Projects between agencies and client businesses can easily be set up for failure. To put it in somewhat extreme, cynical terms:
I'm sure most business and agency teams want to work well together, but hopefully the above shows some of the obstacles to accomplishing that.
I focus on the long-term and get to build up a strong partnership.
That's where client directors like me come in. I work to represent Webcredible and its services with clients, but also do the opposite by representing the client internally. More than anything else, I see my role as being about motivation, on both sides of the relationship. If I can build a strong relationship with a client by understanding their business well, I can take ideas back that will benefit them.
While that's all fine at a strategic level, I thought the best way to explain it might be to tell you about two recent days at work.
I recently had the pleasure of travelling up to the West Midlands from London. We'd been working with a company focused on distributing plumbing and heating equipment and parts, and it was time to meet them to have a strategic review of what we'd done so far. It's an industry which hasn't adopted digital channels as quickly (most sales are still done in person with local branches), and they were keen to bring their digital presence to the forefront.
As a client director, I've been able to keep in touch with them each step of the way, including brainstorming sessions to look at their business requirements and internal proposals to see how we can look at addressing them. While I'm less involved in the nitty-gritty of project work, I do still keep myself in the process, aiming to see what kind of work Webcredible is currently doing, but also how the relationship can potentially develop over time. The session is really productive, and we wrap up at 5 pm.
My day isn't over yet though. As we get to the train platform to head back to London, we're told that there are delays, which worries me as I'm aiming to take the Eurostar to Paris overnight to meet with another client the next morning. After a lot of crawling through the countryside at a snail's pace, I make it in to Euston station, with just enough time to run down the road to King's Cross (in heels, while pulling a wheelie bag. It definitely wasn't my most graceful moment).
While the team members I worked with during the day head to their homes, I meet up with a new team to grab a quick bite to eat before boarding our train. It was exhausting getting this far, and I looked forward to getting some sleep on the ride over.
Unfortunately my nap is cut short by an announcement that the Eurostar had hit an animal (I'll admit, this isn't a common aspect of working as a Client Director). I find out that our arrival in Paris would be delayed by several hours, and didn't check in to my hotel room until 3 am.
After about two hours of sleep, I catch up with my team at 8 am to prepare for another full day meeting with our client. They're a multi-national business who are keen to work on their intranet HR systems, particularly around providing support for their staff who manage others. As always, I'm there to keep an eye on the wider picture of how we can support them in achieving their goals, and also helping staff from Webcredible understand what it is that the business wants to achieve in the long-run.
At 4 pm we finish and I once again find myself running to catch my Eurostar train. After napping through the ride home, I make it home, getting some much needed sleep before getting ready for another day of work the next day.
The above might sound like a stressful, extended couple of days, but I find it worth it. I'm naturally a 'people person', and being able to meet with clients regularly and build up a relationship with them will always be exciting for me. Unlike the traditional sales goal of simple selling, I focus on the long-term and get to build up a strong partnership with them. There's something immensely satisfying about knowing a client over a long period, and being able to see your agency bring tangible benefits to them. To find out more about how we work with our clients, check out our case studies page.