Mark Salen

Account Manager

When lockdown was announced, I knew my role as Account Manager and Dad of two would be tested now more than ever. Putting on a smart shirt and visiting clients would now be swapped for comfy clothes and teaching the boys how to calculate the angle of a shape. 

I’ve learnt very quickly that whilst you can plan and schedule and have everything in order with your work life, when you have 2 kids under the age of 8 years old, they more often than not will find a way to bring some chaos to the proceedings!

As an Account Manager in the IT industry, my usual routine is split between a number of different projects. Some days I am in the office working on future plans with the Management Team and other days I am discussing ongoing projects with our Service Desk Engineers, as well as helping directly with any clients problems that arise. My favourite part about my role is being out on the road visiting our clients, discussing their current situation and service levels, and putting in place plans for the future to help them with their IT as they continue to grow as businesses.

Throughout all this, the most important element of my role is ensuring client relationships are maintained as best I can. I’ve found through talking with our clients that many of their current situations are rapidly changing within their organisations. They are having to learn and adapt as they go, and relying on their IT systems to function well has become more important now than ever. I’m now relying on some great tools to allow me to keep in touch with clients as much as I can, hearing about the challenges they are facing and seeing what I can do to help. We’ve also taken on board some new clients since the lockdown began, and carrying out the onboarding process remotely without actually meeting the clients face to face has certainly been a new experience!

Then you have to add in the new element of managing accounts from home. Trying to find a successful balance between work, being a dad, and the new one of being a teacher. I’m extremely fortunate to work for a company that is hugely focused on family values as I can imagine how unbearably stressful the last 3 months would have been otherwise. 

The first task of the day is always finding a place to set up where I’m not having to break up a fight between 2 brothers and I can hear myself think for a few minutes. I need to structure my day so that I can deal with everything required for my clients, but also try to keep 2 boys fed, watered and entertained without just putting them in front of a screen for the entire day. With my eldest, this also includes having to find the time get him to do some school work, and I’ve learnt more about equivalent fractions, water basins and adverbs in the last 2 months than I think I ever did when I was in school myself!

I’ve found that working out chunks of my day to set tasks has been the best way to make sure my clients get the time they need, and I’m able to focus on the kids time as well. Of course, it doesn’t always go to plan though. There I times that I have to close the door whilst answering the phone to stop the caller hearing a lightsaber battle going on in the background or when my 4 year old charges in during a Teams video conference to present me with a wooden cake. I’m pleased to say the client saw the funny side!

As things slowly begin to return to normal, I’m really excited to get back out in front of our clients and pick up where we left off before lockdown began. For now, I will continue to manage the balancing act of having the boys at home along with booking in meetings, calls and catch ups with our clients. It’s certainly been a time I won’t forget and whilst I’ve loved being able to spend this much time with the kids, I am looking forward to answering the phone without such a battle as one of my boys has now began to even mock and mimic my phone voice. Also I think my role as teacher Mark is coming to the end of its course too….

Published: 29th June 2020