MY ROLE AS CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGER – AN INTERVIEW WITH CURT LEWIS

Optix: What is your role at Optix and what does it involve?

Curt: My role is spread across a few different things, firstly and most foremost it’s working closely with our Co-Founder, Alastair. Together we go to client meetings to check in on current clients and pitch to new clients. We sometimes travel up and down the country for big meetings or speaking engagements which we both speak at. 

The second most regular thing I do is do research into clients (or potential) clients into their digital presence, this can be anything from some quick keyword research to a full website review. 

The role itself is entirely focused around clients, part of this is running events for our clients, every month we run a breakfast event for local business owners to come in and learn about our world. I will organise these and help Alastair fill the numbers up. Once a year we run a big seminar with guest speakers and over 100 people, I will take ownership of this event.

We as a team share account management too, so I have a handful of Web Clients which I am their point of contact for when it comes to bug fixes, new work, and general relationship building.

Optix: Why did you choose this career and how long did it take you to reach this rung on the career ladder? 

Curt: I moved to Exeter 6 years ago from Cornwall (where it’s very hard to find places to work like this!). I lived with an ex-staff Member at Optix and was always fascinated by his job, naturally, when the position came up, I jumped to apply!

Optix: Did you gain experience to prepare you and how did you do it?

Curt: I gained 3 years of sales and customer service experience in Exeter before joining Optix, something that was very important for this role. In the evenings I spent around 1 year learning about digital and web from my housemate. With these two bits of experience, I was right for the job, while working on the job my knowledge of digital increased vastly, to the point where I am even delivering occasional digital marketing work.

Optix: What motivates you in your role?

The team is a huge motivation, for a web project sometimes there can be as many as 10 of us involved at once and we all need to pull together to complete the project.

Second is the outcome of our work. When we pitch-sell-write-deliver digital strategies, it’s a great process to be a part of, the outcome is always a clear 12-month plan for the client and it’s great to see local businesses getting their teeth stuck into marketing with our help.

Optix: Where would you like your career to go in the future?

Curt: I would like to either manage a team of ‘Curt’s’ or become a digital strategy manager, haven’t decided yet but that’s what great about this job, I am gaining experience for both.

Optix: What advice would you give someone just starting out in client services? 

Curt: Client services in digital isn’t really your typical client services job, Its about the future of marketing for clients, we need to be honest and thorough with prospects. It’s more about research and marketing plans than it is about client relations.

My best bit of advice would be to believe in your own pitch, even if that means debating with the directors what we should offer to a particular prospect. 

Optix: What advice would you give someone who is looking to take the next step on the business development career ladder?

Curt: A role like this, in my opinion, is one of the best hybrid sales roles you can get. But to do this job you need sales experience, you can learn digital in the evenings and on the job, but sales experience is harder to get. I believe anyone can learn digital, but not anyone can learn sales, I started with an estate agency at 17. But even working at a call centre or something will get you enough sales experience to get you through the door to interview stage. My advice would be to gain some sales experience and learn about your chosen niche in the background.

Optix: How should someone prepare for an interview for a digital client services role?

Curt: Its less black and white than most jobs, so be prepared to be asked some very loose questions! I would suggest you prepare by looking at the company you are interviewing with, look at their clients and case studies and understand how your techniques can fit in with their processes. 

Optix: What are your favourite business development resources?

Curt: Nothing is more effective than a face-face pitch. I ALWAYS opt for slides too. Tools I use to prepare these are;

  • Searchmetrics 
  • SEM Rush
  • Majestic SEO
  • Page Speed Insights
  • Google Analytics

Optix: Why did you like working at Optix and why are you leaving?

Curt: I liked working at Optix because of the flexibility in the role, If I thought of a better way to do my job, I was totally free to do so. If I had an event I wanted to run, then I could. I even used to get a chance to go back to Cornwall and speak at events for local businesses. The way in which we do proposals was up to me and your time is completely self-managed. 

A typical day could be catching up on emails in the morning then having a chat with the team about a project, going to a client meeting, then spending the afternoon doing some SEO research for a pitch. Every day is different. During the day I can do all of this at my desk, or on the sofa, or even at home or from a coffee shop.

The location of the office is great, It takes me 10 min to get there from the centre of town.

I am really sad to leave but being from Cornwall, I’ve always wanted to move up country so my partner and I are moving to London to start new lives up there. She is lucky enough to have a remote job and I had the opportunity to join a Sister Company of Optix’ who are based in London. We both spend lots of time traveling to London and Bristol for music events at the moment anyway. If I ever find myself back in Exeter, Optix would be the first door I knocked on.

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