12 months ago, I was facing one of the biggest decisions in my career here at GEL Studios - Account Manager vs Project Manager and even bigger than that was the journey here at GEL Studios one that I could still be on?
For anyone that knows me, I wear my heart on my sleeve and for the majority of the time I let my heart rule my head. I can be sensitive to situations and pleasing everyone I meet is something that comes naturally to me and keeps me within my comfort zone.
The business was going through a period of change, we wanted to grow and that in turn meant that we as a Leadership team needed to embrace an element of change. We embarked on a journey of learning about ourselves - what made us feel comfortable? What made us doubt ourselves? Who is our ideal client? Are we asking the right questions?
All of this was really important, at the time it was challenging but looking back it has allowed us to get to where we are now and even more so has provided me with the confidence of who I am and where I want to be within the business.
Cutting a long story short, and a period of almost 12 months - I put my big girl pants on and here I am Client Director at GEL Studios.
I wanted to write a post on what being a Client Director means to me, in other organisations a Client Director could be referred to as an Account Manager - ultimately it means we look after our clients, ensure we are helping them to succeed all whilst ensuring the team are working on the right things at the right time - and they are also happy.
As a mum, a ‘pleaser’ and someone who loves making people happy I knew this role was right for me - but it had to work for me and I had to be prepared to step outside of my comfort zone. I read so many Account Manager books on how to be a successful Account Manager and if I am honest they scared me - building a successful client base isn’t a process, it’s about the people. At GEL Studios, we are different - every client is a person, every business is an extension of ours and I would never want them to feel any different. ‘People buy people’ and this is so true, they don’t buy your product, they buy your story. People come to us because they have a need, a want and that will be driven by influence and emotion.
When meeting a new prospective client, the energy you feel and the gut feeling that you have doesn’t lie - if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. The initial meetings and the first impressions really count and that first meeting can guide you on whether this relationship will be right for you and them and knowing that if it doesn’t feel right - it is ok. I have ‘gut feelings’ a lot, sometimes they may not be accurate but being able to trust your instinct can make you aware of other people's feelings, their body language and how they like to work. Ultimately, business is all about people working together and if you set the right first impression then it can only be the start of something successful.
Success may not always be the result of increased revenue, more leads to the business or more customers through your door - it is simply you being honest and building lasting relationships with your clients. By being more emotionally aligned when it comes to people and their behaviours you are more likely to build an instant rapport with them. Even if that new prospective client decides not to work with you, you would have made a lasting impact and if you have been honest and put your best foot forward - they may come back in the future. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and even if now isn’t the right time you will be remembered for the right reasons and who knows what doors that will lead to.
This for me is why I love my job - people, honesty & value.
Aside from the ‘people’ aspect of my role, when it comes to Account Management - everyday is different. Whether I am writing proposals, holding a creative meeting, visiting clients or attending networking events - everyday you learn something new. We have built a client base across all sectors and by working with a range of clients has allowed me to gain exposure to all their services and needs - all things that a book cannot teach you. Something I have found difficult, but I have definitely grown in is being more commercially aware. Looking forward and forecasting for the coming months and years is so important. Making decisions that are not inky right for the client, you and the team but for the business. It allows you to identify new business opportunities and where value can be added to existing accounts to help grow them further. Understanding the business allows us to have the time we need to bring the value to our clients that we are aligned with.
For me, knowing a client is happy is one thing but there is nothing better than when a project comes together or we can share amazing results for something we have been working on - knowing the team has worked together to make a difference to their business and that is what we are all here for.
So what makes an Account Manager at GEL Studios different from others? And the answer to this is the team here in the agency. Having the best team behind me makes my job so much easier. The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster but as hard as it gets we have a culture of ‘team ethic’ and ‘work family’ which means we work hard and we play even harder - agency life is so much fun, we lift each other up and it is even better when we are winning. I am so excited for the next 12 months, meeting new people, onboarding new clients and sharing the success we see with each and every one of our clients.