Many agency CEOs bemoan a lack commerciality in their Account Management teams, but the solution can also be the key to genuine transformation.

It’s a fact of life that language matters. It’s also true that shit sticks. So when snarky phrases enter our vocabulary, their use often exceeds their provenance. 

Like new-business people tarred as ‘pitch bitches’, account handlers also have a cross to bear. From ‘bag carriers’ to ‘order takers’, even if expressed less harshly, hearing client service people cast as outdated, uncommercial or even non-essential isn’t unusual. 

Unfortunately, if we’re honest, there’s often more than a grain of truth. 

Reimagine your agency

Even if you disagree, it’s not just me saying this – the IPA have just launched an initiative to rethink the role of account management.

It’s part of new President Nigel Vaz’s agenda to ‘reimagine’ the role of the agency. And given well-established pressures like in-housing, new competitors, oversupply, margin pressure and a lack of differentiation, defining client services’ role in your ‘reimagining’ makes sense. 

So how can you address these era-defining challenges – and make your account people part of the solution? 

Transformation from the frontline

Forward-thinking agencies are evolving to become more client-centric and specialised. Rather than targeting all CMOs with money, they’re refocusing on exactly where their core expertise overlaps with specific client problems. 

This transformation often starts at the top. Define your strategy and proposition, redesign your route-to-market and then roll-out a tailored agency Customer Experience

But rather than going all-in with a new proposition, you might be better suited to a different approach – starting not at the top, but on the frontline.

What if a new way to standout and make money could be developed and proven with your existing client base, with your account team leading the way? 

Co:definery has formalised its relationship with training specialist True & North to offer exactly this option – a staged transformation, starting with a proof of concept, that also solves the client service conundrum. 

Here’s how it works. 

Step one: Proof of Concept 

An initial sprint that matches your capabilities with your clients’ unmet needs, developing the right story and skills to unlock conversations at a senior level.

Akin to a Minimum Viable Product, we define, test and refine a bespoke and differentiated growth strategy in three steps: 

  1. Define a credible, ambitious offer that addresses problems your current clients’ haven’t yet solved
  2. Create sales tactics for each account, including actionable outcomes for each stage in your client service conversations
  3. Embed new tactics by coaching your team.

Step two: Iterate & Expand

Applying the offer, learnings and confidence from your Proof of Concept and embedding them throughout the agency. 

  1. Build a future-focused Business Development and New-Business plan around your Proof of Concept
  2. Refine your agency’s Customer Experience to substantiate your new offer
  3. Embed the necessary client-centric culture (behaviours, tactics and skills) to secure and develop new clients. 

Upgrade the boat without rocking it

The partnership between True & North and Co:definery was borne out of frustrated agency leaders describing exhausted teams that feel commoditised by clients. 

You face an urgent need to get upstream and properly explore complex challenges with senior decision makers. If your agency is going to have a healthy, sustainable future, you need a more differentiated and focused model. 

We’ve made this significant change achievable and manageable. Our approach transforms your agency from the inside out – overcoming the pressures of BAU, invigorating your account handlers and reinventing your offer at the right pace. 

Get in touch to find out more. 

Image: RealMenRealStyle