Alternative Account Manager bio

Equator Account Manager Louise McVey's job title often confuses friends and family as to what her job entails. In this post, she sets the record straight.

If you were to ask my friends and family what I do for a living, most would struggle to give you a straight answer. Websites? Something to do with accounting?

Being an “Account Manager at a digital ideas agency” isn’t exactly one of the traditional routes you’d discuss with the high school Careers Adviser. In a nutshell, as an Account Manager, I manage client relationships and develop opportunities with those existing clients. My toolkit is a creative mind-set balanced with a logical approach. Usually. Being in a digital environment is stimulating as things constantly evolve; working with talented people, diverse clients and seeing things go from concept to live makes it worth coming to work every day.

I’m motivated by growth both from a personal and professional perspective. Having been told I’m quite tenacious (read: stubborn), it suits me to be in a role where problem solving is the norm. You won’t last 5 minutes as an Account Manager if you want a 9-5 of easy admin, tea and biscuits!

Most job descriptions for Client Services roles will ask for strong communication skills, a sound understanding of project management, some element of sales and an outgoing personality amongst other things. In my opinion that’s a bit vague. The unpredictable nature and responsibility required make some people very well-suited and love the job but, equally so, would put a lot of people off.

Here’s my 5 point Account Manager’s alternative job description. If you pass this, you’re in.

1. It’s not all schmoozing with clients and martinis

Building relationships with your clients is of course a high priority in this role. What that doesn’t mean is expensed cocktails to celebrate a successful Monday! What it does mean is being able to understand their business needs, problems and objectives. It’s a two-way street in that we must also prove value: promises bring hope, delivery builds trust.

2. You need to have strong commercial awareness

Internally at the agency, you are accountable for your clients. Having a good relationship with your client (see point 1) means being able to understand their financials and help our Scheduling and HR teams forward plan resource and support recruitment drives. The Client Servicing team is responsible for invoicing, forecasting and other tasks traditionally regarded as bookkeeping. Know your numbers.

3. Attention to detail is a must

We work closely with our Producers to deliver solutions that meet our high quality standards while still meeting a client’s budget. As an Account Manager or Account Director, you are responsible for the longevity of your client and the value you are bringing to them, so be picky and only accept the best.

4. Don’t hate, motivate

While other departments in the agency will focus on the same discipline every day (UX design, creative concepts, web development, SEO, PPC etc.), our unique position allows us to touch all areas of the business meaning we can add value to briefs and internal project reviews. We need to take a step back and view things as a client would. As an Account Manager you need to be confident in orchestrating and motivating a team to deliver the best possible solution that meets your client’s needs. Thick skin will allow you to see things objectively!

5. Respect gender parity

We hear lots about the digital industry being dominated by men, resulting in a lack of strong, female representation. I certainly can’t speak for the industry as a whole, but what I do know is that our Client Services team boasts an equal split of men and women. As a passionate and supportive team, we are good at sharing knowledge to help identify relevant opportunities, whether that’s an update to Google’s organic search guidelines or a piece of augmented reality we’ve just built. Sharing is caring.

It goes without saying that Equator is proud to be Glasgow-based but I’d say the best thing about working here is being able to compete with some of the bigger, London-based agencies. Our owners have been here since day 1 and are very much a part of the day-to-day business. We’re a very social agency and I genuinely now work with some of my good friends. A piece of advice for someone considering working at Equator would be: it’s not for everyone but if you’re willing to invest in the opportunity, Equator will invest in you back.

If you’d like to know more about what we do or if you reckon you’d made a great Account Manager then have a look at our current available roles.

By Louise McVey, Account Manager.