How to be a great Account Manager
10 MAY 2018

Published by Samantha Jamieson


How to be a great Account Manager

Missed Kate Blewett’s Account Management Masterclass? We’ve put together this short roundup of Kate’s key brand/client experience principles to whet your whistle.

Having worked both client and agency side, heading up the Client Services team at Conran Design Group, Lambie-Nairn and now on Marina Willer’s team at Pentagram, Kate knows what she’s talking about.  In her own inimitable straight talking way Kate told us her rules of thumb when it comes to Account Management.

1. Make it Frictionless

These are the key things you will need to nail for your project to be successful:

Planning – be one step ahead and anticipate your clients’ needs
Delegating – you don’t have to do it all by yourself, spread it around, it will help you keep calm
Know when to say no – you don’t always have to agree with the client, but explain why
Stick to the deadline – once this is broken, they’ll begin to question everything else
Think analytically – your chance to be creative

'Know when to say no – you don’t always have to agree with the client, but explain why'

Kate’s tips on making this happen:

*Tip 1: Get clarity

Understand the client’s vision, objectives, KPIs, even personal ones
Understand the purpose of the potential of the account
How business critical is this for the client?

*Tip 2: Do performance reviews

Review every 12-18 months
Two-way reviews
Objectives based & followed up

*Tip 3: Get client experience

Spend a week/regular days in your client’s office
Take a secondment if you can…
Get in client meetings, have corridor conversations
Understand your client’s business operationally, and how your work is delivered internally

'Get in client meetings, have corridor conversations.'

2.    Keep it local

Keeping it local means being able to respond to and understand local needs, being agile in co-ordination, and having single points of contact where you can.

Kate’s tips on making this happen:

*Tip 1. Be individual

Avoid homogenisation
Be market lead with insight and care
Be you!

*Tip 2. Don’t ignore your daily contact

Strengthen and retain the existing relationship
Maximise the 5% window
Deliver the basics well – then you can get creative yourself

*Tip 3. Sell value

How valuable is it to the client?
Write fee proposals don’t talk cost
Remember value = skills + expertise

'Write fee proposals don’t talk cost'

3.    Have a higher purpose

There is a cause-and-effect relationship between a brand’s ability to serve a higher purpose and its financial performance. As Elon Musk said ‘Putting in long hours for a company is hard. Putting in long hours for a cause is easy.’

Kate’s tips on making this happen:

*Tip 1: Be different

Think like an entrepreneur
Be an innovator
Research and learn

*Tip 2: Put yourself first

Spot opportunities in your client projects and bring them to life
Build award winning metrics around your project
Delight yourself!

*Tip 3: Create Opportunities

Turn adversity into opportunity & foster innovation
Think differently
Consider wider unmet needs

Perhaps most importantly what Kate said was to ‘love what you do.’ Cheesy as it may sound, but you can only create great experiences if you love what you do. 

‘Pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you.' Maya Angelou

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