They are known by many different names – account managers, client engagement, client solutions but are often called “The messengers” (behind their backs or in their face many a time).
Account management can be a crazy, challenging, and exciting role at the same time. You are in charge of the entire account usually – from getting the briefs to putting together proposals, tracking the scope of work, and endlessly managing people both at the client side as well at the agency. You also need commercial acumen to deliver growth and profitability for the agency.
But the position is also unique, for it puts you right in the middle of the brand’s universe. Being the main point of contact between the brand and agency comes with its unique opportunities to learn, create great work, and most importantly drive commercial success for the business.
Why is an Account Manager the best bet for a brand’s commercial success?
If you are a marketing manager, you might spend a significant time of your working schedule with the AM. In scenarios of project-only engagement, it might be enough to work with someone who has basic project or account management skills. But when you are in a relationship with an agency that is long term, the AM can make or break the success of your marketing plan.
As a client, how to find and develop a great Account Manager?
1. Understanding of your business and category
Spend time and develop a program to impart as much knowledge as you can about your business to the AM. If you expect him to deliver the “voice of the customer”, then you should put in the effort to bring him close to your business.
2. T Shaped professional
The AM might be good in overall management, but remember she is much closer to subject matter experts and their teams inside an agency – planners, analytics, CX, social media, media, tech, SEO and so on. Work with someone who has the necessary depth but a wide range in terms of orchestration.
3. Excellent Commercial Acumen for the brand’s business
Modern marketing has aided the evolution of AM and has very strong commercial acumen. She has the ability to deliver and orchestrate a solution that links back to commerce – be it increased conversion, cross/up-selling or premiumization. Agencies today have skilled resources in ecommerce, data analytics, CX, attribution, and martech. And one person who can bring it all together is none other than – your humble AM
4. Your Growth Hacker
Long before the term ” growth hacking” was made popular by digital-first business circles, agencies always had a great culture of collaboration amongst people of very different domains and skill sets. If there is a person who can enable “out of the box thinking”, it is the AM.
It is true that the role has diminished over years, but I strongly believe that an account manager is your best bet when it comes to driving marketing success.
It is time for the Phoenix to rise from the ashes, and take the reigns of growth of the brands in times that are tough and complicated at the same time.
The views expressed in this article are personal, and not necessarily those of the author’s employer.