Episode #3 - Victoria Roebuck, Director of Account Management at TrackMaven in DC
In this episode, we interview Victoria Roebuck. Victoria is the Director of Account Management at TrackMaven. TrackMaven is a marketing analytics platform that helps businesses track the ROI of their marketing campaigns online. We discuss the dangers of job-hopping and how to know the right time to move on from a company. We also talk about how Victoria views leadership on her team and what she learned about leadership from sports. Victoria was a D1 lacrosse player in college ranked number 1 in the nation for goal saves her senior year. And of course, we get into the nitty gritty of Account Management and what that's all about.
Alma Mater: University of Richmond
Major: Business Administration and Leadership Studies
(Transcript paraphrased for clarity)
What is TrackMaven?
TrackMaven is a marketing insights company. We work with upper mid-market and enterprise brands, helping them get insight into their marketing strategy. We work with social media teams, content teams, and communications teams. We have a platform that pulls in the performance of their marketing campaigns as well as their competitors so they can see what’s working for them. We also have a services team that can provide more strategic insights out of their data.
Tell me about your role as the Director of Account Management
My team oversees all of our clients. Each of the account managers on my team has a book of business (book of clients) and they are responsible for making sure that each of our clients is getting the most out of our partnership. We are a quota-carrying team, we have goals focused on customer retention as well as revenue growth within our existing customer base.
Ok, so your team is responsible for the retention and growth of existing customers, not the acquisition of new customers, right?
Yes, we are only responsible for existing customers. We have a New Business Sales Team that brings on new clients. On that team we have a Sales Development Representative team that does research on great companies (prospects) we want to pursue. They will schedule meetings for our sales team that will actually take the prospects through an evaluation where they will decide to sign with us. Then after they sign my team (Account Management) will take it from there.
Could you describe the day-to-day of the account management team?
The account management team is responsible for the business relationship with the client. That includes understanding our clients needs and the problem they are trying to solve with TrackMaven. Then it’s up to the account manager to develop a plan to tackle that problem and execute on it.
The first thing we usually do is build out an org chart -- organization chart of the company’s staff that we’re working with. Different people we’re working with at the company may have different goals and we need to make sure we’re meeting everyone’s goals.
The day-to-day is very meeting-focused, any given account manager may have 4-5 calls with clients where they’re taking them through trainings or brainstorming ways that they can work with our services team to find meaningful insights. The rest of an account manager’s day is spent strategically planning and looking at their whole book of business to see what the most impactful thing they can do to move our partnerships forward.
I’d like to back up a bit and talk about college. What did you study in college and how did you make your way into tech?
In college, I studied Business Administration and Leadership studies. And I originally thought I wanted to work in Marketing. The University of Richmond has a phenomenal leadership studies and I had an amazing experience with the program so I knew I wanted to do something at the intersection of business and leadership studies. I was a full-time collegiate athlete, I played D1 lacrosse and I also worked on-campus at our call center. As I was thinking about how my background would translate into a career straight out of college I came across an organization called Vocus. I ended up getting my first job out of college as a sales executive there. That job really fit all my criteria. I was able to use my cold-calling skills from working in the call-center, I was naturally very competitive so sales was a good fit, and Vocus focused on selling to marketers so I got to learn about the marketing industry.
That was a great job out of college because it taught me to be very disciplined. It taught me that there was a very clear methodology between what you put in and what you get out. If I make this amount of calls, I’ll schedule this amount of meetings, and it’ll turn into this amount of deals and I’ll hit my quota and make my commission check every month.
It sounds like you had a lot going on in college between class, being an athlete, and working in the call center. Did you have any time management techniques that helped you?
I think I was lucky to be part of a D1 sports team that required me to spend a certain number of hours in the weight room, on the field, or in meetings and demand that I plan the rest of my life around that. That really taught me to get into a consistent routine. Time management becomes easy when you know what blocks you have to study or work. A lot of that translated very well after college because I was so used to that routine.
Being successful in any sales or account management job requires you to have amazing time management and be dedicated to understanding the key priorities and how to fit them into your daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly routine.
I structure my days based on when I know I am most productive. I love to have my mornings as my “me” time. I have my headphones in and my list of items to do. My mornings are what I call my productivity blocks. That’s my time to get everything I need to get done, done because I know that’s when my brain is the most functional.
Then I’ll have blocks for customer or internal meetings in the afternoon because I know that requires a different use of my brain that is more available in the afternoon.
When you talk about the list of your to-dos, what does that list look like?
My Gmail calendar has my entire life on it, from any meeting to any afterwork activity I might have. I highly recommend color coding your calendar. I have goals every week or month based on how much time I want to be spending in internal meetings vs client meetings vs head-down productivity time. I color code based on those activities so I can look at a week and realize I have 80% of my time focused on client meetings this week so I’m going to have to spend some extra time outside of work this week to strike that balance. Also, every Sunday I take a look at what productivity blocks I have for the week and I take all those millions of projects that are floating in my head and slot them into those blocks so that 9AM Monday morning I know I have these two hours to knock out these two things.
