ve done it. Maybe I’m not doing it now, but I can relate and I can, you know, help you see sometimes the forest through the.
Taylor McMaster 19:19
Trees 100 % and that happens all the time. You know, we had a coaching call today with our greater team and they had concerns about, you know, setting expectations on a sales call and I could say listen. I’ve done, like, I get it. I get it’s hard on these calls because we really like these people and sometimes we go off script and the sales girls were like, yeah, I feel the same, you know, like I could just like stand up for them or something and just be like, listen, like it’s okay, but let’s kind of set up the process so that this doesn’t happen anymore. But yeah, it’s just kind of like be like you said, I’ve been through it. I’ve done it. I can relate.
Danny Gavin 19:53
All right, now let’s jump into dot and Co. So like we spoke about earlier, you help agencies with client account management. So for those people who have no idea what we’re talking about, can you explain a little bit about what the company does and what a client account management is?
Taylor McMaster 20:09
An account manager can look different inside of any agency and Danny, you know best here. But what we look at is we are account management experts, so we are professionals at speaking to clients, understanding strategy, being really organized, handling projects. Management and then we also are marketers. So we can speak to things that maybe it’s SEO or Google ads or things like that. We may not be a specific expert in SEO but we are marketers. So we understand the goals of the client. So we come in and our goal is to remove the agency owner from that day-to-day seat. So we want to take over the client communication both for client facing but also internal facing. So we want to keep the people. In their seats, maybe they’re really good at media buying or really good at graphic design. We want them focused on what they do best while we take care of the client. So kind of like picture it as the glue or maybe the hub inside of the agency. Making sure all the trains are running on time, making sure that everything is flowing and things are seamless and you know, making sure that agencies are successful, of course, that is kind of the gist of it.
Danny Gavin 21:23
So what would you say are the top three keys to success when it comes to a client account manager from Don and Co going into an agency?
Taylor McMaster 21:29
So the biggest thing is fit for our agency partners. So I know anyone listening who might have a business or work in a business when you don’t have the right partners, it doesn’t go well. So we partner with people who are like Danny and who have similar values. They’re nice people. They want something better for the world. They’re not just here to, you know, boss people around. We work with really great people, so finding the right fit in terms of agencies, but also account managers, you know, we’re hiring people who are at a higher level. They are. Really experienced. They’re warm and friendly and we have very specific values that we hire on. So really making sure we have a fit on both sides and then matching an agency with the right account manager and making sure that is seamless and that is the most important thing, number two is ongoing coaching and mentorship. So what we were just talking about is, you know, ensuring that our account managers are always up to speed on the new things and the new tactics and learning from each other. And that is. Honestly, so important. And we see this inside account managers and other agencies, they don’t have this mentorship and the support. And so we kind of like take them into our into our world and we coach them and we mentor them because we realize that in a client facing role, everyone needs a mentor and needs a coach. So that is number 2 and number three is processes and optimizing continuously finding ways to do things better. So maybe you send an email to a client and it’s super detailed and it’s. You’re like, that is the best email i’ve. Ever sent well, you should be documenting that so that you can use that again, or the team can use that. Or you know, processes for onboarding. How can you always be doing a better job and how do you always optimize that process? So systems and processes are key to our role as an account manager. They’re not the most important thing because being the right person for the right job is the most important thing. But, you know, making sure that the systems and processes are on the back end. We’re not robots. We’re human beings who make mistakes and who are going through this fluids, you know, day in our in our agencies. So we want to make sure that yes, we use systems and processes, but at the end of the day we’re the right people for the right job.
Danny Gavin 23:51
It’s funny your first one about personality, and I know this is not technically a sales call, but it’s pretty amazing how dot and Co finds similar, like personality types who really fit that outgoing. It’s kind of like Taylor puts them like into like a printing press, like gets them out. But it’s pretty amazing how you know the personality of someone that you’d want to be a client. Account manager, outgoing, organized, responsible. That’s pretty cool how you’re finding those people out there and placing them in the right ositions. So just kudos to you, Taylor, on that. Don and Co was originally a digital marketing agency, but you made the switch to account management. Was there a specific moment when you realized you wanted to make that transition?
