In continuing to evolve the Creative Services team and its relevance and service to the greater organization/corporation, you may consider adding account management to your model. When going to this "next level," many Creative Directors find it advantageous to hire an Account Executive (in-house termed an Account Manager) from an ad agency, thus bringing an "agency vision" to the team and a leader as to how an external agency operates day-to-day. There are differences, however, in an agency environment and a corporate one, you may want to be aware of to help make the transition a smooth one for your new team member.

First, help the Account Manager ("AM") know the Creative team. Often the team is reluctant to allow the AM to become a part of the team. Change isn't always embraced. Help acceptance by letting the team know that the AM will help organize the jobs before they get them, making their jobs easier. And the AM will be now deal with the client's lack of "knowledge" around the value of creative services, removing many headaches for the team. Also establish the client-communication hierarchy with the team: the account managers are now "the voice of the client" and will give project (not creative!) direction to the team. They will stay involved with the project throughout the creative process, giving input to be followed to ensure the client approves the project the first time.

Second, introduce the AM to the clients, in-person, if possible, so they can establish a relationship. Reiterate to the Account Manager that as a part of the same corporation, that a "hard" sell or pitch isn't as necessary as in an agency environment. The tone is more low-key. The point to the internal client is to show the value of the creative services team to help them reach their goals more effectively and with lower costs than an outside agency, while maintaining the same high-quality creative and breadth of services (strategic planning, project ROI tracking) as an outside agency. That's why many corporations are opting for in-house agencies: they have lower costs and more in-depth corporate knowledge, thus consistently developing more effective work. Overly assertive sales are not warranted in a corporate setting as in an agency setting.

Third, help the new agency account manager know the corporation environment tends to be more "security"-minded than the more "creative" and "entrepreneurial"-minded agency. Creative Services is not the core competency of the company and, therefore, not the predominant culture. The company's culture is often more "linear" in thinking and "stable." Meetings tend to start and end relatively on time, and people often leave at a normal business hour. Rarely do you see all the lights on at 2am, finishing projects in a corporate environment, as in an agency environment. Consequently, the process is often slower in a corporation, but remind the AM the team still wants to do a good job and create high-quality work. There just isn't as much of a continual sense of urgency. Keep this in mind as you onboard the AM and transition her to prepare for the slower approach. To help the AM avoid frustration, set project planning as a priority. The work will be scheduled for the team and the client, creating an "easy-to-follow" structure for everyone.

Transitioning an Account Manager from an agency to in-house is a significant one, but if you can smooth the path for the team, clients and AMs, as well as help the AM make the culture shift, it can be "the best of both worlds" for everyone. The creative team can get better projects, and the Account Manager can feel valuable by helping the corporation achieve better business results through more effective creative solutions. A win/win/win for all.