Cutting out the middle man

By Stuart Woodhouse, 13 March 2014

As an account manager, my job is to look after new and existing clients, with the end goal of keeping them happy. My role is also to keep our developers busy with work, a busy development team makes for a happy workplace.

What has changed between my previous job and now (at Digital Fusion) is we have cut out the middle man. Previously it was my role to sell websites, pass the client to a project manager who would then form a team and oversee the design and development phases. Once I had handed the client over, I pretty much dropped out of the equation, coming in at the end of the project to give the client some love and to check that everything went well (with fingers and toes crossed).

This was described by my previous manager as a 'touch and pass' method, the Account Manager would 'touch' the client and then 'pass' them onto the project manager. As Account Managers we called the 'touch and pass' method more the 'dump and run' because invariably we had to move onto our next sale so we could keep the cogs moving.

After joining Digital Fusion in late 2012 it was interesting to see how our model works, and I have to say it is fantastic. Here my role is more of a Relationship Manager, I check in with clients and developers and make sure they are all good. As our designers and developers manage all our projects, they are intricately involved. Clients love the fact that they are working directly with the people who are working on their projects, there's no having to explain something to a project manager and hoping that the message gets passed on to the unknown designer or developer. I am always there to support the clients and developers with the comms side of the project, keeping things ticking along is important.

I will add here that I think we are blessed with an outstanding team, people who are more than capable of running projects and being a part of our clients businesses. This is credit to Craig and Julie that they employ staff incredibly well, there's not a dud one in the bunch of now 16 staff (and yes I include myself in this figure, they picked well when they employed me).

So what's the upshot of this blog post? There are really two take-aways, one being how you employ your staff: look for well-rounded people that are passionate about what they do ? and can speak human language, not just geek speak. The other is to not put barriers between yourself and clients, keeping the communication channels as open as possible will lead to happy clients.

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