Every successful creative agency is backed by a team of highly skilled professionals, and one of these experts is the account manager. While the role of the creative director or the copywriter may often take center stage, the account manager job is the glue that holds everything together.

So, who is the real agency hero? What are the actual account manager responsibilities? How to let them work more efficiently? Buckle up, and let’s give the account managers the credit they deserve.

Are you an Account Manager? You’ll find this article useful as well! Get tips on how you can process clients’ briefs smoothly down below 👇.

Who is an account manager?

Account managers are often unnoticed heroes at creative agencies, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the success of projects and the satisfaction of clients. Their role is wide-ranging, covering all from project management, progress reports, and client communication to strategic planning and creative direction.

To simplify the account manager job description – they are the point of contact between the client and the creative team. They keep the customers’ needs and goals in mind while streamlining the communications between the two. They should know the client’s trouble spots and figure out how to resolve them. It is their hard work, dedication, and expertise that help to bring the client’s vision to life.

⚠️ According to the BLS, starting to work as an account manager requires at least a bachelor’s degree. According to BLS data for 2021, the median account manager salary was $127,490 (about $10,600 a month).

What does account manager do in a creative agency?

Account management in the creative industry is a unique and exciting challenge. As opposed to the typical account managers work in a sales team, it takes a more creative approach and gets them working with some of the most talented minds in the industry. This one isn’t easy, though.

Project management

An account manager must handle multiple tasks at once, be organized, think on their feet, and understand the creative process from start to finish. They are not just responsible for managing the client’s accounts but also for helping the team come up with creative solutions that will meet the client’s needs in an innovative setting.

Relationship management

Key account managers are expected to build strong relationships with the client. As such, they need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively to understand what the customers’ needs are and how best to meet them. It is their responsibility to handle all new clients as well as problems with existing accounts to confirm that the business delivers the best possible products and services.

Team coordination

For any project to be completed by a deadline, the key account manager must coordinate with customers, members of their team, and even vendors outside the company. It includes being able to delegate tasks, motivate and manage performance, provide feedback when necessary, and assign resources efficiently.

Strategic planning

An account executive plays an important role in the long-term success of a business. Through strategic planning, they need to gain an understanding of how a customer operates and create a plan that is tailored toward meeting those targets. This means – assessing customer feedback regularly and modifying plans as needed. It is all about building strong, lasting relationships with customers for mutual benefit.

What skills and qualities do account managers need?

Accounts managers work with people. It goes without saying that excellent communication skills are required for this position. The account manager must possess a natural curiosity for the people with one more factor – an ability to think outside the box to resolve their problems.

Among the most desired qualities in an account manager are negotiation, problem-solving, and team-building skills. They should also be able to work independently, have a confident personality, and the ability to handle feedback in a professional manner.

Managers are highly skilled at managing time and prioritizing tasks. As a final point, account managers should stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. Being able to adapt to changes quickly and accurately will be critical for the success of this position.

To sum up: account managers should have a strong combination of emotional intelligence, consumer behavior understanding, problem-solving, and time-management skills.

To learn more about boosting account management skills, check out our other article: 9 Productivity Hacks: Leverage Your Account Manager Skills

Challenges faced by account managers in the creative office setting

Having an Account Manager role in the creative industry is no small feat. Understanding the scope of the responsibilities, but also understanding the challenges, is critical to unlocking the true potential of this position.

New reality

Post-pandemic reality has shifted all aspects of marketing as communication channels. As a result, managers must develop new strategies and build relationships with clients while continuing to provide top-notch customer service. It’s not easy – they’re working under increasing pressure to meet goals, usually with fewer resources available.

Balancing client needs & creative team requirements

Account managers often find themselves walking a tightrope between their clients’ demands and the expectations of their creative teams. They need to be aware of when their clients might need additional time or when the team should push back against client requests. They’re like mediators between the two perspectives, with the ability to pull off a successful project for both.

Meeting deadlines with precision

Unexpected bumps in the road – and any delays or issues can cause a project to go off the rails. One of an account manager’s biggest daily challenges is to guarantee that everyone involved in the project works as quickly and as efficiently as possible so that deadlines are met. As such, it’s incredibly vital for account managers to have a strict understanding of the various factors that assist in setting deadlines. They have to estimate realistic turnaround times and provide accurate estimates to their colleagues.

Some clients may have unrealistic expectations or may be challenging to work with, requiring a ton of patience to manage. Account managers must be skilled at managing expectations, setting boundaries, and resolving conflicts while maintaining a positive relationship with specific clients. The job requires them to find a middle ground – satisfy the customer without sacrificing the company’s interests.

Orchestrating a unified team

An account manager is somehow a conductor of the team as a whole. The challenge is that each team is made up of individuals who have their own needs and wants. If the account manager takes time to understand each team member’s goals, then all of them can come together in a unified, cohesive way. Putting everyone on the same page is the only way to guarantee that the client gets great work.

Turbocharge account manager performance with Allfred

We are aware of the daily challenges that account managers have to face in creative marketing agencies (or any other related field). That’s how Allfred was created. It’s a complex tool for agencies management to boost team productivity and performance. Allfred helps streamline creative processes and delivers customer satisfaction better. How?

Allfred agency management tool for account managers.

It’s like Asana with the added superpower – financial capabilities. From time tracking and task assignment to budgeting and invoicing, it lets you manage the entire project from A to Z. Allfred simplifies budget calculations and repetitive tasks by drag & drop planning, allowing you to balance team workload faster and better.

Give it a try and see how Allfred can help you make a red-hot impact in creative agency management.

It’s a wrap

Account managers oversee more than just accounts – they oversee the agencies’ operations. In large part, the success of a project depends on a key account manager, their ability to manage long-term client relationships, and the impact they have on the overall bottom line.

Among other staff members, it’s easy to overlook their needs. Yet, companies should invest in key accounts managers and provide them with the resources and support they need to succeed. 

Investing in account manager work will not only make the workplace more productive, efficient, and rewarding but also have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line in the long run. So let’s give credit where credit is due – investing in an account manager pays off!

Are you ready to reshape your account management? Allfred understands the need for streamlined processes. Automate the administrative tasks and see boosted productivity firsthand. Book a demo now and experience Allfred power.

FAQ section

Here is the list of the most common questions related to the topic.

What is the typical educational requirement for an account manager in a creative agency?

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for an account manager position in most creative agencies. This ensures that they have a foundational understanding of business, communication, and other relevant fields.

How does an account manager contribute to acquiring new customers?

Account managers play a pivotal role in acquiring new customers by identifying new ways to reach potential clients, understanding their needs, and ensuring that the agency’s offerings align with those needs.

Do account managers work in isolation or collaborate with other departments?

Account managers frequently collaborate with other departments within the agency. Their role often involves liaising between the client and various departments to ensure that projects are executed smoothly and to the client’s satisfaction.

What is the difference between a salesperson’s role and an account manager’s role in closing deals?

While a salesperson typically briefs potential clients about the agency’s services and closes the initial deal, an account manager maintains and nurtures the relationship post-sale. They ensure that the client’s ongoing needs are met and that they are satisfied with the agency’s services.

Account managers are always on the lookout for new ways to serve their clients better. This involves staying updated with industry trends, attending workshops, and constantly seeking feedback from clients to improve the agency’s offerings.

Why is the role of an account manager crucial in a creative agency’s success?

Account managers are the bridge between the client and the creative agency. Their understanding of client needs, coupled with their ability to communicate these needs to other departments, ensures that projects are executed to perfection. Their role in maintaining and strengthening client relationships is paramount to the agency’s long-term success and growth.