Running a Successful Creative Agency: The Account Executive
Read time: 7 minutes
At Function Point, we’ve worked with creative firms, advertising agencies and digital agencies for the past 20 years. We help define internal processes and workflow, and in doing this, we have come up with 6 personas that interact within the typical creative agency.
The 6 Personas:
- New Business
- Account Executive
- Traffic Manager
In this article, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about the account executive position and give tips to recruit the best candidates for your agency.
An advertising agency Account Executive (AE) is key to maintaining the relationship between the agency and the client. Account executives are the liaison between the client and the creative team to ensure the client’s needs and goals are met on every project.
This requires them to understand the client’s needs and goals and ensure the projects are completed on time and to their satisfaction. An AE will work closely with the creative team, such as designers and writers, to deliver work that meets or exceeds the client’s expectations.
Depending on your agency model, you may need a project manager to control the project from start to finish or appoint the account executives to handle this scope themselves. Hence, the account executive needs to develop project timelines, coordinate with the creative team, monitor the progress, and communicate the project status to the clients.
Another critical aspect of the job is sales and business development. The agency account executive searches for new business opportunities, connects with potential clients and develops strategies to win new contracts. The agency account executive also manages pitches to the client, and the client’s ad budget and generally handles around four non-competing client accounts at a time.
A Typical Day
- Check the status of each client’s job(s) in the creative department and verify the jobs will be completed on time
- Contact each client at least once a day to discuss current and upcoming projects
- Initiate new jobs for the client and develop a project schedule
- Review and present concepts/layouts/copy to the client for approval
- Communicate the client’s feedback to the creative department and discuss the next steps of ongoing projects
- Review emails and respond to any urgent client inquiries
- Prepare proposals and presentations for new business pitches
- Research and analyze client industries and competitors to gain insights and create proper strategies
- Conduct market research and analysis to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices
- Attend networking events or industry conferences to establish relationships and identify new business opportunities
A Typical Interaction With Function Point
- FP is used to check, verify, confirm and report on the status of tasks and jobs that the creative agency account executive is accountable for
- FP is used to keep notes of e-mails and discussions with the client
- FP is used to look up and keep track of client phone numbers, addresses and e-mails
- FP is used to initiate new briefs and estimates and enter new jobs
- Function Point’s Client Portal is used to present concepts/layouts/copy to the client for approval
A Perfect Day
- Happy clients that give positive feedback for the work
- Tasks and jobs for every client are on or ahead of schedule and on budget
- A proposal is accepted, and a new client has signed on with the agency
- Smooth collaboration with coworkers to generate more potential leads
- Attend a workshop or networking event to learn about emerging trends, connect with other professionals, and explore new sales potential
Create a Culture of Wow!
Map out strategy and plan opportunities to wow your clients along the project pipeline; keeping them impressed from pitch to project completion.
Why do you need account executives in your creative agency
Having account executives provides several benefits to both your agency and the clients. Here are some reasons why account executives are essential:
- Client relationship management: Account executives are indispensable in building and maintaining strong client relationships. They oversee communication between clients and the creative team, ensuring that all project demands are fulfilled and keeping clients informed of project progress. Their role in client relationship management helps creative agencies establish a good reputation, improve customer satisfaction, and increase client retention.
- Project management: Account executives manage projects from planning to completion, including resource allocation and progress monitoring. They guarantee timely and within-budget project delivery to meet client expectations. Therefore, they help creative agencies produce high-quality work, reduce the risk of project delays, and increase efficiency.
- Business development: Playing a crucial role in identifying and pursuing new business opportunities for the agency, an AE conducts market research and develops proposals and pitches for new clients. This is essential for your creative agencies to expand their client base, increase revenue, and stay competitive in the market.
- Creative team liaison: Account executives connect the creative team and clients, ensuring that projects satisfy client expectations and requirements. They collaborate with the innovative team to generate ideas, concepts, and solutions to produce top-quality work that meets the client’s vision and objectives.
Top of Mind Issues
Here’re some challenges that account executives need to overcome in their daily work:
- Make clients happy and manage their expectation
- Keep the creative department happy and focused on work
- Optimize workflow and keep track of the right stuff
- Balance multiple projects and deadlines at once to ensure projects are completed on time and to a high standard
- Communicate effectively with clients and creative team members
- Stay current with industry trends and best practices
- Spot new business openings and pitch to prospective clients
- Manage project budgets and profitability for the agency
- Foster relationships with clients and maintain client satisfaction
- Identify issues or roadblocks during projects and work on solutions
- Maintain a positive and collaborative team culture within the agency
- Master technology to manage clients and projects, such as CRM tools, project management software, time-tracking tools, presentation software, communication tools
We love working with people to help with both the software requirements to make working together easier and develop efficient workflows. Function Point is here to help account executives control everything from storing client data, tracking project progress and collaborating with teams. This is an all-in-one system for creative agencies to run a profitable business! Find out how we can help you.
How to find the right account executives
The right account executives who are responsible, enthusiastic, proactive, and aligned with your company culture are crucial for your agency’s success. Below are some tips for finding suitable account executives:
- Look for relevant experience: Check if your candidates have similar experiences in their previous jobs, either at a creative agency or in another industry. Shortlist the people who have managed client relationships, handled project management, and have the capacity to search for new business opportunities.
- Evaluate communication skills: Good communication skills are one of the key skills of account executives, as they must effectively communicate with clients, team members, and stakeholders. You can assess the candidates’ communication skills through interviews, writing samples, and other means during the hiring process.
- Seek out a strong networker: Account executives should have a knack for networking and building relationships with potential clients. Look for candidates with a track record of expanding and leveraging networks to generate and secure new business.
- Prioritize organizational skills: Seek candidates who can stay organized, prioritize tasks effectively, and manage their time well. These skills are necessary to cope with numerous projects and deadlines simultaneously.
- Go for a team player: Account executives need to collaborate with different teams, both internal and external. Therefore, make sure you choose candidates who are team players and can work effectively with others.
- Check references: Take time to check the candidates’ references for reviews and feedback before making a final hiring decision.
Overall, the role of an account executive in a creative agency is dynamic and multifaceted, which requires building relationships, managing projects, and sales skills. Finding the right account executives will help you build a strong team to boost client satisfaction and drive business growth.
This article was contributed by former Function Point employee, Tate Lillies.