Taylor McMaster 24:32
Yes, specifically, I was on a mastermind in Fiji actually. Sounds so exotic, but I was really struggling with what to do next within my agency. And I was trying to figure out what do I really want to do because this isn’t fun for me. And I just went with my gut feeling and with the flow that I was feeling. So I was, you know, okay, what do I really like doing? I like talking to people I like. Being super organized. I like helping people. I like all these. Like, I love a busy day. I love meetings. So I was like, that sounds like an account manager. So many agencies in my world need a really good account manager. I can actually step in and talk to clients because I’m a marketer. Wouldn’t this be cool if this is all I did? And then, you know, started talking to people at this retreat and they were all like, can I hire you? Can I hire you? And so that’s when I realized like this is a need in the industry. I can either keep going the route that I’m going with running my agency or I can actually pivot. And that was the moment that I said I run an account management agency call me and it grew from there.
Danny Gavin 25:47
Just imagine you’re like lying on the beach with like, a martini and bam, there we go.
Taylor McMaster 25:52
There we are. This is my new business.
Danny Gavin 25:56
But that’s awesome when it comes to client account management, You know there are a lot of people have an appreciation for digital marketing and they love it, but they don’t necessarily want to do it, but they want to be involved. And I always like to tell my students, especially those ones who are like, I don’t see myself going into SEO or Google ads, but if they like it like being becoming an account manager or a project manager related to digital marketing is a wonderful career and step in the right direction. I know that you even have some courses that people can take exactly and I think you know, for the right person and the right personality, being an account manager is so fulfilling and being able to help A-Team keep things organized, just like be that person for the team is so fulfilling. And I always say, yes, I now run an agency again, but if I could go back or if I had to start over. I would become an account manager like that is that is where I love to spend my time. I love a meeting with a client. I love helping agency owners. It’s just it’s so rewarding if you’re the right fit for the role.
Danny Gavin 27:03
So in your messaging and blogs and more, you mentioned wanting to delight clients. If you had to list the number one thing an account manager or agency could do tomorrow to bring the light, what would that be?
Taylor McMaster 27:13
Proactive Communication number. One like, update your clients before they ask. Send them reports, send them gifts, send them updates. Like being proactive is the most important thing, because I think in our world we live in such an isolated online world and people forget that there’s a human on the other side with concerns with, hey, like I’m spending thousands of dollars for these services, where we at with this like that? That is the most important thing in my eyes is just like commute. Better communication with your clients before they ask. That is my number one tip yeah and I’ve seen the opposite, right, where you could be working so hard, but if you’re not communicating that and like let’s say you know you’re only committed to, let’s say a monthly meeting, but you don’t communicate at all between those meetings, like the whole world can just be destroyed from that. So having those touch points, I can’t tell you how valuable it is, even if it’s. Maybe it doesn’t have the best substance in those emails or touch points, but just the client knowing that you’re out there and you’re caring about them, it makes a world of a difference.
Taylor McMaster 28:21
It’s so common and you know, I work with a lot of different agency coaches and kind of hearing what they have to say and they always tell me that the results are great. Like it’s really important to have good results for your clients. But if you don’t have someone communicating those to your clients and have building a relationship with your clients, the results don’t matter. Honestly, like the communication is number one results are second.
Danny Gavin 28:45
So a well managed account is usually a long lasting account. Are there any strategies you practice to specifically increase client retention and increase lifetime value?
Taylor McMaster 28:54
Number one is having a dedicated account manager because they’re going to pick up on all the trends, all the little things like, hey, that’s a red flag they might be leaving or hey, we need to do more for them because they’re not seeing the value. Having somebody dedicated to those nitty gritty details is super important, number two is proactive communication like we already talked about. Number three would definitely be always finding ways to do a better job for them. So maybe that looks like upselling them onto different services. A lot of clients need different services to get better results for their for their business. Or maybe it’s. Taking away things like maybe SEO isn’t worth the time and money for them or maybe you know, running Facebook ads just isn’t the best strategy. So always finding ways to work with the team, work with the strategists to do a better job for your clients. And obviously we’re dedicated to the client satisfaction and their results, but you know, making sure that the client is number one and finding ways to. Always do a better job for them and not just like hey, like, we just do Facebook ads for them and here’s your results. Get innovative, Find different ways. Recommend doing a podcast, Recommend starting an email. List you know those are things that go a really long way. And by a client, seeing that you, the agency, are invaluable. Like they don’t know what they would do without you guys. That is where you want to get to.
