Technical Account Managers (TAM) often mean different things depending on the company. To us here at In Time Tec, a TAM is a steward who does what is necessary, such that the relationships between In Time Tec, the partner, and the engineer thrive.
On a day-to-day basis, a TAM is responsible for managing the relationship between our partner and our internal team. This can look like one-on-ones, weekly or monthly business reviews with the partner, onboarding or offboarding developers, and addressing any changes that need to be made to ensure a successful outcome. TAMs are the first point of contact for anything regarding the project and improve communication by bringing all the different aspects of a project together.
At our company, TAMs are the most visible person for our partners. They play a crucial role in partnerships because they provide the insight that our partner has into In Time Tec, and the insight that In Time Tec has into our partner.
Benefits of having a TAM
TAMs bring a unique perspective to the team. They have a good idea about all of the pieces that are in play for the given partnership. They touch base with the developers on the project, have insight into what is happening at In Time Tec, and know what kind of talent we are currently hiring for.
They also know the status of the partner’s project, what their goals are for the year, and what needs the partner has in terms of technical skills and staffing. TAMs have a holistic view of what's going on for both In Time Tec and the partner. This makes them an extremely valuable resource.
Skills that are beneficial to have as a TAM
Because TAMs play a critical role for both the partner and our internal team, there are certain skills that help enable them to be successful. For example, having a good idea about who is on the partner’s team and who needs to be included in certain conversations goes a long way. A good ability to read between the lines, address what’s not being said, and bring it forward allows for deeper conversations in the partnership. Additional beneficial skills are people skills, organization, and knowing how and when to delegate tasks. The ability to have technical conversations is helpful, but not necessary.
The TAMs at In Time Tec have nailed down a few best practices that allow them to do their job well:
Finding and establishing the right form and frequency of communication with the partner. This also includes knowing who needs to be involved in each conversation.
Not having a specific agenda for internal meetings. Unless there is something critical that needs to be discussed, our TAMs have found that not having a specific agenda allows the team to think about what they want to bring to the meeting, which makes the conversations deeper and more meaningful.
Delegating tasks. Delegating tasks allows TAMs to focus more on creation, rather than compliance. Compliance involves tasks such as invoicing, managing the roster, and creating the dashboard with project updates. Creation involves exploring what would make a positive difference in the account, what we can create with who we have, offsites for the internal team, and one-on-one meetings to ensure the team is set up for success. It’s critical that compliance tasks for a TAM should be minimized through delegation. However, TAMs should still know enough about compliance details to ensure that the partner can be easily passed off to someone else if needed.
Reflection. Our TAMs have found benefit in asking themselves the following questions:
How are things going with the project?
Where might my blindspots be?
Have I not heard from the software engineer manager at our partner site lately?
Do I need to reach out to them to check-in?
These questions allow the TAM to act as a steward of the partnership rather than a manager of the partnership.
Understanding the partner’s goals
It’s important that TAMs understand who the partner is and what their business goals are so that they can ensure they are making decisions with the partner's best interest in mind. Our TAMs take the time to get to know the partner and what they are up to, so we can tailor-make our solution. If we have a good idea of our partner's pain points, we can help alleviate them. If we have a good idea of the resources the partner is lacking, we can help staff those areas and provide the necessary resources.
Understanding the partner’s goals also helps TAMs educate the partner on how the program or product functions and how it moves the partner closer to their business goal.
If you are interested in becoming a TAM, be sure to stay up to date with our job postings here.