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Top 5 Attributes of an Account Manager in A Digital Agency

I absolutely love working in client services.

The role is challenging and stressful but it’s incredibly rewarding. I also think it sounds cool when I say, “I work for a digital agency…”.  

But a recent interaction I had got me thinking. I was talking to one of the suppliers involved in my wedding later this year (hopefully) and she asked what I do for a living. My go-to quippy answer – “I’m an account manager for a digital agency” – led to what I can only describe as a pretty puzzled looking celebrant. To her credit, she styled out her confusion and continued on her celebrant-y way, but since then I’ve been pondering more and more.

Granted, this is quite a specific scenario and many people may never have reason to understand what someone like me does. But it got me thinking about what it actually means to me. And beyond me, what my role means to the agency I work for, to my clients and to my colleagues.

The role of client services

The role of client services is very broad and one that you can shape into what you want it to be.

Here at WMG, we cover many areas of digital marketing including technical SEO, content marketing, outreach, digital PR, CRO, paid media and social. Servicing a large variety of clients from a whole host of industries we naturally have an extensive client service team. A team full of different personalities and backgrounds. Which is important because variety is the spice of life, right?

But I’ve been thinking about what commonalities we have and the attributes we all possess that connect us and make us who we are. Essentially, what makes a great client services individual…

1) Communication

Day to day, hour to hour, we deal with multiple stakeholders both internal and external across all professions – from CEOs and marketing directors to our senior management team and talented technical specialists. All of whom have different priorities, time constraints and, possibly most importantly, different ways of communicating.

While some prefer a weekly call, some opt for monthly while others like an email exchange and some don’t. Some prefer granular detail and others just want top line insights.

It won’t always be clear (especially with new relationships) so take time to understand what format and style of communication works for them and for you. When you find that balance it will make everyone’s life a whole lot easier and you’ll find more efficiencies in your day-to-day activities.

2) Strategic

We may have separate client service and specialist delivery teams at WMG, but we are not mutually exclusive.

As the central point of contact for everyone, account managers have a dual role to play. We have to be an extension of our clients internally and an extension of our agency externally. More often than not, our clients are running multi-channel strategies with us. With lots of different moving parts, it’s crucial that we know the strategy inside out.

We are responsible for being the driving force for our clients to ensure successful results and we need to be on hand to provide a strategic voice to our technical teams – we’re one big team after all. If you don’t know what’s going on, sooner or later it’ll catch up with you. Really get under the skin of your client’s strategies and you will never be caught out.

3) Boldness

For me, this is so important. Being bold doesn’t mean you need to be the loudest voice in the room – or on Zoom. It means you need to be confident and unwavering in every aspect of your role.

We have a lot of responsibility and our choices hold consequences, so if a client has an idea that we know isn’t quite right, they rely on us to tell them. If we’re confident that increasing media spend will increase their lead generation, propose it.

Be BOLD. If you know your stuff and you’re confident in your approach, 9.5 times out of 10 you’ll be glad you went for it.    

4) Agility

Agility has taken on a new meaning since lockdown. Previously (and hopefully again sometime soon) it meant taking multiple trains each week, juggling electronic devices, rail cards and coffee cups as you run across central London.

Everyone was in the same boat and our standards for email responses and call backs were different. Now, we’re more accessible than ever. The vast majority of us are sat at home in our new ‘office’ or perched at our kitchen-table-come-desk. You can try and hide behind that ‘do not disturb’ status on Microsoft Teams, but we’ve all seen it and sent the message anyway.

Keeping some form of structure is really important otherwise you’ll never get anything done but expecting the unexpected is firmly in my top five attributes.   

5) Intrigue

This should be what keeps you coming back for more. There is SO much to learn in this game and the digital world changes at such a fast pace. Tie in the different industries of your clients and you’ve got brain food on top of brain food.

If you aren’t interested in getting stuck into John Mueller’s latest posts or scoping out up and coming competitors in your client’s marketplace, you might be in the wrong job. Staying on top of the changes is tough but being ahead of them is even tougher. In my experience, the only way of doing this is if you get up each morning ready and raring to learn. That’s where you’ll find your edge. 

These are of course just the thoughts of one ‘account manager in a digital agency’. Things I personally work on every day and, always will. Whatever you do, you can always be better than you were yesterday. It just takes a bit of work.

A unique blend of people with equally impressive experience, WMG is home to ‘go-to’ techies, expert specialists and top-notch client services.

Are you considering a career in account management? If you want to find out more about working in our client services team and the development opportunities available to you, don’t hesitate to contact our in-house recruitment team on [email protected]. They’ll be more than happy to chat with you about your interest and provide further information on our current vacancies.