Could you provide some insight into how you transitioned from someone who was managed to someone who managed?
Managing is really understanding the people you manage. Literally the job of a manager is to remove roadblocks. My job is to get my team promoted and make them successful. I won’t be able to effectively do that until I understand them as people and what motivates them and what they want out of this job and their career. We put a ton of emphasis on getting to know each other and understanding what’s going on in our team members’ lives outside of work.
There’s going to be times that work bleeds into your personal life but there’s also going to be times where your personal life bleeds into your work. I need to understand as a manager what everyone is going through because they’re interrelated.
You mentioned that you played Lacrosse in college. And I think you undersold it because you were actually ranked #1 in the nation for goal saves. I’m wondering if there’s anything that carries over from sports leadership to how you lead your team now.
One of the number one things I personally hire for on my team is grit. Whether it’s a startup or a larger organization work is going to have a lot of ups and downs. You’re going to be slapped in the face with something that you had no idea was coming. You can have the most successful company in the world but there’s always going to be someone trying to catch up with you. To continue to innovate and stay at the top, if you’re at the top, or to want to be the best it takes a lot of grit. I’m looking for people who can get punched in the face 9 times in a row and be ready for the tenth.
I can teach the skill sets that you need to successful as an account manager here. There’s plenty of smart people around you. I think it’s really important that you choose a job where you’re not the smartest person in the room and have room to learn and that’s easy. The hardest part is having the mental fortitude and grit to push through the tough times.
I’d also say that if someone on my team is going through a tough time, I am going through a tough time along with them. That is something that I personally learned through sports and it’s one of the things I particularly love about TrackMaven. Sitting next to a team of people that has the mentality of, ‘we’re going to get through this together and we’ll do whatever it takes to build an awesome company and help our customers and have fun along the way’. Knowing that you’re never facing anything alone is really special.
Two of the things you mentioned that you look for and try to foster on your team is grit and empathy. Empathy for your customer but also empathy for your teammates. I know that sales can be a competitive role. Do you feel like that competitiveness and that empathy are at odds with each other?
When I think of the most successful sales reps or account managers they are generally the ones that are the most naturally curious. You might not know everything about your customers and the exact right thing to say to close a prospect. And I think it’s very obvious when sales reps are trying to do play a game with you. When you can just be naturally curious with a customer I think you build a special trust because they believe you are trying to get to know them and the struggles they’re going through.
As much as we think of sales as cutthroat and that you’re only trying to do whatever you need to do to close a deal when really it’s actually just the opposite in my opinion. We hire for the opposite of that. We hire for curiosity because when you’re genuinely curious and interested in a clients problems you’re going to be motivated to put yourself in their shoes and once you understand their problem, the solution will come naturally.
How do you hire for those traits? What do you look for in candidates to tell they have that grit and curiosity?
It’s hard on paper but one thing that’s an immediate red flag for us is serious job hopping. It’s really easy to take a job, especially early in your career, and not be fully fulfilled. You’ll hear about a friend that is making more money than you or is doing seemingly more interesting things than you are. Then you start to question whether you’re in the right place.
We want to see that someone has shown a commitment to sticking with something. A lot of grit is seeing someone who might not have been in the best situation but they learned how to make the best out of it.
On that note, how do you know when it’s the right time to move on?
I had the best first job out of college I could have asked for. I learned a lot about what I liked, and what I needed to feel fulfilled. I loved spending time on the phone with prospects. I really liked the chase of sales and knowing I had clear goals where I got out what I put in.
Some of the things I didn’t like was that I figured the game out pretty early. I got really good at the process to the point that I wasn’t being challenged anymore. I was also working for a larger where I just felt like a seat at the table and anyone could have done my job. Also if I happened to have a month or quarter where I wasn’t doing my best there was a good chance I would be cut and I didn’t like that feeling.
I thought long and hard about what I needed to do to feel more fulfilled. For me that meant being part of a company where I could see how I was tied to the goals of the organization as a whole. I knew I wanted to work for a smaller startup where I could be in a similar role but I wanted to feel like I was part of a team where we were all on the boat rowing together.
What advice would you give for people considering going into sales or account management?
First of all, I highly recommend it. I think it is a skill that you can translate to a lot of different things. One thing to know is that there are ways you can always be learning. It’s going to be a long process, you first job may not be the most glorious thing in the world. I do think it’s important that you pay attention to what you’re learning and how you can continue to strengthen what you’re good at and also think critically about what specifically you don’t like because that will help you take what you are good at and apply it to a better situation moving forward.