5 Things Star Trek Taught Me About Account Management

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Eric Lingaur here, Oneupweb Account Manager. A few of us at Oneupweb secretly (or not so secretly) enjoy Sci-Fi. We each have our own favorite franchise or series ranging from Star Wars to Battlestar Galactica to my favorite Star Trek. I’ve been a Trekkie for as long as I can remember and something that always inspires me about Star Trek is the life lessons it teaches.

Star Trek is more than blood thirsty Klingons and charting the galaxy in the U.S.S. Enterprise. It teaches us about accepting other cultures, races and ethnicities. Star Trek encourages people to never stop learning and always explore what’s behind the next moon.

Believe it or not, some of Star Trek’s lessons can even be applied to account management and the business world. Here are few of my favorites:

  1. Build a good crew: All great starship captains in Star Trek surround themselves with a variety of experts in every field: science (Spock), engineering (Scotty), security (Worf), etc. As an account manager, you’re only as good as the group of colleagues you have on your team. It’s our job as account managers to utilize everyone’s expertise to get the job done and provide valuable recommendations to our clients.
  2. Explore strange new worlds: You can only learn so much by flying around through space and staying on the Enterprise. Beaming down to a planet and exploring or interacting with its inhabitants is where Starfleet crew members truly gain knowledge. The same goes for account managers. We can’t just sit at our desks all day answering e-mails. The best way to serve our customers is to never stop learning about the latest marketing trends and to explore that next new insight that will help our clients grow their business.
  3. Warp speed versus Impulse:  Star Trek ships can travel faster than the speed of light at Warp or at standard Impulse speed used when navigating a solar system. Account managers need to know when to travel at Warp and when Impulse is required. Of course we’re always operating at optimum speed and efficiency for our customers, but you learn which situations, such as tight deadlines or quick turnarounds, need more speed and when you can slow down a bit to take time to explore all your options and build a solid campaign strategy.
  4. Don’t believe in “no win scenarios”: Every Starfleet cadet needs to take the dreaded Kobayashi Maru test. It’s a no-win scenario where cadets need to rescue a ship called the Kobayashi Maru that’s being attacked by Klingons. There’s basically no way for the scenario to end in a positive outcome. Only one person has ever beaten the test, and that’s Captain James T. Kirk. Kirk doesn’t believe in no-win scenarios and account managers shouldn’t either. There’s always a solution no matter how hard the problem is. You just need to find it.
  5. Use technology to your advantage: Star Trek is filled with all types of wondrous technologies that help get the job done. Phasers for protection, tricorders for scanning everything from bio-signs to geologically data and my personal favorite is the transporter that lets you instantly beam from one place to another. Using technology to its fullest and being aware of the latest and greatest technology advancements is essential for any account manager. Whether it’s Google’s latest analytics tool or a new application to reach perspective customers using CRM data, applying the latest technology to our work helps ensure our clients are staying ahead of their competition.

Hopefully one or two of the Star Trek lessons can be applied to your profession. And always remember to “boldly go where no one has gone before” and “live long and prosper.”


Photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

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