Danny Gavin 30:26
And it’s interesting because I feel like a lot of agencies, they’re sometimes scared. To tell the client, hey, you know, maybe you should try something else or add on a different service because it’s kind of like okay, we’ve got them, they’re just doing this. But I see more often than not that when you’re proactive and you bring up, hey, you know, we see this opportunity, that opportunity, the clients really appreciate that. And then worse comes to worse, if they don’t have the budget to do it, then you know they. They’ll say no, or you’ll try another time, but to not even jump after those opportunities or bring it up, you could really be losing out on a lot.
Taylor McMaster 31:01
Yeah, and losing trust with your clients.
Danny Gavin 31:04
So as your team takes over so much in many cases all of the client communication including daily conversations via email or slack, how does your team go about getting integrated into an agency system and learning their clients communication style and personality? Seems like a really big mountain to climb, but how are they able to do it so successfully?
Taylor McMaster 31:24
Yeah that’s such a good question. And honestly, we were just talking about this earlier today with our team. The biggest thing that I think agencies don’t understand when it comes to this role is that there’s a learning curve and just because you hire somebody who is super experienced in account management and has the drive and has the knowledge. It’s not like you’re taking the USB and sticking it into my brain. I need to learn the nuances of your agency and that doesn’t happen in a week. And I think that a lot of agency owners need to have a little bit more patience when it comes to getting a account manager in like, you know, Danny, like it’s not a week, it’s months, it’s. You know, it takes a while for this account manager to really get in there, but the biggest thing that we find is that we ask the right questions and we’re not scared to say, hey, I have no idea how to do this that you have set up in the agency. Can you walk me through that? Can you send me a Loom video? I’m like, great, got it. Now I can, I can take this on, you know, But if I didn’t ask you how to do that. Then I would just be stumbling for a really long time. So really asking those questions, digging in, getting the resources that we need, getting the team members to share documents or meetings and then over time we take over. But it’s not something that you know somebody can just come in and take over the entire business in a day. But I think finding the right people to right ask the right questions is definitely key.
Danny Gavin 33:02
So kind of connected to that, what is the most common request or pain point that brings your clients to you?
Taylor McMaster 33:08
Most agency owners are doing it all. They’re in the client meetings, emailing clients back. They are project managing. They’re just doing it all and they just need someone else in their business who’s there to help them. And it’s often times, you know, they actually, I would say probably close to 100 % of the people that come to us have tried hiring this role before. And haven’t had much success. And honestly, like I can see why now that I know how hard it is for us to hire. But it’s how do I find somebody who is smart, strategic, has the right personality, the drive to really come in and help me without this taking over my full time job to train this person And that is kind of where they come in and they’re like, I just need help and I just need. Somebody who’s eager to help me and that’s kind of that’s the number one thing I would say.
Danny Gavin 34:04
The funny thing is, whenever I tell people that this exists, they’re like what? There’s no way you can outsource something like that. They’ve, you know, it’s got to be part of the fabric and it’s just amazing how no you can. And if anything, it’s an advantage, like you said, because you to properly integrate an account manager, project manager, there’s a lot of training that’s required. So if you can get someone who’s. Trained but also continues to be trained. It makes a big difference.
Taylor McMaster 34:31
Yeah, and I was chatting with a sales coach yesterday who said it really well. He said you can hire someone right out of university or college. They will be amazing. Sometimes it makes sense to hire someone who’s already made all the mistakes in their career. They’ve made the years of experience like the mistakes that it takes to get to a, you know, five year milestone. Sometimes that makes sense, but it really just depends on what your business needs. And sometimes you can bring in somebody right into college and train them up over, you know, a few years. That’s awesome. Sometimes you need a really experienced project manager to step in tomorrow. That’s a whole different kettle of fish and just really understanding what your business needs and what you’re willing to. Invest and how much time you’re willing to invest and where you’re kind of at and what that role looks like. That is the most important thing you know before making a hire.
Danny Gavin 35:26
So it sounds like you hire more experienced individuals, but let’s say someone hears this podcast. Like, wow, I love that idea. I would love to join Don and Co at one point in time. What would you say? What would you suggest? For them to do in order to get to that point where they would be like a Don Co clinic on manager.
