Account management in an advertising agency is a difficult role. As well as the usual agency hangups, the Client Services team members deal with demanding clients and are expected to switch hats daily.They’re problem solvers, creative thinkers, project managers and team motivators.

It’s not surprising then that so many junior account handlers struggle from time to time. But what are the tell-tale signs that your junior account handlers are struggling? And what can you do to help better support your employees' mental health?

Sally Stevens, from The Secret AD, shares 5 red flags that indicate your junior account handlers are struggling and what training or support you can give them to help.

Sally Stevens - Founder, CEO and Client Services Coach at The Secret AD


Four: They've changed how they communicate

Sudden changes in communication style are a sign that something is amiss both in our personal and professional lives. Has a confident junior retreated, and become quieter? Or have they become louder, defensive even, as they try to deflect from their insecurities? If the answer is yes to either, it's probably time for a chat to understand what's happening.

What can you do?

An informal chat might be enough to get to the bottom of what's happening but, often, building resilient employees takes time and resilience to pressure should be a skill taught in all account management training courses. Try to understand, and help them to understand, what triggers them to panic so that you can better anticipate future problems, and catch any issues before they become overwhelming.


Five: Work is coming out of the studio incorrectly, repeatedly

Knowing how to brief creative work is a crucial account management skill and one that, when not nurtured properly, can be costly for an agency. If work is consistently returned wrong from the studio (or worse, the client), it's likely that the briefs aren't right to begin with. That could be because they're rushing (are they managing their workload properly?) or because they don't understand the client brief or agency process.

What can you do?

Train your account managers and account executives to understand and improve their briefs, with targeted account management training. Review examples of great briefs together and discuss what makes them so good. Similarly, ensure you're setting aside suitable time to review and feedback on their briefs before they're shared with the studio. It might seem straightforward to you, but you've probably had a lot of practice by now.

Note, this could also be an issue with a member of the studio team if the same person has been working on all these projects. Be sure to flag if you think that's the case and help your juniors to understand where they can help that person instead.


How else can you better support your junior account handlers?

At The Secret AD, we understand the pressures that are placed on senior Client Services' time. If you found this article helpful and want to know how else you can better support your junior account handlers, then get in touch to discuss how bespoke account management training can help your Client Services team excel.


Thank you, Sally! If you'd like to pursue a career in an Agency, then you can view our live agency roles here!


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