3rd February 2023

Perspectives of a newish account manager

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The following article dives into my last 8 months as an account manager, stepping away from sales and moving into building relationships with clients and colleagues alike and the key attributes an account manager needs for success.

As some of you who are reading this will know, I recently — if 8 months ago is recent — joined Abstrakt, and with that came a new industry and, therefore, a whole set of new skills to learn.

For the last 8 years, I have been working in client handling in one way or another. However, historically, this was predominantly with a sales focus. In April 2022, I joined a digital agency and have since bolstered my arsenal with a plethora of new skills. Was I expecting something reminiscent of Don Johnson’s experience in Mad Men? Who knows, but the following is my perspective of my first 8 months of Account Management within a digital agency, skills learnt and fundamentals for success in client handling.

As an account manager, you sit as a hybrid character: one foot in the agency and one foot in your client’s team, championing their vision and acting as a stalwart support for their success. With this comes the difficulty of toeing the line between client and agency alike.

Fundamentals of Success


One of the core aspects of any Account Manager worth their salt is building relationships that are more than merely professional but become trusting partnerships. My clients put their faith in me to deliver, and I am there to facilitate projects completed by the agency. Within our client list, we have large multinationals to small business owners and approaching these relationships differs greatly, but ultimately ensuring your contact trusts you implicitly are key. These relationships expand beyond just clients; internal relationships are just as important in helping to ensure you deliver timely services and high-quality products.

Soft Skills Are Great, But…

You can have conversational skills that will make your hairdresser jealous, but those soft skills will only get you so far. It’s time to do some research and know your clients to their core, their likes and dislikes, and how they like to work. Remember, everyone is different and learning this skill earlier in my career would have saved many misinterpreted emails.

Whilst all of your clients are different, and you will need to navigate conversations with them uniquely, another crucially important consideration is their business. Understand what they do, how they do it, their place in the market and their competitors. An agency's success lives and dies on its clients' success, and knowing the market your clients operate in and how as an agency, we can take steps to improve their share of that industry is a road to success.


Above all else, diplomacy will stand you above the rest in an agency. This much sought-after and difficult-to-acquire skill will stand you head and shoulders above your competition. Not only will you manage to maintain a relationship with your clients, but also your colleagues will still talk to you on their lunch break.

As a member of client services, sometimes the onus falls on you to deliver bad news both internally and externally—telling a client that budgets will need to be increased to achieve the fix they so desperately desire or informing your team that the project that was planned to be delivered in 6 months now needs to be delivered in 6 weeks. The Ancient Greeks were onto something when they penned the fundamentals of diplomacy. This skill, whilst not a magic wand to harmonious relationships, will certainly soften what can be a hard blow.


The final element to a successful Account Manager is looking for feedback; an open conversation; what do we do well? Where do we miss the mark? Let’s work together to form a better working partnership.

At Abstrakt, we ensure that we send out annual questionnaires to our clients. We want to know where we can improve and aim to champion our clients in any way we can. We don’t want to be an ostrich with our head in the sand. That’s why I always insist, if my way of working doesn't work for you, please tell me. There’s always room for improvement.

The greatest Account Managers I have had the pleasure of working with & learning from are those that don’t have an ego. Egotists make bad Account Managers, people who are willing to learn, adapt and change. Now, that is a recipe for Account Management success.

The above has been a whistle-stop tour of skills that I have learnt over the first 8 months of my life as an Abstraktee and the previous years in client handling, I could write a book on Client Services, and many have! If you’re interested in working with Abstrakt, get in touch.

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