Taylor McMaster 35:44
I like what you said really earlier on in the podcast. When you’re in university, you’re thinking about okay, where do I go from here? Get some really awesome experience in all these different industries and niches. So maybe it’s you do work in Google ads and you do work in Facebook ads and you learn from the ground up by doing. And I think all of us here at dot have done that. So we’ve all been media buyers or we’ve been. In the trenches and by real like working in an agency and learning how to build Facebook ads and the strategy and sitting in on those strategy meetings and that is going to get you so much further ahead, I think if you just get dirty and you learn from the ground up.
Danny Gavin 36:26
And I think that opens up a whole world of opportunities because you know, it doesn’t mean if you start in that way you have to continue like, but it’s sort of like picking up those little experiences. In the trenches, eventually you’re going to have enough in your tool belt to be like okay. I can now be a really good client account manager because I’ve got a good basis of understanding. I’ve spoken with clients and now I can maybe do that full time yes and that’s what we’ve all done and I know that you know looking back like digital marketing and marketing is where it’s at. You know this is the future and if you can get in and learn from the ground. You will have endless opportunities, whether it’s account management, project management, strategy, you know, sales operations, COO, CEO, start your own agency. There’s so many opportunities, but understanding the foundations of marketing is so key.
Danny Gavin 37:25
All right. So as we get close to wrapping up, I’d love to know what’s next. Like, what’s your big thing this year?
Taylor McMaster 37:30
This year we are really focused on the training side. So helping other account managers level up their skills, level up kind of what’s next for them and really giving them that hand to hold that is something that we’re working on really like a lot here at dot and then also optimizing our own processes. You know, we’ve grown rapidly over the last four years and now we’re kind of saying okay, how can we do this even better? How can we, you know, take every piece of our business, break it down, optimize it and just get really clear on what we’re doing? Personally, I am going on maternity leave. I’m having a baby later this year, so I will be offline so that’s super exciting for me, you know, to be able to say, hey guys, you’ve got it and really hand over the keys and take a significant amount of time off, which, you know, I think as every business owner, it’s like, Oh my gosh, I don’t know how I’ll ever do that. But now I’m like I can do it, which is like such an amazing feeling.
Danny Gavin 38:32
Wow, Taylor, I’m so excited for you. That is so big. And congratulations.
Taylor McMaster 38:36
Thank you. Yes, very excited.
Danny Gavin 38:38
All right. So it’s time for Taylor’s top three. So why don’t you share with us the top three countries that you like to visit?
Taylor McMaster 38:45
Ok, this is fun. I am a big traveler. Obviously I’m putting that a little bit on the back burner this year, but the reason that I started a remote business is because I said I have way too many places on my bucket list for three weeks vacation. So I just need to be able to travel and work at the same time. So number one is definitely. Fiji, Like I said earlier, I went to Fiji and started my business. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It’s really far from the United States and Canada, but it is stunning and I highly recommend going to Fiji number two is the Dominican Republic. I spent about three four months living there in the last year and it is a beautiful country. It’s so awesome. It’s safe. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful, It’s lush. It has. Tons of different things to do so specifically the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Highly recommend and number three is canada. I think it’s one of the best countries to visit. I haven’t seen it all myself, we it’s huge. I live on the East Coast, haven’t made it fully to the West Coast. So I would say Canada is like super beautiful. Specifically the East Coast. The people are amazing, the food’s great, the scenery is. Stunning and a slower pace of life, for sure.
Danny Gavin 40:05
I still haven’t made it out there to the East Coast of Canada, but it’s definitely on my bucket list and I hope to see you in.
Taylor McMaster 40:12
Person yes can’t.
Danny Gavin 40:13
Wait, really soon?
Taylor McMaster 40:13
We love to host here on the East Coast though. You know when you come in town, we’ll be hanging out for sure.
Danny Gavin 40:19
All right. So where can listeners learn more about you and your business?
Taylor McMaster 40:22
So we are over at dot and company. Dot co well, you can find everything over there from our full service account management to our training programs in our community. And then we also have a podcast where Danny also greased us with his presence and all of our socials are linked on our website as well.
Danny Gavin 40:42
Yeah, and we’ll make sure to drop those links in the show notes as well amazing all.
Danny Gavin 40:46
Right, Taylor. Well, thank you so much for being a guest on the Digital Marketing Mentor and thank you listeners for tuning into the Digital Marketing Mentor. Talk to you next time.
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