Most in-house teams don’t have a client facing account management team. Their middle management layer is often so thin that that group is unable to always effectively manage client relations. And even if there are upper managers willing to step into that role, they’re often not knowledgeable enough about the business to be successful studio advocates and liaisons with clients. Yet effective client management is critical to an in-house team’s success.
This fact necessitates proactively addressing any gaps in powerfully working with clients. At the very minimum, providing some sort of client management training for the individual contributors on an in-house team who, by default, will consistently be client facing is a must. There are also online materials and advice blogs for these team members to refer to.
Identifying escalation policies is a necessary when team creatives are on the front lines with clients. Group managers should be designated as the go-to individuals when client relationships become strained. They should also be engaged when scope creep occurs.
Identifying staff who have an aptitude for working with clients and assigning them additional client management responsibilities is another tactic to employ. Ideally, though, the most beneficial way to develop and maintain successful client relationships is to hire an account or client relationship manager. To lower resistance to the idea, initiating a pilot with a contract CRM may be an appropriate approach.
Perception is reality, so if clients have a bad experience with an in-house team due to lack of effective client management, it won’t matter how good the deliverables are – the clients will not want to work with the group. By exploring innovative ways to enhance client work-with relationships, an in-house group will have addressed one of the most critical factors impacting their success.