When do Account Managers earn their money?

Most creative agencies have two halves of their business.

One side is the people who “do the thing” – they might be artists and writers, or developers, or analysts, but the value they bring is in their skills. They work the magic!

On the other side, there are the Account Managers. The account managers are responsible for leading the client project in such a way that the client has confidence in the work, gets the results they bought, and the agency makes money.

From one perspective, the account team is useless. They don’t work the magic; they don’t do the thing; why do we need them? Are they just babysitters? Or are they salespeople? What are they?

Account Managers lead

Creatives can fall in love with their ideas, messages, or insights, and the Account Manager needs to return them to the brief. This is what we’re trying to achieve. Does your idea do that?

Clients wander off after shiny objects, “What about this conference? What about billboards or digital billboards!” The account team brings them back down to earth.

Someone needs to keep both the client and the creative team on track toward the business outcome that the client needs. Until you have someone who can do that, you can’t truly be out of the client services work.

Clients evaluate Account Managers, not agencies.

Remember what I said on Thursday? Clients don’t know how to evaluate the work you do, but they do know how they felt throughout the process. If the Account Manager can make small, gentile, corrections and keep the creative team on track, the client is going to feel like your agency did a good job.

At the end of the day, the client doesn’t evaluate the agency — they evaluate the account manager.

That’s how the account team makes their money!

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