Lauren Ward – Senior Account Executive. Illustration ‘A flourishing account’ by Senior Designer, Sam Barrett
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has just released an interesting report: ‘The Future of Account Management’.The report warns of how Account Managers could be ‘squeezed out’ of agency life if change isn’t made within the industry to combat negative perceptions and the feeling that client service roles are redundant in today’s landscape.
Something we come up against every now and again is having to explain what ‘account management’ is, often due to a lack of understanding about what we, as account managers do day in day out. This isn’t anyone’s fault; before I got my first job within an agency I had no idea of the full scope of the role. Now I know that it’s a job title that should be celebrated for its depth. As highlighted in the report, we must span both emotional and professional skills such as empathy and charisma but also leadership, and having a strategic mind.
So, to address the comment from a procurement lead: “To be honest, no one has ever really explained what the account management team does”, here’s a glimpse of what I do day-to-day as a Senior Account Executive:
- Develop the strategy and pitch for new clients
- Gather intel and thoroughly research and understand our clients and their sectors – this helps us deliver results-focused work
- Proactively present ideas to clients
- Help develop client briefs, providing feedback that will assist the PR, creative or digital teams deliver the work (if you want more information on how to write a creative brief, read our latest blog on the subject)
- Brief projects to the team and get involved with ideations
- Create timelines and track project timescales
- Manage client expectations and budgets
- Collate all details and assets for projects and campaigns
- Manage suppliers and third parties
- Track campaign performance and report back to the client
- Keep track of financials and admin (snooooze, but important!)
- Crack the whip with the team… 😉 just kidding!
- And most importantly, communicate regularly with the client
Essentially, as part of the client services team, we have to be organised and wear many hats. But I’m not just the ‘middle man’ – my role is to add value for our clients. I can be the voice of the client in a morning creative session, and then providing advice and ideas to a client on a call in the afternoon. And this is all whilst making sure we’re giving the rest of the team that fine balance of detail (too much will bog them down, too little won’t inform decisions).
I believe we perform arguably one of the most important roles in any business; relationship building. When you’ve built rapport with a client, it’s more likely that trust and confidence will follow. I love getting to know my clients, from junior execs all the way up to managing directors and CEOs, learning what makes them tick and how to approach the different personalities.
The report proposed three immediate actions the industry should take to secure the future of account management:
- Celebrate and value the role
- Recruit the best talent for the future
- Invest in and develop the talent it has
I believe there will always be a need for account management if we’re adding demonstrable value and truly helping our clients. It’s a busy and varied role but I love it!
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